Smartphones with the best performing cameras this year


When choosing a high-end camera-centric smartphone, the choice isn’t as simple as it sounds. It just depends on user preferences such as point-and-shoot photography, clicking portraits, self-obsessed selfie taking, love for telescopic zoom or video shooting requirement.

Of the endless options on the market that tout the performance of the camera, there are only a few that are good in real life scenarios. Users who pay special attention to their photography are happy with nothing less than the best. So here we have rounded up the top five photography-focused phones that won’t let you down no matter which one you choose.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

The iPhone 13 series includes by far one of the best (if not the best) camera cameras you can buy. The iPhone 13 Pro Max being everyone’s big daddy for its excellent still and video shooting capabilities. Apple’s flagship device features a 12MP (f / 1.5) main sensor (1.9µm pixels), 12MP ultra-wide (f / 1.8) and 12MP telephoto (f / 2.8) with 3x optical zoom capability. The ultra-wide camera doubles as a macro lens and the performance is outstanding.

What we like

– Precise target exposure and dynamic range in videos
– Bokeh mode has perfect depth estimation
– Precise white balance and wide focus range

What we don’t like

– Slight noise in videography in low light

Apple set the bar very high with last year’s iPhone 12 series and now the iPhone 13 Pro Max goes even higher. In the end, you won’t have any complaints about the sublime camera performance that this Apple device offers, thanks to its always low-light shooting capability, enhanced portrait mode, and computer photography software. .

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

While the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera performance couldn’t compete with the best, the Galaxy S21 Ultra rectifies it. The device beats any competitor on paper with a 108MP (f / 1.8) primary snapper, 12MP (f / 2.2) ultra-wide lens, and a pair of 10MP telephoto lenses. One of them has an aperture (f / 2.4) with 3x zoom levels while the other has an aperture (f / 4.9) for a 10x optical mega zoom.

What we like

– Wide dynamic range and good exposure levels
– Precise autofocus
– Precise subject tracking in videos

What we don’t like

– Noise and underexposure in low light videos
– Sometimes there is exposure instability in HDR mode

The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with tons of camera modes like Director’s View for shooting videos with the front and rear cameras on. In fact, the phone can shoot in 8K mode which is great for content creators. The 40MP selfie camera is also one that social butterflies will treasure.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Xiaomi has risen to the competition this year with its Mi 11 Ultra smartphone. Not only does the phone pack a punch when it comes to performance, the device is also among the top three smartphones with a camera. The triple camera system includes a Samsung ISOCELL GN2 50MP wide-angle main sensor with a huge 1 / 1.12 inch (f / 1.95) sensor, a 48MP (f / 2.2) ultra-wide camera that doubles as a macro shooter and a 48MP telephoto lens (f / 4.1) with 5x optical zoom.

What we like

– Telephoto shots have good detail
– Precise autofocus in photos
– Video tracking is smooth

What we don’t like

– Limited dynamic range in low light
– Artifacts in video shooting

The phone’s camera setup has a substance as it clicks natural photos that are crisp and low light photography is excellent as well. The bokeh effect due to the large sensor is simply fascinating and the depth of field in portraits is amazing. Since Mi 11 Ultra is a flagship device, it comes with 4K video capabilities at 60fps and 8K. The 20MP selfie camera is also well tuned to deliver crisp photos.

Vivo X70 Pro Plus

The X70 Pro Plus might not be too much in the spotlight, but it’s a reliable underdog that matches (sometimes even excels) rivals like the iPhone 13 Pro in terms of photography. The main 50MP (f / 1.6) sensor comes with unparalleled optical image stabilization. The 12MP optical zoom telephoto lens and 8MP periscope lens with 5x zoom levels also feature OIS technology.

What we like

– OIS on all lenses in rear camera setup
– Excellent noise reduction in low light videos

What we don’t like

– Occasional ghosts and overexposure

The smartphone is a tempting alternative to the Galaxy S21 Ultra if you want to go about it. The camera’s zoom levels are commendable and maintain consistent color and sharpness compared to other devices on the list. Vivo also did a great job with the software for natural color reproduction of the final images.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Those who like a seamless operating system environment on their phone and demand excellent camera performance have the OnePlus 9 Pro to their advantage. Improving the performance of the camera over its predecessors, the Android phone benefits from the expertise of Hasselblad. The post-processing of the images is exceptional and the low-light photography is decent.

What we like

– Accurate target exposure and depth estimation
– Wide dynamic range and precise white balance

What we don’t like

– Users may experience extreme backlight clipping
– Residual movement when shooting video

The phone has a 48 MP (f / 1.8) main camera, 8 MP (f / 2.4) telephoto lens with 3.3x optical zoom capability, ultra shooter wide 50 MP (f / 2.2) with a free-form lens and a 2 MP monochrome lens. OnePlus 9 Pro has a very professional set of manual controls, perfect for point-and-shoot photography enthusiasts. Video recording goes up to 8K and the excellent 16MP front shooter makes it a good choice for clicking pictures.


While the smartphones mentioned above have cameras as a highlighting advantage, don’t count the upcoming Pixel 6 Pro. The device is intended to raise the bar in photography, for which Pixel devices are already known. A Pixel device is intentionally excluded from this list for now, as the Pixel 6 will arrive with major camera improvements when it releases on October 19.

For those who can’t wait, going ahead with one of the smartphones listed is a smart move. Not only are they honest with their photographic advantage, but they also excel in other features to complete the set.

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