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Best cell phone camera: The top cell phone cameras in the test


These mobile phones replace your DSLR camera

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Mobile phone cameras: names simply explained

Stow a bulky camera in your luggage for your vacation? In many cases, this has now become superfluous, because smartphones with their built-in camera lenses meanwhile take excellent photos. We'll tell you which cell phones can replace your camera and which features really matter. In the video you will find out what the numerous cellphone camera terms are all about.

Numerous camera lenses, absurdly high resolutions and a huge range of functions: smartphone cameras have become one in the last few years useful feature developed. And the best thing about it: Almost everyone has their smartphone with them anyway. For many, this makes the dream of a hobby photographer a reality even without specialist knowledge and without expensive equipment.

But what do you have to pay attention to when buying the next mobile phone? And which smartphones can also be used to produce very good image results? Very striking: Of the ten cell phones with the best camera, six come from Samsung. And also the top 3 of the list consists only of devices from the South Korean manufacturer.

In order not to leave other manufacturers out, the buying advice is limited to one model per manufacturer , Thus the brands Samsung, Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi are represented in this test. All models in this buying guide complete our camera test with a grade of 1.0 (“very good”) and produce great image and video results. The following overview gives you the most important key data of the devices at a glance.

The best camera smartphones in the overview (selection; as of January 2020)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus iPhone 11 Per Huawei P 30 Per Xiaomi Mi Note 10

Appreciation

1.2 (very good)

1.2 (very good)

1.3 (very good)

1.4 (very good)

Rank

Rank 6

Place 3

9th place

Place 17

Dissolution of the main camera

12 Megapixels

12 Megapixels

40 Megapixels

108 Megapixels

Built-in camera lenses

main camera, telephoto camera, ultra -Wide-angle camera, ToF sensor

main camera, telephoto camera, ultra wide-angle camera

main camera, telephoto camera, ultra wide-angle camera, ToF sensor

main camera, 2x Telephoto camera, ultra wide-angle camera, ToF sensor

Photo quality assessment

1.4 (very good)

1.3 (very good)

1.1 (very good)

1.7 (very good)

Best video quality

4K @ 60 FPS

4K @ 60 FPS

4K @ 30 FPS

4K @ 30 FPS

Review

To the test report

To the test report

To the test report

To the test report

Price (approx.)

850 Euro

1.0 60 Euro

600 Euro

450 Euro

Find the best price Find the best price Find the best price Find the best price

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

  • Galaxy Note 10 Plus 12/256 GB

    Source: bestcheck.de

    Galaxy Note 10 Plus 12 / 256 GB

    The Galaxy Note 10 Plus shows in the test that it is at the top especially in the categories of display, camera and performance. The battery life is still very good, but not spectacular. But the price is tough.

Benefits
Excellent OLED display with integrated fingerprint sensor
Practical S-Pen functions without touch
Very good performance
Disadvantage
Camera stays behind the Huawei P in low light 30 Pro back
battery life may be even longer
No classic headphone jack

The main camera of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus takes photos with 12 Megapixels – and has a variable aperture of f / 1.5 or f / 2.4. In addition there is an ultra wide angle sensor with 16 Megapixel (f / 2.2), which has a viewing angle of 123 degrees captures. In order to optically enlarge motifs twice, the system changes to 12 – Megapixel telesensor with an f / 2.1 aperture. The main and zoom cameras have an optical image stabilizer. A Time of Flight sensor (ToF sensor) is also on board. It provides a better calculation of background blur in portrait mode. Rotate videos in 4K with up to 60 frames per second. The front camera has a resolution of 10 megapixels. The sensor has a dual-pixel autofocus – this is great for taking sharp selfies very quickly.

Taking pictures with the Galaxy Note 10 Plus we like it very much. In daylight, they impress with their level of detail and natural colors. To the level of the low light shots of the Huawei P 30 Pro comes the grade 10 Plus, however, not quite close. Here, sharpness and details are missing, especially in the marginal areas. Here we complain at a very high level.

