The Best Smartphone Cameras for Travelers | 2024 Edition

Smartphone as a travel camera

In 2024 camera phones are closer than ever to “real” cameras. More and more people enter into photography because of more powerful then ever camera phones.

If you are travel or outdoor photographer you should think about the perfect smartphone camera. There are 3 reasons for this: 

First, no matter what’s in your photo gear setup, you will probably use a camera phone a lot. Second, in a lot of situations it will be easier to take a phone from the pocket and take a shot, than to prepare your “big camera” to take it. And third, is to avoid lugging around a bulky bag with your mirrorless or DSLR camera and all accessories.

So, with a capable camera phone, you will effortlessly capture unforgettable moments. And with that in mind, we want to present you the most exceptional smartphone cameras you can buy today!

Table of Contents

Our Top Picks

If you don’t have a time to go through the whole article, below you will find quick overview of our favorite smartphone cameras:

Best Overall

iPhone 15 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Best Compact Camera Phone

Samsung S24

Best Foldable Camera Phone

OnePlus Open

Best Budget Camera Phone

Google Pixel 7a

The Best Smartphone Cameras

We divide all camera phones into 4 categories:

  • Best overall
  • Best compact camera phone
  • Best foldable camera phone
  • Best budget camera phone

For the best overall camera phone in 2024, we chose 3 smartphones we believe that have the best cameras on the market currently, and no matter what your choice you will get the best possible option for photography and videography on the go.

Also, we understand that you are someone who may not prefer large smartphones, therefore we give our recommendation in the compact camera phone category. 

For the first time this year, we introduce also a new category – foldable camera phones, for those seeking something unique. In the end, we will present you our recommendation for the best budget camera phone available today.

Best Overall

iPhone 15 Pro Max

Image source: Apple

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 221 g
  • Dimensions: 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3 mm
  • Internal Memory: available in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants
  • Display Size & Resolution: 6.7″, 1290 x 2796 pixels
  • Rear Cameras:
    Main: 48 MP, 24 mm, f/1.8, sensor size 1/1.28″
    Ultra-wide: 12 MP, 13 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/2.55″, FOV 120˚
    Telephoto: 12 MP, 120 mm, f/2.8, sensor size 1/3.05″, 5x optical zoom
  • Front Camera: 12 MP, 23 mm, f/1.9, sensor size 1/3.6″
  • Video: up to 8K at 30 fps, 4K at 120 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
  • Battery Capacity: 4441 mAh
  • Charging Time: 0-50% in 30 minutes (factory claim)

Why You Will Like It

If you are a travel or outdoor photographer or videographer, and prefer more iPhone over Android, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will become an indispensable tool in your quest to capture the beauty of nature and the essence of your journeys. 

One of the most advantage thing is fantastic image stabilization that will give you smooth footage on almost all situations, no matter of which camera on the phone you use. Furthermore, you will get exceptional low-light performance to expanded your creativity even in the night.

We can say that iPhone 15 Pro Max has one of the best image processing capabilities allowing you to get excellent images and footage. Plus you ware able to shoot and edit RAW images directly on your phone. 

With the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you will found a trusted companion that not only meets but exceeds the demands of travel and outdoor photography, allowing you to capture exceptional images wherever your adventures take you.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Bloggers and Vloggers: Aspiring and professional travel bloggers and vloggers who rely on visually engaging content and need to have advanced camera on the go.
  2. Photography Enthusiasts: Amateur and professional photographers who are constantly seeking opportunities to capture photos and videos during their travels.
  3. Adventure and Outdoor Enthusiasts: Those who frequently embark on outdoor expeditions, such as hiking, camping, or exploring remote destinations, because of its robust camera.
  4. Professional Videographers: Filmmakers who require a portable and versatile tool for capturing high-resolution videos, B-roll footage, or behind-the-scenes content while on location.

Pros

  • High-end 4-camera system, delivering exceptional photo quality with all 4 cameras.
  • Advanced video capabilities perfect for mobile filmmaking (includes excellent video stabilization, LOG footage, etc.).
  • Excellent low-light Performance (it boasts larger sensors, faster lenses, and fantastic night mode resulting in better performance in low-light conditions across all of its cameras).
  • Long-lasting battery to ensure extended usage without frequent recharging.

