Top 12 Best Smartphone Cameras for Photography in 2022

Smartphone manufacturers are not only competing against each other about having the most innovative features but also in terms of prices. Note, however, that smartphones have two aspects – camera and phone. It is therefore important that you know what you need. Otherwise, you will be wasting your money on features that you will not use.

Some camera phones may have additional phone features but with higher camera resolution, which are essential in photography. Although smartphones won’t give you images as sharp as that from traditional cameras, most of them provide great results. With that, below are the top 12 best smartphone cameras for photography in 2022.

Best Smartphone Cameras for Photography in 2022

Best Smartphone Cameras for Photography in 2022

1. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

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SAMSUNG Galaxy S22 Ultra Cell Phone, Factory...
  • 8K SUPER STEADY VIDEO: Shoot videos that rival how epic your life is with stunning 8K recording, the highest recording resolution available on a smartphone; Video captured is effortlessly smooth, thanks to Auto Focus Video Stabilization on Galaxy S22 Ultra.Form_factor : Smartphone
  • NIGHTOGRAPHY plus PORTAIT MODE: Capture the night with crystal clear, bright pics and videos, no matter the lighting with Night Mode; Portrait Mode auto-detects and adjusts to what you want front and center, making all your photos worthy of a frame
  • 108MP PHOTO RESOLUTION plus BRIGHT DISPLAY: Capture premium detail with 108MP resolution— the highest available on a cell phone; Your favorite content will look even more epic on our brightest display ever with Vision Booster

Released in February 2022, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is destined to be the best smartphone camera in 2022. As a superb hybrid camera phone, this latest Samsung S phone is a major upgrade from the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus. But as expected, it kept some key features of its predecessors and came with a hefty price. 

Like the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus, the Galaxy S22 Ultra uses the very powerful 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. However, it has a lower refresh rate of 1-120Hz to conserve battery. It also has an ultrasonic fingerprint and face recognition, runs on One UI 4.1 based on Android 12, and can shoot 4k at 60fps and 8k at 24fps.

The S22 Ultra has an insane maximum brightness of 1,500 nits as the S22 Plus. It is also equipped with a larger 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED QHD+ display and a larger 40MP front-facing or selfie camera instead of only 10MP. There are also four rear cameras – 12MP ultrawide, 108MP wide, and two 1.12μm 10MP telephoto cameras.

Interestingly, the S22 Ultra is the first S series model with an excellent built-in S Pen (stylus pen). But because of the added size and weight, this can be challenging if you have small hands. There is also no headphone jack and no microSD slot. Nonetheless, the image and video quality are vibrant. So overall, the S22 Ultra is still the king of the hill.

2. Apple iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro (128GB, Sierra Blue) [Locked]...
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion for a faster, more responsive feel
  • Cinematic mode adds shallow depth of field and shifts focus automatically in your videos
  • Pro camera system with new 12MP Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras; LiDAR Scanner; 6x optical zoom range; macro photography; Photographic Styles, ProRes video, Smart HDR 4, Night mode, Apple ProRAW, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
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Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, 256GB, Gold - Unlocked...
  • 6.7" Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion. 5G Superfast downloads, high?quality streaming
  • Cinematic mode in 1080p at 30 fps. Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K at 60 fps. 6X Optical zoom range
  • A15 Bionic chip. New 6-core CPU with 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores. New 5-core GPU. New 16-core Neural Engine

Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max in September 2021. These two stunning camera smartphones have similar features. The main difference is that the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display, while iPhone 13 Pro only uses a 6.1-inch display. There is also added battery life and a $100 price hike.

Both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are packed with the lightning-fast, 6-core A15 Bionic chip processor. They are the first Apple iPhones to offer a 1TB storage capacity. Both of them have dual-pixel PDAF and three rear cameras – 12MP f/1.5 (wide), a 12MP f/1.8 (ultra-wide), and a 12MP f/2.8 telephoto with 3x optical zoom.

Both iPhones use a Super Retina XDR OLED display, 12MP TrueDepth front camera, and can record 4k at up to 60 fps. There is also a newly-introduced macro photography mode. When enabled, it will automatically activate once you move your camera closer to your subject. This feature will help you take fantastic photos with less effort.

Because of the screen size difference, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro. It is also 35 grams heavier at 240 grams. Both iPhones have impressive battery life but are still slow in charging. They produce high-quality images and videos like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. But when it comes to specs, they only come in second. 

3. Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini

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Apple iPhone 13, 256GB, Blue - Unlocked (Renewed)
  • 6.1" Super Retina XDR display. 5G Superfast downloads, high?quality streaming
  • Cinematic mode in 1080p at 30 fps. Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K at 60 fps. 2X Optical zoom range
  • A15 Bionic chip. New 6-core CPU with 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores. New 4-core GPU. New 16-core Neural Engine
Apple iPhone 13 Mini, 128GB, Red - Unlocked...
  • 5.4" Super Retina XDR display. 5G Superfast downloads, high?quality streaming
  • Cinematic mode in 1080p at 30 fps. Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K at 60 fps. 2X Optical zoom rang
  • A15 Bionic chip. New 6-core CPU with 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores. New 4-core GPU. New 16-core Neural Engine

Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini in September 2021, alongside the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. But while the iPhone 13 Pro is superior to them, it does not necessarily mean that they are not great smartphones. In fact, they are among the best ones in 2022, especially in terms of camera performance.

The iPhone 13 Mini is smaller than the iPhone 13. It has a 5.4-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display with a maximum brightness of 800 nits and the standard 60Hz refresh rate. The iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro feature a 6.1-inch display. However, the former also has an 800-nit maximum brightness, while the latter offers 1,000 nits.

Both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini are powered by an A15 Bionic chip processor, a 6-core CPU, and 4-GPU. The iPhone 13 Pro uses the same processor but features a 5-core CPU. Yet, it has three 12MP rear cameras, as compared to only two 12MP (wide (f/1.6) and ultra-wide (f/2.4)) rear cameras for the iPhone 13 and its mini version.

These three iPhones can record 4K video at 60 fps, but the iPhone 13 Pro has ProRes 4K/30fps video recording. With all features compared, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are aimed at professional photographers and videographers, while the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini are mid-range camera phones designed for casual users only.

4. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

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SAMSUNG Galaxy S21 Ultra G998U 5G | Fully Unlocked...
  • This phone is unlocked and compatible with any carrier of choice on GSM and CDMA networks (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Cricket, Tracfone, Mint Mobile, etc.).
  • Please check with your carrier to verify compatibility.
  • When you receive the phone, insert a SIM card from a compatible carrier. Then, turn it on, connect to Wi-Fi, and follow the on screen prompts to activate service.

Released in January 2019, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has been discontinued, which is a pity. Yes, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best smartphone camera today, but the S21 Ultra is also a great smartphone. Both of them have the same 6.8-inch AMOLED screen, 40MP selfie camera, four rear cameras, and can shoot 8k/24fps and 4k/60fps.

Interestingly, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a larger 16GB RAM compared to only 12GB for the S22 Ultra. It also supports the company’s S pen (stylus), but as an accessory and not built-in. This discontinued Samsung smartphone also has a fingerprint sensor but sports a slower yet dependable Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor.

The periscope telephoto and telephoto cameras of the Galaxy S21 Ultra have whooping 10x and 3x optical zoom levels, respectively. No wonder Samsung decided to keep them for the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Both of them offer the same 15W wireless charging, while the younger version has faster 45W wireless charging instead of 25W.

Like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has no 3.5mm headphone jack and is being sold without a charger. Since they have the same cameras, both smartphones are equal when it comes to photo and video quality. In that aspect, you can save money with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. After all, this model is still likely available in some stores.

5. Google Pixel 6 Pro

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Google Pixel 6 Pro - 5G Android Phone - Unlocked...
  • Unlocked Android cell phone gives you the flexibility to change carriers and choose your own data plan[1]; the new, redesigned Pixel 6 Pro is the smartest and fastest Pixel yet[2].Form_factor : Smartphone.Display resolution maximum:1080 x 2340 pixels
  • The powerful Google Tensor processor is the first processor designed by Google and made for Pixel; takes performance to a whole new level
  • Advanced camera system with wide and ultrawide lenses, 4x optical zoom, and a main sensor that captures 150% more light[3]

The Google Pixel 6 Pro was released in October 2021, along with the Pixel 6. Both of them are successors of the Pixel 5. However, the Pixel 6 Pro is a great contender to be the best Android phone against the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It is also a very outstanding competitor to the iPhone 13 Pro. Yet, the Pixel 6 Pro is the cheapest among the three.

The Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro have the same Google Tensor chipset (which incidentally is made by Samsung), in-display fingerprint sensor, 50MP wide-angle camera, and 12MP ultra-wide camera. Both of them also offer Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and 5G connectivity, as well as 128GB and 256GB storage capability.

