You don't need to own a DSLR camera to achieve professional-looking pictures. Whether you're a budding photographer, aspiring movie-maker or simply an Instagram user looking to improve the quality of your feed, you're sure to find the best mobile phone camera for you in our 2023 rundown.

Our picks for the top-rated camera phones can be ordered below and at Mobiles.co.uk, from our extensive contract and SIM-free collections.

Best overall camera phone

iPhone 15 Pro Max

When it comes to smartphone camera tech, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best camera phone you can buy.

Powering this exceptional handset’s camera array is the A17 Pro chipset: a 19 billion transistor monster. This processor gives the 15 Pro Max a significant boost in performance, and results in a smooth photography experience that is bursting with features.

The crown jewel is the 48MP main camera, which comes equipped with a versatile range of focal lengths to capture as much detail as you need. Alongside this high-detail snapper is a 12MP telephoto lens and a 12MP ultra-wide camera, capped off with the 12MP TrueDepth selfie lens on the front.

iPhone 15 Model

One of the features included on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is Smart HDR 5 support. This technology boosts the vibrancy of images by enhancing the colours and contrasts on display, leaving photos looking as true-to-life as possible. Smart HDR 5 takes this process one step further, utilising the A17 Bionic Pro chip to optimise images faster and more efficiently.

Filming videos with the iPhone 15 Pro Max continues the professional-quality standard set by previous handsets. Log video recording made its debut on the iPhone 15 Pro Max and opened up the ability to shoot videos with greater control over the colour grading. It also features ACES (Academy Colour Encoding System), a powerful technology developed with oversight from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. With it, you can produce professional videos that look much closer to the real thing, absent of the colour loss that can occur throughout the filming process.

Best Android camera option

Google Pixel 8 Pro

If you’re an Android user and seeking a top-rated camera phone, look no further than the Google Pixel 8 Pro. Powerful, crisp and clear, its camera array is a sublime piece of technology.

Raw pixel count on the Pixel 8 Pro is immediately eye-catching; it has a 50MP wide camera, a 48MP ultra-wide lens and a 48MP telephoto camera. These are some of the highest pixel counts you’ll find on any camera phone, ensuring that your photos are rich in detail. The telephoto lens is exclusive to the Pixel 8 Pro; if you’re after the full range of camera tech in the Pixel 8 range, the Pro model is the handset of choice.

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For those who enjoy taking selfies, you’re also in for a treat with the Pixel 8 Pro. Up front it has a 10.5MP camera with a 95° field of view, enabling you to capture wide-angle photos with greater ease. Auto-focus is also a key highlight on the Pixel 8 Pro, so you don’t have to worry about taking a selfie in low-light and needing to wait for it to focus on the subjects.

Artificial intelligence plays a prominent role in shaping the Pixel 8 Pro into the superb camera phone it is, and it’s equipped with an impressive number of AI features to improve your photography and filmmaking. With Video Boost, it’s incredibly easy to record footage in dark conditions with but a few taps. Turn on the feature and watch as your videos come out bright and crystal clear. You can then combine Video Boost with Night Sight Video to capture those dark, starry evenings in their glory.

Best previous gen iPhone camera

iPhone 14 Pro Max

Photographers and filmmakers will find an incredible amount to love in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This premium model has a dual 12MP camera array on the back and 12MP TrueDepth selfie camera up front. The Pro Max takes it one step further by including a 48MP main camera for exceptional photographs with true-to-life contrasts.

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At the software level, the iPhone 14 Pro Max features technology that significantly improves photos behind the scenes. The Photonic Engine combines pixels together much earlier while capturing a shot, producing images with exceptional clarity and detail.

For those looking to film professional-level videos, the iPhone 14 Pro Max includes Action Mode, which can smooth out erratic footage to create a stable shot; perfect for fast and, as the name suggests, action-heavy videos. Cinematic Mode was also given an upgrade and is capable of recording videos in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second.

Best Samsung Galaxy camera option

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the S23 range’s premium handset, and the camera performance it offers very much lives up to this premium tag as one of the best mobile phone cameras on offer.

Front and centre is the phenomenal 200MP sensor, which accompanies a 12MP ultra-wide lens and two 10MP telephoto cameras. This powerful sensor is a dream tool for photographers who want to capture as much detail as possible, be it in light or dark environments.

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Updates to the S23 Ultra’s Nightography mode reinforce this phone’s brilliance at night-time photography. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset supports the handset with AI processing, which helps to retain detail in these dark images.