Cons

  • Relatively slow charging compared with competitors.
  • For someone who replaces an Android phone, it will require time to learn iOS.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

Image source: Samsung

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 233 g
  • Dimensions: 162.3 x 79 x 8.6 mm
  • Internal Memory: available in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants
  • Display Size & Resolution: 6.8″, 1440 x 3120 pixels
  • Rear Cameras:
    Main: 200 MP, 24 mm, f/1.7, sensor size 1/1.3″
    Ultra-wide: 12 MP 13 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/2.55″, FOV 120˚
    Telephoto: 10 MP, 67 mm, f/2.4, sensor size 1/3.52″, 3x optical zoom
    Periscope telephoto: 50 MP, 111 mm, f/3.4, sensor size 1/2.52″, 5x optical zoom
  • Front Camera: 12 MP, 26 mm, f/2.2
  • Video: up to 8K at 30fps, 4K at 120 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
  • Battery Capacity: 5000 mAh
  • Charging Time: 0-65% in 30 minutes with 45W charger (factory claim)

Why You Will Like It

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is truly a remarkable smartphone that offers a multitude of reasons to fall in love with it, especially if you are passionate in content creation. No matter if it’s photo or video content. 

This phone come with impressive 200 MP sensor in main camera. It means that you can capture stunningly detailed and vibrant images and videos. Additionally, you will get the option to shot 10x zoom with 5x telephoto camera and match the same quality as with old S23 Ultra that has 10x telephoto camera. 

Also, there is exceptional ultra wide camera with the same image quality as the main. There are also lot of AI driven features, so no matter if you’re capturing breathtaking landscapes or candid moments with loved ones, Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra ensures that every shot is picture-perfect. 

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is truly exceptional photo & video gear to anyone who want to make perfect shots and footage on the go.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Bloggers and Influencers: Those who require high-quality photo and video capabilities and don’t like iPhones.
  2. Professional Photographers and Videographers: Those who want pro-grade backup camera (manual controls, RAW photo capabilities, and advanced video recording).
  3. Social Media Content Creators: To create easily compelling content. And being able easily edit images and footage directly on the smartphone.
  4. Traveling Professionals: Business travelers who frequently document their journeys.

Pros

  • Outstanding camera Performance (top-notch camera system that excels in both photo & video capabilities, plus it’s perfect in low light).
  • Versatile zoom capability (nearly lossless 10x zoom, highly useful 30x zoom, and even 100x zoom you could use for distant subjects).
  • Improved image processing & lot new AI capabilities.
  • Excellent battery life (improved a lot over predecessors).

Cons

  • It will be better to have 10x optical zoom, than 5x with ability to capture nearly lossless 10x shots.
  • Charging could be faster.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Image source: Google

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 213 g
  • Dimensions: 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8 mm
  • Internal Memory: available in 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants
  • Display Size & Resolution: 6.7″, 1344 x 2992 pixels
  • Rear Cameras:
    Main: 50 MP, 25 mm, f/1.7, sensor size 1/1.31″
    Ultra-wide: 48 MP, 11 mm, f/2.0, FOV 126˚
    Telephoto: 48 MP, 113 mm, f/2.8, sensor size 1/2.55″, 5x optical zoom
  • Front Camera: 10.5 MP, 20 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/3.1″
  • Video: up to 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
  • Battery Capacity: 5050 mAh
  • Charging Time: 0-50% in 30 minutes with 30W charger (factory claim)

Why You Will Like It

If you don’t like the iPhone and also don’t want to use Samsung flagship models, the Google Pixel 8 Pro is the right choice for you. It stands out as a game-changer for travel and outdoor photographers due to its exceptional camera capabilities, processing, and AI enhancements. 

One of the phone’s standout features is its 5x telephoto camera. Additionally, the Pixel 8 Pro’s low-light performance is truly impressive, enabling you to effortlessly capture breathtaking sunset vistas, starry night skies, and atmospheric scenes with remarkable clarity and minimal noise.

Moreover, the Google’s AI-driven features, such as the ability to edit photos directly on the device and leverage generative manipulation on images offer photographers the flexibility to enhance their images on the go. 

Furthermore, the “Best Take” feature intelligently selects the best poses from a series of quick shots, provide you a convenient way to ensure that you capture the perfect moments on the go.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Bloggers and Influencers: For those who want to have ability to capture stunning landscapes and detailed images & footage, regardless it’s an ultra-wide or telephoto shots.
  2. Amateur & Professional Photographers: Those who are looking for a portable yet powerful camera (or backup camera) on the go.
  3. Videographers: This smartphone is an excellent choice for capturing travel vlogs, documenting experiences, and creating engaging video content.
  4. Social Media Enthusiasts: Anyone who frequently share their experiences on social media platforms.

