Smartphones have virtually replaced point and shoot cameras when it comes to photography. DSLRs are the next target. The camera technology on phones has almost been perfected and some of the phones today come with powerful lens systems. For instance, Huawei P20 Pro is the world’s first smartphone to come with triple rear cameras. Google Pixel 2 comes with a single rear sensor, yet it takes advantage of its software prowess to create ‘bokeh’ effect in photos. The variable aperture introduced on Samsung Galaxy S9 series is also unique.
As we move towards mid-segment, OnePlus 6, Honor 10 and Nokia 7 Plus are a few phones that can be considered. The budget segment has options like Moto G6, Nokia 6.1, and Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro. Let us take a look in detail at the best camera phones you can buy across various budgets, and what they offer.
Best camera phones in premium segment
Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei P20 Pro comes with a triple-camera system, co-developed with German camera maker Leica. The setup includes a 40MP primary lens with f/1.8 aperture, 20MP monochrome sensor with f/1.6 aperture, and an 8MP telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture as well as 3x optical zoom. The camera also supports super slow-motion videos, which was introduced via OTA update. The front shooter is 24MP.
Huawei P20 Pro is capable of clicking really good shots regardless of conditions, as we observed in our review. In fact, some photos that we clicked can beat an entry-level DSLR camera. The Master AI technology on the P20 Pro automatically tweaks settings depending on the scenario. The ‘Night Mode’ is what stands out on the phones as the results are surprisingly good.
The zoom system is also impressive, and 3D Portrait Lighting feature is fun to use. However, the results with super slow motion videos are not very impressive. The 24MP selfie camera is precise and works well in low light, which is great. In India, the Huawei P20 Pro is priced at Rs 64,999. Read our full review of Huawei P20 Pro here.
Apple iPhone X sports dual 12MP sensors, a combination of wide-angle and telephoto cameras. The wide-angle lens has f/1.8 aperture, while the telephoto sensor has f/2.4 aperture. The phone also supports dual optical image stabilisation (OIS) and Quad-LED True Tone flash. Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting (beta) have been included on the iPhone X as well. The front TrueDepth 7MP camera comes with ƒ/2.2 aperture and Retina flash.
Thanks to dual OIS, Apple iPhone X does a good job of image stabilisation and comes up with better videos and timelapses. The phone stands out for TrueDepth system of the FaceID that tends to give more character to selfies. The FaceID is arguable most natural and fastest way to unlock a phone as the TrueDepth camera system can detect the user’s face even with the lights switched off. Apple iPhone X can be bought at a starting price of Rs 95,390 for 64GB storage variant, and Rs 108,930 for 256GB storage model. Read our review of iPhone X here.
Google Pixel 2 XL
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both have a 12MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture. The phones support Dual-Pixel Autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization and HDR+ technology. The Portrait Mode on Google Pixel 2 is enabled by software solution and Google is not relying on secondary hardware to achieve this kind of effect. The phones have Motion Photos mode, which is similar to Apple’s Live Photos feature.
The rear camera on Pixel 2 XL is surprisingly excellent. It is fast to capture moments and is capable of producing some of the best shots on a phone with crisp details, accurate colours and negligible noise. The performance of the front-facing shooter is also impressive, even in low light settings. Google Pixel 2 was launched at a starting price of Rs 61,000 for 64GB storage model, though it can currently be bought at a much lower price. Read our review of Google Pixel 2 XL here.
Samsung Galaxy S9+
Samsung Galaxy S9+ gets a dual-camera setup on the back. Thanks to a dual-aperture system, the phone delivers better low-light performance. The rear cameras with adjustable aperture settings allow the device to take pictures at either f/1.5 or f/2.4 aperture. Galaxy S9+ supports super slow-mo video recording at 960 frames per second at 720p or HD resolution.
The camera shifts seamlessly from f/1.5 when it low light to f/2.4 when it gets too bright. Samsung Galaxy S9+ is one of the best Android camera phones, especially when it comes to low light. The Pro mode helps the user take full advantage of the camera. Samsung Galaxy S9+ starts at Rs 57,900 for the 64GB variant, whereas the 256GB storage model is priced at Rs 72,900. Read our review of Samsung Galaxy S9+ here.
