Photography is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
Most photographers today start by having a smartphone camera that they tinker with, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Smartphones are very useful things that do way more than just take good cameras—and besides, they now are just as powerful as standard digital cameras were 10 years ago.
Nowadays, people are treating smartphones like regular cameras. That's why there are camera lenses for smartphones on sale, and why taking great selfies has become an art. Many tips for beginner photographers even suggest getting creative with smartphones because of their popularity.
That being said, there's still a lot of different smartphone cameras out there and it's safe to say that not all cameras are the same. Today, we're going to take a look at best smartphone cameras of 2017 to see how far the humble cellphone camera really came.
iPhone X by Apple
The iPhone X was bound to rank among the best smartphone cameras of 2017, because it's a friggin' iPhone. This is one of the best smartphone cameras of the year for people who are looking for punchy colors, great Portrait Mode shots, and a very stablized shot.
We're really digging the lighting effects you can add to the iPhone X's photos on both front and back cameras. Simply put, the iPhone X is one of the best selfie cameras out there.
Pixel 2 XL by Google
Google's Pixel 2 XL is one of the only cameras that can go head-to-head with the iPhone X and possibly win. As such, we have to include it on any list of the best smartphone cameras of 2017. Pixel 2's strengths aren't in colors, but rather the smart programs integrated into the cameras.
Great image quality and the ability to get amazing Bokeh effects in your shots make this a great smartphone for the aspiring photographer or artist in your life.
HTC U11 Life by HTC
HTC's U11 was known for being one of the hottest smartphones on the market. But the HTC U11 Life, its cheaper version, has a different claim to fame. According to experts, it's got some of the best smartphone cameras of 2017.
16.0 megapixel quality with a f/2.0 aperture means that you get great autofocus technology at a fraction of the price you'd normally pay. It's a great camera phone for a budget buyer, and we can't ignore that.
HTC U11 LTE by HTC
Considering that the HTC U11 Life is one of the best smartphone cameras of 2017, it's not surprising that the more expensive version also made the list, right? The HTC U11 comes with a 16 megapixel camera and an "Ultra Selfie" mode that's designed to give you the most flattering looks ever.
As of right now, this is the only smartphone camera in history that has a DXOMark Mobile score over 90—a testament to how good the tech inside really is.
Galaxy Note 8 by Samsung
Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 has become a mainstay among Android camera phones—and it's easy to see why. The Galaxy Note 8's got two different 12 megapixel lenses. The main camera lens has a f/1.7 aperture, while the telephoto lens offers a nice f/2.4 aperture.
Both have stabilization tech, and the Bokeh effects make this a camera that's basically built for Instagram. Most impressively, you get to take wide angle shots with this camera, too. As a result, it regularly tops charts as one of the best smartphone cameras of 2017.
ZenFone 3 Zoom by Asus
The Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom was designed to be a budget smartphone, and that's precisely why it's the only camera phone on this list under $300. 12-megapixel cameras on both the front and back make it able to compete with most other smartphone cameras in terms of image quality.
Sure, other cameras have that level of image quality. However, its four-axis image stabilization and a specialized selfie camera with Beauty Mode imaging, though, makes it one of the best smartphone cameras of 2017 for its price range.
Galaxy S8/S8+ by Samsung
Not to be confused with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has become one of the hottest selfie camera phones out there. Multi-image processing, combined with its 12-megapixel camera makes it a great choice for almost all kinds of lighting.
What really kills it, though, is when you get the Galaxy S8 in low lighting. The shots are true-to-life, which makes it one of the best for club shots and darker selfies. If you ask most people, they'll tell you it's one of the best smartphone cameras of 2017.
V30 by LG
The LG V30 hasn't really been getting as much press as it deserves. Despite the lack of media coverage, the V30 really should be considered one of the best smartphone cameras of 2017. Why? Well, it's mostly thanks to the Cine Video effects package that comes with it.
The effects basically work as a video editing kit for people who are new to recording vids. Overall, people who are looking for a video camera that comes with a reliable smartphone will find the LG V30 to provide a lot of bang for its proverbial buck.
G6 by LG
The LG G6 has gotten a lot of accolades, but not due to the Portrait Mode photography that seems to be the primary focus of other makes. Rather, the G6's main strength is landscape mode, thanks to the camera's epic wide angle lens.
If you love the idea of a more "hands-on" experience, you'll find the G6 to be really fun. It has manual adjustment settings, so experienced photographers will be able to work with the ISO and other stats—just like a regular DSLR.
Mate 9 by Huawei
The Mate 9 is yet another underdog among lists of the best smartphone cameras of 2017. This particular model doesn't have a very unusually high megapixel rating, nor is the aperture something to write home about.
However, we'd be lying if we didn't admit that the object recognition technology didn't help take great photos. Overal, it's got a lot of smart technology with great image quality—and that makes it a great pick.