Our guide to the best budget camera phones is designed to help you find a great phone for taking pictures, without spending a load of cash. Smartphone technology is getting better and better, and this is filtering down into the cheaper phones as well as the flagships. Nowadays, if you want a phone that takes decent pictures, you can get one for a good price. However, this doesn’t mean that all budget phones are great – there are still plenty of cheap models out there which aren’t worth their asking price. That’s where this guide comes in.

Our team has tested, reviewed and rated all the phones on this list. While not all the models are available in all territories, we’ve provided a broad selection of options, plenty of which boast the kinds of features you’d expect to find on the best camera phones. These include triple-camera arrays, 200MP sensors, 4K video and plenty more, all of which we’re seeing more and more often in budget and mid-range phones.

This list consists exclusively of Android phones, as that’s where you need to be if you’re looking for a budget phone. Check out our guide to Android vs iOS: which is better for photography if you want a breakdown of how the two types of phone stack up against each other in camera terms.

Google Pixel 7 review image
The Google Pixel 7’s dual-lens module. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Not sure where to start when it comes to camera phone specs? Don’t worry – we’ve put an explainer at the bottom of this page for those who aren’t too technically minded, with answers to a few commonly asked questions. Scroll down if you want to learn a little more of the technical terminology – for now though, let’s get to our picks of the best budget cameras phones.

The best budget camera phones: our quick list

Here’s our quick run-down of budget and mid-range camera phones:

  • Best under $500 / £450: Google Pixel 7a – buy now
  • Budget flagship: Samsung Galaxy S22 – buy now
  • Best budget phone for low light: Motorola Edge 40 Neobuy now
  • Best budget phone for selfies: Infinix Zero 30 5G
  • Best mid-range budget phone: Samsung Galaxy A54 5G – buy now
  • Best mid-range Honor phone: Honor 90 – buy now
  • Budget 200MP option: Xiaomi 12T Pro 5G – buy now
  • Cheapest 200MP phone: Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G – buy now
  • Waterproof IP68 rated: Google Pixel 7 – buy now
  • Best under $350 / £300: Google Pixel 6a – buy now
  • Most stylish budget phone: Nothing Phone 1 – buy now
  • Fast charging (80W): OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G – buy now
  • A good all-rounder: OPPO Reno10 – buy now

Continuing reading to find out more, along with sample photos from all the phones featured…


Best under $500 / £450: Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a camera phone, photo Joshua Waller / AP
Google Pixel 7a photo Joshua Waller / AP

Amateur Photographer verdict

Google once again proves that you don’t need to spend big money to get an excellent smartphone
Pros
  • Excellent photo quality and colour
  • Improved front and rear cameras
  • 4K video from both front/rear cameras
  • Adds motion photography modes
Cons
  • Increased price compared to Pixel 6a
  • Slow charging compared to others

At a glance:

  • 64MP wide-angle, f/1.9, 25mm equivalent, (83°), OIS, 4K 60p
  • 13MP ultra-wide, f/2.2, 14mm equivalent, (120°), 4K 30p
  • 13MP selfie camera, f/2.2, 21mm equivalent, 4K 30p, face unlock
  • Operating system and processor: Android 13, Titan M2 processor
  • Size and weight: 152.4 x 72.9 x 9.0mm, 193g (IP67 rating)
  • $499 or £449 sim-free

The Google Pixel 7a is Google’s latest entry-level smartphone, but comes with a significant update to the cameras on the phone. With a new 64MP wide-angle camera, a 13MP ultra-wide-angle camera, plus an updated 13MP selfie camera, all three cameras are capable of recording 4K video. You’ll also find that the phone has even more photography features than the cheaper Pixel 6a, including Motion Blur, which is great for creative shots of light painting, light trails, and smooth waterfalls.

