Best camera phones 2021 – PhoneArena
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Finding the best smartphone camera is no easy task these days. Most all flagships now come packing some serious camera tech and software, and while certain brands and models may excel in certain areas, it’s pretty much a neck-and-neck race.
Some phones perform better in low light, others have dedicated Night Modes that are way ahead of the competition, and then there are those that are mediocre for stills, but are great for video. It’s not easy picking the best of the best, especially if you don’t get the chance to try out many, many phones for yourself. With so much choice, what do you have to look for, if you want the best smartphone camera?
How we choose the best smartphone camera
These days, the bar for a top-performing camera on a phone is quite high. To be competitive, a device has to have a good sent of lenses and sensors backed up by software that can get the most of them. The end result must be a photo that has sharpness, good color balance, adequate exposure, realistic saturation and a great amount of detail.
That being said, here are the best-performing cameras on the smartphone market right now:
Best camera phones, a summarized list:
Now, let’s take a deeper look at these phones!
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Apple finally decided to make use of the extra space the larger Pro Max offers internally and equipped it with a larger main sensor than the regular iPhone 12 Pro, as well as a slightly better zoom camera. Of course, at 2.5X optical zoom, it’s far behind what other phones of this list have to offer, but the advantages of the iPhone 12 Pro Max as a camera come from its consistently good photos and ease of use. The new iPhones also have Night mode available for all cameras, including the selfie one, so even your ultra-wide-angle photos will look nice in low light.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Of course, everything comes with a price. At $1,199, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is $200 cheaper than the S20 Ultra, but it’s not exactly affordable, so many would have to settle for something more humble. Luckily, we have just the right phone for them as our next recommendation.
Google Pixel 5
The Pixel 5 camera doesn’t look impressive and that’s because it’s not. At least not hardware-wise. A 12MP main sensor and a 12MP one for the ultra-wide camera are all the Pixel 5 has to work with. But by leveraging Google’s AI platform and advanced computational photography algorithms, the Pixel 5 is capable of delivering some amazing results. From Night Sight, to Super Res Zoom, to Live HDR+ and Dual Exposure controls, the Pixel 5 has a lot of camera features on offer, all the while treading a delicate line between accessibility and fine control. But no matter the situation and lighting conditions, it rarely produces something that can even remotely be described as “bad”.
It can’t compete with 10X zoom photos, of course, but in your day-to-day life, you’ll be more than happy with the photos the Pixel 5 produces, day and night. And best of all, it costs way less than $1,000.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
OnePlus 9 Pro
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Should you consider the Mi 11 Ultra if you’re on the market for a new flagship phone and don’t want to buy into the Apple-Samsung duopoly? It’s a step in the right direction for Xiaomi, though it’s clear as day that there’s more work to be done as the flagship still suffers from the same ‘illnesses’ that have plagued Xiaomi’s flagships seemingly forever.
Possibly the biggest selling point of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is its imposing camera system, which promises grandeur with its outstanding hardware. For starters, the Mi 11 Ultra comes with a large 1/1.12″ Samsung-made quad-Bayer sensor sitting beneath the 50MP optics of the main camera; that’s one of the biggest sensors fitted on a smartphone recently. The supplementary ultra-wide and 5X telephoto both clock in at 48MP and have smaller 1/2” sensors.
Huawei P40 Pro Plus
We have just mentioned that with no Google apps, we cannot recommend Huawei phones at the moment, but we have to speak about this phone just because it is a little technological masterpiece. It was the first one in the world to feature a 10 times native zoom lens of the periscope kind that gives you unprecedented zoom quality. Not only that, it has a secondary 3 times telephoto zoom lens for those who still want great clarity at more reasonable zoom levels.