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Choose the best camera phone with Vodafone

Compare the best smartphone cameras and get snap-happy

Whether you’re a serious photography enthusiast or you just love to share pictures and videos on social media, one thing’s for sure – you need a good camera phone you can take the best quality pictures on.

Get professional looking photos without even trying – our top-of-the-range camera phones are brimming with the latest technology. Yet you can still enjoy a whole host of high tech features with our budget-friendly smartphones – so there’s something for everyone.

So which smartphone has the best camera?

That depends on what you want from your lens. But whatever your passion – from taking selfies to shooting your own videos – we’ve a great selection of the world’s best camera phones for you to choose from.

huawei mate 20 pro

The Magic Number

Huawei has seriously upped the game with the triple rear camera on its Mate 20 Pro – three lenses and a wealth of AI technology combine to offer a 40MP+20MP+8MP ultra-wide angle snapper that will take photos a pro would be proud of. The 24MP front camera is no shirker either, cramming more pixels onto its sensor than you’ll find in most phones’ primary cameras.

AI cameras that steal the show

Take your photography to a whole new level with AI functions. The Google Pixel 3 sports a 12.2-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel wide-angle front camera, letting you fit a lot more into your selfies. Improve your images with machine learning, and get sharper images with the Night Sight and Super Res Zoom features. The AI software adjusts the depth-of-field of your photos after you take them, and you can pick the best from a series of shots thanks to Photobooth mode.

iPhone XR

A new era of photography

Take sharper action shots and freeze the moment with iPhone XR. The 12MP main camera captures brilliant highlights and deep shadows in incredible detail thanks to Smart HDR. Create a sophisticated background blur for your stunning portraits with the 7MP front camera’s sensor. Plus, the all-new Depth Control lets you adjust the depth of field – even after you’ve taken the photo.

Huawei Mate 20 lite

Having a total of four cameras is enough of a reason to believe that the Mate 20 lite takes truly breath-taking photos. The quad 20MP and 2MP camera combinations on the front and back is undoubtedly impressive, but it’s Huawei’s AI technology that adjusts the lenses according to 22 categories of object and scene recognition-based optimisations that will take capturing your happiest moments to the ultimate level.

iPhone 8 and 8 plus

Stunning portraits and optical zoom

As you’d expect, it’s high-end all the way when it comes to photography with iPhone. Equipped with two rear-facing 12-megapixel cameras, iPhone 8 offers 2X optical zoom, as well as some stunning new features such as depth of field effects and a new Portrait Lighting mode.

Fun to use and packed with features for customisation, the iPhone 8 makes it easy to take amazing photos and 4K videos.

The camera re-imagined

With the S9+ Samsung have re-imagined what a phone camera can do. Its Dual Aperture lens adjusts automatically to light levels, giving perfect shots whatever the conditions. Super Slo-mo video mode captures every moment of the action, while optical image stabilisation keeps your creations blur-free. Equipped with a second lens for 2x optical zoom, too, the S9+ is a top choice for photography fans.

Stunning shots day and night

See your photos in striking detail. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 snaps great shots with its 12-megapixel camera – in broad daylight and after dark. The Dual Aperture lens adapts to light, so your photos always come out crystal clear. Create dazzling portraits with Live Focus and let Flaw Detection correct blinks, blurs and backlighting.

What’s more, you can add your own microSD card to expand storage up to 512GB – giving you extra space for even more great photos, videos or files.

Huawei P20 Pro

Shine bright in low light

The P20 Pro sees Huawei take their collaboration with iconic German camera maker Leica to the next level. The front-facing camera captures two times more light and automatically senses ‘groufies’ – switching to wide-angle mode to fit in all your friends.

Complete with an imaging algorithm to add studio-like enhancements to your portraits, and dynamic illumination to give you professional results.

Hints and tips to help you choose

Whether you’re new to camera phones and digital photography, just getting to know the basics or already an expert – there are plenty of hints and tips here to help. 

While mobile phone cameras are continually making amazing technical breakthroughs to create even better photos and videos, the photographic basics remain largely unchanged. Getting into phone photography doesn’t need to be complex – let us share some vital information.