There are a few nice features on the software side. A night mode is integrated in the modes bar. To create a bright, good picture in the dark, he combines 14 Pictures to one – but can also be up to 11 seconds time. You can also use the grade 10 Plus use the live bokeh mode now for video recordings or set a color point. The new zoom-in function is interesting for video recordings: If you zoom in on an object, the level of the target object (according to Samsung by up to 10 dB) raised. Annoying background noises are automatically suppressed. It remains to be seen whether this is a feature that everyone has been waiting for.

There is also a ToF sensor on board: The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus shoots excellent pictures Picture: CHIP

To the single test of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Apple iPhone 11 Per

  • iPhone 11 Pro 64GB

    Source: bestcheck. de

    iPhone 11 Per 64 GB

    Apple's iPhone 11 Pro turns out to be a top mobile phone in the test, which leaves little to be desired. Visually, not much has changed compared to the predecessor, but the inner values ​​are completely convincing: The performance sets new standards again, the display, camera and finally the battery life are excellent. Apple can pay for that.

Benefits
Outstanding performance
Very good camera with many functions
Very good battery life
Disadvantage
High price
No microSD card slot
No 3.5mm headphone jack

The iPhone 11 Per comes with three camera lenses. All snap with a resolution of 12 megapixels. In addition to a wide-angle and telephoto lens with f / 1.8 or f / 2.0 aperture, there is now also an ultra-wide-angle lens with f / 2.4 available, which enables shots with a viewing angle of 120 Degree possible are. The telephoto lens enables a double optical zoom and records depth information for the blur effect when taking portraits. An optical image stabilizer should ensure less blurred shots in the main and zoom lens. The front camera snaps with 12 Megapixels, videos are front and back with 4k resolution at 60 Images per second possible.

The photos from the test laboratory have very good, natural colors. Even fine details and structures such as hair or yarn are very well recognizable – even in dim light. Noticeable image noise cannot be overlooked. This is also confirmed by our laboratory measurement. But fine structures are not so softly blurred.

Apple is back on its software to improve the photo quality. The “Smart HDR”, which is activated as standard, should be even better and thus create more detailed portraits and photos even in poor lighting conditions. The software selects the four best from shots with many different exposure settings and combines them into one HDR image. Also included is a night mode that activates itself: the automatic illuminates dark scenes for about 3 seconds, on the tripod there are up to 30 seconds possible. Night shots are brightened up and show significantly more details, but cannot quite match the level of the Huawei P 30 Keep up with pro.

Questionable design, but great results: Three camera lenses on the iPhone 11 Pro for great pictures and videos Picture: CHIP

For the individual test of the iPhone 11 Per

Huawei P 30 Per

  • P30 Pro (128GB)

    Source: bestcheck.de

    P 30 Per (128 GB)

    In the test, Huawei's top-made flagship convinced us with a very good battery life and performance as well as a great OLED display. Hobby clippers in particular get a lot on offer. The camera shoots photos with excellent quality and offers many possibilities including the optical five-fold zoom.

Benefits
Great smartphone camera
top performance
Very good Battery life and wireless charging
Disadvantage
No classic 3.5mm headphone jack
Video recordings in UHD only with 30 FPS
No Ster eo speakers

The Huawei P 30 Per has four camera sensors on the back. In addition to the 40 Megapixel main camera (f / 1.6) and one 20 Megapixel ultra wide-angle camera (f / 2.2 ) there is also an 8-megapixel zoom camera (f / 3.4), which optically magnifies motifs five times and, if desired, even ten times using digital hybrid zoom. Among the three camera lenses, only the wide-angle camera has to do without an optical image stabilizer. To the right of the cameras is an additional time-of-flight lens (ToF) that measures depth information.

In good lighting conditions, the P 30 Pro in the standard setting with 10 Megapixels a super sharp, detailed picture with natural colors. We can still recognize even small texts. And in low light? There too! We hardly see any image noise on the test photos in low light. Structures such as hair or flowers can still be seen very well. One evening we went to the camera of the Huawei P 30 Pro can also be tested outside of the test laboratory, outdoors. Both at dusk and in the dark, the camera takes bright, low-noise photos and brings out colors and details that you cannot see with the naked eye. If you want to get more out of it, you can use the night mode. It shows lighter and darker areas even more intensely. There is also a mode especially for portrait shots. For example, if you photograph a person against the light, the face is brightened accordingly – the result is natural and successful.

