Best Camera Phones 2024

a digital camera next to an iphone facing down on top of an apple mac laptop

As a seasoned photography tutor at iPhotography, I’m delighted to delve into a topic that’s close to my heart and highly relevant to many of our members—camera phones.

For our community of budding photographers, many of whom are embracing their passions in semi-retirement, the choice of equipment can greatly influence their journey.

Today, I’ll guide you through the best camera phones of 2024, explaining why these devices might just be the perfect tool for beginners and how they stack up against more traditional cameras like DSLRs and mirrorless systems.

Why Camera Phones for Photography?

Embarking on photography in later life should be as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Camera phones, with their convenience and simplicity, offer a compelling entry point.

These devices are not only multifunctional and constantly within reach, but they have also evolved to a point where they rival traditional cameras in image quality and functionality—perfect for capturing life’s moments without the bulk or complexity of a DSLR.

close up of the camera lenses on the back of an iphone

Understanding Camera Phone Technology

To appreciate what makes these phones ideal for beginners, it’s important to understand some key technological aspects and how they compare to traditional cameras…

Sensor Size and Pixel Quality

Unlike DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, which boast large sensors, camera phones typically have smaller sensors due to their compact size. This difference impacts the light-gathering capabilities of the device. Larger sensors in traditional cameras allow for better performance in low light and greater dynamic range.

However, advancements in computational photography have enabled phones to bridge this gap significantly, offering superior image processing that can mimic the effects of larger sensors.

Camera phones often advertise high megapixel counts to appeal to the market, but this is not the sole indicator of image quality. The size of the pixels on the sensor matters too; larger pixels can capture more light, which is crucial in less than ideal lighting conditions.

Modern camera phones compensate for smaller pixels by using software algorithms that enhance the final photo, making them more user-friendly for those who may not have the expertise to manually adjust settings.

illustration of two digital camera sensors

Digital Zoom vs. Optical Zoom

One of the major differences between camera phones and traditional cameras is how they handle zooming. Most camera phones use digital zoom, which essentially crops the image to a smaller size and then enlarges it, potentially leading to a loss in image quality.

In contrast, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras often use optical zoom, achieved through lens movement, which maintains the quality of the image even when zooming in.

However, some of the latest camera phones have started incorporating periscope-style lenses that allow more genuine optical zoom, though still limited compared to DSLR lenses.

Digital Zoom v Optical Zoom by iPhotography.comDigital Zoom v Optical Zoom by

Top Camera Phones of 2024

With these technical considerations in mind, let’s explore the top camera phones of 2024 that cater well to beginner photographers, particularly those among us who appreciate the blend of simplicity and quality:

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Samsung Galaxy S25 Ultra

A marvel for any beginner, the Samsung Galaxy S25 Ultra features a sophisticated camera system that includes a 108-megapixel primary sensor coupled with a periscope-style telephoto lens for real optical zoom capabilities. Its Scene Optimizer uses AI to adjust settings automatically, making it incredibly beginner-friendly.


  • Camera Specs: Quad-camera system including a 108-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and two telephoto lenses at 10 megapixels each with different optical zoom capabilities (3x and 10x).
  • Key Features: 100x Space Zoom, Single Take mode, 8K video recording.
  • Photography Benefits: The high-resolution main sensor captures extremely detailed images, while the multiple telephoto options allow for versatile shooting from various distances without loss of quality. The Space Zoom feature is ideal for capturing details from afar, making it excellent for nature and event photography.
Samsung Galaxy S25 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S25 Ultra

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is exemplary for its user-friendly interface and consistent output. Its 48-megapixel sensor offers great detail, and its computational photography capabilities, like Smart HDR, make it excellent for handling different lighting scenarios effortlessly.


  • Camera Specs: Triple-camera setup with a 48-megapixel wide sensor, 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a telephoto lens. New sensor-shift optical image stabilisation technology.
  • Key Features: ProRAW, ProRes video, Night mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4.
  • Photography Benefits: The high-resolution sensor enhances image clarity and detail, suitable for print-quality photos. ProRAW combines the benefits of multi-frame image processing with the flexibility of RAW, ideal for those needing more post-processing control. Excellent low-light performance and stabilisation ensure high-quality photos in various lighting conditions.
iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Google’s Pixel 8 Pro shines with its computational photography, particularly in HDR and Night Sight modes. Its dual-camera setup, including a 50-megapixel main sensor, is engineered to produce stunning results without manual tweaking, ideal for those who prefer straightforward shooting.


  • Camera Specs: Dual-camera system featuring a 50-megapixel wide sensor and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor. Improved sensors for low-light and HDR capabilities.
  • Key Features: Real Tone, Night Sight, Astrophotography mode, enhanced HDR capabilities.
  • Photography Benefits: The Pixel’s strength lies in its computational photography, providing users with stunning detail and colour accuracy in almost all lighting conditions. Night Sight and Astrophotography mode are particularly beneficial for capturing clear images in low-light environments without a flash.
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Google Pixel 8 Pro

OnePlus 11 Pro

Offering a balance of high-end features and ease of use, the OnePlus 11 Pro has a 50-megapixel main camera that works harmoniously with Hasselblad’s colour calibration technology to produce lifelike photos with minimal effort.


  • Camera Specs: Triple-camera setup with a 50-megapixel main sensor, 48-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 32-megapixel telephoto lens.
  • Key Features: Hasselblad colour calibration, Nightscape mode, Tilt-shift mode.
  • Photography Benefits: The collaboration with Hasselblad ensures superior colour accuracy and image processing, making it ideal for capturing vibrant and true-to-life images. The high-resolution cameras across the board allow for detailed shots, whether shooting landscapes or portraits.
OnePlus 11 Pro
OnePlus 11 Pro

Sony Xperia 6 IV

For those interested in both photography and videography, the Sony Xperia 6 IV provides an excellent hybrid option. Its Photo Pro mode offers settings that resemble Sony’s Alpha cameras, giving a taste of professional equipment in a compact form.


  • Camera Specs: Triple-camera array with a 12-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Features like Eye AF and 20 fps burst shooting.
  • Key Features: Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals, Optical SteadyShot with FlawlessEye, 4K HDR video recording at 120fps.
  • Photography Benefits: Sony’s expertise in camera technology shines with features like Eye AF, ensuring sharp focus in portraits and dynamic shots. The Optical SteadyShot helps in capturing smooth and clear images and videos, making it excellent for action shots and video content creation.
Sony Xperia 6 IV

Conclusion: The Right Camera Phone for Your Photographic Journey

Choosing the right camera phone involves weighing factors like ease of use, quality of output, and specific photographic needs.

For our community members at iPhotography, who are exploring photography as a rewarding hobby, these devices offer a wonderful combination of accessibility and advanced technology, allowing you to learn and grow within the art without feeling overwhelmed.

If you’re inspired to explore further and develop your skills, why not join us at iPhotography? Our free online photography course with a certificate is tailored to help you get the most out of your camera phone, with personal support and feedback from professional tutors like myself.

Sign up today, and let’s make every shot count!

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