For many buyers, photography is still one of the most important functions of a smartphone. The manufacturers have also recognized this and often use the lever in research and development when developing new models to achieve even better image quality. In recent years, there have been some major leaps in development on this point: Current top models not only offer excellent image quality in good lighting conditions, but also convince with dim lighting and have long outperformed many compact cameras in terms of quality.
That’s what matters!
The quality differences are still great with smartphone cameras, so we check the camera quality for all models in our publisher’s laboratory in both bright and dark surroundings. Apart from these measurements, there are also a few key points that you should always pay attention to when buying a smartphone. For good photos, the camera sensor, software and optics have to work well together. In the latter case, a particularly bright aperture with a value of f / 1.8 or lower should be used. The autofocus should be as fast as possible, the release time should be particularly short and an optical image stabilizer (OIS) can ensure sharp pictures in the dark or when moving.
Multiple cameras that offer extended functions can already be found in mid-range smartphones. The second sensor of a dual camera model enables telephoto or super wide-angle shots as well as targeted blurring in the image, called bokeh. Some manufacturers now also combine the telephoto and ultra-wide-angle range and offer even more flexibility with triple cameras or even quad cameras.
The latest trend is going in a different direction, however, because artificial intelligence is finding its way into smartphone cameras. Depending on the subject, this determines the best settings such as exposure time, ISO and white balance for the camera. In some models, this goes so far that the recording is broken down into various segments, such as landscape in the background and movement in the foreground, optimized and then reassembled into the final image. In the end, the only thing that counts is the image quality in connection with the equipment.
Which smartphone has the best camera?
The smartphones that perform best in the camera test are, of course, mainly high-end models. For everyone who wants to get started a little cheaper, we first introduce the camera champions of the entry-level and middle class.
Best camera: beginners up to 200 euros
- Wiko View 3 (Camera rating: 31 points) – available here
- Motorola Moto G7 Play (Camera rating: 30 points) – available here
- Huawei Y7 (2019) (Camera rating: 29 points) – available here
Best camera: mid-range up to 450 euros
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (Camera rating: 47 points) – available here
- Huawei Nova 5T (camera rating: 44 points) – available here
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Camera rating: 41 points) – available here
The overall best camera smartphones can be found below in the picture gallery.
(Note: by the current Test reform 2019 ratings of some models have changed from the original test. The new test procedure particularly affects the camera rating, which is now done in more detail.)