The zoom photos with the optical five-fold zoom are also very sharp and detailed. How does Huawei enable this without making the phone super wide? The solution is a prism, which the light around 90 degrees redirected to the 8-megapxiel sensor. Refined. Even with the tenfold hybrid zoom, the photos are even better than if you simply enlarged them on the PC.

One thing remains to be criticized: For practical use, an optical triple would be -Zoom (like the normal P 30) was also helpful , Five times is a big leap. Of course, the zoom level can also be switched to triple, but that happens with the main camera and digitally – somehow a shame.

The Huawei P 30 Pro is particularly convincing with its great night mode and the 5x optical zoom Picture: CHIP

To the individual test of the Huawei P 30 Per

Xiaomi Mi Note 10

  • Mi Note 10 6/128GB

    Source: bestcheck.de

    Wed note 10 6 / 128 GB

    The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 convinced in the test with a strong five-way camera, the photos with previously unsurpassed 108 Megapixel can snap, as well as with a top battery performance including short charging time , We miss individual equipment components such as wireless charging or certified water protection.

Benefits
Great photo quality and many shooting options
Super battery life, short charging time
Strong 6, 47 OLED display
Disadvantage
No wireless charging
No stereo sound
No certified dust and water damage utz

On the back of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 there are five camera components. The main camera (1/1. 33 “and f / 1. 69) shoots with impressive 108 Megapixels, but by default the software combines four pixels into one, so one Photo with a resolution of 27 Megapixel is created. If you want, you can click on the in the camera app Megapixels change and so ultra-high-resolution photos (with 12. 032 x 9. 024 pixels).

The advantage of the Mi Note 10 is that photos very much Look natural, we do not see any noticeable re-sharpening. In lower light, however, the recordings have more noise and are not quite as sharp as photos of the high-end competition. In addition, they tend to be a little too dark. By the way: The Mi Note 10 can also be used for subsequent image processing in RAW format with 27 Megapixel output – a premiere for Xiaomi. And a memory guzzler: A single photo is about 55 MByte big. Overall, the photo quality of the Mi Note 10 very impressive. The various shooting options also make the hobby photographer's heart beat faster.

In addition to a night mode and macro slow-motion videos with 960 Frames per second (fps) allows the Mi Note 10 with a 20 – Megapixel ultra wide-angle lens (f / 2.2) also pictures with a field of view of 117 Degree. It also has a 2-megapixel macro lens to capture small-format subjects from a distance of two to ten centimeters.

In addition to a night mode and macro slow-motion videos with 960 frames per second (fps) allows the Mi Note 10 with a 20 – Megapixel ultra wide angle lens (f / 2.2) also recording imitate with a field of view of 117 Degree. It also has a 2-megapixel macro lens to capture even small-format subjects from a distance of two to ten centimeters. Two zoom levels are available to get closer to a subject. The 12 – Megapixel telephoto lens (f / 2.0) enables a double optical zoom; the second 5-megapixel telephoto lens has a five-fold optical zoom.

Five camera lenses and 108 Megapixels: The data sheet definitely speaks for the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Picture: CHIP

To the individual test of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10

Xiaomi Mi 8

  • Mi 8 Dual Sim 64GB

    Source: bestcheck.de

    Mi 8 Dual Sim 64 GB

    Our price-performance winner Xiaomi Mi 8 comes with strong high-end hardware, but at the price of a mid-range cell phone. The OLED display is just as great as the photo quality. However, there are annoying gaps in the configuration that cost the Xiaomi Mi 8 points in the test.

Benefits
Top performance
Brilliant OLED display
High quality dual camera
Disadvantage
No MicroSD slot
dust and Water protection missing
No inductive charging

The photo quality of the Xiaomi Mi 8 is great. The images from the dual camera are detailed, sharp and show almost no noise. Even in difficult lighting conditions, the details hardly diminish. You can still do a lot better, but you pay a lot more for that. For the price of the Mi 8, the camera is outstanding, because mid-range phones cannot keep up.

With the two 12 – Megapixel sensors of the dual main camera have both a double optical zoom and an optical image stabilizer is also available, which contributes significantly to the good quality of the photos. For the front camera there is even a 20 -Megapixel sensor, an auto focus and a front light are missing, so that the selfies are not quite as detailed. Video recordings are possible in UHD resolution and with image stabilization, but at the time of testing only in 30 instead of 60 fps, as is possible with other high-end devices. The manufacturer wants to change that with a future update. Slow motion pictures are in 1080 p-resolution with 240 fps possible .

