The tech­nol­o­gy used in smart­phone cam­eras is evolv­ing rapid­ly. Some cam­era phones take pic­tures com­pa­ra­ble to cam­eras. Pho­to: creativebloq.com

Sony experts pre­dict that by 2024, pic­tures from smart­phones will catch up with the qual­i­ty of shots tak­en by SLR cam­eras. Some cam­era phones are already qui­et­ly com­pet­ing with point-and-shoot devices.

How­ev­er, the best cam­era phones are usu­al­ly expen­sive. It is dif­fi­cult to choose a bud­get phone with a good cam­era from the many on the mar­ket. We have com­piled a list of 5 smart­phones under 35,000 rubles that take decent pho­tos. Read on to find out which mod­els made it to our list.

How was it evaluated

When com­pil­ing the final rat­ing, we eval­u­at­ed the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria:

- matrix size — the more, the more light it cap­tures and the bet­ter the pho­tos are. This is mea­sured in frac­tions of an inch and is report­ed as a frac­tion, such as 1/2.5”. The clos­er to an inch the size of the matrix, the high­er the score (1/1.9″ is greater than 1/3.4″).

- Pix­el size — the big­ger, the bet­ter. Now smart­phones use pix­el bin­ning tech­nol­o­gy, when 4 or even 9 neigh­bor­ing pix­els are com­bined into 1 large one. It is mea­sured in microm­e­ters (µm). The larg­er the pix­el size, the high­er the score.

- Diaphragm — it depends on how much light enters the sen­sor. The larg­er the aper­ture open­ing, the bet­ter the result­ing pic­ture (espe­cial­ly those tak­en in low light con­di­tions). This set­ting is spec­i­fied in f‑stops, such as f/1.9. The low­er the val­ue, the high­er the score.

- aut­o­fo­cus — dis­tin­guish between con­trast, laser and phase (PDAF, Dual Pix­el, etc.). The lat­ter is prefer­able, because it works based on sen­sors, adjusts focus faster and keeps it bet­ter on mov­ing objects. Cam­eras with phase detec­tion aut­o­fo­cus get a high­er score.

- Image sta­bi­liza­tion. Mod­els with Opti­cal Image Sta­bi­liza­tion (OIS) will get the high­est score.

Sep­a­rate­ly, we note the test­ing of DxO­Mark smart­phone cam­eras (if it was car­ried out). DxO­Mark is a com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tion that eval­u­ates phones, cam­eras and lens­es.

The main sen­sor of each phone from the list was eval­u­at­ed rel­a­tive to oth­ers for each of the cri­te­ria. The max­i­mum score is 5.

In addi­tion to the main sen­sor, the mod­els from our rat­ing are equipped with the fol­low­ing cam­eras:

  • ultra wide-angle lens — for shoot­ing with a wide angle of cov­er­age (for exam­ple, a large com­pa­ny or panoram­ic pho­tog­ra­phy);
  • macro — for shoot­ing objects close-up;
  • depth sen­sor — helps when shoot­ing por­traits, is respon­si­ble for blur­ring the back­ground (the so-called bokeh effect);
  • front — for tak­ing self­ies.

All prices are valid at the time of rank­ing.

Rating of inexpensive camera phones

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

The Galaxy A53 5G has ver­sa­tile cam­eras. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

The Galaxy A53 5G has stan­dard cam­eras on the back – wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, macro and depth sen­sor. More and more phones are using 50MP Quad-Bay­er main unit (eg Xiao­mi Mi 11 Pro and Ultra, Huawei P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+).

Sam­sung has opt­ed for a high­er res­o­lu­tion 64MP (1/1.7X”, 0.8µm and 26mm lens, f/1.8, PDAF and OIS). 2.2, 123˚) instead of 8MP and two addi­tion­al 5MP sen­sors (both behind f/2.4 lens­es) instead of 2MP.

Self­ie cam­era 32MP (1/2.8″, 0.8µm, f/2.2).

DxO­Mark gave the cam­era a total of 105 points.

The Sam­sung Galaxy A53 5G smart­phone costs about 34,000 rubles.