Nevertheless, the Google Pixel 6 Pro is equipped with a curved and 6.7-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. This is a bit larger and better than the flat 6.4-inch panel with a 90Hz refresh rate of the Pixel 6. It also has a third rear camera – a 48MP telephoto lens, and a higher resolution 11.1MP front-facing camera instead of 8 MP.

Another advantage of the Pixel 6 Pro is its 12-GB RAM instead of only 8GB for the Pixel 6. Although it is quite bigger and heavier, the Pro has faster wireless charging at 23W. Both of their rear cameras can shoot 4k/60p, but only the front camera of the Pixel 6 Pro can shoot 4K. With all factors considered, the Google Pixel 6 Pro is an ideal option.

6. Google Pixel 6a

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Google Pixel 6a - 5G Android Phone - Unlocked...
  • Google Pixel 6a adapts to you; it’s super fast and secure and powered by Google Tensor, the first chip designed by Google just for Pixel.Form_factor : Bar
  • Unlocked Android 5G phone gives you the flexibility to change carriers and choose your own data plan[1]; works with Google Fi, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and other major carriers
  • Pixel’s fast-charging all-day battery adapts to you and saves power for the apps you use most[2]

The Google Pixel 6a was released in July 2022 as the mid-range version of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Although it is half the price of the Pixel 6 Pro, this smaller, lighter-camera phone still offers a wonderful shooting experience. In fact, it has impressive features for a smartphone under $500. The image and video quality are also competitive.

For their similarities, the Google Pixel 6a and the Pixel 6 Pro have a Google Tensor chipset, in-screen fingerprint biometrics, and a 12MP wide camera. Both of them can shoot 4K UHD video at 60 fps and Full HD video at 60 fps. However, the latter has only 6GB RAM (half that of the former) and is limited to maximum storage of 126GB.

Like the Pixel 6, the Pixel 6a has a lower resolution 12.2MP wide-angle camera and no third telephoto camera. It also has a lower resolution 8MP selfie camera. Among the three camera phones, the Pixel 6a is the only one with no wireless charging. It also has a slow 18W wired charging speed. At some point, you may need a decent power bank.

The Pixel 6a is sold with a much smaller 6.1-inch OLED screen rated at a 60Hz refresh rate. There are some reports that it could be increased to up to 90Hz, but it has not been proven yet. But when it comes to image and video quality, the Pixel 6a is not so far from that of the Pixel 6 Pro. Hence, it is truly a persuasive budget smartphone.

7. Sony Xperia 1 IV

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Sony Xperia 1 IV 512GB 5G Factory Unlocked...
  • 4K HDR native 120fps video recording[1] on all rear lenses[2].Form_factor : Bar.Display resolution maximum:1644 x 3840 pixels
  • True optical zoom 85-125mm/16mm/24mm lenses w/ 20fps HDR AF/AE
  • Real-time Eye AF & object tracking for photo/video (all rear lenses)

The Sony Xperia 1 IV was launched in May 2022, along with the Xperia 10 IV. But while both are mid-range Android smartphones, the former is more premium and expensive, which is expected. The Xperia 1 IV is not in the same league as the Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro, but it can somehow compete with the Google Pixel 6a.

The Xperia 1 IV is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, compared to the slower Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G of the Xperia 10 IV. This new Sony flagship smartphone is also equipped with a 6.5-inch OLED display with a higher 120Hz refresh rate. This is larger than the 6.0-inch display with a 60Hz refresh rate of the Xperia 10 IV. 

Like the Pixel 6a, the Xperia 1 IV can shoot 1080p/60fps and 4K video but at up to 120fps instead of 60 fps. On the other hand, the Xperia 10 IV has no 4k shooting capability and can shoot 1080p/30 fps. The Xperia 1 IV has a slightly lower resolution 12MP selfie camera than the 12.2MP of the Xperia 10 IV but beats the 8MP of the Pixel 6a.

Among the three, the Xperia 1 IV is the only one with three 12MP rear cameras and a 1/3.5-inch sensor. The Xperia 1 IV is better than the Xperia 10 IV and has a slight edge over the Pixel 6a. But despite having stellar features and gorgeous looks, it has some flaws, including having no Night mode. But most of all, it is extremely expensive.

