Comparison of smartphone cameras

Selection of 12 smartphones offering the best camera, specs comparison and reviews.

The first table shows the best mobiles for photography under $800 / €700 (excluding bundle). A smartphone can replace dedicated cameras at this price point. The second table shows more expensive mobiles with the best photographic possibilities.

The reflectance rate R is the percentage of light reflected by the screen. The lower it is, the more readable the screen is under the sun. The rates reported here were measured by lesnumeriques. The review of each device that comes after the table is a summary of the reviews carried out by the most famous American sites.

Less than $800 / €700:

  Main Ultra-wide Telephoto Optical zoom
Digital R.
Pixel 4 XL 12 MP 1.7 27mm - 16 MP 2.4 50mm 2X 8X 39%
Huawei P40 Pro 50 MP 1.9 23mm 40 MP 1.8 18mm 12 MP 3.4 125mm 5X 50X 44%
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 108 MP 1.7
12 MP 1.7
20 MP 2.2 13mm 12 MP 2.0
8 MP 2.0
2X
3.7X
10X 43%
Galaxy S20 12 MP 1.8 12 MP 2.2 64 MP 2.0 3X 30X 51%
Galaxy S20 Ultra 108 / 12 MP
1.8 24mm
12 MP 2.2 13mm 12 MP 3.5 10X 100X 53%
Galaxy A72 64 MP 1.8 26mm 12 MP 2.2 8 MP 2.4 76mm 3X 30X 49%
Honor 20 Pro 48 MP 1.4 28mm 16 MP 2.2 13mm 8 MP 2.4 80mm 3X 30X 54%
Oppo Reno 4 Pro 48 MP 1.7 26mm 12 MP 2.2 13 MP 2.4 52mm 2X 5X 45%

MP = Mega Pixels

Over $800 / €700:

  Main Ultra-wide Telephoto Optical zoom Digital R.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 108 / 12 MP
1.8 24mm
12 MP 2.2 13mm 12 MP 3.0 120mm 5X 50X 51%
Galaxy S21 Ultra 108 / 12 MP
1.8 24mm
12 MP 2.2 13mm 10 MP 2.4 70mm
10 MP 4.9 240mm
3X
10X
100X 50%
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra 50 MP 2.0 24mm 48 MP 2.2 12mm 48 MP 4.1 120mm 5X 120X 48%
Oppo Find X3 Pro 50 MP 1.8 26mm 50 MP 2.2 16mm 13 MP 2.4 52mm 2X 5X 45%

All these models have HDR and panorama modes, 4K video with at least 30 frames per second.

Pixel 4 XL

The pixel offers the best image quality in the limited modes it supports. It lacks a wide angle and the zoom is quite short, so it cannot replace a camera or even be used as a supplement when the latter does not have a wide angle. The night mode however offers an excellent quality which is not the case of all the competitors.
The low reflection rate of the screen makes it possible to compose the photo even under the sun.

Huawei P40 Pro

The P product line is dedicated to photography. The P40 has a large sensor of almost 1". Competitive 108 MP devices have to combine photocytes and result in 12 MP just like this sensor, while this one can be more easily used at its 50 MP high resolution.
Images in 50 MP have no more detail than in 12 MP, they only have a wider viewing angle. In all cases the images are of good quality with a high dynamic range.
The ultra-wide angle also provides good images, sharp edge to edge viewed at 100% and those of the telephoto and hybrid zoom are good too at 100% but in digital zoom the photos are poor.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

Not to be confused with the Redmi Note 10 Pro which has less efficient sensors.
By default, the main camera combines the pixels to produce a 27 MP image with very good daytime quality. In low light, noise appears very quickly. The 13mm wide angle produces images that are just as crisp and brighter, without distortion. In the reviews the telephoto lens is described as exceptional up to 10X. In 50X the images are rather blurry as expected. The 12 MP telephoto lens is intended for portraits.

Galaxy S20

Provides quality images in 12 MP F1.8 and wide angle. 108 MP mode is rarely usable. The 3X optical zoom produces a sharp image at 64 MP. The 30X digital zoom is as always mediocre but retains some usefulness such as reading signs at long distance.

Galaxy S20 Ultra

As on the S20, the 108 MP mode of the Ultra is inconsistent when it comes to autofocus and exposure. We will return to 12 MP for a safer result although the high resolution gives clearly more detailed results when the photo is in focus.
The advantage over the S20 is a 10X hybrid zoom which captures very sharp images, much more than the digital zoom of the best iPhone or Pixel. The 100X zoom is of little use.

Galaxy A72

Compared to the Galaxy S20 if brings a greater resolution, and its zoom remains usable at 10X. Images lack sharpness in low light.
The main camera has 16 MP by default, with 4 photocytes per pixel. In 64 MP mode the images are more detailed, but artifacts may appear.
The zoom can go up to 30X but the quality deteriorates gradually.
The dynamic range is smaller in telephoto and wide angle compared to the main sensor. The distortion is corrected at wide angle.
In low light the images are good with all the sensors.

Honor 20 Pro

The three photo sensors provide good images, at the level of the competition apart from the Pixel 4XL. Zoomed images lose a lot of sharpness from 5X. The 30X is purely utility.
In low light, the images remain of good quality, but inferior to that of the Huawei P40 Pro. The wide-angle sensor is less good in this case, unlike the telephoto lens which supports the night well, even the 5X hybrid.

Oppo Reno 4 Pro

Fairly good image quality for all daytime lenses, especially telephoto. The 48 MP photos are very detailed, the 12 MP mode is mainly used to reduce the size of the files. The wide angle is the weakest of the three lenses. At night the three lenses produce faded images. But by switching to Night Mode we give the images their colors and contrast. In this mode, the device combines successive images, so you have to hold it firmly.
The digital zoom can reach 20X, with mediocre images beyond 5X and very noisy in low light.

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The resolution of 108 MP is usable as long as the ambient light is high. Ideally, we will take the images in RAW (uncompressed raw format) and we will use a denoising software to remove the black dots. The telephoto lens produces crisp images up to 10X, and goes up to 50X for utility use. Telephoto does not support the RAW format.
In low light the photos remain sharp, but we will have to use the night mode to make them clearer.

Galaxy S21 Ultra

The S21 Ultra offers the same performance as the Note 20 ultra in main sensor and wide angle and differs in zoom. It is one of the best for the telephoto lens, which can provide acceptable images at 30X daytime under the sun. 100X is possible but mainly serves as a monocular. The mobile fully manages the choice of sensor depending on the distance and is doing it quite well.
Like the Note 20 but unlike the S20 Ultra, we have a phase detection autofocus (PDAF) assisted by a laser beam.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Photos are taken in 12 or 48 MP resolution with all three sensors. These have a large surface which allows for brighter and sharper shots. The wide angle stays sharp in low light. But the telephoto lens is only good up to 5X, and inferior to the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Oppo Find X3 Pro

Limited in zooming, only 2X optically, but the main camera offers a sharp and detailed image. Its advantage is a very good image in low light without even activating the night mode. In this case, the phase detection autofocus is a little less effective. This applies to video too.
Wide angle images use the same 50 MP sensor.

Smartphone cameras offer the advantage of availability, small footprint, and ease of use. If you want higher quality photos, you can get it with dedicated cameras from 800$ / 700 euros. You can then refer to these camera reviews to make a choice.