Best camera phones under Rs 40,000 in the mid-range segment
OnePlus 6 houses a 16MP Sony IMX 519 primary sensor with OIS, EIS, f/1.7aperture and a 20MP IMX 376K secondary lens with f/1.7aperture. It also has dual LED flash. The front shooter has a 16MP Sony IMX 371 sensor with EIS and f/2.0 aperture size. Both the front as well as rear cameras can capture photos in Portrait Mode. It takes advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm for depth of field effect for selfies.
The camera is much better when compared to OnePlus 5T, and the colour reproduction is very natural. The portrait mode is good and thanks to f/1.7 aperture, the camera delivers in low light too. OnePlus 6 can be bought at a starting price of Rs 34,999 for the base variant which has 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. OnePlus 6 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage can be bought at Rs 39,999. OnePlus 6 Midnight Black edition with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage costs Rs 43,999. Read our review of OnePlus 6 here.
Honor 10 gets a 16MP RGB camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a 24MP monochrome sensor on the back with dual LED flash. The cameras take advantage of Huawei’s AI technology to automatically enhance images depending on the scenario. The quality of photos is great and the rear shooter excels in daylight, low light or any kind of lighting. The bokeh-effect also works well as we observed in our review. Thanks to AI, the camera software uses algorithms to adjust the settings accordingly. The front 24MP selfie camera is capable of taking good quality self-portraits. Plus, iPhone X-like 3D Portrait lighting feature is also available. Honor 10 is priced at Rs 32,999 for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage model. Read our review of Honor 10 here.
Best camera phones under Rs 30,000
Nokia 7 plus
Nokia 7 Plus features dual rear cameras with Zeiss branding. The setup consists of a 12MP primary snapper with f/1.8 aperture and a secondary 13MP camera with f/2.6 aperture and 2x optical zoom. The phone gets a 16MP front camera. During our review, the dual cameras on Nokia 7 Plus performed beyond our expectations. The camera is fast and produces good results in various lighting. The images turn out to be of good quality and remarkably sharp. However, we did not like the live bokeh mode as it only works when the light is sufficient. The 16MP selfie camera produces detail-rich images. Nokia 7 Plus price in India is Rs 25,999. Read our review of Nokia 7 Plus here.
Best budget camera phones under Rs 20,000
Moto G6 sports a 12MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture and phase-detection autofocus along with a 5MP secondary sensor on the back for depth of field effect. On the front there is a 16MP camera with an LED flash. The colour reproduction is accurate and photos have a solid amount of detail even in low-light, which is hard to expect from a mid-end phone. The selfie camera also captures a good amount of detail in photos. Moto G6 costs Rs 13,999 for 3GB RAM+32GB storage model. The 4GB+64GB storage model is priced at Rs 15,999. Read our review of Moto G6 here.
Nokia 6.1 or Nokia 6 (2018) has a 16MP rear lens with Zeiss optics, f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash. The front shooter is 8MP fixed-focus with f/2.0 aperture and with Zeiss optics too. The camera also supports Pro mode and ‘Bothie’ option. Impressive for its price, Nokia 6.1 produces accurate colours. The pictures taken in proper lighting do come out well. Nokia 6.1 is priced at Rs 16,999 for 3GB RAM and 32GB storage option. Read our review of Nokia 6.1 here.
Xaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro features a 12MP+5MP dual rear cameras, and both with RGB sensors. The secondary lens adds depth to images. The back cameras click crisp and detailed images in ample lighting. However, the Portrait mode needs some more work as it takes long to focus even in bright outdoors. The selfie camera is impressive for its price and the Portrait mode is also good. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro costs Rs 14,999 for 4GB RAM variant, while the 6GB RAM option is priced at Rs 16,999. Both the variants ship with 64GB storage. Read our review of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro here.
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