Best Camera Phones in 2019 for Every Need and Budget

7 min read 

Hundreds of millions of photos are created and shared on the Internet everyday, and most of them are taken by mobile phones. Today almost everyone has a smartphone, and phones’ camera technology has been improving at a surprising speed. With a great camera phone and photography skills, everyone can shoot stunning photos and videos on the go. We’ve rounded up several best Chinese camera phones for both professional photographers and shutterbugs.

How to choose a camera phone?

When it comes to picking a camera phone, there are some factors to consider.

  1. Megapixels: Megapixel (MP) means the pixel count. The more pixels your camera has, the more detailed is the image, and the larger is the resolution. Now some of the smartphones have 48MP camera.
  2. Image sensor: The sensor is the heart of a camera. If you want to get beautiful image, especially for night photography, a good sensor is what you need to pay attention to.
  3. Depth of field: it refers to the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects giving a focused image.
  4. Resolution: Higher resolution means more image detail. Phone camera usually supports 720p, 1080p, some even 4K.
  5. Storage: The storage capacity is also important. The number of images, videos and other files depends on the storage capacity of your camera smartphone.

Huawei P30 Pro- the best quad-camera phone for photography

Release date: Mar.26, 2019
Rear camera: Quad-camera
(40MP f/1.6 OIS (RYYB filter) + 8MP with periscope 135mm f/3.4 OIS lens (5x optical zoom) + 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (16mm) + ToF camera; 4K video capture, [email protected] slow-mo, Leica branding)
Front camera: 32MP
Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Storage: 6/8GB RAM, 128/256/512GB storage
Price: starting from £899.99

Huawei P30 and P30 pro
Huawei P30 and P30 pro camera phone (photo source: huawei)

On Mar. 26, Huawei released its two smartphones especially optimized for photography, the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro in Paris, France.

Huawei P30 Pro has the usual high-end specs and features we’d find on a 2019 flagship high-end phone just like the Samsung Galaxy S10, but there are many new camera features at work here that it’s clearly the highlight. Just as expected the smartphone Leica camera premieres on the Huawei P30 Pro and it’s a quad-setup.

The first two rear cameras are 40MP f/1.6 OIS (RYYB filter) and 8MP with periscope 135mm f/3.4 OIS lens (5x optical zoom). The third one is borrowed straight from the Mate 20 Pro – a 20MP snapper with 16mm ultra-wide lens and autofocus. The fourth and final camera is the aforementioned time-of-flight (ToF) unit, which promises to take the portrait shots up another notch.

Redmi Note 7 – Affordable 48MP Camera

Release date: Jan. 10, 2019
Rear camera: Dual-camera
(48MP, f/1.8, 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF; 5 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor)
Front camera: 13MP
Resolutions: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Storage: 32GB/64GB
Price: starting from $150

Along with the Redmi becoming an independent brand, a budget-friendly smartphone Redmi Note7 was released. The new phone surprised people with a price less than $150 and a stunning 48MP camera.

If you’re into photography but on a limited budget, this Redmi Note7 is the one for you. Its camera has excellent performance in various lighting conditions. In daylight, the Redmi Note 7 uses super resolution techniques to output 48MP photos with 0.8μm pixels. In low light, the phone uses 4-in-1 pixel binning to simulate 1.6μm pixels and take photos with an effective resolution of 12MP. What’s more, it sports Super Night Scene camera feature just like Xiaomi Mi MIX3, which allows for brighter and more saturated photographs in low light scenarios.

Redmi Note 7 camera
Redmi Note 7 camera (photo source: Redmi)

We could say the phone has the best camera in its price range! But be careful. As the rear camera is protruded, it may hurt the lens easily if you drop it

Honor V20 – first in-display camera

Release date: December, 2018
Rear camera: Dual-camera
(48MP, f/1.8, 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF; TOF 3D stereo camera)
Front camera: 25 MP, f/2.0, 27mm
Resolutions: 1080 pixels
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Price: starting from $435

The most significant appearance feature of the Honor View 20 is a V-shaped back visible in the light. And for the first time, it sports an in-display front camera, which uses a “blind hole” scheme instead of hollowing out the LCD screen.