Meersbrook Park taken with the Google Pixel 7a. Photo: Joshua Waller
Meersbrook Park taken with the Google Pixel 7a. Photo: Joshua Waller

The Google Pixel 7a may not have a telephoto camera, but at this price point very few smartphones do. To make up for this the phone uses Super Resolution Zoom, which gives reasonably good 2x zoom photos. You can use up to 8x zoom, but the results aren’t as good. Another nice feature of the Pixel 7a is the fact that the main camera can actually give pretty good close-up performance, even though it doesn’t have a dedicated “macro” mode.

Read our full Google Pixel 7a review


Budget flagship: Samsung Galaxy S22 (2022)

Samsung Galaxy S22 phone
Samsung Galaxy S22 – now a year older, it is great value for money. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

It offers an impressive set of cameras, a good selfie camera with autofocus, and a flagship phone design, with all the features you’d expect on a flagship.
Pros
  • Price has tumbled
  • Not too large, but feels premium
  • Excellent, consistent image quality
Cons
  • No dedicated Macro mode
  • Battery life not as good as others

At a glance:

  • 50MP main wide-angle, f/1.8, OIS, 23mm equivalent
  • 12MP ultra-wide-angle, f/2.2, 13mm equivalent
  • 10MP telephoto, f/2.4, 3x/70mm equivalent, OIS
  • 10MP selfie camera with AF, 25mm equivalent (and 4K video)
  • 6.1inch screen, AMOLED, 120Hz, Gorilla Glass Victus+
  • Android 12, upgrades to 13
  • Around £465 / $458 (prices vary)

It’s a truism in tech that yesteryear’s flagship is this year’s bargain, and so it goes with the Samsung Galaxy S22. It was never a hugely expensive phone (by smartphone standards at least), originally retailing at £769 / $799, but given that it can now be picked up for about £449 / $449, that’s quite a substantial saving.

The Galaxy S22 was the entry-level model, not a million miles away in features from mid-range phones like the Galaxy A54, listed below. So it doesn’t get the headline-grabbing 108MP or 200MP main cameras of its flagship siblings like the S22 Ultra or S23 Ultra, but it still has a more-than-respectable 50MP main camera that benefits from optical stabilisation. This sits alongside a 12MP ultra-wide-angle, as well as a 10MP 3x telephoto camera that’s stabilised (and is a good deal more welcome than a rubbishy little macro camera).

As befitting a flagship phone, the Galaxy S22 also feels premium in the hand, and has all the quality-of-life features you’d expect from such a device. Wireless charging, an in-screen fingerprint reader –Samsung even chucks in IP68 waterproofing, meaning it can even survive being submerged in water (though, as ever, we’re not recommending you test this too enthusiastically).

Meersbrook House, taken with the main camera on the Samsung Galaxy S22. Photo Joshua Waller.
Meersbrook House, taken with the main camera on the Samsung Galaxy S22. Photo credit: Joshua Waller.

The imaging performance of the Galaxy S22 is consistently impressive, delivering punchy colours and good consistency between the different camera modules. There’s no dedicated macro mode as the ultra-wide-angle camera is fixed focus (you’ll have to pay for an Ultra model for that kind of luxury), but telephoto performance is generally very good as long as there’s sufficient light. You can even record 8K video at 24p if that’s something you’re interested in; though in truth, most people will probably be just fine with the excellent 4K, which is also available on the selfie camera.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 review.


Best budget camera phone for low light: Motorola Edge 40 Neo

Motorola Edge 40 Neo product image

Amateur Photographer verdict

It’s not flashy, but the Motorola Edge 40 Neo boasts a camera system that punches above its reasonable price tag. It does especially well in low light.
Pros
  • Main camera consistently does well
  • IP68 weatherproofing
Cons
  • Curved screen is awkward in use
  • Ultra-wide camera isn’t the best

At a glance:

  • 50MP f/1.8 wide camera with OIS, PDAF
  • 13MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera, PDAF
  • 32MP f/2.4 selfie camera
  • Android 13
  • IP68 water/dustproof rating
  • Around £300 / $500

This is one of the more impressive budget phones we’ve tested recently, and if you’re looking for something that will deliver decent photo and video quality in a range of conditions, it’ll fit the bill well. The Motorola Edge 40 Neo sports an unflashy but functional double camera system, the main camera being a 50MP unit with optical image stabilisation and an f/1.8 aperture. The 12.5MP pixel-binned images it produces are punchy and full of colour – vibrant without getting that over-saturated feel that can plague a lot of phone cameras.