Our price-performance tip for great pictures at a fair price: The Xiaomi Mi 8 Picture: CHIP

Smartphone snaps: This is how CHIP tests cell phone cameras

The core of our photo tests is the analysis of a measurement chart, which informs us exactly how soft focus or detail, noise behavior, color representation and actual resolution of the cams turn out. We now take this laboratory picture not only in bright light (1. 00 0 lux), but also in dim light (50 Lux).

In addition, we photograph a mannequin head in different lighting conditions, which is characterized by other meaningful objects such as colored pencils, sieves, Plastic roses and yarn are surrounded. Based on these pictures, our photo experts rate the picture quality additionally. We shoot part of the test photos from our hands and not from a tripod, for example to assess the effectiveness of the image stabilizers.

Image stabilization is also of interest to us in video mode in Full HD – and UHD resolution – so if videos jerky heavily, there are deductions. We also judge the quality of the selfie cam subjectively. Some features bring additional points, including zoom lenses (as they sometimes offer double cameras), wide-angle options of the front camera for group selfies and a slow-motion mode in Full HD and 720 p, which records for at least three seconds.

Mobile phone camera in the CHIP test: Dedicated measurement chart in use. Photo: CHIP

CHIP cell phone test procedure explained: This is how we rate smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S 10 5G in the test

Mobile phone camera: what must be included?

Almost every modern cell phone has more than just a camera lens on the back. In addition, many devices score with numerous additional features. We evaluate both aspects in the test with additional points. These include:

  • Zoom lenses / telephoto lenses: On Optical zoom brings distant subjects into sharp focus on the photo. It depends on how close you want to zoom in on objects. The zoom lens of the Huawei P 30 Per for example enables a five-fold optical zoom. With digital support, even a tenfold hybrid zoom. Many other devices zoom twice or three times optically. The feature is made possible by changing the focal length of the corresponding lens.

  • Wide-angle lenses: a zoom factor less than 1x? No problem with wide-angle lenses. These cover a larger viewing angle than the conventional camera lenses. Practical, in order to bring the motif in the picture in full with landscape or group photos.
  • ToF sensor: With the help of a time-of-flight sensor (ToF sensor), the smartphone measures the difference between foreground and background. This makes realistic portrait effects on pictures or even videos possible.
Most modern smartphones come with more than just a camera lens – that gives extra points Picture: CHIP

Smartphone cameras: The most important terms clearly explained

Smartphone cameras: the big megapixel lie

Smartphone manufacturers are particularly proud of the resolution in which their cell phone cameras can take photos. For a while you especially put the megapixel number of your cameras in the foreground and neglected other facts and figures. But be careful: the number of megapixels does not necessarily go hand in hand with the actual image quality. Fortunately, this trend has abated in the past few months: For example, the majority of cell phone cams in our smartphone best list have around 12 Megapixels – including the top models in this category.

Because the resolution of the pictures can be so high – if the aperture and the camera software on the smartphone do not do a good job, no good pictures come out. Ultimately, the megapixel number only tells you how many pixels the sensor can record: the higher the number of megapixels, the more details the camera can capture in ideal lighting conditions. The megapixel number does not provide information about aspects such as noise behavior, color intensity, dynamic range and so on. In addition, it is often the case that the image quality of particularly high-resolution cell phone cameras suffers in poor light because the pixels are so small that they receive too little light.

Huawei advertises the P 30 Pro with a resolution of 40 Megapixels. In reality, however, the photos in the end result have a resolution of “only” 10 Megapixels, since the smartphone comes with a function called “Pixel Binning”. Here, four recorded pixels are combined into a single pixel in order to increase the image quality, but this is at the expense of the actual resolution.

Smartphone cameras with 108 Megapixels: Why madness has to end (comment)

HDR (Plus): The software decides

In addition to the built-in camera hardware, the software also plays a very important role for great image recordings. The best proof of this: The current model series of the Google Pixel a series. Google only installs a single camera lens in these smartphones. It is therefore not surprising that the specs do not seem to be in line with the current top smartphones from other manufacturers. Nevertheless, Google manages to take the best pictures in the smartphone segment. The reason for this is the camera software optimized by Google.

