Best Camera Phone: The Mobiles With Best Cameras at Every Budget

Best Camera Phone: The Mobiles With Best Cameras at Every Budget
  • The Asus Zenfone 3S Max is a great budget option
  • In the mid-range, check out the Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro
  • In flagships, Apple and Samsung predictably have many picks

Planning on buying a new phone and you want to get the best camera possible for your budget? You've come to the right place as we look at phones ranging from a budget of under Rs. 10,000, all the way up to the most expensive flagships on the market, to identify the best camera phones for everyone. The best part is that by now, even in the sub-Rs. 10,000 range (the busiest part of the market in India) there are now some pretty reasonable options, although it is true that camera quality continues to improve drastically as you move up in budget.

To make this list, we decided to stick to phones released after the start of 2017 - this should help avoid any phones with outdated specifications, that might have been fine at the time of launch, but aren't going to cut it anymore. We restricted our list to the very best cameraphones that we've reviewed, and here are the top picks for the best camera phones at each price point.

Best camera phone under Rs. 10,000

At under Rs. 10,000, there aren't too many options at hand, but it's not as bad as it used to be earlier either - you can definitely find some phones that take good photos even at this price. That said, low light performance is a stumbling block at this price.

Phone Camera Rating Overall Rating
Yu Yureka Black 7 8
Lenovo K8 Plus 7 8
Moto G5 7 7

1. Yu Yureka Black
A good value-for-money phone with solid battery life, the camera one this handset is pretty good for the price, though low light performance could be better. The Yu Yureka Black (Review) also has a somewhat disappointing display, but if camera is your top priority, it's not a bad choice.




2. Lenovo K8 Plus
A good all-round that just barely fits into the budget, the Lenovo K8 Plus (Review) stands out for its battery life, but otherwise, it's also packing one of the best cameras in the sub-Rs. 10,000 segment. There are shortcomings, and although it has a dual-camera setup, HDR adds a weird tinge, and depth mode causes it to lag a little, but it's still one of the best picks at this price.




3. Moto G5
The Moto G5 (Review) is a solid option under Rs. 10,000, and stock Android is always welcome. The camera does pretty well, and as an added bonus, there's free image backups via Google Photos for two years. The one downside of this handset is its average battery life, but if your top priority is the camera and you are on a tight budget, the Moto G5 is the one for you.




Best camera phone under Rs. 15,000

Moving up in the budget this much can really open up some good options - the four phones in the list below are all good choices that won't let you down. Here are our top picks for best camera phone under Rs. 15,000.

Phone Camera Rating Overall Rating
Asus Zenfone 3S Max 8 8
Moto G5S Plus 8 8
Xiaomi Mi A1 8 8

1. Asus ZenFone 3S Max
A decent all-round performer, the Asus ZenFone 3S Max (Review) stands out most for its camera quality at this price point. Battery life and build quality are also good selling points, but camera performance is definitely the reason why you'd pick this phone.



2. Moto G5S Plus
Launched at Rs. 15,999, the Moto G5S Plus (Review) recently received a Rs. 1,000 price cut, bringing it just within the budget for this segment. It's a good phone across the board, but the battery performance is a minor disappointment. In terms of just camera performance though, it's one of the top rated entires at this price, with a dual camera setup.




3. Xiaomi Mi A1
The Xiaomi Mi A1 (Review) is pretty similar to the Moto G5S Plus in that it has good overall ratings, but poor battery performance. The Mi A1 also has a dual camera setup on the back, which we thought performed really well, particularly considering the price point. It leaves a little to be desired in low-light though, but on the other hand, the camera app does offer useful guides that will be helpful to new users.




Best camera phone under Rs. 20,000

Once we cross Rs. 15,000, the picks improve further, and we've got three strong contenders here. By this point, the low light performance issues are less pronounced, and the overall camera quality pretty good. Here are the best camera phones under Rs. 20,000 right now.


Phone Camera Rating Overall Rating
Oppo F5 8 8
Samsung Galaxy On Max 8 8
Vivo V5 Plus 8 7

1. Oppo F5
Loaded with gimmicky features like Face Recognition, the Oppo F5 (Review) is nonetheless a good option with a nice display, solid battery life, and most of all, good front and rear cameras. It doesn't have a dual-camera setup, but don't let that fool you - this phone takes good photos.