We also found the phone to be a quietly capable performer in low light – taking it to a night-time skating event resulted in a batch of pleasingly detailed portraits, without the noise and blur that commonly mars low-light images from budget phones. The ultra-wide camera, a 13MP unit, is less good, producing images that lack detail, and the digital zooms are best avoided.

The 32MP selfie camera acquits itself well, and the phone also produces decent-looking 4K video.

Night shots with the Motorola Edge 40 Neo in central London
Night shots with the Motorola Edge 40 Neo in central London.

The Motorola Edge 40 Neo offers an unremarkably but capable imaging package for a very tempting price. Having taken it for a test drive, we can definitely recommend the phone for budget-conscious smartphone shooters.

Read our full Motorola Edge 40 Neo review.


Best budget phone for selfies: Infinix Zero 30 5G

Infinix Zero 30 5G phone in Gold, next to it a small black LEGO figure, Photo Joshua Waller / AP
Infinix Zero 30 5G in Gold. Photo Joshua Waller / AP

Amateur Photographer verdict

Not only is the selfie camera more impressive than most flagship smartphones, it also features a dual LED flash, and can record 4K video at 60fps
Pros
  • Effective AF on selfie, wide and ultra cameras
  • Handy LED flash for selfies
  • Lots of appealing colour options
Cons
  • Not available in all territories
  • Pointless 2MP depth camera

At a glance:

  • 108MP wide-angle camera, f/1.65, OIS, PDAF (1/1.67inch sensor)
  • 13MP ultra-wide-angle camera, f/2.2, AF, 120°
  • 50MP selfie camera, f/2.45, PDAF, outputs 12MP images
  • 3x “Lossless” zoom from main camera
  • Android 13
  • Around $339

You may well not have come across the Infinix Zero 30 5G before, but it’s a super-cheap phone with a pretty impressive camera setup – especially if you like taking selfies. The front-facing camera is a 50MP module with an f/2.45 aperture and even phase-detection autofocus (PDAF). It puts out glorious 12MP images, though you can use the full 50MP resolution if you want, and offers a useful LED flash if you need a touch more light. It can also be used to capture 4K 60p video.

On the other side, things are also impressive. The main module is a 108MP wide-angle that uses 9-in-1 pixel binning to produce 11.8MP images. One thing we particularly like here is that one of the lens elements is glass rather than plastic, improving quality and light-gathering ability, also helped by a generous aperture of f/1.65. Here once again there is PDAF, and you can also crop in significantly with the 3x lossless zoom to simulate telephoto reach.

Alongside it is a 13MP ultra-wide-angle camera, with autofocus – this powers the macro mode. There’s also a 2.4MP “depth” camera to help with portrait mode.

Selfie taken using the 50MP selfie camera on the Infinix Zero 30 5G. Photo Joshua Waller
Selfie taken using the 50MP selfie camera on the Infinix Zero 30 5G. Photo Joshua Waller

The Infinix Zero 30 5G really is impressive for its price, but the catch is that it’s only available in certain territories. If you can get it, the phone is definitely worth considering – we came away pretty impressed following our review, with the camera(s) capturing natural-looking results in a wide variety of shooting situations.

