If you are in the market for a new iPhone, then odds are one of the main features you are basing your decision on is the camera. Which iPhone has the Best Camera in 2020? We compared most popular iPhones to answer that question.
Since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple’s iPhone range of mobile phones has frequently earned a reputation for featuring some of the most cutting-edge camera hardware available on a consumer smartphone. Ranging from the world’s first front-facing depth camera, to some of the most advanced post-processing techniques ever seen in a cellphone, Apple iPhones have helped to move the entire mobile photography industry forward.
However, while the advent of a new Apple phone typically means customers can expect at least incremental improvements over earlier models, several iPhone generations have brought with them significant camera improvements, while others have remained roughly unchanged. As such, it isn’t always clear which iPhone has the best camera, even when comparing later iPhone models to some older ones.
Although some of the older devices included in this iPhone camera comparison are no longer available to purchase (everything from the iPhone 7 and older), their inclusion should help those with these older devices determine whether an upgrade is worth the money or not. In any case, we have ranked all generations from the current 11th gen models, down to the 7th generation models.
|Resolution (Rear Camera / Front Camera)||Wide-angle Lens||Flash||Optical Zoom||Digital Zoom||Slo-Mo||4K Video|
|iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max||12 MP / 12 MP||f/1.8 |
|True Tone||2x in|
|up to 60 fps|
|iPhone 11||12 MP / 12 MP||f/1.8 |
|True Tone||2x out||5x||1080p|
|up to 60 fps|
|iPhone XS and XS Max||12 MP / 7 MP||f/1.8||True Tone||2x||10x||1080p|
|up to 60 fps|
|iPhone XR||12 MP / 7 MP||f/1.8||Quad LED||No||5x||1080p|
|up to 60 fps|
|iPhone X||12 MP / 7 MP||f/1.8||Quad LED||2x||10x||1080p|
|up to 60 fps|
|iPhone 8 Plus||12 MP / 7 MP||f/1.8||Quad LED||2x||10x||1080p|
|up to 60 fps|
|iPhone 8||12 MP / 7 MP||f/1.8||Quad LED||No||5x||1080p|
|up to 60 fps|
|iPhone 7 Plus||12 MP / 7 MP||f/1.8||Quad LED||2x||10x||1080p|
|up to 30 fps|
|iPhone 7||12 MP / 7 MP||f/1.8||Quad LED||2x||5x||120fps 240fps||up to 30 fps|
|iPhone 6S||12 MP / 5 MP||f/2.2||Quad LED||No||5x||120fps 240fps||up to 30 fps|
|iPhone 6||8 MP / 1.2 MP||f/2.2||Quad LED||No||5x||120fps 240fps||up to 30 fps|
1. Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max camera
The iPhone 11 takes the already impressive dual-camera setup of the iPhone 11 and slaps on an additional 52mm telephoto lens creating a triple-camera array capable of delivering natural-looking pictures with the highest amount of detail.
As the latest iPhone released so far, the Apple iPhone 11 Pro and its Max variant arguably have the best iPhone camera so far, and are capable of producing stunning, rich images under practically any light conditions. The iPhone 11 Pro night mode is arguably the best on any device—whether Apple-made or not, while the front-facing TrueDepth camera is a dream for selfies and security.
2. Apple iPhone 11 camera
Released in September 2019, the iPhone 11 sports an ultra-wide lens dual-camera setup. The ultra-wide lens is widely regarded as a huge improvement over the classic telephoto lens and allows users to take wide shots without the distortion seen with previous Apple phones.
This is just one of the myriad improvements over the XS. For instance, the iPhone 11 camera comes with a better HDR system and a brand new night mode. It also supports 4k video at 60 fps on both the rear cameras and the front camera, while the front camera has also been bumped from 7 to 12 MP—the highest of any iPhone so far.
3. Apple iPhone XS and XS Max camera
The XS brings back the dual-camera setup seen in previous iPhone models and unlike the iPhone XR, features a 2x max optical zoom. The XS’s dual-camera rig includes a 12 MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras capable of up to 6x digital zoom when video recording, twice as much as its predecessor.
The front camera remains at 7 megapixels for both the XS and XS Max and keeps the cinematic video stabilization. The overall camera experience of the XS and XS Max will be fairly similar to the XR, while the device also benefits from the speed and post-processing capabilities enabled by the A12 Bionic.