Honor V20 smartphone
Honor V20 smartphone (photo source: Honor)

Thanks to the powerful Kirin 980 processor, Honor V20 can support a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor with f/1.8 aperture straight out of hardware. Powered by the advanced AI algorithm, real-time scene recognition and beautification can come true. It also supports 960fps slow-motion video recording. There’s a secondary 3D Time of Flight (ToF) sensor responsible for capturing image depth, and can be used for full body beautifying effects such as waist slimming and leg elongation. A must-have if you are a vlogger!

Huawei P20 Pro – Leica Triple Camera

Release date: April, 2018
Rear camera: Triple-camera
(40MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/1.7″, OIS, PDAF/Laser AF;
20MP B/W, f/1.6, 27mm (wide), 1/2.7″, OIS, PDAF/Laser AF;
8MP, f/2.4, 80mm (telephoto), 1/4″, 3x optical zoom, OIS, PDAF/Laser AF)
Front camera: 24 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide)
Resolutions: 1080 pixels
Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
Price: starting from $660

Huawei P20 Pro camera phone
Huawei P20 Pro has the world’s first Leica triple lens (photo source: Huawei)

HUAWEI’s P series has always been a pioneer of smartphone photography. Co-engineered with Leica, the HUAWEI P20 Pro has become an amazing milestone in the mobile photography field.

P20 Pro has the world’s first Leica triple lens and sports the highest pixel count available in a smartphone. The three cameras are 40MP, 8MP, and 20MP, with an f/1.6 lens aperture. It’s a winning combination of great hardware, optics and craftsmanship. Even without flash or or tripod, it can capture images in near-dark conditions because it has an incredible ISO of 102,4000. Thanks to its Master AI system and Ultra Snapshot feature, you can always capture perfect photos within as short as 0.3 seconds even when the screen is off.

If the P20 Pro is somewhat beyond your budget but you still want a Leica lens, the Huawei P20 would be a nice alternative at a price of $498. It is also well known for its cameras: Leica dual camera 12MP+20MP, auto shooting mode for different scenarios including close-ups, portraits and night shots

Huawei Mate 20 Pro – Best Portrait Mode Phone

Release date: October, 2018
Rear camera: Triple-camera
(40MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/1.7″, PDAF/Laser AF;
20 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide), 1/2.7″, PDAF/Laser AF;
8MP, f/2.4, 80mm (telephoto), 1/4″, 5x optical zoom, OIS, PDAF/Laser AF)
Front camera: 24MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide)
Resolutions: 1080 pixels
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Price: starting from $793

Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei Mate 20 Pro with triple-Leica-camera (photo source: Huawei)

The P series and Mate series are the two top-tier smartphones of Huawei. P series is the one aiming primarily at photographers, and the Mate series does have some very interesting photography specifications which are very appealing to enthusiasts.

Like the P20 Pro, the Mate 20 Pro adopts a triple-lens system except for the 20MP monochrome sensor, which is replaced by an ultra wide-angle lens. Arranged in a 2×2 grid on the rear of the device is a main 40-megapixel f/1.8 sensor, 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto sensor for zooming and a 20-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide sensor.

The phone has an AI camera assistant to guide you to the possibly best shots. It can now detect over 500 scenes in 19 categories, especially the strong portrait mode.

Vivo X23 – 125° Wide-angle Lens

Release date: September, 2018
Rear camera: Dual-camera
(12MP, f/1.8, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF; 13MP, f/2.4)
Front camera: 12MP
Resolutions: 1080 pixels
Storage: 128GB
Price: starting from $470

Vivo-X23 camera smartphone
vivo X23 smartphone with 125° Wide-angle Lens (photo source: vivo)

Vivo’s X series smartphones have been well known for the great camera capabilities and fantastic design. Vivo X23, the latest device, is equipped with a wide angle + super wide angle combination, which means it will be able to switch to a wide angle mode while people are taking photos.

Vivo X23 has a vertical dual-lens rear camera setup with a 12MP primary sensor, and a 13MP secondary sensor coupled with a 125-degree super wide-angle lens for capturing more mise en scene. On the front, the X23 sports a tiny waterdrop notch design that houses a 12MP camera with extra beautifying functions for better selfies.

Listed above is the top five Chinese camera smartphones we’ve picked out for you. Of course, there are many other camera smartphones in the market, such as the Google Pixel 3, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, OnePlus 6T, iPhone XS. Which is your favorite?

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