The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (2023)

The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (1)

Almost everyone has a camera these days because they already have one on their smartphone by default. But not all phones will get the best results and that's why some stand out for specific reasons.

Mobile photography is now one of the main battlegrounds for vendors trying to outdo each other. Fortunately, it's not just about the numbers - although the megapixel count is hitting new records - it's all about how effective the software can be at doing more with the pixels available. This could also depend on how you view what the software offers, particularly in relation to the different modes that phones now regularly offer.

We're talking about an ever-evolving situation where new phones can replace old ones while others switch places based on how new updates have impacted performance and throughput. Whether it's Pro mode features, software that does amazing things, or getting more for every dollar you spend, this roundup is a great place to start. We at PetaPixel will be updating it regularly to reflect an ever-changing market and provide you with the information you need to capture what you want.

what are we looking for

There are many smartphones with "good" cameras, but the "great" ones are fewer in number and tend to be flashy. When we look at what would make a smartphone camera on this list, we're always looking for the best results, especially when it comes to a specific type of photo. This doesn't necessarily mean the phone is the best in every other way, but when mentioned here, there are reasons why.

That's why we've also divided things into categories that differentiate the strengths of certain devices. One phone might be better suited for capturing portraits, while the other has a Pro mode that trumps the rest. Computer software is so comprehensive, but not everyone gets it right.

Just look

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Best overall smartphone for photography: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (2)

sensor principle:108 MP or 12 MP (with pixel binning) 26 mm equivalent
Other rear cameras:10 MP 3x Telephoto (70mm equivalent), 10 MP 10x Telephoto (240mm equivalent), 12 MP Ultra Wide (13mm equivalent)
Frontal camera:40MP
Video recording resolution:up to 8K
Preis: Ab 1.200$

A year ago, Samsung would have struggled to make this list with the Galaxy S20 Ultra's disjointed effort. It is not the case of his successorSamsung Galaxy S21 ultra, which fixed some major bugs and put together one of the most complete cameras available. It's not perfect, mind you, and needs work in places, but it's easy to like the variation and the result you get.

Samsung has used its latest ISOCELL HM3 image sensor to push the hardware side further, and to some extent it's also promoting smarter use of new lenses and smarter software. We certainly don't mean gimmicky nonsense like 100x spatial zoom, but constrained color output and improved HDR that delivers plenty of composition.

Read PetaPixel's Samsung S21 Ultra review here.

The two zoom lenses complement each other well, particularly the 10x zoom that emulates a 240mm telephoto lens. These are quite possibly the best images a zoom lens currently captures on a phone, and while the 30x Hybrid has its ups and downs, it's still capable of snapping a decent shot at the right time. Samsung had better make its Pro mode more accessible for the large number of rear lenses, but unfortunately that only applies to the main and ultra wide lenses and only at 12MP. Great in low light, not so much for taking a photo you want to zoom in on unless experimenting with features likeadobe super resolution.

All things considered, this brand's P50 Pro would probably be in this position if it weren't for Huawei's US ban. One of the most versatile and impressive cameras on any smartphone to date, its software and business limitations when it comes to the full range of Android keep us from putting it here. But if you want it, your tour will not disappoint. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra took the crown this year, although its availability and effectiveness are in doubt on this side of the world. However, as the Galaxy S21 Ultra is Samsung's only true flagship this year, it will remain the company's standard until a possible Galaxy S22 Ultra is released.

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Samsung's place isn't quite certain either, with Apple scoring big points with the iPhone 13 Pro and Google trying to stand out with the Pixel 6. Vivo is also in the search and on this list for good reason.

Best Pro mode for smartphone photography: Vivo X70 Pro+

The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (3)

sensor principle:50MP ou 100MP ou 12MP (com binning de pixel) equivalente a 23mm
Other rear cameras:Zoom telefoto 32 MP 2x (equivalente a 50 mm), zoom telefoto 8 MP 5x
Frontal camera:32MP
Video recording resolution:up to 8K
Preis: Ab 1.200$

LosI live X70 Pro+It has one of the best camera phones overall, and what makes the Pro mode attractive is that it tries to qualify the user. On-screen explainers look at what a feature or setting does, opening the door to a learning experience, something more mobile shooters are missing out on trying this mode.

Vivo hasn't drastically changed the way it works compared to this phone's predecessor, instead focusing on the software side to improve it. This includes making the interface a little smoother and reducing the time between pressing the shutter button and taking the picture.

Read PetaPixel's Vivo X70 Pro+ review here.

The other benefit is that you can use all the rear lenses in this mode, which isn't always available on competing phones. Vivo could have further removed the lens icons in the composition settings UI, but once you avoid false positives, you can really benefit from shooting RAW at various focal lengths. Even the built-in macro mode kicks in when you get close, though it would be nice if the mode made it clearer how close you can get to a subject.