8. Xiaomi 12S Ultra

You should understand that some newer Huawei smartphones have been suffering from the US ban since May 15, 2019. Released in July 2022, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is included in the ban and has no Google services. Yet, this is still one of the best smartphones today and is much cheaper than most high-end smartphones. 

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. This is slightly faster and more efficient than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It is also the first smartphone with the massive 1-inch 50.3MP Sony IMX989 main sensor. But then, this sensor has only half the resolution compared to Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Despite having no secondary telephoto camera, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra has wider resolution 0.5-inch 48MP ultra-wide and periscope cameras. Its selfie camera has a slightly lower resolution at 32MP. This Chinese camera phone can also shoot 8K/24fps and 4K/60fps and offers faster 67W wired charging and 50W wireless charging.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra also sports a 6.73-inch curved Samsung LTPO2 AMOLED display (1440 x 3200 pixels) with a dynamic refresh rate of 1-120Hz and a peak brightness of 1,500 nits. But since the OneUI 4 OS is better than the MIUI 13, the Galaxy S22 Ultra beats the Xiaomi 12S Ultra in terms of software. Yet, the latter has superb hardware.

9. OnePlus 10 Pro

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OnePlus 10 Pro | 5G Android Smartphone | 8GB+128GB...
  • Unleash the power of 5G | Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, the 10 Pro is capable of blazing-fast 5G speeds. [5G network only compatible with TMO, Verizon, Google Fi, Mint Mobile] *5G available in selected areas..Form_factor : Bar
  • Powerful triple camera System, co-developed with Hasselblad | Featuring a primary 48MP Sony IMX sensor, the 10 Pro captures stunning natural colors & can shoot up to 8k video.
  • Capture the bigger picture with a 150º Ultra-Wide Camera | A versatile 50MP ultra-wide sensor shoots with an expansive 150º field-of-view, enabling you to take your creativity to a whole new level.

This was released in March 2022. The OnePlus 10 Pro replaces the OnePlus 9 Pro and is the company’s best smartphone so far. This flagship camera phone may not match the excellent performance of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Still, it comes with outstanding features and a classic design, with a price that is insanely lower than its equivalent.

Like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the OnePlus 10 Pro is also powered by a 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with a 1-120Hz refresh rate but with a bit smaller 6.7-inch AMOLED display. It has a lower peak brightness of 1,300 nits, though. The maximum RAM and storage capability are also smaller at 12GB and 256GB, respectively. 

Like the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, the OnePlus 10 Pro has the same 32MP selfie camera but with a bit wider aperture of f/2.2 instead of f/2.5. It also has a slightly lower resolution 48MP main camera and a much lower resolution 8MP telephoto camera. But then, it has a slightly higher resolution 50MP ultra-wide camera with the same f/2.2 aperture.

But although the OnePlus 10 Pro offers a whopping 80W wired charging system, US and Canada are only limited to 65W charging. This upper mid-range smartphone can shoot 8K/30 fps and 4K/120 fps videos, which are both great in bright scenes. Images quality is also great, but not as excellent as that Galaxy S22 Ultra. Still, it’s worth the price.

10. Oppo Find X5 Pro

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Oppo Find X5 Pro 5G Dual 256GB 12GB RAM Factory...
  • NOTE: China Version. No Warranty. This device is globally unlocked and ready to be used with your preferred GSM Carrier. THIS DEVICE IS NOT COMPATIBLE with CDMA carriers such as Cricket, Verizon, Sprint, Boost Mobile, US Cellular, etc. SIM CARD NOT INCLUDED. Please confirm device compatibility with your service provider before placing your order.
  • Supported Network Bands: 5G/4G/3G/2G. Please note that 5G requires the support of local telecom operator services and may not be available in all regions. Please check with your service provider to see if 5G is offered in your area

Released in March 2022, The Oppo Find X5 Pro is not the successor of the Find X4 Pro since the latter does not exist. This is because the number 4 is believed in China to be an unlucky number. Instead, this Chinese camera phone replaced the Find X3 Pro, which was released a year earlier. And like Xiaomi, Oppo is also not available in the US.

To start with, the Find X5 Pro has a lot of similarities with its predecessor and has few improvements. Both of them have the same 50MP main camera, 50MP ultra-wide lens, 13MP telephoto lens, and a 32MP selfie camera, which can shoot 1080p at 30 fps. Their rear cameras can shoot 4k at 60fps, but the Find X3 Pro has a 3MP macro camera.

