Smartphones will have 8 cameras in 2020

Best mobile phone camera 2021: which smartphone wins?

The integrated smartphone cameras get better every year. But the development of the cameras is progressing in leaps and bounds, so one year one manufacturer is ahead of the curve and the next year another. We compare the top models and mid-range models from the most important smartphone manufacturers and determine the best mobile phone camera.

In good lighting conditions - and bright office lighting is sufficient for this, it doesn't even have to be daylight - all smartphones now deliver good or very good images. But in poor lighting conditions, the wheat is separated from the chaff and several cell phone cameras still show weaknesses. The built-in "real" xenon flash or the LED photo light often helps to take good portrait photos in the disco or in moonlight. But the flash is not a panacea: objects further away remain dark even with flash, at the same time it can lead to overexposure in close range. Better if the camera takes good pictures even with very little light. That's exactly what we're testing.

Many smartphones offer the choice between auto and professional mode in the camera settings. Since the vast majority of snapshots are taken by the users with the automatic mode, we test exactly this. So we refrain from checking whether time-consuming settings in the numerous menus of the camera app could get even more out of it.

For our comparison of the best mobile phone cameras, we use OnePlus 9 (Pro), Oppo Find X3 Pro, Oppo Find X3 Neo, Samsung Galaxy S21 (+), Galaxy S21 Ultra, Apple iPhone 12 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 11, Samsung Galaxy, among others Z Fold 2 5G, Samsung Galaxy S20 (+), Galaxy S20 Ultra, OnePlus 8 (Pro), Oppo Find X2 Pro and Huawei P40 compete against each other. Which smartphone camera can hold its own against the competition in dim lighting conditions?

Our test environment

We selected a windowless room for our test scenario. The motif with flower and cardboard is taken from one meter away. We carried out the test shots in good lighting conditions with strong ceiling lights and additionally switched on the flash. For the photos under dim conditions, we switched off the ceiling lights and the flash function and used indirect lighting with a 1 watt LED lamp.

On the individual pages you will first find a more detailed description of the camera of the respective smartphone model and its test results. We also link the unedited test recordings. On the last page, however, you will find a summary of the entire test. We also choose the test winners there.

Note: We took all photos at the highest possible resolution in auto mode. We also repeated the recordings in poor light with a night mode, if the camera app offers this as an option.

First, let's test the iPhone 12's camera.

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