If you enjoy taking photos in low-light environments, or want to keep a memory of those beautiful dark nights, the Galaxy S23 Ultra can make this simple and easy.

Best Pixel camera phone on a budget

Google Pixel 7a

The diminutive size of the Pixel 7a might make you think its camera technology has undergone some compromises: think again. In fact, we came away very impressed indeed by what the 7a has to offer.

Packed into the 7a’s 6.1” frame is a powerful camera array, headlined by the exceptional 64MP main lens. This camera’s ability to maintain pixel density and detail, particularly when cropping images, is comparable to some premium phones on the market, albeit in a more pocket-friendly form factor. When putting the Pixel 7a side-by-side with its previous generation counterpart, the Pixel 6a, you’re actually getting a massive increase from 12.2MP: a staggering jump in camera and picture quality.

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The inclusion of a Tensor G2 processor is another significant addition to the Pixel 7a’s arsenal, bringing with it much faster loading speeds and reduced stutter. Most importantly however for the photography fan, the Pixel 7a includes features only possible thanks to this Tensor G2 chipset, such as Photo Unblur for removing noise from new and existing images.

The level of power and performance that has been included in this entry-level Pixel phone is quite remarkable. The ease with which it can capture beautiful photos, while fitting in your pocket far more comfortably than its bigger siblings, makes it a winner for anyone seeking a mini-powerhouse camera phone.

Another premium Pixel camera phone

Google Pixel 7 Pro

The Pixel 7 Pro continued Google’s trend of providing best-in-class smartphone cameras. It is headlined by a superb duo of lens: a 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. Not only do these provide phenomenal detail, but they also open up a wide variety of photo shots that can be taken, be it a large panoramic image or an up-close photo with incredible clarity.

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Also included in the Pixel 7 Pro’s photography arsenal is a fantastic 48MP telephoto camera. This lens can take photos at up to 30x zoom with minimal drop in quality. Combined with improvements when using the Pixel 7 Pro in low-light, this phone is exceptionally versatile and is undoubtedly one of the best smartphone cameras around.

Best flip and foldable camera phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

The Z Flip 4 is a top choice when choosing a camera phone, and not just because of the cameras themselves. What makes the Flip 4 stand out is its unique design, which makes for a one-of-a-kind photography experience.

Within the camera array of the Flip 4 is a 10MP main lens, a 12MP sensor and a 12MP ultra-wide camera. These lens on their own can take photos with tons of detail, but it is when you start to experiment with the Flip 4’s flexibility that these cameras come into their own. Using FlexCam Mode, you can orient the Flip 4 at 90° and position it anywhere you like to take hands-free photos. This functionality is also great for watching videos without the need to crane your neck or position the phone against an object.

galaxy z flip 4 rear camera

This form factor can also be used when filming. Footage can be recorded in folded mode, and then continued to be recorded in unfolded mode, all in one action. The Flip 4’s front cover will display a real-time preview of photos and images, helping you see the outcome without unfolding the phone.

Whilst you won’t find the absolute best cameras on the Flip 4, its foldable form factor makes it unlike any other camera phone on the market.

Best phones for high-res zoom

iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are both equipped with a trio of advanced camera lenses, including a 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP wide, and 12MP telephoto lens. If you’re taking a quick family photo or a scenic landscape shot, these phones can handle a range of photographic styles with ease. Plus, the 3x optical zoom-in and 2x optical zoom-out make it possible for you to capture those long-distance shots in incredible clarity, without any blurriness.

Night Mode is an excellent feature that appears in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max’s repertoire. By simply switching to Night Mode, it will automatically adjust your photograph’s brightness so that it’s clearly visible – even in the dead of night – so you’re able to take detailed photographs at any time of the day.

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These handsets also take full advantage of the dedicated Cinematic Mode. This makes it possible for you to record videos with a shallow depth of field and add unique subtleties to your content, like automatic focus transitions from one subject to another.

When combined with the 4K video recording at either 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, you’ll have the license to create aesthetically pleasing content, with just the swipe of a finger. The sensor-shift optical image stabilisation is there to help keep your content in focus too, perfect for aspiring vloggers and filmmakers.

There’s also the impressive Portrait Lighting mode, with which you can experiment with six different effects – Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, and High Key Light Mono – for professional results.

Best premium phone for beginners

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

On the Android side of the smartphone market, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a top- rated camera contender, with its powerful technology and diverse collection of features. For anyone looking to try out a premium camera phone for the first time, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is powerful but not overwhelming to pick up and experiment with.