Read our full Infinix Zero 30 5G review


Best mid-range budget phone: Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G in hand, Photo Joshua Waller
The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

Offers a good overall package, with a large screen, great battery life, as well as a nice line up of cameras, thanks to a great main camera, a good ultra-wide, and a reasonable macro camera.
Pros
  • Dynamic images with popping colours
  • Main camera is well-specced
  • Good value for money
  • Battery life does well
Cons
  • No wireless charging
  • Lots of fun filters, but few serious photography modes

At a glance:

  • 50MP f/1.8 main camera with PDAF, OIS
  • 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera without AF
  • 5MP f/2.4 macro camera without AF
  • 32MP f/2.2 selfie-camera, fixed focus
  • Android 13, microSDXC slot
  • IP67 rating weatherproofing
  • $449 / £449

While Samsung is most famous for its Galaxy S line of flagship, high-end smartphones designed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with iPhones, the Korean manufacturer also sells quite a few mid-range and cheap phones. After all, only the most committed (and not to mention wealthy) of tech geeks are going to be buying £/$1,000+ phones with anything approaching frequency. The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G costs about half of what something like the Galaxy S23 Ultra would cost, and still packs a pretty well-featured camera setup.

The A54 manages to find room for a triple camera array. The star of the show is the 50MP f/1.8 camera, with a Quad Bayer sensor, which offers both phase-detection autofocus and optical image stabilisation. It uses pixel binning to create 12.5MP images. Jostling for space with it are a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera and a 5MP macro camera, both with fixed focus. They all stick out a little, meaning they collect dust like nobody’s business, but the image quality is sound. The selfie camera, meanwhile, is a 32MP affair with fixed focus, which also uses pixel binning to produce 8MP pictures.

As any Samsung user will have come to expect, the cameras produce attractive images with punchy colours. There’s also automatic HDR, which helps bump up the dynamic range. The overall effect might be a little oversaturated for some, but in general, people prefer their phone cameras to be punchy and vibrant than washed-out and dour. You’ll probably like the look of your images.

Low-light shot taken with the Samsung Galaxy A54. Photo Joshua Waller
Optical stabilisation helps the Samsung Galaxy A54 cope in low light. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A54 is a nice package. It’s got a big, attractive screen, generous battery life and a decent camera setup that copes in most situations. The fact that the macro camera is 5MP rather than 2MP means it’s actually worth having, and the IP67 weatherproofing is a welcome addition.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A54 5G review.


Best mid-range Honor phone: Honor 90

Honor 90 camera phone review
The Honor 90 is much more affordable than the firm’s flagship phones. Photo credit: Amy Davies.

Amateur Photographer verdict

The Honor 90 is ideal if you’re looking for something that can handle a variety of different shooting situations reasonably well, but don’t need all the extra advanced features that others bring.
Pros
  • Main camera consistently impresses
  • Lovely high-quality display
  • Battery lasts well
Cons
  • No telephoto module
  • Macro mode isn’t the best

At a glance:

  • 200MP wide camera, f/1.9 aperture, PDAF
  • 12MP ultra wide and macro camera, f/2.2 aperture, AF
  • 2MP depth camera, f/2.4 aperture
  • Android 13
  • 6.7-inch AMOLED Quad-curved floating display, 120Hz
  • $349-450 / £449-£499

Even though this is a reasonably mid-priced phone, the Honor 90 still manages to pack in a 200MP main camera, with a 1/1.4 inch sensor that’s upgraded in size compared to the previous version. Elsewhere on the phone you’ve got an ultra-wide 12MP module with a 16mm equivalent lens, and a 2MP ‘depth’ camera that’s intended for creating images with a shallow depth of field (a.k.a. Portrait Mode). All this adds up to a pretty impressive package for a smartphone at this price – which varies depending on whether you want 256GB or 512GB of storage.

In our full review, we found the Honor 90 to be a pleasant and capable camera phone that was able to cope with a wide variety of shooting situations. It can’t shoot 8K video and 4K tops out at 30fps, but it’s only a small percentage of users who are going to be bothered about that. Realistically, the bigger omission for most people is going to be the lack of a telephoto camera, reducing your options when shooting at distance. Most of the specialist modes are decent enough, though we found the close-up SuperMacro mode to be fairly lacklustre, resulting in an undesirable loss of image detail.

