The best camera phones offer a tantalizing combination of the pinnacle of imaging technology with pin-sharp displays and lightning-fast internet connectivity. In fact, some handsets can deliver better photographs than the 'proper' camera you might otherwise be tempted to pick up.
Camera phone technology can really boil down to one simple concept – pure and simple convenience. Not only will the best camera phones feature powerful imaging sensors (for example, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has an incredible 108MP sensor – higher than most of the best professional cameras), but they'll also have incredible computational photography features that takes a matter of milliseconds to process the images you capture and improve aspects such as sharpness, white balance and more.
While the best camera phones might not yet be able to beat the best mirror less cameras for sheer image quality, the one area that camera phones beat out traditional cameras in is their size. Even the best compact cameras can still take up the majority of your pocket (if they even fit in at all!), but the best fold phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 are incredibly compact.
No matter whether you're looking for a high end camera phone that will help you capture fantastic social media content, or you're simply looking for an everyday handset that will capture beautiful family snap bellow is a comparison to help you make an informed choice…
Apple iPhone 13 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro
The iPhone 13 Pro Max includes a 12-megapixel Wide, Ultra Wide, and Telephoto lenses for a total of three lens options, which is similar to the lens setup offered by the Pixel 6 Pro. The iPhone 13 Pro Max includes a 12-megapixel Wide, Ultra Wide, and Telephoto lenses for a total of three lens options, which is similar to the lens setup offered by the Pixel 6 Pro. It features a 50-megapixel wide angle camera, a 12-megapixel ultra wide angle lens and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens that supports 4x optical zoom, a wider range than the 3x optical zoom offered by the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
With smartphone cameras this advanced, both the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Pixel 6 Pro take incredible photos and there's often not a lot of difference in quality just because they're both offering excellent camera options. There are some small differences that might make you prefer one over another, but even from image to image, these differences can vary.
When using the Pixel 6 Pro, you'll notice that at times, the Pixel 6 Pro is warmer and more natural looking than the iPhone, which primarily factors in with the sky. Apple tends to make the sky very blue, which looks striking, but not always true to life. There are also differences in the highlights and the shadows, with the iPhone tending to lose a bit of the black tones and the Pixel trending towards higher exposure for the highlights. There's not a lot of difference with the ultra wide lenses, and for the telephoto, Google's Pixel 6 Pro can be a bit sharper (and it can zoom in further), but it does not let in as much light as the iPhone 13 Pro Max's telephoto lens so when taking photos of light sources, there's too much flare.
The iPhone wins out when it comes to Night Mode photos, and in testing, it was just much better at preserving detail and accurately recreating colour. It also didn't have quite as much of a light source flare issue as the Pixel 6 Pro.
As for Portrait mode, the Pixel 6 Pro is producing better photos. Subjects are sharper and more in focus, with more detail preserved, and it produces great pictures. That's not to say that iPhone Portrait mode images aren't nice, but Google still seems to have better software algorithms for edge detection.
Apple's iPhones almost always have superior video compared to Pixel smart phones, and that's still true, but Google has made improvements to image quality and stabilization. The Pixel 6 Pro can take decent video, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max is better, especially with Cinematic Mode and ProRes support.
Google also built in some neat little features to its Pixel 6 Pro camera. There's a Magic Eraser that can use the Tensor chip inside to erase objects that you don't want from a photo, and it works super well so it's a great option to have available natively.
So both the Pixel 6 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max have their pros and cons when it comes to camera quality, and realistically, the differences are minor. These are incredibly advanced smart phone cameras and you're not going to be disappointed by either one. However if you were looking for a major upgrade from Samsung’s S21 Ultra, you will be sorely disappointed as the S22 Ultra is only incrementally better than it’s predeceasing model the S21 Ultra which was revolutionary. This means that the iPhone and Pixel give some great competition and outclass the S22 in picture quality.