Several times a year, smartphones from different manufacturers appear on the market, which are characterized by their special camera systems and are getting better and better. In addition to the well-known sizes, lesser-known smartphones have also been able to establish themselves, stirring up the market and convincing with their great cameras. In the following we will introduce you to the most exciting devices of the year 2020 and compare them.
This article is part of a four-part series about cell phone photography. In the first part we talked about the most important features that make a good camera phone. This second part covers great camera phones that will stand out from the crowd in 2020. Part 3 will take you into the world of photography and give you tips and tricks for more beautiful pictures. Part 4 will show you the best ways to organize, edit and share your photos. Here you will soon find the links to the other parts of the series:
- Part I: What makes a good camera phone?
- Part II: The best camera phones 2020
- Part III: How to take good cell phone pictures
- Part IV: Organize, edit and share photos
Good camera phones of different brands
Good cameras are usually expected in high-end cell phones. Samsung, Apple, Huawei and Co. make great camera phones at a handsome price, and their photography is of a very high standard. However, the market is being stirred up by smaller, less well-known manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus, which are less well known in Germany, and which install excellent cameras at a fair price. So there is now a wide range of devices available to choose from when it comes to the high quality of the images.
In the first part of the series, we’ve taught you the aspects and features you need to look out for in a good camera phone: from the different lenses to high-resolution sensors and various photo functions to performance. Now there are some devices that are characterized by their high-quality camera systems, which we would like to introduce to you in the following.
This article is based on our constantly updated list of the best camera phones: The best camera phones 2020, but the order of the following devices is not a special ranking.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
The Korean manufacturer’s ultimate flagship product, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, is a showpiece among camera phones. It has an outstanding quad camera with 108 megapixels. The primary wide-angle lens also comes with a low f/1.7 aperture, strong autofocus and great optical image stabilization.
The main sensor is joined by a periscope telephoto lens with 48 megapixels and a 10x optical zoom (compared to the ultra wide angle lens). Samsung emphasizes that in combination with the tenfold digital zoom, a hundred times hybrid zoom, the so-called space zoom, is possible. This allows extremely distant subjects to be captured, although resolution and quality are reduced by the digital magnification.
The third and fourth sensors are an ultra-wide angle lens with 12 megapixels and a 3D depth sensor for additional depth information to regulate the depth of field. So in every scenario the S20 Ultra 5G impresses with its great photos, also due to the enlarged sensor surfaces and a good night mode.
A special highlight is also the filming in 8K resolution. In combination with the optical and electronic image stabilization, the result is razor-sharp and wobble-free images.
To enjoy your own pictures and videos, the smartphone offers a huge quad HD display with 6.9 inch and 120 Hertz as well as beautiful stereo speakers. With a powerful processor and, depending on the version, 12 to 16 GB RAM, there is also more than enough computing power available. The large internal memory with up to 512 GB can even be expanded, which sets the S20 Ultra 5G apart from the competition.
Huawei P40 Pro
Huawei devices are among the best camera phones. Although the Chinese company has had problems in recent months with the ban on using Google services, this has not prevented Huawei from launching the world’s best camera phone on the market. With a score of 128 (140 for photos), it clearly leads the top list of DXOMARK!
The Huawei P40 Pro uses a quad camera with an impressive 50 megapixels and a low f/1.9 aperture. The especially large sensor, together with the Leica lenses, offers precise color reproduction and particularly low-noise photos. With a sophisticated autofocus (omnidirectional PDAF) and strong optical image stabilization, the P40 Pro ensures sharp and wobble-free images in every scenario – even in the dark, thanks to the grandiose night mode.
As a second lens, the smartphone has a telephoto lens with twelve megapixels. It is a SuperZoom periscope design that integrates a large, high-performance lens with a long focal length into the small body. The telephoto lens offers a fivefold optical and a tenfold digital zoom, allowing for an extreme 50x hybrid zoom.
The third sensor is an ultra-wide-angle lens with 40 megapixels to capture particularly large subjects such as landscapes. In addition, there is a 3D depth sensor (ToF), which creates a beautiful bokeh effect for portraits.