Pros

  • Excellent camera quality and ability to shot RAW images.
  • Manual mode including the ability to control shutter speed, ISO, and manual white balance.
  • Lot of AI features (as automatic deletion of unwanted elements from photos and quick editing).
  • Good low-light on both photo & video.

Cons

  • Battery life could be better.
  • Charging could be faster.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Best Compact Camera Phone

Samsung S24

Image source: Samsung

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 168 g
  • Dimensions: 147 x 70.6 x 7.6 mm
  • Internal Memory: available in 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB variants
  • Display Size & Resolution: 6.2″, 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Rear Cameras:
    Main: 50 MP, 24 mm, f/1.8, sensor size 1/1.56″
    Ultra-wide: 12 MP 13 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/2.55″, FOV 120˚
    Telephoto: 10 MP, 67 mm, f/2.4, sensor size 1/3.94″, 3x optical zoom
  • Front Camera: 12 MP, 26 mm, f/2.2
  • Video: up to 8K at 30fps, 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
  • Battery Capacity: 4000 mAh
  • Charging Time: 0-50% in 30 minutes with 25W charger (factory claim)

Why You Will Like It

If you want capable camera phone and don’t like to have too big smartphone, Samsung S24 is an excellent choice for you. It’s powered by versatile camera system, which allows capturing clear, detailed shots no matter whether you use ultra-wide, standard, or telephoto camera.

It’s worth to note that S24 excels in image stabilization no matter of its size. Furthermore, its low-light performance is exceptional for both photos and video shooting. Also, there are a lot of AI features that will help you to enhance photo and video capabilities.

With all of these Samsung S24 is a reliable companion for any traveler and outdoor enthusiast who want small smartphone but with very capable camera system that offer the tools and flexibility needed to capture exceptional shots in diverse environments, from mountain landscapes to bustling cityscapes.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Bloggers and Vloggers: those who want compact size smartphone and impressive camera capabilities make it an ideal choice for capturing high-quality photos and videos while on the go.
  2. Social Media Influencers: Content creators who wants advanced camera features, such as low-light performance and video stabilization.
  3. Amateur Travel Photographers: Enthusiasts who enjoy capturing and sharing their travel adventures.

Pros

  • The excellent 4-camera system (competitive with camera systems on flagship smartphones).
  • Accurate photo exposure and contrast in most conditions.
  • Pleasant photo colors in bright light and indoors.
  • Fast autofocus in most conditions.

Cons

  • Slow charging (up to 25W with Samsung charger).

Samsung S24

Best Foldable Camera Phone

OnePlus Open

Image source: OnePlus

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 239 g
  • Dimensions: unfolded: 153.4 x 143.1 x 5.8 mm, folded: 153.4 x 73.3 x 11.7 mm
  • Internal Memory: 512 GB
  • Display Size & Resolution: 7.82″, 2268 x 2440 pixels
  • Rear Cameras:
    Main: 48 MP, 24 mm, f/1.7, sensor size 1/1.43″
    Ultra-wide: 48 MP, 14 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/2″, FOV 114˚
    Telephoto: 64 MP, 70 mm, f/2.6, sensor size 1/2″, 3x optical zoom
  • Front Cameras:
    Main: 20 MP, 20 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/4″
    Cover: 32 MP, 22 mm, f/2/4, sensor size 1/3.14″
  • Video: up to 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 480 fps
  • Battery Capacity: 4805 mAh
  • Charging Time: 0-100% in 42 minutes with 67W charger (factory claim)

Why You Will Like It

OnePlus Open’s camera technology and software enhancements offer a lot of advantages for all photographers and videographers who want to have a foldable smartphone. 

Its sophisticated camera system is a perfect tool for travel & outdoor photographers. presents a versatile toolkit for outdoor photography. Especially if you rely on excellent rear cameras (much more powerful than front cameras).

Also, the camera system is equipped with excellent image stabilization Additionally, the phone’s low-light performance, especially after software update, are great even on telephoto camera.

In the end, if you are lot on the go, you will like to have option for superfast charging (80W max SUPERVOOC charger).

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Vloggers: Those who capture their travel experiences through photos and videos for their blogs, vlogs, or social media platforms will appreciate the OnePlus Open’s advanced camera capabilities.
  2. Travel Content Creators: Individuals who create travel documentaries, online travel guides, or other visual travel content will find the OnePlus Open’s photo and video capabilities instrumental in producing engaging and immersive material for their audience.
  3. Tech Enthusiasts: those who want to pursue the latest gadgets and want to have a capable camera in their pocket.