5. Apple iPhone XR camera
Despite being the successor to the iPhone X, the XR only has one 12 MP rear camera with optical image stabilization and a digital zoom of up to 5x. Even though dual cameras usually have an advantage over singe cameras, the software in charge of detecting depth on the iPhone XR works extremely well.
Additionally, the iPhone XR includes the A12 Bionic chip, a slightly improved version of the previous chip which works with the larger camera sensor featured on the device. This new chip brings DSLR quality to photos and allows users to shift from a blurred background to a sharp one thanks to the adjustable bokeh.
6. Apple iPhone X camera
As far as cameras go, the rear iPhone 10 camera setup is basically identical to the one found in the 8 Plus—two 12 MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras and a digital zoom of up to 10x. However, the iPhone X does come with dual optical image stabilization, allowing both its rear and front-facing cameras to take automatically stabilized photos.
The front camera has a 7 MP sensor like the iPhone 8 Plus but comes with the added benefit of Apple’s TrueDepth system which can capture 3D information to enable Face ID authentication and Animoji. In addition to the new system, the front camera also features a Retina Flash and can record 1080p video. Overall, the iPhone X camera quality still remains competitive with other flagship phones in 2020.
Thinking about getting iPhone X or iPhone XR? We strongly recommend you read our detailed comparison of the iPhone X and iPhone XR!
6. Apple iPhone 8 Plus camera
Bringing back the dual rear-mounted cameras, the iPhone 8 Plus keeps the same 12-megapixel camera and 2x telephoto camera on the back and 7-megapixel front-facing sensor from the iPhone 8, but also brings with it some significant software-side improvements like increased finesse, improved contrast and much better performance when it comes to low-light environments.
Additionally, the iPhone 8 Plus provides a new feature called Portrait Lighting which automatically adjusts lighting and can be changed or removed after the photo is taken. While the iPhone 8 camera is still impressive, the iPhone 8 Plus’ is simply better.
7. Apple iPhone 8 camera
Instead of releasing an iPhone 7S, Apple skipped a generation and directly released the iPhone 8 which has a single 12-megapixel rear camera and a 7-megapixel front camera. In terms of raw camera specs, there isn’t much difference between the iPhone 8 and previous iPhone versions, though the 8 does allow users to shoot 4K videos at 24, 30 and 60 fps.
Although the outside might seem identical to the previous iPhone generation, the iPhone 8 does bring a few major photography improvements thanks to the A11 Bionic chip and the specially designed integrated Image Signal Processor. These two advances bring better pixel processing and reduced noise to the camera, resolving two major issues with the previous iPhone model.
8. Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus camera
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus cameras don’t bring any major improvements over the iPhone 6S, but the 7 Plus does feature a dual-camera setup. Both are 12-megapixel cameras that offer up to 10x digital zoom thanks to the combination of one wide-angle camera f/1.8 and a Telephoto f/2.8.
The front camera also got a significant spec improvement, being bumped from the 5 MP offered by the iPhone 6S to 7 MP and the ability to shoot 1080p video. The iSight camera offers Optical Image Stabilization for both video and photo, a major improvement over the 6S.
9. Apple iPhone 6S
Up until the launch of the iPhone 6S, Apple outfitted its flagship mobile devices with 8-megapixel cameras. The iPhone 6S was the first Apple phone to ship with a 12-megapixel camera, capable of taking much higher quality photos—at the time, this was one of the largest sensors on any mobile device. The second notable difference over the iPhone 6 is the ability to shoot 4k videos at 30 fps.
The front camera also got some major improvements going from 1.2 to 5 MP, and is capable of shooting HD video. Unfortunately, the 6S camera lacks optical image stabilization (OIS), unlike the 6S Plus which has OIS for both video and photo. As far as real-world usage goes, the difference between the 6S and its predecessor is not dramatic, but can be considered a modest step up.
10. Apple iPhone 6
Although the iPhone 5 already had an impressive camera, the iPhone 6 camera is notably improved over its predecessor and was arguably the biggest improvement across device generations. The 8-megapixel camera allows users to take crisp and detailed pictures, especially from far away thanks to its 5x digital zoom. Unfortunately, it appears Apple completely forgot to upgrade the front-facing camera, as this is no different from the one featured on the iPhone 5S.
The iPhone 6’s new HDR function works wonders and creates an evenly lit and detailed photo. Likewise, the iPhone 6’s autofocus function feels like a generational leap over the manual focus offered by the iPhone 5S. This, in combination with its optical image stabilization allows the iPhone 6 owners to take sharp, blur-free images almost effortlessly.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Pexels, PxHere, Flickr