Sample image taken by Honor 90 camera phone, featuring the ruins of a cathedral
The Honor 90’s main lens puts in the best performance. Picture credit: Amy Davies

The display on the Honor 90 is gorgeous, and we came away pretty impressed by how long the battery was capable of holding up. It produces consistently attractive images too, especially when you stick with the main camera module. For this price, it’s an excellent phone all-around.

Read our full Honor 90 review.


Budget 200MP phone: Xiaomi 12T Pro 5G

Best budget camera phones: Xiaomi 12T Pro
Xiaomi 12T Pro, Photo: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

Flagship-level processor, ultra-fast charging, and a great screen, but Xiaomi spent the majority of their money on the 200MP camera, and then had to cut back on the others
Pros
  • Flagship processor
  • 256GB storage
  • 120W charger provided
  • Great screen
Cons
  • 2MP macro camera is very poor
  • No noticeable benefit from 200MP mode
  • 8MP ultra-wide can be hit-and-miss

At a glance:

  • 200MP main camera, f/1.69, AF, OIS, 1/1.22inch sensor
  • 8MP ultra-wide, f/2.2 unspecified sensor size
  • 2MP macro, f/2.2 unspecified sensor size
  • Android 12
  • 163.1×75.9×8.6mm, 205g
  • $584 / £550

The Xiaomi 12T Pro’s 200MP resolution is not all it seems, since it uses pixel binning (combining the signals from several pixels) to produce a default resolution of just 12.5MP in most modes. There is a 50MP UltraHD mode which is usable in good light but the 200MP mode is very poor.

The ultra-wide camera is just 8MP, and the macro camera seems pretty pointless with just 2 megapixels. You do get a variety of ‘long exposure’ modes.

4K video can be recorded at 60fps or 30fps, with the option of 8K capture, and high-speed video at up to 1920fps at reduced resolution.

Xiaomi 12T Pro sample image, London street with underground sign
Taken near the Shard, in good light, the colour is pleasing. Photo: Joshua Waller

The case of the Xiaomi 12T Pro is quite slim but the camera array stands proud on the back and the main camera sticks out still further, so it wobbles a little when laid flat. It does charge extremely fast, though only via the supplied 120W charger and cable.

Image quality from the main camera is good, but the ultra-wide and macro cameras are less impressive. The 200MP sensor seems more of a marketing gimmick than a practical tool.

Read our full Xiaomi 12T Pro Review


Cheapest 200MP phone: Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G

Redmi Note 12 Pro + 5G in white. Photo: Joshua Waller
Redmi Note 12 Pro + 5G in white. Photo: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

The main camera gives the best results, so ultimately, despite this camera having a triple camera setup on the rear, it’s really only one camera that you’ll actually want to use
Pros
  • Good main camera
  • Free case provided in the box
  • 3.5mm headphone socket
  • 120W charger included
  • It’s a nice looking phone
Cons
  • Poor 8MP ultra-wide camera
  • Terrible 2MP macro camera
  • 2x zoom gives you pixelated images

At a glance:

  • 200MP main camera
  • 8MP ultra-wide
  • 2 MP macro camera
  • Android 12
  • 162.9 x 76 x 8.98mm, 210.5g
  • £449

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro + 5G, at the top of the list for Xiaomi’s mid-range Redmi series is one of the cheapest smartphones with a 200MP camera, which gives the best results and while nowhere near what you’d get from a real camera with a high resolution sensor, as long as you treat the camera as a 12.5MP camera you should be pleased with the results. The 8MP ultra-wide camera is capable but image quality is poor, particularly towards the corners of the frame. The 2MP macro camera is quite frankly terrible.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ camera phone sample image, street art for NHS on the side of a building
Bright colourful photos are what you get from the Note 12 Pro+ phone. Photo Joshua Waller

If you want a budget smartphone with a large 120Hz screen, 120W charging, and a headphone socket, and aren’t really too concerned about the camera features, then this is a phone that could be for you.

Read our full Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G Review.