2. Samsung Galaxy On Max
A strong performer, the Samsung Galaxy On Max (Review) is let down a little by its battery, but it's great value-for-money, and most of all, has really good cameras at the price. Another single camera setup, its focus is on delivering quality rather than tricks like optical zoom or adding bokeh, and the results are good, with performance that's better than you'd expect at this price level.




3. Vivo V5 Plus
A good phone overall, the Vivo V5 Plus (Review) has two selling key points - battery life and camera quality. The front camera is the star of the show here, with a 20-megapixel sensor, and an additional 8-megapixel depth sensor. It delivers detailed selfies even in low light. Add a good rear camera, and you've got a good choice for the best camera phone under Rs. 20,000.




Best camera phone under Rs. 25,000

The gap between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 25,000 brings us three more phones, all good all-round performers that also take great photos. Here are the best camera phones in this price bracket.

Phone Camera Performance Overall Performance
Oppo F3 Plus 8 8
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro 8 8
Micromax Dual 5 8 8

1. Oppo F3 Plus
Not only does it have a great camera, the Oppo F3 Plus (Review) also has one of the best batteries of any phone on this list. There's a dual-front camera for group selfies, and a single rear camera, that does a good job as well. Macro shots in low light, shadows and highlights have very good dynamic range, and daylight shots have very good detail and saturated colours that really pop.




2. Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro
Another phone that got the top rating on our battery tests, the Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro (Review) is a solid all-rounder and although it's got one of the best cameras at this price point, that's actually its weakest point. The phone packs 16-megapixel cameras at the front and back. It is quick to focus and capture shots, and they come out sharp with accurate colours. Photos taken with the primary camera in daylight look quite good, though focusing took longer in low light, and colours seemed a bit off.




3. Micromax Dual 5
Although you'll have to put up with a little too much bloatware with this phone, the Micromax Dual 5 (Review) is a solid pick in all other departments. The phone sports two 13-megapixel cameras on the back, and its biggest strengths are colour reproduction, details, and sharpness. In well-lit conditions, the phone managed to take great photos, especially close-up shots. Low light photos were a little hit and miss.




Best camera phone under Rs. 30,000

By this point, we end up looking at some really strong options that include great phones and great cameras as well. There are five different picks, including not one, but two Honor handsets. Here are the picks.

Phone Camera Rating Overall Rating
Moto Z2 Play 8 8
Honor 8 Pro 8 8
HTC U Play 8 8
Honor View 10 8 8

1. Moto Z2 Play
Although we criticised the camera bump of the Moto Z2 Play (Review), the picture quality is really good at this price point, and on top of that, it also supports the Moto Mods ecosystem. On paper it doesn't sound like much - there's a 5-megapixel front camera, and a 12-megapixel rear camera. The output from the camera is good, and the Moto Z2 Play has an auto night mode which is triggered in low light.




2. Honor 8 Pro
A solid all rounder with good camera performance, battery life, and lots of storage, the Honor 8 Pro (Review) is just generally a good pick. It has a dual-camera setup on the rear, and the photos with this phone turned out really good, and details really were better than average. Colours were accurate and we did not find any chromatic aberration or purple fringing when shooting against the light. Macros were also impressive, and the phone managed a good amount of separation between subjects and backgrounds.




3. HTC U Play
A really good looking phone, the HTC U Play (Review) also packs in good cameras. Both cameras provide good all-round performance - the rear camera captures very good detail even when the light isn’t too favourable. The wide aperture also allows for good depth-of-field effects in close-up shots. The quality of recorded video is good, but sadly there’s no option for 4K recording.




4. Honor View 10
Another solid all-rounder, the Honor View 10 (Review) is a good phone with a solid camera, though the dual-camera bumps on the rear are a little pronounced. The photos look good in daylight and landscapes are good with accurate colour reproduction, and macros are particularly good.




You can also consider the LG V20 (Review) - it's a month older than the cut-off date, having released in December 2016, but it's a great value-for-money buy at this point, with an excellent camera for Rs. 26,000, so it could be worth a shot.


Under Rs. 45,000

At this next price point, we're pretty much at the cream of the crop. The cameras that you'll see listed in our next three entries are excellent, and if you're looking for a "value" buy at the top end of the market, these next three phones are the ones to consider. Here are the best camera phones under Rs. 45,000.