In return, the newer version introduced the Hasselblad Color Calibration feature to achieve the most accurate colors in the subject. The Find X5 Pro is also powered by 4nm octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is around 20% faster and more efficient than the 5nm octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 of the Find X3 Pro. 

Both smartphones have a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and offer a peak brightness of 1300 nits. However, the Find X5 Pro uses the upgraded LTPO 2.0 version. It also has faster 80W wired charging and 50W wireless charging. Clearly, the Oppo Find X5 Pro is a great contender as the best Android camera phone.

11. Huawei P50 Pro

HUAWEI P50 Pro Global Model EU/UKVersion Dual SIM...
  • Please note: THIS PHONE DOES NOT CONTAIN GOOGLE SERVICES. 4G FDD LTE: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 12 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 26 / 28 / 32 / 66 4G TDD LTE: Bänder 34 / 38 / 39 / 40 / 41 3G WCDMA: Bänder 1 / 2 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 19 2G GSM: Bänder 2 / 3 / 5 / 8 (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz)
  • 8GB+256GB , 4360 mah Battery, 6.6 inch screen, 120HZ refresh rate, SNAPDRAGON 888 4G
  • True shape dual matrix camera: 200x true steady recording, super colour filter system, true-focus fast recording, ultra-wide angle AF selfie.

Like the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, the Huawei P50 Pro is also banned in the US since it was released in August 2021. With that, this Chinese smartphone also has no Google services such as Gmail, Chrome, and Google Play Store. But unlike the former, which has 5G connectivity, this Huawei smartphone is limited to 4G connectivity.

Nevertheless, the Huawei P50 Pro still has many good features worth mentioning. This includes the 6.6-inch curved OLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, compared to the 6.5-inch flat OLED display with only a 90Hz refresh rate of its sibling, the Huawei P50. As expected, both of them are powered by 5 nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G.

Unlike the Huawei P50, which has a triple-camera system, the P50 Pro has a quad-camera setup. This includes the 50 MP (f/1.8) wide lens, 64 MP (f/3.5) periscope telephoto lens, 13 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and 40 MP black and white sensor. Both of them have a 13 MP (f/2.4) selfie camera, but the P50 Pro has phase-detection autofocus (PDAF).

Both Huawei smartphones have stereo speakers, can shoot 4K/60fps via rear cameras and 4K/30fps via the selfie camera, and offer 66W fast wired charging. The P50 Pro has 50W fast wireless charging, while the P50 has none. So, if the Google issue and 5G don’t matter to you and you want good cameras, the Huawei P50 Pro is not a bad option.

12. Apple iPhone SE 2022

2022 Apple iPhone SE (64 GB, Starlight) [Locked] +...
  • 4.7-inch Retina HD display
  • Advanced single-camera system with 12MP Wide camera; Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Portrait mode, and 4K video up to 60 fps
  • 7MP FaceTime HD camera with Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Portrait mode, and 1080p video recording

Truth be told, the iPhone SE 2022 (or iPhone SE 3) is far from being the best camera phone in 2022. But if you’re looking for the cheapest iPhone with decent features, this is your lucky day. Released in March 2022, this third-generation iPhone SE has some similarities and differences with its predecessor, the iPhone SE 2 (or iPhone SE 2020).

Both iPhones share the same size of 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches, 4.7-inch Retina IPS LCD screen with a maximum brightness of only 625 nits, 7 MP selfie camera, and Quad-LED 12 MP wide camera that can shoot 4k at up to 60 fps. Fortunately, this new iPhone SE is powered by a faster 5nm A15 Bionic processor instead of the A13 Bionic.

Unlike the iPhone SE 2020, which is limited to 4G, the iPhone SE 2022 has 5G connectivity and slightly longer battery life, rated at 15 hours of video playback. This is still below average, though. But like the older iPhone SE, it does not have a dedicated Night Mode. Hence, you need a third-party app when taking shots in low-light situations.

To sum it up, the iPhone SE 3 performs a bit better than the iPhone SE 2 and delivers higher quality images and videos. It has a slightly higher 4GB RAM but still has a 64GB memory at the start. Yes, Apple did not address big issues with the iPhone SE 2022. Again, this is not the best iPhone. Still, this is a good camera phone with a very low price. 

Summary

As you might have noticed, the list above contains different levels of smartphones and are not necessarily direct competitors to each other. This is because camera users have different levels of knowledge and interest in photography. So take note, you don’t need an expensive smartphone with high-end cameras if you are only a casual photographer.

Top 12 Best Smartphone Cameras for Photography in 2022