Almost all current smartphones under iOS and Android have a so-called high dynamic range mode (HDR mode). With the help of this software feature, image results should be closer to the perception of the human eye. The camera software makes use of a trick: When taking a photo, the camera takes several pictures in succession with different exposure levels. In the so-called “post processing” (post-processing), the software then analyzes all images and compiles the best details and image information of all individual images into a final image. Thanks to the excellent development of this software by Google, it is sufficient for many scenarios to have only one camera lens on board and still take excellent pictures.

Great photos can be taken with just one camera lens: the magic word is “HDR” Picture: CHIP

Optical and digital image stabilization: these are the differences

The image stabilizer plays an important role when taking photos and especially videos. With the help of the stabilization, the camera tries to balance the movements of our body when we hold the smartphone freely in the air. A digital image stabilizer first zooms in a bit so that the software can correct Wackler by slightly shifting the image section. The disadvantage of the method: resolution is lost. For example, it is often the case that full HD video recording is stabilized, but recording in UHD is not. In addition, a digital stabilizer can sometimes not compensate for stuttering so well.

An optical image stabilizer can do more: The camera lens is not fixed in one position, but has a little scope in which she can move. Small stutters can thus be compensated in an analogous way. Some top smartphones even use a combination of digital and optical image stabilization. When buying the next smartphone, you should make sure that at least the main camera is optically stabilized.

Important to note: Photos and videos can be displayed much smoother with an optical image stabilizer Picture: CHIP

A replacement for a full DSLR camera? Cell phone cameras are now that good

Smartphone cameras show massive improvements in photo and video quality from year to year. It is not uncommon to ask whether it is still worth buying a full-fledged camera in addition to the smartphone. We got to the bottom of the question and got the Huawei P 30 Pro (camera rating: very good) against a full-frame camera from Fujifilm worth around 11. 00 0 euros.

The result: The cell phone camera does an excellent job Job in the possible framework of a smartphone. But it cannot compete with a professional camera: A much better sharpness when zooming, more realistic portrait effects and significantly more camera settings give the professional cam victory. But one thing is certain: If you are not exactly dependent on an absolutely perfect image quality, a modern flagship smartphone can truly be an alternative.

The comparison: Huawei P 30 Pro against 11. 00 0 euro super camera

In our best list you will find a list of the best smartphones on the market. Thanks to our filters, you can add filters to the list to find the best smartphone for you.

Smartphones in the test

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (1.0)
  • Battery (1.4)
  • Display (1,1)
  • Camera (1,0)

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G Offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.3)
  • Equipment (1,2)
  • Battery (1,2)
  • Display (1,1)
  • Camera (1,0)

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.1)
  • Facilities (1.5)
  • Battery (1.0)
  • Display (1,1)
  • Camera (1,1)

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.1)
  • Facilities (1.5)
  • Battery (1.0)
  • Display (1,1)
  • Camera (1,1)

Samsung Galaxy S10 Offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (1.0)
  • Battery (1.7)
  • Display (1,1)
  • Camera (1,1)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (1.3)
  • Battery (1.4)
  • Display (1.0)
  • Camera (1,0)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (1.3)
  • Battery (1.5)
  • Display (1.0)
  • Camera (1,1)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G BestCheck offer

  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (1.5)
  • Battery (1.5)
  • Display (1.0)
  • Camera (1,0)

Huawei P30 Pro BestCheck offer

  • Performance (1.4)
  • Facilities (1.4)
  • Battery (1.3)
  • Display (1.3)
  • Camera (1,0)

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Offer from BestCheck

  • Performance (1.7)
  • Facilities (2.2)
  • Battery (1.0)
  • Display (1.4)
  • Camera (1,0)

To the complete leaderboard

Jamal Fischer, Viviane Osswald

Jamal Fischer, Viviane Osswald

Jamal Fischer supports the CHIP editorial team in the area of ​​test and purchase advice. Especially in the smartphone segment, he likes to stay up to date and test new releases on the mobile phone market. If someone is looking for him: Just chase after the bleached hair.

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