Affinity Photo - professional photo editing with 50% off!

Top 13 Best Mid-Range Smartphones For Photography 2019

We've reviewed a number of impressive smartphones and we've soon come to realise that you don't need to spend a fortune to get a great smartphone for photography. So, with this in mind, here's are our top mid-range choices that aren't too expensive.

|  Samsung Galaxy S8 in Camera Phones
 Add Comment

A good mid-range smartphone offers you a number of premium features, but without the high price of the latest and greatest premium smartphones. Some of these were previously premium smartphones, but as the price has dropped over time, they have become more affordable. Some of these offer incredible value for money starting from £219. Some are even waterproof, giving them extra versatility.  

There are a number of things you're more likely to find with a mid-range smartphone, that put them ahead of many of the budget smartphones for photography. The inclusion of these high-end features will improve your results, and you want to be looking for smartphones with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, a secondary lens (for depth effect, background blur, or telephoto zoom, or even a black and white secondary camera), a handheld night mode for better low-light shots. For the more advanced photographer, you might want to find a model with manual controls, raw support, and a MicroSD card slot for increased storage space.

If you want to, you can purchase and find more information about each smartphone listed by clicking the green Amazon buttons featured below each product. It doesn't cost you anything extra when you press our Amazon buttons but by using our Amazon Affiliate links when ordering anything online, you are supporting the site - thank you.

 

1. Google Pixel 3a / 3a XL - Around £399/£569

Google Pixel 3a XL

Being able to get one of the best smartphone cameras available, for almost half the price of the flagship version, the Google Pixel 3, is quite simply a "no-brainer" and some may even prefer the Pixel 3a for its headphone socket. 

The Google Pixel 3a (and 3) show that you don't necessarily need a larger sensor to get better results, with Google's computational photography, you're able to get some incredible results. In fact, it would be nice if some of the more traditional camera manufacturers took a leaf out of Google's book, and started introducing similar features into their cameras. In the meantime, you'll simply have to experience the future of photography, on a smartphone, such as the Google Pixel 3a.

Whether you choose the Pixel 3a or the Pixel 3a XL will be down to whether you want a larger screen, and a larger battery, or want the smaller option. 

Camera features at a glance: 12.2mp f/1.8 standard camera, with OIS, PDAF, 1.4um pixels, 8mp f/2.0 selfie camera, 24mm equivalent, 6inch OLED 18:9 screen, 1080x2160, 4K 30fps video, AI photography, headphone jack, 3700mAh battery

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK Buy On Amazon USA 

 

2. Honor 20 Pro 

Huawei Honor 20 Pro

Inside and out, the Honor 20 Pro is an impressive bit of kit. It looks good, performs really well and has a price tag that will please most people. If you're a bit picky, the screen quality and side-mounted fingerprint sensor might make the Honor 20 Pro lose a couple of points but in reality, you're getting a smartphone with premium features for a price that, really, when compared with other brands, Honor shouldn't be able to offer it to you at. 

Overall, the Honor 20 Pro certainly puts up a good fight in a very crowded market and is certainly worthy of featuring on our 'best mid-range smartphone' top list.

Camera features at a glance: 16mp ultra-wide-angle camera, f/2.2, 48mp main camera, f/1.4 with 4-axis OIS, 8mp 3x telephoto camera, f/2.4 with 4-axis OIS, 2mp macro camera, f/2.4, 4cm macro focus, 3x optical, 5x hybrid, 30x digital, 2mp f/2.4 depth assist, 4000mAh battery, night mode, 6.26-inch screen, bokeh effects

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  

 

3. Samsung Galaxy S8 - Around £360

Samsung Galaxy S8 In Hand

The Samsung Galaxy S8 uses the same, already excellent, camera as the S7, with a 12-megapixel rear camera with dual pixel technology and a bright f/1.7 aperture, and improves the phone with an upgraded 8mp selfie camera with Auto Focus (AF). The screen is an impressive 5.8inch Quad HD+ screen that dominates the front of the phone, whilst maintaining the same compact size as the previous phone! The phone can capture 4K video as well as 9-megapixel stills when in video mode. It's dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 mins. With the ability to expand the memory with a microSD card and tough Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the screen and back on the phone, it's ideal for those who love to get out and about and take lots of images, no matter the weather. It operates at a very impressive speed and you can use the volume control as a shutter button. ISO speeds from ISO50 to ISO800 are selectable in manual mode. 

