The Best Camera Phone You Can Buy in 2021

The standout feature on a new phone is usually the camera. And in 2020, phone-makers have maximized the features and quality of their camera software and hardware more than any year in recent memory. Apple launched the iPhone 12 family with a new faster aperture lens on the main camera of all four phones. The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes its cameras to “11” with even more hardware and software improvements that deliver excellent photos and videos. Google, with its computational photography-powered Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A, can go toe-to-toe with the best Apple photos, but the new phones don’t seem to push year-to-year improvements enough. In this article, we have listed some of the best camera phones that you can buy in the upcoming year 2021.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple’s $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max has a triple-rear camera array featuring a main wide-angle camera, a 2.5x optical zoom telephoto camera, and a 0.5x ultra-wide angle camera. Those three cameras combined with Apple’s Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, and Night Mode processing yield tremendous photos with excellent dynamic range and detail. The 12 Pro Max even has Apple’s new ProRaw photo format aimed at professionals and camera enthusiasts.

Google Pixel 5

When the $700 Google Pixel 5 launched in October, many people hoped Google would update the cameras even more drastically. But in use, the 5G-equipped phone takes sharp and vibrant pictures with a strong HDR effect, so photos have excellent detail and contrast which appear cinematic. It comes equipped with a wide-angle and ultra wide angle camera (which replaced the telephoto camera on last year’s Pixel 4). Portrait Mode and the Night Sight feature are capable of dramatic and striking results. Its video shooting quality is improved over the Pixel 4, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max is still leaps ahead and hence a better all-around performer.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The top Android phones have largely caught up to the iPhone in terms of photos, but one area Apple still dominates is video capture. The iPhone 12 Pro Max records the best quality video straight out of the camera of any phone we tested. Even though videos top out at 4K (instead of the 6K and 8K we see on some Android phones), the image quality of the videos is consistently sharp with excellent dynamic range, especially in HDR.

iPhone 12 Mini

The $729 iPhone 12 Mini is based on its petite size. But it has the same wide, ultra-wide, and selfie cameras found on the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro. And takes the same excellent photos and videos as both, too. While the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the best camera technology Apple has ever made, the iPhone 12 Mini offers the best dollar-to-performance ratio for any new iPhone camera we tested. But only get the Mini if you’re comfortable with a smaller phone. Otherwise, you should consider paying a bit more and getting the “regular” sized iPhone 12.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

By the nature of their build, foldable phones come with compromises. With literally half of the thickness of a regular phone, things like cameras need to be reconsidered. And that’s why it is particularly impressive that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a great camera system. It’s not as good or versatile as the camera system in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Still, if you don’t want to make a major sacrifice when it comes to photos and videos and you have your heart set on spending $2,000 for a foldable, the Z Fold 2 and its triple-camera system (wide, ultra-wide, telephoto) can’t be beaten.

In this article, we have discussed the features and other details of some of the best camera phones that you can buy in the upcoming year 2021. We have concluded that out of various upcoming camera phones, the above-listed phones can provide you with an idea of purchasing the best smartphone according to your choice, priorities, and budget.


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