Top Camera Phones to Look Out for in 2023: iPhone 15 Pro, Google Pixel 8, Xiaomi 13, and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Cameras on smartphones have come a very long way and have managed to replace digital cameras in our lives to a very large extent. With cameras gaining such an important stature in a smartphone’s anatomy, it was no surprise that the year 2023 also witnessed the launch of some top-tier camera phones. So, as we come to the end of the year, we rounded up the best camera phones launched in 2023. Here are the phones that we think delivered some fantastic snaps and videos in 2023:

iPhone 15 Pro Max: Consistency King Gets Better Price: Rs 1,59,900 If you are assembling the camera Avengers of the smartphone world of 2023, the iPhone casually barging in through the doors is pretty much a given, right? The iPhone has been the gold standard of photography and videography for the longest time for a reason. Actually, multiple reasons — the biggest one of which remains consistency. iPhones are known to deliver consistently good results when it comes to photos and videos. This remained in place with this year’s iPhone 15 series too, with great shots in all light conditions. But Apple also took its camera game a step ahead with the launch of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. On paper, the device came with the usual 48-megapixel main sensor, with two 12-megapixel sensors, one ultrawide and another telephoto. But it also came with seven different focal lengths that make the cameras on the device much more versatile, giving you a number of photography options and styles. The iPhone 15 Pro Max also came with more optical and digital zoom than ever before — 5x optical zoom and 25x digital zoom. All of this is backed by the best of basics which have also been improved (thanks to better camera sensors and software) for great videography and photography results. Speaking of videos, such is its prowess that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is pretty much being considered a content creator’s mobile studio and is even being positioned as a movie camera. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Master Of Zoom Price: Rs 1,24,999 Another phone whose presence in this list comes as no surprise is Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra. Samsung’s 2023 flagship phone had a camera setup that consisted of a whopping 200-megapixel main sensor with OIS, a 10-megapixel periscope telephoto sensor with OIS and 10x optical zoom, a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor with OIS and 3x optical zoom and lastly a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor. While the phone does the basics like photos and videos really well, its true strength lies in zooming in. It was the only flagship that boasted of a 10x optical zoom (most phones stopped at 3x or 5x). It also came with up to 30x Super Resolution zoom and up to 100x digital zoom, and although we would not advise you to go beyond 20x for best results. It is even good enough for you to take surprisingly good pictures of the moon, although there was some controversy around that feature. This, on top of the other cameras which were all exceptional performers in their own right, came with a number of shooting and editing options as well as effects. While the likes of the Pixel tried to deliver 10x lossless zoom, the Galaxy S23 Ultra went right ahead and delivered a proper 10x optical zoom, making it one of the phone photography highlights of 2023. It is perhaps the only phone we would recommend to someone who actually wants to shoot birds and wildlife.

Google Pixel 8 Pro: Pixel-Perfect Photography, Again Price: Rs 1,06,999 Google might still have some way to go before becoming the ultimate overall flagship phone but there is no questioning the photography skills of its own flagship. Year after year, the Pixel series has been surprising us by turning out amazing photographs with a blend of hardware and software magic, and the Pixel 8 Pro continues this tradition. The phone comes with a triple camera setup comprising a 50-megapixel main sensor with OIS, and two 48-megapixel sensors, one telephoto with OIS and 5x optical zoom and another ultrawide. The phone delivers stunning pictures in not only well-lit conditions but also in low light, with a surprising amount of detail (almost too much detail at times). The bigger ultrawide lens serves up even better Macro shots, and some computational sorcery means that although the optical zoom stands at 5x, you can actually get 10x zoom without discernible loss. Even the 10.5-megapixel front camera has got autofocus and takes some great selfies.  The colour tones produced can be a little on the warmer side but the phone produces details in spades. The USP of the Pixel cameras has been computational photography and other software smarts, and Google has taken this up a notch with the Pixel 8 Pro. The phone comes with a number of AI editing tools — Magic Eraser has become more refined, new tools like Magic Editor that lets you reposition people and objects in an image and Best Take takes a series of photos allowing you to pick the best one out of them later. Another picture-perfect Pixel from Google, this.

Xiaomi 13 Pro: What’s Not To Like? Price: Rs 74,999 One of the most revolutionary camera phones launched this year was the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Xiaomi joined hands with Leica, one of the biggest names in photography, pushing smartphone camera limits to create a monster camera phone. The Xiaomi 13 Pro came with a whopping one-inch sensor, something that had not been seen before on a smartphone in India and is generally featured only in high-end compact cameras. There were three 50-megapixel sensors on the device– one main, one telephoto and another ultrawide. The main sensor is a one-inch Sony IMX989 which took some exceptional images with great details and typically Leica colours. But the real surprise for us was the 75 mm Leica floating telephoto camera which took portrait photography to another level and even made us fall in love with black and white photography all over again. The phone also came with special Leica modes and frames to give images that authentic Leica touch. It was hands down the most camera-y smartphone of 2023.

Vivo X90 Pro: Low-Light Superstar Price: Rs 91,999 The Vivo X90 Pro was Vivo’s flagship device for the year 2023 and like its predecessors, it came with some fantastic cameras. The phone was the second in the Indian market (after the Xiaomi 13 Pro) to come with a one-inch main sensor — it too used a Sony IMX989 50-megapixel sensor with OIS, pairing it with a 50-megapixel telephoto sensor with OIS and 2x optical zoom, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor. All of this came in collaboration with the legendary Carl Zeiss — the main camera had an eight-element lens out of which seven elements have the Zeiss T* coating. The cameras delivered great imagery in spades, with surprisingly realistic colours (Vivo flagships in the past tended to saturate colours) and outstanding detail. Vivo even brought in a special night mode that enhanced colours, making it our favourite camera for low-light photography this year. Portraits shot through the phone were exceptional too, thanks to the legendary Zeiss Cine-Flare mode, as well as five other portrait modes. It might not have received the sort of attention that it merited, but the Vivo X90 Pro was definitely one of the camera phones of the year, especially after a few updates had smoothed out initial bugs.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+: Taking A Great Camera Mainstream Price: Rs 26,999 The phones in the list so far have all been flagships. Infiltrating this list is the utterly mid-segment Redmi Note 12 Pro+. The phone is not on the same hardware level as the others but gets into this list because it made a very powerful camera setup mainstream in 2023. The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ phone was one of the first phones in the country to feature a massive 200-megapixel sensor, and the fact that it brought it to the market at a price of below Rs 30,000 made it very special indeed. And it was not just about megapixels, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ took images that gave even the OnePlus 11 and the Pixel 7a a run for the money, which is saying something. The main sensor came with OIS, which was a rarity at its price point at the time of its launch, and delivered astonishing details and good colours, and also was a surprisingly good performer in low light conditions. It also enabled users to get a 2x lossless zoom, and well if you were the type that wanted a massive photograph, you could take a full-resolution 200-megapixel one. The secondary ultrawide and depth sensor were of minimal value but that main camera at that price (Rs 29,999 at launch) makes this one of the best camera phones of 2023.