Waterproof IP68 rated: Google Pixel 7

Best budget camera phones: Google Pixel 7
A closer look at the Google Pixel 7’s dual-lens module. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

If you don’t want to spend flagship money on a smartphone and simply want an excellent camera system, then the Pixel 7 offers an excellent combination of features, for a great price
Pros
  • Slightly improved design
  • Great performance from all/both cameras
  • Iproved selfie camera
  • Great value
Cons
  • No Pro or manual mode
  • HDR can’t be turned off unless you shoot raw
  • Fixed focus selfie camera
  • No macro mode

At a glance:

  • 50MP f/1.85 wide-angle camera with OIS, PDAF, 1x, 24mm equivalent
  • 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, without AF, 0.7x 16mm equivalent
  • Up to 8x “Super Res Zoom” (8x stills, 7x video)
  • Android 13
  • 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm, 197g
  • $600 / £599

With the Pixel 7, Google has wisely concentrated on a good 50MP main camera and a decent 12MP ultra-wide camera, and not tried to add in a third ‘macro’ camera. The cameras are mounted in the Pixel’s controversial (design-wise) ‘camera bar’. The Pixel 7 has a slightly smaller screen and body compared to the previous Pixel 6, together with an improved 10.8MP front-facing ‘selfie’ camera.

The Pixel 7 lacks the telephoto camera of the Pixel 7 Pro and has to make do with a ‘Digital Super Res’ zoom that offers up to 8x magnification but is best at the default setting of 2x.

Google Pixel 7 sample image, people sitting in a cafe with views to a city with skyscrapers
This image is an example of where HDR has gone a bit over the top, 1/833s, f/1.8, ISO39, 7mm/24mm equivalent

The Pixel 7’s 6.3-inch OLED screen is great, and this phone has an IP68 rating which indicates it’s waterproof down to 1.5m depth for 30mins. This phone does feel very well made. The image quality from the main camera is good, as is the ultra-wide camera, though there is some distortion. The selfie camera is fixed-focus, however, and the lack of a macro mode on this phone could prove a drawback.

Read our full Google Pixel 7 Review


Best under $350 / £350: Google Pixel 6a

Best budget camera phones: Google Pixel 6a
The Google Pixel 6a. Photo: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

Ultimately, the price drop of the Pixel 6a means it’s one of the best-value smartphones you can buy right now, and as long as you’re comfortable with what it can and can’t do, you can be confident you
Pros
  • Flagship performance in many ways
  • Value for money
  • Computational photography features
  • Compact size
Cons
  • Missing more advanced features
  • Selfie camera only 8MP
  • Pixel 6 (or Pixel 7) not much more money

At a glance:

  • 12MP main camera, f/1.7, with OIS, 27mm equivalent
  • 12MP ultra-wide, f/2.2, 17mm equivalent
  • Android 12 (upgradable to 13)
  • 128GB storage, 6GB RAM
  • Size 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm, 178g
  • $349 / £349

The Pixel 6a is a cut-down budget version of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones, but remains on sale now that these have been replaced by the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. The Pixel 6a is inexpensive to buy but still offers a two-camera array with an optically stabilised 12MP f/1.7 main camera and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera.

There is some cost-cutting. The Pixel 6a does offer AI features such as a ‘magic eraser’ but lacks the ‘motion blur’ feature on more expensive models. The 6.1-inch screen is slightly smaller and the rear uses plastic rather than Gorilla Glass. It does come with an IP67 waterproof and dust proof rating. There’s no telephoto camera so you have to rely on digital zoom.

Google Pixel 6a sample image, futuristic looking townhouse
A sample taken using the Google Pixel 6a’s ultra-wide lens. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Picture quality from the main camera is very good with excellent exposure and dynamic range, though it’s not possible to disable the HDR mode. The wide-angle cameras is less good but typical of its type and quite adequate. You can shoot 4K video at up to 60fps, and there is a timelapse mode and 4x or 8x slow motion, though at reduced resolution, which is the norm.