Pros

  • Powerful camera system (especially rear cameras).
  • Lighter and tinnier than other foldable phones.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Very fast charging.

Cons

  • Front cameras are not on pair with rear in terms of overall quality.

OnePlus Open

Best Budget Camera Phone

Google Pixel 7a

Image source: Google

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 193.5 g
  • Dimensions: 152 x 72.9 x 9 mm
  • Internal Memory: 128 GB
  • Display Size & Resolution: 6.1″, 1080 x 2400 pixels
  • Rear Cameras:
    Main: 64 MP, 26 mm, f/1.9, sensor size 1/1.73″
    Ultra-wide: 13 MP, 20 mm, f/2.2, FOV 120˚
    Front Camera: 13 MP, 20 mm, f/2.2
  • Video: up to 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240fps
  • Battery Capacity: 4385 mAh
  • Charging Time: about 2.5 hours with 18W charger based on test on Android Authority

Why You Will Like It

Google Pixel 7a is not a newest smartphone, but it’s a game-changer for travel and outdoor photographers seeking a budget-friendly but high-performing camera phone. 

With its new 64-megapixel main camera and a 2x telephoto lens, this phone offers a remarkable level of detail and versatility. We especially stress its low-light capabilities considering capable night mode and image processing. 

So, if you are looking for compelling camera phone for your travel and outdoor adventures, and want staying within budget, this camera phone is a perfect choice for you.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Casual Travelers: Travelers seeking a smartphone with excellent camera capabilities for capturing breathtaking landscapes and memorable moments.
  2. Small-Handed UsersUsers with smaller hands who find it challenging to handle larger phones will appreciate the comfortable fit of the Pixel 7a.
  3. Anyone Seeking Budget-Friendly Android Camera Phone: For those looking for a budget-friendly smartphone with impressive photo and video capabilities.

Pros

  • Very good camera system, with pro grade rear cameras.
  • High quality 4K video.
  • Good low-light performance.

Cons

  • Very slow charging.

Google Pixel 7a

iPhone 13

Image source: Apple

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 174 g
  • Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7 mm
  • Internal Memory: available in 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB variants
  • Display Size & Resolution: 6.1″, 1170 x 2532 pixels
  • Rear Cameras:
    Main: 12 MP, 26 mm, f/1.6, sensor size 1/1.9″
    Ultra-wide: 12 MP, 13 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/3.4″, FOV 120˚
  • Front Camera: 12 MP, 23 mm, f/2.2, sensor size 1/3.4″
  • Video: up to 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
  • Battery Capacity: 3240 mAh
  • Charging Time: 0-50% in 30 minutes (factory claim)

Why You Will Like It

Despite it’s a 2 generation older model, we believe that iPhone 13 is still fantastic choice if you want to have indispensable tool for capturing breathtaking shots without breaking the bank. Its very good camera and image processing cater perfectly to the needs of photographers seeking a budget-friendly yet capable device.

iPhone 13 doesn’t have a telephoto camera, so if you are someone who mainly takes landscape and cityscape shots, you will find normal and ultra-wide camera as an excellent solution. Image stabilization is also very good so you will get smooth footage. And additionally cameras are very capable for low-light shots.

All in all, with the iPhone 13 in hand, you will have reliable and capable companion for capturing stunning & high-quality images and videos. And you will stay on budget.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Enthusiasts: Because of its photo and video quality across all 3 cameras.
  2. Vloggers: Considering that the iPhone 13 has an excellent ultra-wide camera and image stabilization.
  3. Anyone Seeking Budget-Friendly iPhone Camera Phone: For those looking for a budget-friendly iPhone with impressive photo and video capabilities.

Pros

  • Versatile camera system.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Enhanced night mode.
  • Reliable video capabilities.
  • Long battery life.

Cons

  • No telephoto camera.
  • Relatively slow charging.

Conclusion

In recent years, smartphone cameras have made significant improvements and have become an invaluable tool for photographers and videographers. Especially for those who are often on go,  like those who are travel a lot. 

Whether you’re capturing landscapes or some special moments, your smartphone can serve as a reliable companion. There are pros and cons of all cameras we outlined here, but the mutual thing is that no matter which smartphone is your choice, you will be able to have camera every time with you, plus you will easy share your photos and videos.

Whether your smartphone is your primary travel camera or a backup option you should select it carefully. Hence, when selecting the perfect travel camera, you should prioritize 3 things: a robust camera system, the ability to capture impressive videos and long-lasting battery life. the key is to seize those unforgettable moments. 

So go out, explore, and let your smartphone camera to narrate your adventures!

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