Mobile Phones: How to Choose the Best Smartphone Camera for Photography

Tips to buy best camera smartphones or mobile. Here’s a guide to choose best smartphone camera for photography and affordable camera phone within budget.
man holding the best camera smartphone in hand for mobile photography

Most people want the best smartphone camera for clicking selfies and general photography. However, there are numerous smartphones in the market that boast of their mobile photography capabilities. This creates confusion and makes it all the more difficult to choose the best smartphone for photography. Here’s a simple guide to buy the top camera phones with best performance within your budget. ~ Ed.


You just love the photography hobby and you want to share your art and creativity through the photos you capture. Be it about nature, landscape, people or anything.

That’s wonderful, but the problem is – how do you get a quality camera that you can carry all the time so that when opportunity snaps, you are all ready?

Welcome to the world of camera smartphones!

It is undeniable that smartphones today have become one of the rising stars in the evolution of technology. People often talk about which brand gives the best feature, which model has the power specs and which performs best.

Now that camera specs of smartphones are also enhanced; people get more and more excited about knowing which smartphone camera model captures better images.

If you feel the same and finally decide on buying a camera phone, you might wonder how to choose one in order not to get disappointed.

Looking for the best smartphone is like looking for your ideal match. It means it is something that you expect and qualifies your requirement to get a good photo.

Before knowing the criteria to choose the best camera smartphones, let’s understand more about smartphones and mobile photography.


Smartphones and Photography

The call-and-text feature of mobile phones today is not just what consumers want. Photography has been one of the top reasons why manufacturers keep on improving the camera efficiency of their products.

Smartphone and Photography have become a good pair of attributes to look into for many mobile users.

If entrepreneurs or business people look for the best performance for their business transactions, typical people look for the best smartphone for their everyday memories.

Check on your Facebook page, for example; you’ll see selfies flooding and everyday activity photos are posted by almost 90% of your friends. In this mobile generation, people have indeed not lost their love for photos. In fact, people love to photograph more.

What is Mobile Photography

Mobile Photography, as the name implies, refers to capturing photos through the mobile phone. The technology built in the smartphone cameras is capable enough to give the users the luxury of taking quality photos that they can upload to and download from the internet, or edit images in a way they want it to be.

Mobile image quality, however, is not as good as the ones you get from high-end Digital Single-lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras which are solely for photography. The image result taken from a DSLR is still pretty different than the output of a smartphone camera.

A DSLR  is still best for creating high-quality photos, but since it is highly expensive too, most people would go for affordable camera smartphones to satisfy their photography hunger.

Mobile companies give great attention to their product’s camera features to fit the consumers need and want. Smartphones do not only compete with the performance but also in camera efficiency.

Which Phone Has the Best Camera

Different places have different ideas about the best camera smartphones for photography. It depends on the availability of each place. Through inquiries and researches, I have found out that these are the most popular in the world (the list might be different in your place).

  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus and higher are known for their best zoom camera feature.
  • Google Pixel XL series is praised by many for having the smartest camera.
  • Asus Zenfones 3 and 4 are popular for those who are looking for a budget camera phone.
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 series is great for selfies, and the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is one of the best.
  • LG G6 is known best for landscape photography.
  • Huawei P10 and higher is also a favorite.
  • One Plus 5 boasts about its clearer photos.
  • Sony Xperia XZ series is also great.

So far, these smartphones are great for clicking pictures.

3 Tips to Choose the Best Camera Smartphones for Photography

Are you ready to pick up your smartphone now? Wait! Before you do that, here are the three important things you must consider when choosing the best smartphone for photography.


1. Get to Know the Device

There is a close competition among different smartphone brands. How do you compare them?

When you look at each specification, you might feel dizzy wondering what they all mean. Some brands do not give all the details but only highlight those seems to be appealing to buyers.

How do you know the performance and efficiency? This is why you need to get to know the tool.

Inquire, investigate and research. There are a lot of things to consider in finding the best camera smartphone, but here are the top priorities that you must check.

a) The Processor

The processor is the first thing to check in finding the best smartphone for photography. This is the part where you criticise the performance and efficiency. It is the heart of a smartphone.

How powerful is your smartphone’s processor? How efficient can it process images? No matter how great the camera features are, if the processor performs poorly, then it is still poor.

The following are the most known processors used for the most popular smartphones available.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

The 10nm Snapdragon 835 is the highest processor built for Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus and for the newest Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The newest Asus Zenfone 4 Pro is also powered by 835.

This processor can support a 32MP camera or a 16MP dual camera.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 821

Since Snapdragon 835 is more expensive, Snapdragon 821 is still very powerful and budget-friendly. Other smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 are Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, Google Pixel & Pixel XL, LG G6 and a lot more.

Processors lower than these are already getting outdated, so choose those higher than 820.

Samsung Exynos 8895

Before Snapdragon 835, the Samsung Exynos 8895 performs fast also which supports up to the 28MP rear and front camera.

Apple A10 and A11 Bionic processor

Other mobile manufacturers build their own processors. Apple, for instance, boasts about its newest iPhone X powered by a 6-core Apple A11 Bionic processor.

The same processor is on iPhone 8 and 8 plus. The processor has 6 cores: 2 high-performance cores and 4 energy-efficient cores.

It’s pretty much faster than its predecessor, the Apple A10 processor found in previous models.

A10, however, is fast enough and it’s still great to use smartphones with A10 inside.

b) The Storage

The storage capacity is also important. The number of apps, audio, image, video and other files depends on the storage capacity of your camera smartphone.

Image and video files, for instance, are sizeable enough to use up the entire memory space. If you love trying out as many photo apps as you like, you need ample space in your storage for it.

It needs quite a space to store all files before you could even transfer it to another external memory device. Check on the ROM and RAM capacity.

ROM refers to the internal storage capacity while RAM is where processes are stored when you run an app. Look for GB (Gigabytes), not MB (Megabytes).

A 6GB RAM is great and probably the highest if there are still no new model releases. High-capacity ROM ranges from 64GB to 256GB.

The storage capacity, however, also affects the price of an item. If you need to go to lower prices, choose not those below 150MB or your mobile will not run properly.

c) The Camera

Since your smartphone is also for mobile photography passion, it is important to check on the camera features too.

Many mobile brands display higher numbers of megapixels and promise a high-quality output, but in reality, it’s not even good enough. 

A good quality image can be captured through smartphones with good quality cameras. A quality camera, however, is not only about MPs or Megapixels.

Other smartphone camera features must also be checked. Here are the common specifications that are shown in your smartphone box or manual.

Sensor – If the processor is the heart of the smartphone, the sensor is the heart of the camera. If the sensor performs a good job capturing an image, then you’ll get the beautiful image that you want.

Its job is to sense light and light is important to create a photo. If the sensor catches more light, then it produces better images.

Larger sensors capture more light than smaller ones. That is why a 13MP camera with a smaller sensor can still be outstepped by an 8MP with a larger sensor.

Megapixel (MP) refers to the pixel count. The more pixels your camera has, the more detailed is the image, and the larger is the resolution.

12MP can print a perfect quality image up to 11 x 24”. Beyond that size will decrease the quality of the photo and may look pixelated if resized larger.

Lens – carries mostly the aperture and zoom feature. Each camera smartphone model will differ in the lens and other additional technology. Your choice will depend on where you would use it for.

Aperture (f-value) – refers to the opening in the camera lens that controls the amount of light that travels through. The number indicates the size of the aperture stop.

The smaller the f number, the wider is the aperture which results in a shallow depth of field. For example, f/8 is smaller than f/1.4.

If the camera has a f/1.7 aperture, it means the lens opening is wider and more light can travel through than one which has a f/2.2. So, if you like bokeh effects so much in your photo, look into the aperture size.

Zoom – there are two types of zoom in a smartphone camera: digital and optical. The zoom feature is used when you are capturing photos from afar.

Digital zoom is a software process that simply crops an area of an image and enlarging it sometimes resulting in a pixelated image. Optical zoom refers to the actual optic lens (hardware) of the camera zooming in to get a closer look at the subject.

Thus, optical lens results to a better-zoomed image. The optical lens is preferrable than the digital lens to choose the best camera smartphone.

2. Make Use of Product Previews

Now, you have an idea what’s inside the camera phone that you need to get familiar with. Still confused? Watch previews or read reviews.

The reviews explain more and you can also see how they test each smartphone camera models or what other buyers experience after using the product you are about to choose. If durability matters to you, those previews and reviews will give you an idea.

Sometimes, the specifications displayed by manufacturers on their product are hard to understand by common users. Terms are not yet familiar unless you are an expert in gadgets and photography.

Manufacturers don’t put all the camera details also but show only those seems captivating to buyers. It is a kind of marketing strategy.

You can spend time reading more about features from other resources, or you can sit and watch the previews from other smartphone fans who did a great job experimenting with those smartphone technologies.

Previews are very helpful. Don’t just concentrate on one brand or model. Check the other releases and products as well.

3. Plan your Budget

One thing I find troubling about smartphone buyers is how they rush over new expensive releases. Well, I am not against you if you find that exciting too. Sometimes, you need to check your budget as well.