The basics of lens and light

Not one, not two, but now some phones are showing off a camera with three lenses on the back (the main camera) – but why would you need three?

A dual lens will give you the best of both worlds. One lens is the main shooter, while the other captures the depth. This gives you the ability to separate a foreground subject from the background, meaning you can refocus or recolour either part of the image.

Camera jargon buster

Easily understand the ever-growing list of popular camera specifications phones can come with.
 

·         Aperture - The little hole in the lens that light enters through and projects an image on the light sensor on the back. The aperture in your lens corresponds to different f-numbers. As the hole gets bigger (opens up more and more), the f-number goes down, but as the aperture decreases, the f-number goes up. For example, an aperture that gets F2.8 is a lot bigger than an aperture that gets F5.6

·         Bixby Vision - An image search feature by Samsung. Simply point the camera at an object, image or location and choose Bixby Vision. You can use Bixby Vision to identify and shop for items, translate text or identify location

·         Iris scanner - Iris recognition is an automated method of biometric identification on one or both of the irises of an individual's eyes

·         Live focus - A Samsung feature that allows the camera to capture the background and the subject separately, so you can adjust the focus

·         Megapixels - The resolution on a phone camera is measured in megapixels.  A megapixel means one million pixels. For example, a 12-megapixel camera can produce images with 12 million total pixels. The higher the number of megapixels, the better quality the image

·         Optical zoom - Being able to get a closer view of faraway subjects. Cameras vary in zoom size – the higher the zoom size the closer the image can get

·         Portrait Mode - Helps you take better pictures of people by capturing a sharp face and a blurred background. Specifically made to improve close-up photos of one person

·         Portrait Lighting - An Apple feature that uses software to apply several pre-set lighting effects to a subject's face

·         Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) - A screen that provides an exceptional viewing experience. It offers a wide range of colours with an incredible degree of colour clarity which translates into far greater resolution

·         True Tone display - An Apple feature that dynamically adjusts the white balance of the screen to match the light around you for a more natural and accurate, paper-white viewing experience

·         TrueDepth camera – Apple’s front-facing camera system that enables Face ID to work, replacing the need for a fingerprint sensor

How important are megapixels?

It’s not as simple as ‘more megapixels = better quality photos’. A lot of it depends on the size of your mobile phone camera’s sensor and having the right amount of pixels squeezed into it. The images you take with a 12-megapixel smartphone camera could be just as good as 42-megapixel photos. However, more megapixels can help with zoom viewing.

Ultimately, we recommend you try before you buy at your nearest Vodafone store, and also read the user reviews. That will give you a sense of the overall photo quality that the technical stats can’t.

Consider your 'must haves'

There's real variety on offer when choosing the best mobile phone camera for you. Think carefully about why you want a good phone camera.  Are you looking for a good all-rounder that can capture life’s fun moments? Or something more specific, like a rugged phone you can take on travels and adventures, a big-buttoned mobile phone with a camera, or an easy-to-use mobile phone? Or just a stylish model that looks great in the hand and makes you and your mates look even better in selfies?

Becoming a better photographer

Ultimately, you want better photos and videos – but unfortunately, a phone with the best-quality megapixel camera won’t automatically make you a better photographer. However, you can develop your skills by starting with a smartphone with a good camera that suits your budget, reading articles, watching a few videos and practising.  For visual designer Hugo Miguel Sousa, the secret to great digital photography is composition. Read his tips for top urban photography on our official Vodafone blog.

Or maybe you want to get great pics of the night sky? Don’t have a DSLR to hand? You can still get great pictures of the stars and planets with our guide to taking stellar shots from astrophotographer Tim Burgess.

Listen, learn, do – and watch your photos rocket in quality.

Creating the best photos

There’s an amazing spectrum of digital filters, effects and shooting modes available with today’s camera phone.  But to get the best images from your camera phones, it’s always better to apply filters after you’ve taken an image, not before. You can make a colour image black and white, but not the other way around.  Travel blogger and professional photographer Laurence Noah gives some great advice on how to edit your photos, and what tools to use, on our official Vodafone blog.  And don’t forget to try out brilliant accessories such as the Sony ZX310AP Headphones or Samsung Gear VR headset to take your photos and videos to a whole new level.