Read our full Google Pixel 6a Review


Most stylish budget phone: Nothing Phone 1

Nothing Phone 1 GLYPH lights on (well lit room), photo JW
The Nothing Phone 1 features GLYPH lights – giving additional lighting options.

Amateur Photographer verdict

If you take into consideration the price point, and the inclusion of two 50MP cameras, both with autofocus, then this phone could be seen as a bit of steal.
Pros
  • Good performance from the main camera
  • Both 50MP cameras feature AF and close-focus
  • Glyph lights can be used for gentle illumination
  • Some high-end features (fingerprint sensor, wireless charging)
  • Unique design style makes it stand out
Cons
  • Chunky phone may not to be everyone’s tastes
  • Average ultra-wide-angle performance
  • Average selfie camera

At a glance:

  • 50MP f/1.9 wide-angle camera with OIS, 24mm equivalent, PDAF
  • 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 0.6x, 14mm equivalent, with AF
  • 16MP f/2.5 selfie camera without AF
  • Android 12, upgradable to 13
  • Size: 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm, 193.5g
  • $424 (256GB version), £449 (256GB version)

The Nothing Phone 1 includes 2 rear cameras, along with hundreds of LED lights on the back that form “GLYPH” lights. These can be used for notifications, as well as more soft lighting when needed. The design is certainly unique, and it’s quite impressive what’s on offer for the price. There’s support for manual shooting, as well as raw images, and the usual portrait and night modes.

Wide-angle shot from the Nothing Phone 1, a red sports bike in a forest, photo: Joshua Waller
Wide-angle shot from the Nothing Phone 1, photo: Joshua Waller

Image quality from the main camera is, as expected, the best from the two rear cameras, with OIS, and an f/1.9 aperture. The ultra-wide-angle camera doesn’t quite perform as well, but considering the budget price, it’s nice to see that both the standard and the ultra-wide cameras are 50MP units, and both offer auto-focus. This helps with macro photography, and the GLYPH lights mean you don’t always have to use the harsh LED flash when extra lighting is needed.

Available in white (as shown above) or black, the phone certainly stands out from the crowd. This makes it especially appealing to those looking for something different to the usual smartphones from Apple and Samsung. It has an RRP that is around $469/£400 for the 128GB version, but you might be able to find it on offer for similar prices for the 256GB version.

Read our full Nothing Phone 1 review


Fast charging: OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G

Best budget camera phones: OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G
The OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G handset. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

If you mainly want your smartphone to be a dependable point-and-shoot for posting snaps and video clips to social media, it’ll do the job perfectly well at a relatively palatable price point.
Pros
  • Very good main camera
  • Night and portrait modes etc. work very well
  • Sleek, attractively designed device
  • Snappy performance and big battery
Cons
  • Weak ultra-wide camera
  • Macro camera is useless
  • No optical stabilisation
  • No DNG raw recording

At a glance:

  • 50MP main camera
  • 8MP ultra-wide
  • 2MP macro camera
  • Android 12
  • 161.2 x 74.2 x 7.3mm, 183g
  • $540 / £399

The OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G lies in the middle of the Oppo range and includes a three-camera array and the the MariSilicon X neural processing unit (NPU), inherited from the Find X5 Pro. Oppo is pitching this smartphone strongly at photographers, including both Night and Portrait modes, though no optical stabilization. We have a guide to how to photograph the night sky for astrophotography fans.

OPPO Reno8 Pro sample image: Eiffel tower at dawn
The Eiffel Tower at sunrise. The Reno 8 Pro’s main camera gives fine images. 24mm equiv, 1/100sec at f/1.8, ISO 214. Image credit: Andy Westlake

The image quality from the main camera is very good, but the ultra-wide camera is pretty poor by comparison, with dull colors and much less detail from the 8MP sensor. The 2MP macro camera is worse still and captures very little detail. The front camera, however has a 32MP sensor. The OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G can capture good quality 4K video, but only up to 30fps.