Sam­ple pho­tos tak­en with the main cam­era of the Sam­sung Galaxy A53 5G in stan­dard mode. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

Pros of Samsung Galaxy A53 5G:

  • bright and smooth dis­play (AMOLED, Full­HD +, 120 Hz, 6.5 inch­es, Corn­ing Goril­la Glass 5);
  • IP67 rat­ing (one meter sub­mer­sion for half an hour), hybrid card slot, NFC and stereo speak­ers;
  • sol­id bat­tery life (5000 mAh, 12 hours 43 min­utes of web brows­ing);
  • ver­sa­tile quad-cam­era set­up with OIS on the main 64MP cam­era, decent over­all qual­i­ty;
  • 4K video record­ing with any cam­era and at any zoom lev­el.

Cons of Samsung Galaxy A53 5G:

  • this year they removed the 3.5 mm audio jack, there is no sup­port for Wi-Fi 6;
  • the new Exynos 1280 chipset per­forms worse than the Snap­drag­on 778G (30th place) it replaces;
  • Video sta­bi­liza­tion is only avail­able when shoot­ing at 1080p.

realme 9 pro

Realme 9 Pro has wide, ultra wide and macro cam­eras on the back. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

Realme 9 Pro has a 64MP pri­ma­ry cam­era (1/2″, 0.7µm, f/1.8, PDAF), an 8MP sen­sor (1/4.0″, 1.12µm) with an ultra wide-angle lens (f/2.2, 119˚, 16mm) and a 2‑megapixel macro cam­era (f/2.4). On the front is a 32-megapix­el cam­era (1/3.09″, 1.0 µm) with a 26mm lens (f/2.1).

The Realme 9 pro smart­phone costs a lit­tle more than 26,000 rubles.

Exam­ples of pho­tos tak­en with the main cam­era of Realme 9 pro in stan­dard and night modes. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

Pros of Realme 9 Pro:

  • bright IPS LCD 120Hz;
  • long bat­tery life (5000 mAh, 19 hours 52 min­utes of web brows­ing), decent charg­ing speed (33 W, 74 min­utes from 0 to 100%);
  • Good pho­to qual­i­ty day and night.

Cons of Realme 9 Pro:

  • com­peti­tors use OLED pan­els;
  • no 4K video record­ing, aver­age self­ie qual­i­ty.

You can read more about the smart­phone in the review-com­par­i­son of Realme 9 Pro and Realme 9 Pro Plus.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

Red­mi Note 10 Pro has the largest main cam­era matrix. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

Red­mi Note 10 Pro is equipped with the high­est res­o­lu­tion main cam­era among oth­er mod­els from the top – 108 MP (1/1.52″, 0.7 µm, f/1.9, PDAF).

  • 8‑megapixel ultra wide-angle cam­era (f/2.2, 118˚) with 1/4.0″ sen­sor and 1.12 µm pix­els;
  • 5‑megapixel macro (f/2.4);
  • depth sen­sor (2 MP, f/2.4).

The front cam­era is 16 MP (1/3.06″, 1.0 µm) with f/2.5 aper­ture.

The cost of the Red­mi Note 10 Pro smart­phone is from 25,800 rubles.

DxO­Mark gave the cam­era a score of 106.

Exam­ples of pho­tos tak­en on the main cam­era of Red­mi Note 10 Pro in stan­dard and night modes. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

Pros of Redmi Note 10 Pro:

  • high-qual­i­ty AMOLED screen 120 Hz, Goril­la Glass 5;
  • good auton­o­my (5020 mAh, 14 hours 13 min­utes of web brows­ing);
  • prac­ti­cal­ly does not heat up under loads;
  • in good light­ing con­di­tions, all cam­eras take excel­lent pic­tures and videos;
  • IP53, stereo speak­ers, NFC, head­phone jack, microSD.

Cons of Redmi Note 10 Pro:

  • less pow­er­ful com­pared to com­peti­tors (Snap­drag­on 732G, 56th place);
  • aver­age image qual­i­ty in low light;
  • EIS (Elec­tron­ic Image Sta­bi­liza­tion) only works when shoot­ing 1080p clips.

Poco F3

Poco F3 is the most pow­er­ful among the mod­els under con­sid­er­a­tion. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

The Poco F3 smart­phone has a triple cam­era on the back:

  • 48MP 1/2″ sen­sor with 0.8µm pix­els, 25mm lens, f/1.8 and PDAF;
  • 8‑megapixel 1/4‑inch cam­era with 15mm ultra wide-angle lens, f/2.2. Focus fixed.
  • 5‑megapixel macro (1.75 µm, f/2.4 with aut­o­fo­cus work­ing at a dis­tance of 3 to 7 cm).