If you think you can afford enough, then there’s no reason to hold you. But if you think the item is good enough for what you need though it’s not the latest model, then that is still the best choice.

The different technology used to manufacture different smartphone camera models affects the price of the item. It is smarter to buy only those what you need. Spending too much on something you don’t really need is a waste of money.

Remember, gadgets change prices from time to time. The most expensive item today might be cheaper the next month or the next year. So, plan your budget. It is a wholesome thing to do.

There are many budget-friendly smartphones for photography with good camera. Every smartphone brands have luxury items to offer and provides items with affordable prices and cool features.

Check on them and don’t force yourself to spend out of your budget.

Wrapping it up

Almost every mobile store displays smartphones for photography calling the attention of many people by their sizes, shapes and good looks. If you are not smart enough in choosing your camera phone, you might end up regretting.

If you are into photography, pick the one that fits enough to your need. Your choice always depends on how well you know about your smartphone.

The best smartphone camera needn’t be very expensive. And not all expensive smartphones are the best camera phones.

Over to you

Do you consider these questions when purchasing your camera phone – What is my ultimate reason for buying? How much do I know my smartphone? How much is my budget for it?


Disclaimer: Though the views expressed are of the author’s own, this article has been checked for its authenticity of information and resource links provided for a better and deeper understanding of the subject matter. However, you're suggested to make your diligent research and consult subject experts to decide what is best for you. If you spot any factual errors, spelling, or grammatical mistakes in the article, please report at [email protected]. Thanks.

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  1. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips for smartphone photography. I never realized how versatile mobile cameras could be until I read this post. It’s also great to know about the latest trends in mobile photography, especially considering Mobile prices in Pakistan. I’m excited to try out some of these techniques to improve my photography skills. Keep up the great work with these informative articles!

  2. I recently decided to stop taking my heavy, bulky DSLR camera travelling with me, and just take photos on my phone (iPhone 12 Pro). It was a tough decision but overall worth it, as my phone’s camera can take really excellent photos. The main thing I miss about having a “proper” camera is the optical zoom (as well as the ability to take good photos in low light conditions…). But overall, for the sake of convenience, I’m happy with the decision. I just got back from a long trip travelling around Mexico, and not having to carry around an obviously-expensive-looking camera also made me feel much safer and more relaxed!

  3. Hello Charity, Just writing to give you a thanks. As you suggested in section: Make Use of Product Previews, Is there any authentic source to get reviews? Thanks again

  4. Hi Charity Subrabas,

    Incredible guide on picking the best camera cell phones. Your contemplations are right on target and these tips will help clients to pick the best. There are such huge numbers of advanced cells nowadays made dependent on various spending plans.

    Thanks for sharing this post

  5. Hi Charity,
    A very well written article where you have described basic to excellent level information about photography and features and which camera and system to go for. I was confused between iPhone X and OnePlus 6 but now I am clear about what to go for, thanks to your blog.

  6. Hi
    I am Milind

    I want know about Moto x4 ,
    Is it good to buy ???
    I want to buy best camera phone with limited budget,
    Can I go for it.

  7. Now there are plenty of options to buy a smartphone with a good camera. Especially those smartphones with dual lenses camera.

    A user gets confused what to pick. However, they often go with the phone which has a high price and believe that smartphone has the best camera, which is a myth. Sometimes a mid-range smartphone has a good camera. The only thing to understand is technology and need.

    If we find a camera with the latest technology, which satisfies our need that why should stop wasting money on a pricey phone.

    Thanks for this guide.

  8. Hi Charity

    Great guide on picking the best camera smartphones. Your thoughts are spot on and these tips will definitely aid users to pick the best. There are so many smart phones these days made based on different budgets. Thanks for sharing this piece. Take care

    1. Hello Rahul. Yes, dual cameras come in different forms too so users can choose. Thanks for adding that.

  9. Hi Charity, I just got an iPhone X and am thrilled with the camera. I appreciate you explaining the specs as that can be confusing to many people.

    You’re right, having a smartphone with you means that you have a camera with you. You’re much more likely to take photos on your smartphone because you have it with you wherever you go. Why not look for the best camera when choosing a smartphone?

    Thanks so much for helping people decide which smartphone camera is best for them.

    1. Hello Carolyn. Glad to hear about your new smartphone. iPhone X is cool indeed with its improved camera features. Hope you had fun taking pictures.

  10. Hello

    Thanks for giving us the valuable information. I am using Samsung galaxy S6. But For the best camera quality vivo should be the best.

    1. Hi Sahil! Thank you for mentioning Vivo. The Vivo7+ model indeed boasts of its high 24MP cam but with lower f2.0 aperture. So far, it’s a good budget camera phone too if Asus Zenfones are not an option.

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