Build quality is good, with a with a 6.7in, 20:9 screen and Gorilla Glass front and back. This does make the Oppo very slippery, however, and best held with both hands or put in a case. It has an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance, so it should survive being accidentally splashed but not immersion in water. The 4500 mAh battery can be charged to 50% in just 10 minutes with the supplied 80W charger.

Read our full OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G review


A good all-rounder: OPPO Reno10

OPPO Reno 10 camera phone
OPPO Reno10. Image: Amy Davies

Amateur Photographer verdict

If you’re happy to make a few sacrifices, and mainly want something which is capable enough in good light then a cheaper model like this is a good choice
Pros
  • Good price
  • 2x telephoto lens
  • Performs well in good light
Cons
  • Low resolution ultra-wide camera
  • 4K only goes up to 30fps
  • No RAW shooting

At a glance:

  • 64MP wide
  • 32MP telephoto
  • 8MP ultra-wide
  • 32MP selfie
  • Android 13
  • 162.4 x 74.2 x 8 mm, 185 g
  • $399 / £399 (256GB)

The Reno10 features a triple-lens set-up with good overall picture quality, ColorOs 13.1 operating system (android 13) and a large 5000mAh battery that provides super-fast charging (67W). The main 64 MP camera performs best with a good amount of detail and well-saturated colours. The 2x telephoto also gives great results, the weakest 8MP ultrawide camera presents acceptable quality especially if you’ll only view images on your phone.

Oppo Reno 10 sample image, small ships in a marina
An image shot with the Oppo Reno’s main (1x) lens. Image credit: Amy Davies

Night and Portrait modes work well but there is no dedicated macro mode. Instead, there is a Pro mode which allows you to control ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation, making it more enticing for photographers, although there is still no option to shoot in raw format.

4K video recording now seems to become standard in the budget range, but with the Reno10 it only goes up to 30fps. The ‘Super Steady’ stabilisation is a welcome new addition available in Full HD video mode. The 6.7inch AMOLED screen has a relatively low 2412 x 1080 pixel resolution and no extra protection such as Gorilla Glass.

Despite a few flaws, the Reno 10 is a good all-rounder that won’t set you back a fortune and delivers fine results.

Read our full OPPO Reno10 review here.


What should you look for in the best budget camera phones?

We’ll concentrate on the photography features, and these centre around the phone’s camera array. These days, even budget camera phones come with more than one camera, each with its own sensor.

Typically, the main camera will have the best sensor and widest-aperture lens, but you can also expect to get an ultra-wide camera too. These typically have a lower resolution, however, and don’t usually match the main camera for quality, though they will be fine for most users. You may also get a ‘macro’ camera for ultra-close-ups, though in this price range they sometimes have very low resolution and are not necessarily worth having. If you’re keen on close-ups, take a look at our Top Macro Photography Tips.

What you tend not to get even in the best budget and mid-range camera phones is a telephoto camera. Instead, you have to rely on a digital zoom, which will be effective but won’t provide the same quality.

It’s also worth checking out the front ‘selfie’ camera. The specs vary, and if you film or photograph yourself a lot, a front camera with a good sensor and autofocus (not all have autofocus) is definitely worth having.

Don’t be too swayed by the camera resolution. The best budget camera phones may have ‘resolutions’ of 50MP, 108MP or 200MP, but this doesn’t mean the same as it would in a regular camera. These resolutions are ‘pixel-binned’ down to around 12 megapixels for actual shooting, and while there are modes that use the full resolution, the quality can be quite disappointing.

Otherwise, look out for the general features like the size of the screen, whether the phone uses toughened ‘Gorilla Glass’ or plastic, and how much memory and/or storage comes with the phone.

Lastly, camera phones will often come with an IP rating that tells you how resistant it is to dust and moisture. IP64, for example, means the phone is resistant to splashes, while IP68 means the phone can withstand full immersion in water for a limited time.


Article: Rod Lawton, with contributions from Joshua Waller and Jon Stapley.


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