On the back is a four-camera array, including two 10MP telephoto lenses, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a 108MP wide camera. This opens up a huge amount of versatility with the S22 Ultra; jumping from a stunning wide-angle shot to detailed zoomed-in pictures is incredibly easy.

Galaxy S22 Ultra in all colours

The software within the S22 Ultra also contributes to its impressive picture quality. OIS (optical image stabilisation) and image processing produce detail-rich photos when taken from a distance or up-close.

Photos are showcased on the Galaxy S22 Ultra via a crystal-clear 6.8-inch 1440p display. Vision Booster technology ensures minimal glare in bright conditions, making daytime photography a breeze. Night-time images can also be captured with impressive clarity, thanks to the S22 Ultra’s Super Night Solution software. SNS clears up noise in an image to produce low-light pictures with visible detail in every part of the frame.

Best iPhone camera on a budget

Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022)

With the iPhone SE 3, Apple produced a handset that can capture high-quality images on a far smaller budget. It only comes equipped with a single camera, but this 12MP lens works in tandem with some efficient software features to capture beautiful scenes wherever you are.

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One of these potent features is Deep Fusion. This tool enables the SE 3rd Gen to take photos in low-light conditions without compromising on quality and clarity. It works together with other features like Smart HDR 4 to ensure the contrast levels are much closer to what the human eye perceives. This combination of software and hardware ensures you’re getting a camera phone that can go head-to-head with its premium siblings.

The SE 3rd Gen is also no slouch in the video department, being able to record silky-smooth footage at 4K and 60fps. This is thanks to the A15 Bionic chip and its fast processing speeds working behind the scenes.

Best small camera phone

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini

Budding photographers wanting a small but powerful camera phone should consider the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. Apple opted for identical specs on both handsets, so you’re getting fantastic camera tech and features regardless of your choice; it’s simply a case of deciding how small you want to go.

If you want the smallest camera phone possible, the iPhone 12 mini is a mere 131.5mm in height, and weighs only 133g. This design makes it by far the most pocket-friendly option, and helps the iPhone 12 mini to go almost completely unnoticed when carrying it around. The iPhone 12 is bigger at 146.7mm and 162g, but this is still around 10g lighter than the iPhone 13 model.

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On the back there's a dual-lens camera system, with a 12MP wide lens and 12MP ultra-wide lens. The main wide camera uses a f/1.6 aperture, enabling the rear camera to take in 27% more light. Combined with Night Mode on both lenses and Apple's Deep Fusion technology, capturing photos in low-light conditions is a breeze.

And that's not all: you'll also find Optical Image Stabilisation on both iPhones, 2x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom, and Apple's own Portrait Mode and Depth Control. Zoom in without sacrificing photo quality, experiment with new styles, and explore the bokeh blurred background effect.

4K Dolby Vision HDR up to 30fps is possible with any of the iPhone 12 series. This professional 10-bit HDR video format means you can record vivid and cinematic videos directly from your phone. There's end-to-end support too, so you can film in real-time, then edit and play back your video in Dolby Vision for stunning results.

Another top-rated camera phone option

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

If you’re enticed by the iPhone 12 but want more advanced camera specs, check out the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

These handsets are both packed with premium-grade hardware and features. There's a 12MP wide lens, a 12MP ultra-wide lens and a final 12MP telephoto camera, and all three are equipped with Night Mode for beautifully clear and vibrant results. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, however, has a larger sensor on its wide lens, resulting in a huge 87% improvement when shooting in darker environments.

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The iPhone 12 Pro Max is also capable of some seriously impressive zoom capabilities: you can look forward to 5x optical zoom, 12x digital zoom, 2.5x zoom-in and 2x zoom-out. Even when shooting from far away, you can expect nothing less than incredibly detailed shots.

iPhone 12 Pro has plenty to offer, too. It has fantastic zoom specs across the board, with a 4x optical zoom, 10x digital zoom and 2x zoom-in and zoom-out. You'll have everything you need to take up-close macro shots or photos from far away, and exclusive Apple features like Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3 and Apple ProRAW help you to take your smartphone photography and edits further.

Just like iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, you can record with the outstanding 4K Dolby Vision mode. For Pro models, there's a choice between 30fps or 60fps, and the specs don’t stop there. As well as shooting in real time in 10-bit HDR quality, you can edit Dolby Vision directly on the device, and even play your homemade film for friends via AirPlay.

The breadth of camera phones available is staggering, covering many corners of the smartphone market. Once you are equipped with the best mobile phone camera for your needs, sharpen up your editing skills with our rundown of the best photo editing apps.