The phone records videos in 4K and offers HDR quality as well as impressive super slow motion at 7,680 fps! So you can enjoy a short moment in 256-fold slowdown.
An exciting feature is also the Golden Snap. The camera shoots several 4K photos in about 1.7 seconds and recognizes gestures and facial expressions via an AI motion algorithm. So the cell phone suggests the best moments to you to always take a perfect picture. Even passers-by and reflections can be deleted from images using this AI enhancement.
The setup impresses with vivid images even in the deepest darkness. Thanks to the sophisticated image stabilization, even time-lapse as well as photos and videos over long distances are no problem. In addition, there is the audio zoom to emphasize specific sounds more clearly and the dual-view function. With this function, two perspectives can be recorded at the same time, so that you can always keep an overview.
The P40 Pro also makes playing back your own photos and videos a real pleasure, as it has a large FHD+ display with 6.58 inch and 90 hertz. The speakers are also impressive, but they can’t compete with most of the other flagships listed here. The fast Kirin 990 processor combined with 8 GB of memory provides a lot of computing power. The decent internal memory with up to 512 GB can also be expanded and is the only one in a league with the memory of the S20 Ultra 5G.
iPhone 11 Pro
After the disappearance of the Windows phones, iPhones are virtually the only cell phones that do not run Android, but have Apple’s own operating system iOS. This fact alone makes them interesting for this comparison, and in addition, iPhones have been popular for years because of their great cameras.
With the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, Apple has for the first time installed a triple camera, as known from many competing cell phones. However, the dual cameras of the previous iPhones could already keep up with the triple and quad cameras of Huawei, Samsung and Co. So another lens promises outstanding photography that puts most flagships in the shade.
The first sensor is a wide-angle lens with twelve megapixels and a low f/1.8 aperture. The second lens is a telephoto lens and also has twelve megapixels. Here an f/2.0 aperture is built in. With this, all motifs can be well photographed and captured for eternity.
The new, third sensor in the bundle is an ultra wide angle lens with 12 megapixels. This allows you to take great pictures of large motifs such as landscapes. The trio thus enables a total of four times optical zoom from ultra-wide angle to telephoto.
In addition, you can enjoy interesting features such as an autofocus, true-tone flash, optical image stabilization and a 2x optical and 10x digital zoom. So all images look natural and detailed.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
Xiaomi has one of the best cameras on the market for its new flagship. The four-lens setup takes the Mi 10 camera one step further with higher resolutions and powerful telephoto lenses. The focus is also on the wide-angle sensor with an amazing 108 megapixels. Thus the setup is similar to the Mi Note 10 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. All these devices come with this particularly high-resolution lens.
The high resolution proves to be extremely practical when taking pictures. A photo taken with this lens is twelve times the size of a 4K shot and therefore shows extremely many details. Professional cameras usually offer a lower resolution. The advantage is that you can zoom in afterwards, without any significant loss of quality. Thus it is also possible to present and print the photos in large format.
The lens has an f/1.69 aperture, which makes particularly fast shots possible. Even in low light conditions, the camera captures all facets of a motif. The first-class quality of the night shots is also guaranteed by the night mode 2.0 and the optical image stabilization (OIS).
Three additional lenses are also available. The first one is a portrait camera with twelve megapixels to take optimal photos of faces. For this purpose, the sensor offers a twofold optical zoom and thus corresponds to a 50 mm fixed focal length. This results in great portrait shots in studio quality.
Secondly, Xiaomi uses an eight-megapixel telephoto lens with a tenx hybrid zoom to bring distant objects up close. The third additional lens is a 20-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor. It enables great landscape shots and photos of large subjects.
The Mi 10 5G captures videos in fantastic 8K quality. So you can film at 4K times the size of 4K and 16 times the resolution of Full HD! Videos of this format are also perfect for the big screen.
Oppo Find X2 Pro
The Oppo Find X2 Pro is a rather unknown device, but it puts its competitors under extreme pressure. The triple camera has two 48 MP lenses and a third 13 MP lens. The first lens with 48 megapixels has an
f/1.7 aperture, so it lets a lot of light in and takes very nice and colorful wide-angle pictures.