Phone Camera Rating Overall Rating
LG G6 9 9
HTC U Ultra 9 8
Sony Xperia XZ1 8 8

1. LG G6
The LG G6 (Review) falls just a hair short of the very best phones on the list, but thanks to a hefty price cut, it finds itself competing against a completely different set of phones, where it fares very well indeed. In our review, we praised the dual-camera implementation, and it's fun to switch between lenses and find interesting ways to compose shots, with the colours and focus being very satisfying.




2. HTC U Ultra
With its eye-catching design and good performance, the HTC U Ultra (Review) is another phone that's seen a huge price cut, bringing it to just over Rs. 30,000 at this point. We were really impressed with photo quality, and the phone includes laser autofocus and PDAF, along with optical image stabilisation. Even low light shots come out very well lit - these were some of the best we've seen.




3. Sony Xperia XZ1
The Sony Xperia XZ1 (Review) is a good phone whose cameras perform well in good lighting, although noise in low-light is a little more than we'd like at this point. The performance is pretty good when compared to the "midrange flagships" like the OnePlus 5T and the Mi Mix 2 - and we quite liked the results from Predictive Capture, a feature that automatically saves the moments just before you press the shutter key, taking some pressure off you when trying to capture the ‘perfect’ shot.



Best camera phones

Every phone listed below has an amazing camera that will not disappoint you. Finding the very best among these can be challenging, though we've given it a shot. Here are our picks for the very best camera phones in the world.


Phone Camera Rating Overall Rating
iPhone X 9 9
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL 9 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 9 9
iPhone 8 Plus 9 9
HTC U11 9 9
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 9 9
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 9 8

1. Apple iPhone X
The most expensive "regular" phone (i.e. not encrusted with diamonds or backed with alligator-skin) you can buy right now, the iPhone X (Review) has a predictably good camera setup. It actually offers slight improvements over even the iPhone 8 Plus in low light, though the difference is minor enough that most won't notice. The iPhone X takes great pictures in nearly all scenarios - the colours are accurate with great details, and low-light performance is vastly improved compared to last year’s iPhone models.



2. Google Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2
Google's flagship phones, the Google Pixel 2 XL (Review) and the Google Pixel 2 (Review) both have the same camera configuration, and we've heard these phones being described as amazing cameras, with phones attached. Focusing is extremely quick under good lighting, and we almost never had to tap to focus. There’s also barely any shutter lag, and photos are saved almost instantaneously, even with HDR enabled. As to the quality of the pictures, these phones are spectacular. Details are very good, and so is colour accuracy, and even low light performance was impressive. The only possible issue is noise in landscapes taken in very low light.







3. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
One of the best phones that you can buy, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Review) has a stunning display, great performance, and most important for this discussion, wonderful camera performance. With a dual-rear camera setup unlike the earlier Samsung flagships, the Note 8 delivers images that are - quite simply - amazing. It's colour range isn't exaggerated as in the past, and focusing in extremely quick, even at night. The camera manages extremely detailed landscapes and macros, and even in low light, delivers excellent details.




4. iPhone 8 Plus
Like the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 Plus (Review) also packs a dual camera setup on the rear, and delivers amazing photographs, particularly in the portrait mode. It's a big step up from the previous generation, delivering highly accurate and extremely detailed photos in daylight, and really good low-light performance as well. At times, noise is visible when you zoom in, but within acceptable levels.




5. HTC U11
Although it has lost a little lustre, HTC used to be one of the top brands and the HTC U11 (Review) is one of the phones that shows you why. Its got interesting features like the Edge Sense gesture, and stunning design, but most of all, it has one of the best cameras you'll find on any phone, with particularly impressive low-light performance. It delivers crisp details, with great colour accuracy, in conditions where other phones simply can't keep up.




6. Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8
Samsung's smaller flagships, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 (Review) are also phenomenal phones, with brilliant cameras. Focusing in near instantaneous, and deliver stunning shots in both daylight and night photography. Depth of field is excellent, and macros come out highly detailed. The front cameras on both phones are also top-notch.






7. Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Although the Sony Xperia XZ Premium (review) falls short on some areas such as battery life and design, if your only focus is the camera, give this one a shot. There's a good chance that the phone will click with you, thanks to great detail and colour reproduction in landscapes and macros both, and good handling of low-light shots. There's also a good selfie camera, and the phone delivers good 4K videos as well.





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