Top 5 camera phones

About The Author

CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

It will be little surprise to anyone reading this, but the quality of a phone's camera remains one of the most sought after features by a large portion of smartphone shoppers. These cameras have taken another impressive leap forward in the phones we've seen so far in 2012, with companies like HTC opting for a dedicated imaging processor in its flagship models, to make these cameras faster and capable of features like burst photography.

If you are looking for a great camera in a phone, remember to look passed the megapixels and the marketing fluff. Just because a camera has an 8, 12 or even 16-megapixel sensor, it doesn't necessarily mean that it takes great photos. For example, we've chosen last year's Galaxy S2 for this update, even though the newer Galaxy S3 has more shooting options, simply because we feel the image quality is more consistent with last year's phone. We've also added the Lumia 610, which is a fantastic option for photo-buffs on a budget.

Below are our picks of the five phones with the best cameras that are available now. These are based on our own experience with the cameras, and sample photos can be found in the reviews for each model.

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Pauly B posted a comment   

I have a Galaxy S2 and the camera is great for still objects but even the slightest movement even on sports mode and it blurs badly. This pretty much makes it impossible to get good photos of our toddler. Also, the flash photos are horrible, everything gets that orange tinge.


Sooz posted a comment   

I'm considering buying an Asus Padfone 2. I'm going overseas next year and this will hopefully suit my needs - new iphone, tablet


BrendenN posted a comment   

Okay, CNET are obviously guzzling the Apple juice here. Not only do they shove the obscene iClone in first place, but they even put the Lumia 610 in the list. Where's the Galaxy S3 with its lag-free shutter speed, burst mode, and excellent low-light, anti-shake, flash-illumination and smile-detection features? Sure, the OneX has a faster burst mode but...the 610...really? Even the lumia 900 has a camera that only just barely presents better than my old Omnia 7.
Where is the Nokia PureView 808? Don't say 'it's disqualified from the list', this is a 'top 5 camera phones' page, not 'top 5 in australia'. Stay in context with the article.
Where is the Nokia N8? Don't tell me even the Lumia 610 is better than the N8. That is an insult to anyone's intelligence.
I don't understand this industry anymore...


JayarajM posted a reply   

Dear Mr.Brenden,
What you said is exactly right..I am using S3 and it is very nice for photos and HD video...We can not always depend Cnet reviews....They are not doing their job in the right way..Just check is far better than Cnet.
Have a great day!


ADSLNerd posted a comment   

Any smartphone cameras are garbage, and only good for happy snaps. They lack large sensors due to size limitations, most are not backlit CMOS sensors, they usually have very poor low light image quality, and only use digital zoom instead of optical zoom. Add to this companies keep pushing megapixels as the measurement tool instead of the CMOS sensor type and size, and the camera's on these phones are purely a gimmick. The phone is primarily a phone, and the camera is just an add-on, but I don't use my camera phone also because they usually don't have image stabilisation and all photos have that "wobble" look when adjusting due to their poor quality.

Ill stick to my Canon 60D / Sony DSC-HX9V for photo's thanks. Dedicated cameras are the best option.


AsfandyarS posted a comment   

and also lightning fast s2 single processor against xperia s dual core. just pure fans


AsfandyarS posted a comment   

cnet is more like fanboys i think, how come no dislikes on screen of s2 if on xperia s which is way better.


geoffp48 posted a comment   

Mmmm. Joe - your a legend in my book. Generally look for your review before parting with any cash. Cnet TV has also become my new religion. A great way way to to keep abreast of all things tech when your stuck in the bush. I am an owner / user of both iPhone 4s and Galaxy S2. Speaking cameras, I am very happy with the S2, less so with the iPhone. Almost zero choices with the iPhone while the S2 has many. Upgrading to the S3 this coming week. I supply phones to collegues and staff regularly so get various requests and responses, often daily. iPhone (apple) has a bit of a cult following, particullarly for 'users' only, while techee types shy away from the iPhone because they cant 'play' with it. I smile reading postings with a passionate slant towards preference. If there was a clear allround winner (S3 for me) there would not be so much choice?


supamario posted a comment   

i have to admit that i'm a bit upset that the HTC Velocity was overlooked, it have extremely similar optics as the One series and in my use it has been fantastic, especially in low light with it's F2.2 aperture. Even in the CNET review it was stated as excellent... but oh well... :-D

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