The second sensor takes ultra-wide angle shots with a shooting angle of 120°. This is almost the same angle the eye can capture. So you can take pictures that show exactly what you could see at that moment. This is of course especially great for vacation and adventure photos. The aperture is at f/2.2, so it is a little wider and has a reduced depth of field, which is definitely positive for landscape photography.
The 13 MP periscope telephoto lens brings distant motifs directly into the cell phone. With a 10x hybrid zoom you get nice results and sharp pictures. For all three lenses there is the ultra-night mode, with which you can take even better photos in the dark. Not only the colors are optimized, but also a noise reduction is applied. This makes dark night photos detailed and vivid.
OnePlus 8 Pro
As is usual with a flagship model, OnePlus also relies on a multi-part camera setup with different lenses. The heart of the new main camera is a 48-megapixel sensor with an f/1.78 aperture. This is a particularly large Sony IMX689 sensor that can capture a lot of light due to its low aperture and thus cope with poor lighting conditions. Compared to its predecessor, the autofocus has been further improved (omnidirectional PDAF). This means that the camera focuses faster and more precisely even in the dark and moving subjects can be captured more easily.
This is complemented by a powerful telephoto lens, which has been adopted almost unchanged from the 7T Pro. It comes with eight megapixels, an f/2.44 aperture and a triple-optical zoom or 30x hybrid zoom to bring even distant subjects up close.
The ultra-wide angle lens has been significantly upgraded. Instead of 16 megapixels, it now has a full 48 megapixels like the main lens. This means that landscapes and large subjects can be photographed with the same high resolution. The aperture of f/2.2 was simply adopted from the 7T Pro, but OnePlus has improved the autofocus here as well.
A so-called color filter camera with five megapixels and f/2.4 aperture was added as a fourth sensor. This lens is more of a gimmick, since you can turn normal scenes into surreal shots with the photochrome filter. However, it should also contribute depth information for the portrait mode and thus allow a nice bokeh effect.
There is also no lack of strong software optimizations. With Dynamic Video, for example, the 8 Pro combines several shots of different brightness levels to create a perfectly illuminated HDR video. Also a strong optical image stabilization and 4K quality is included. Smart Pet Capture helps to keep your pet always in focus for photos. Plus, there’s a macro mode for close-up shots at 3cm and an enhanced Nightscape 3.0 night mode that lets you take great pictures in the dark.
Google Pixel 4 XL
With the current generation Google presents for the first time a main camera with two lenses. The previous devices were already able to impress with their individual wide-angle sensors and make other flagships sweat, but they were joined by a telephoto lens to get even more out of the photo motifs.
The wide-angle lens has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels and an f/2.4 aperture. It is ideal for all everyday situations and captures every important subject thanks to its 77° angle of coverage.
New on board is the telephoto lens with 16 megapixels and an f/1.7 aperture. It is therefore particularly light-intensive and, thanks to its double optical zoom, is able to bring distant subjects up close.
With the pixel devices, the fantastic night mode is particularly noteworthy. Without the need for a flash, you can take bright photos even in low light conditions. Thanks to the optical and electronic image stabilization, you don’t need a tripod. But you can use a flat surface or a tripod to take advantage of the long time exposure, so you can even take great pictures of the starry sky.
The second lens also improves the portrait mode, which creates an elegant blur of the background and brings the subject to the foreground. In addition, there are various AI optimizations that help you to always take your picture at the right moment.
In crystal clear 4K, you can also shoot video with the main camera. Thanks to the stabilizers mentioned above, the shots are always pleasantly smooth and show exactly what you want to capture.
Below are a few more smartphones that deserve a mention. The list must be limited to a few honorable mentions, since new devices appear in ever shorter intervals, which can convince with their cameras.
The selection of great camera phones is overwhelming. We hope this article will give you a good overview of which devices are worthwhile. In the end, it’s mostly a matter of taste with the top smartphones, because all of them offer top photographic performance. With all this information, we hope you will find it easier to make your choice.