As the night mode of live recordings can sometimes be overrated, Pro is an ideal alternative. The slow shutter mode can handle single long exposures, but the Pro is generally good for low-light shots, especially when using a tripod or flat surface to hold the phone for a slower shutter. This may have been another Huawei to beat, or at least compete with, but as Vivo has no issues it's a solid alternative.

Best smartphone for computational photography: Google Pixel 6

The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (4)

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sensor principle:50 MP (26mm equivalent)
Other rear cameras:12 MP ultra-wide angle (14mm equivalent), 48 MP telephoto (114mm equivalent)
Frontal camera:11MP
Video recording resolution:up to 4K
Preis: Ab 899 $

After sticking with many of the same hardware specs for its rear cameras, Google has finally done something new with the Pixel 6 lineup, and the results suggest there's more to come on the software side to capitalize on it. The 50 megapixel sensor of theGoogle-Pixel 6It actually shoots at 12.5 megapixels, snapped together to take advantage of the larger Micron pixels when shooting in low light, although Google's computer software is working to optimize the footage in all conditions.

Read PetaPixel's Google Pixel 6 Pro review here.

The addition of a third telephoto lens helps cover a greater range, and the 20x Super Res hybrid zoom is possibly the best in its class. You can shoot in almost any mode with all three lenses, and while Google refuses to add a pro lens orManual mode, makes RAW readily available in various modes.

The new Motion Mode takes a cool but still evolving approach to action and long exposure photography. Use them correctly and you can get great results as long as you follow the learning curve to understand when they work best. Magic Eraser isn't exclusive to the Pixel 6 Pro as it's yet another Google Photos feature, but you can always try using it to remove unwanted elements in every photo you take.

Best budget smartphone for photography: Google Pixel 5a

The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (5)

sensor principle:12.2 MP (27mm equivalent)
Other rear cameras:16 MP ultra-wide angle (16mm equivalent)
Frontal camera:8MP
Video recording resolution:up to 4K
Preis: Ab 499 $

You'll be hard pressed to find a phone that shoots as well as this one.Google Pixel 5ago for the price. Finding the phone outside of the US isn't easy either, as Google has restricted its availability. It's a 5G-enabled device that borrows a lot from its flagship brother when it comes to capturing the same shots under most of the same conditions. You also get an ultra-wide-angle lens with a 107-degree field of view, but no optical or electronic image stabilization.

Still, the sensors and computer software are capable of producing images on par with the Pixel 5. That means Night Sight and Portrait modes still look pretty good, and with RAW capture always available, there's room for more in the post. For those on a budget, it will be one of the best phone cameras you can buy for less money.

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The best small smartphone for photography: iPhone 13 mini

The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (6)

sensor principle:12 MP (26mm equivalent)
Other rear cameras:12 MP ultra-wide (13mm equivalent)
Frontal camera:12MP
Video recording resolution:up to 4K
Preis: Ab 699 $

Sometimes a smaller phone fits better and it's hard to find a better one than this one.iPhone 13miniat the time. What makes this phone so great is that it doesn't make huge concessions for lack of size. The Mini has the same features and performance as its big brother, the iPhone 13. If not for the 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display and 2458mAh battery, both phones run on the same specs.

Read PetaPixel's iPhone 13 mini review here.

And these are different from previous iPhones. Apple says the 13 mini can take in more light and produce better images than its predecessor, the 12 mini. The best comparison is probably with previous iPhones, including the latest iPhone SE, which can't match the 13 mini's ability to take good pictures. It's also hard to find an Android phone that can do this in the same tiny size, though the Pixel 4a is a tough competitor.

The fact that you get a good ultra-wide lens to complement the main camera is great, but so is the fact that the video capture is effective. Apple has included its latest Cinematic mode, though you can only use it with the main lens.

Best smartphone for videos: iPhone 13 Pro

The best smartphones for photography in 2022 (7)

sensor principle:12 MP (26mm equivalent)
Other rear cameras:12MP 3x Telephoto (78mm equivalent), 12MP Ultra Wide (13mm equivalent)
Frontal camera:12MP
Video recording resolution:up to 4K
Preis: Ab 999 $

The iPhone is still one of the kings when it comes to video capture and it has a lot to do with how well it captures colors, tones and textures. TheiPhone 13 proand Pro Max are essentially the same device, except for the size difference. They have the same camera system, which means you'll get the same results either way.

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Read PetaPixel's iPhone 13 Pro review here.

The biggest new feature is the Cinematic mode, which lets you change and adjust the focus of a subject.openingwhen editing clips later. Finally, you can also do the same in iMovie and Final Cut on a Mac. The only downside is that you're limited to recording in 1080p at 30 fps, but shooting regular video gives you more options, especially in terms of resolution and frame rate combined with Dolby Vision HDR. After Apple releases an iOS 15 update to enable ProRes, it might be easier to capture more footage using less storage space.

If we're talking about a true "professional" level here, thatsony xperia proor the Xperia 1 III could take that spot, but they aren't necessarily made for every type of user. The iPhone 13 Pro is a little more affordable, and at least its video capabilities are pretty easy to learn.


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