Rated: The best camera-phones for serious snappers

Samsung, Sony and Nokia often outpace Apple's iPhones when it comes to delivering phones for 'serious' photographers.

More photos are now taken on mobile phones than on dedicated cameras worldwide - in fact, 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.

Apps such as Flickr now offer the chance to store and share high-quality photos - but the key is choosing a cameraphone that delivers the goods.

Camera phone quality is improving too, with top-end models now more than a match for budget dedicated cameras. And companies such as Samsung and Nokia often outpace Apple's iPhones when it comes to delivering phones for 'serious' photographers.

But not all camera phones measure up, so here we look at five of the best, all of which include essential features like autofocus and flash.


Nokia 808 PureView
Price: from £345


Nokia’s swansong Symbian mobile packs the biggest camera phone punch ever thanks to its detail crunching 41-megapixel snapper. With that kind of resolution you’d expect it to trump almost any camera out there – and it does. But it’s not all about the megapixels.

The secret lies in its PureView technology incorporating an oversized 1/1.2-inch sensor and Carl Zeiss f/2.4 lens, which conspire with the impressive 8.02mm focal length to create genuinely pro-quality images.

Remarkable depth of field, punchy xenon flash, two-tier auto and lossless zoom and fantastic low-light performance make this the best camera on a phone available. It also shoots full 1080p HD movies too. It’s just a shame the 808 is let down by Nokia’s now-euthanised Symbian operating system.

Nokia Lumia 920
Price: from £450


The Nokia Lumia 920’sopts for an 8.7-megapixel camera with a more common 1/3-inch sensor, its daylight photographs are par for the camera phone course and come with some useful extras like Cinemagraph for creating animated files.

Where it does raise its head above the pack is in its low light capabilities. The f/2.0 aperture and excellent optical image stabiliser combine to create clean, almost noise free shots in typical low light situations, as well as great full HD movies. If you take most of your photos in the pub, it’s a great option.

Samsung Galaxy S3
Price: from £349


The Samsung Galaxy S3 was the first true challenger to the iPhone thanks not only to its sumptuous design, simple UI and fantastic display, but also because its 8-megapixel camera stands up.

Despite the slightly higher than its rivals f/2.6 aperture, the S3 has a lightning 1/10000 sec shutter speed and one-second exposure which helps it shoot fast-moving and super detailed daylight shots with great results. Only in its low light photos does noise and image blur start to make an appearance.

There are some nice added features too – simultaneous HD video and image recording and best shot function that recommends the best photo based on colour, light and sharpness. And on that big, vivid screen your photos will almost always look great.

Apple iPhone 5
Price: from £499


Long the popular smartphone choice, Apple’s more recent iPhones have stepped up the photography stakes thanks to the 8-megapixel iSight camera and f/2.4 lens.

Photos are as sharp and vibrant on the iPhone 5 as the iPhone 4S, but the big improvements come in the 40% faster snap time and new low-light mode that gives darker shots a spit and polish. The results aren’t as impressive as Nokia’s 920, but as an all round camera phone for stills and HD movies it’s fantastic.

The iPhone doesn’t have a great deal of manual photo features, however the other big update is Panorama mode. A nifty feature previously only available via apps, Panorama allows you to take super wide-angle photos by stitching one sweeping shot into one seamless 28-megapixel image. It may not be a new technology, but typically Apple has done it better than anyone else.


Sony Xperia Z
Price: TBC


Announced in January and due for release in March, Sony’s Xperia Z is shaking things up in the smart and camera phone market. The most powerful phone the Japanese giant has ever made also comes with a serious 13-megapixel snapper benefiting from the upgraded Exmor RS sensor and f/2.4 lens that promises far improved low light photos.

On top of this you’ll find HDR technology for polishing still and moving images, sweeping panorama for those wide-angle shots and a host of other picture improving technologies. Early tests reveal the Xperia Z’s camera as one of the best, providing bright, natural daylight images and detailed darker shots. Oh, and it’s water resistant too, in case you like taking photos in the shower.