The self­ie cam­era is a 20-megapix­el sen­sor (1/3.4″, f/2.2). The focus is fixed.

Prices for Xiao­mi Poco F3 start at about 27,600 rubles.

Sam­ple pho­tos tak­en with the Poco F3 main cam­era in stan­dard mode. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

Pros of Xiaomi Poco F3:

  • excel­lent 120 Hz AMOLED screen, Goril­la Glass 5;
  • long bat­tery life (4520 mAh, 15 hours 58 min­utes of web brows­ing);
  • class-lead­ing per­for­mance (Snap­drag­on 870 5G, 14th)
  • IP53, NFC, good stereo speak­ers;
  • high-qual­i­ty pic­tures and clips in day­light.

Cons of Xiaomi Poco F3:

  • slot for mem­o­ry cards, no audio jack;
  • mediocre pho­to and video qual­i­ty on the ultra-wide-angle cam­era

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G

Xiao­mi Mi 11 Lite 5G has a triple cam­era sys­tem with LED flash on the back. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

The main cam­era on the back of the Xiao­mi Mi 11 Lite 5G uses a 64MP Sam­sung GW3 sen­sor (S5KGW3) with a 1/1.97-inch sen­sor, 0.7μm pix­els and a Tetra-cell fil­ter (sim­i­lar to Sony’s Quad Bay­er). It sits behind a 25mm f/1.8 lens. There is phase detec­tion aut­o­fo­cus (PDAF), but no opti­cal image sta­bi­liza­tion (OIS). This cam­era saves 16-megapix­el pho­tos as a result of 4‑in‑1 bin­ning by default.

The main cam­era is com­ple­ment­ed by an 8‑megapixel 1/4‑inch Sony IMX355 sen­sor with a 15mm (f/2.2) ultra wide-angle lens. Focus is fixed.

The third cam­era on the back is macro. It is equipped with a 5‑megapixel Sam­sung S5K5E9 sen­sor (1/5″, 1.12µm) and a telemacro lens (49mm, f/2.4). Aut­o­fo­cus is avail­able, which works at a dis­tance of about 3–7 cm.

The res­o­lu­tion of the front cam­era is 20 megapix­els. It has a 1/3.4″ sen­sor with 0.8µm pix­els behind a 27mm f/2.2 lens.

The over­all score of the smart­phone on DxO­Mark is 111 points.

The cost of Xiao­mi Mi 11 Lite 5G is about 28,000 rubles.

Sam­ples of pic­tures tak­en on the main cam­era of Xiao­mi Mi 11 Lite 5G in stan­dard and night modes. Pho­to: www.gsmarena.com

Pros of Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite:

  • great OLED screen, 10-bit col­or sup­port, 90Hz refresh rate, HDR10, Goril­la Glass 6 pro­tec­tion;
  • long bat­tery life (4250 mAh, 11 hours 51 min­utes of web brows­ing), 33W fast charg­ing (64 min­utes on a full charge);
  • pow­er­ful hard­ware (Snap­drag­on 780G, 28th in the rank­ing) great for games, sta­ble oper­a­tion;
  • excel­lent pho­to and video qual­i­ty in day­light on all cam­eras, reli­able night mode.
  • loud stereo speak­ers, Wi-Fi 6, hybrid card slot, NFC.

Cons of Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite:

  • no opti­cal image sta­bi­liza­tion.

We wrote in detail about the Xiao­mi Mi 11 Lite 5G smart­phone here.


The main cam­eras of smart­phones from our list received the fol­low­ing rat­ings:

Model/Parameter Matrix size Pix­el size Diaphragm aut­o­fo­cus OIS Aver­age score
Sam­sung Galaxy A53 5G four 5 5 5 5 4.8
realme 9 pro 2 four 5 5 four four
Red­mi Note 10 Pro 5 four four 5 four 4.4
Poco F3 2 5 5 5 four 4.2
Xiao­mi Mi 11 Lite 5G 3 four 5 5 four 4.2

The leader of our rat­ing is the main cam­era of the Sam­sung Galaxy A53 5G. It is the only one on the list equipped with an opti­cal image sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem.