It’s hard to find a good camera phone in a sea of handsets that seem to focus much more on other departments. Very few devices are worthwhile in terms of optics, image quality and overall camera performance.
Making a good camera phone is not easy. Our pocketable devices have very limited space for dedicated hardware. Both optics and sensors tend to be amazingly small, which also negatively affects the outcome.
But even with all these limitations, some manufacturers manage to make what seem like miracles. Some smartphones can take gorgeous photos, and we have put together a list of our favorite camera phones. Let’s take a look at them!
Nokia Lumia 1020
The Nokia Lumia 1020 is still one of the very best camera phones around (likely still the best) with its 41 mega-whopping-pixel sensor. While megapixels don’t always mean better photos, Nokia has managed to also put in amazing glass and sensors.
The sensor measures in at 1/1.5 inches, which is outstanding for any smartphone. This is also the reason why Nokia had to make design the back with a protruding area surrounding the camera. They simply had to figure out a way to make it all fit.
With so much image information to go around, the Nokia Lumia 1020 can also use digital zoom while keeping the images looking sharp (or at least more than usual). This camera phone is unbeatable.
iPhone 6 Plus
You can call me an Apple fanboy all you want (I definitely am not!), but the iPhone 6 Plus does have one of the best cameras around. And yes, it does beat most of its contenders, including most of our Android favorites.
While I usually root for Android smartphones, we must say the camera is one area where the iPhone 6 Plus can take on everyone else (at least for a while). Their 8 MP iSight camera has an f2.2 aperture, which results in gorgeous images.
But forget the tech, we have seen such specs before. Apple is working their magic here, and it somehow results in better images. I am really not sure what it is, but the images do say it all.
Oh, and the iPhone 6 Plus has great images too. Both versions have the same tech, the iPhone 6 Plus just happens to have optical image stabilization. This makes for better images in dark environments.
Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
Samsung has multiple phones with great cameras, but those who want a true point-and-shoot experience will want to opt for the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. This is one of the very few smartphones featuring true optical zoom (10x), which translates to no loss in quality when zooming. And yes, the glass does come out when taking a picture and all. It will look just like a regular camera.
Furthermore, images come out about as good as the Galaxy S5’s. The only problem is that it’s not really as good as the Galaxy S5 in terms of performance and specs. It’s a subpar phone, but many of you won’t really mind.
Sony Xperia Z3
Sony’s latest flagship device is great in many ways, including its camera. The Z3 sports that famous 20.7MP 1/2.3″ ExmorRS sensor that even other manufacturers put into their own phones. It’s a great sensor that happens to be larger than many other high-end devices, making for better images.
In addition, the ISO can be cranked up to 12,800, which can usually only be matched by powerful DSLR cameras. This is all improved even further with the addition of a 25mm wide-angle Sony G Lens. There are no bells and whistles like with the phones above, but the thing is: Sony doesn’t need them. They can make great camera phones without causing a scene.
HTC Desire Eye
While HTC’s cameras have been criticized all over the place, the HTC Desire Eye is different. The rear-facing camera is not amazing, but it is great and will offer gorgeous pictures. What makes this phone unique is its front-facing camera.
The front-facing camera will offer you shots that are as good as the rear-facing ones, which is something no other manufacturer can claim. It sports a 13 MP sensor both in the front and rear, making for a very unique experience. This is likely the best camera phone HTC has ever offered. You can see more details in our hands-on post.