Camera features at a glance: 12mp, f/1.7 lens, 26mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording, Slow-motion video, MicroSD slot, raw.

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK   Buy On Amazon USA

 

4. OnePlus 6 - from £439

OnePlus 6 RED (1)

This one just squeezes into the mid-range smartphone section, with a price point of £439. It offers premium smartphone features, but at a price point that's almost half that of many premium smartphones

The OnePlus 6 smartphone can be described as an affordable flagship that has premium features at a not so eye-watering price. Image quality is excellent, the camera app gets the 'thumbs-up' and the red version is particularly stylish. We think the OnePlus 6 smartphone is an excellent buy!

The OnePlus6 is a reasonably priced smartphone with specs that make it fit right at home alongside the likes of premium SamsungApple and Sony devices. Yes, it doesn't have the kerb appeal an iPhone does but a sensible person can push this to one side and be impressed by what the OnePlus 6 has to offer them. 

The main camera performs really well and we really like the camera app which is really intuitive and easy to use. It's a shame the second rear camera doesn't give a longer focal length or something a bit different like a black and white camera (as Huawei do). The camera has been updated to include a multi-shot Night mode. 

The 6.28inch screen is excellent and viewing isn't a problem, with a fairly small notch at the top. 

There's no microSD slot which is surprising for an Android phone, there's no official IP rating (so don't get it too wet) and there's a lack of stereo speakers but apart from that, we think the OnePlus 6 smartphone is an excellent buy. 

Camera features at a glance: Dual 16mp and 20mp f/1.7 lenses, 27.22mm equivalent, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) & Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), 4K video recording, High-speed / Slow-motion video up to 480fps.

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK Buy On Amazon USA

 

 

5. Huawei P20 - £399

Huawei P20 Black (4)

The Huawei P20 is a powerhouse of a phone with excellent camera ability and plenty of camera options including RAW ability and manual controls, all in a stunningly sleek body. 

The Huawei P20 is a well-built smartphone offering an outstanding set of cameras, which are sure to please even the most discerning of smartphone photographers. With lightning-fast reaction times and plenty of shooting options including a Pro mode that lets you shoot RAW images and offers full manual control, the phone is a great choice for those that want a phone that's designed with the photographer in mind. There's a handheld night mode, so you can take night shots without a tripod.

The secondary monochrome camera offers sharp detailed photos and a bright f/1.6 aperture. The phone comes with plenty of RAM and storage, and at this price, it's one of the more affordable premium smartphones

Camera features at a glance: 12 megapixels RGB f/1.8 and 20 megapixel BW f/1.6 dual Leica rear cameras, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 4K video recording.

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

 

6. Honor 9 Dual Camera - £289

Huawei Honor9 (2)

The Honor 9 from Huawei offers a dual camera smartphone, plenty of ram and storage, a stylish and good looking design with a 5.15inch screen, and offers all of this for a much lower price than you would expect. The dual camera offers a “Hybrid Zoom” giving a 2x zoom, with only a slight loss in image quality. The black and white camera takes impressively sharp and detailed 20mp images, and noise is well controlled whether shooting colour or black and white. 

Whilst the smartphone doesn’t feature a waterproof body, there are few smartphones at this price point that do. The camera also records 4K video, and results are good. The biggest shortcoming is the lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS) which not only affects photos, but also video, and at this price point, you should be able to find an alternative with OIS, although most likely without a dual-camera.

If you want to try true black and white photography, and don’t quite have the money for a Leica M Monochrom, then the Honor 9 smartphone with a black and white camera, would make an excellent choice. 

Camera features at a glance: 20mp mono camera, 12mp colour camera, f/2.2 max aperture, 27mm equivalent, 8mp selfie camera, 4K video.

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

7. Asus ZenFone 6 - Around £499

Asus ZenFone 6

 

If you're looking for a smartphone that stands out from the crowd then the Asus ZenFone 6 could be a perfect choice. The flip camera is unusual, cool and it actually captures pretty good images. Yes, the 48MP images aren't great and there's no optical zoom but portraits look good (so long as you don't over bake them) and colours are excellent. The main camera performs better than the ultra-wide-angle lens but it's still handy to have nonetheless.

If you don't want to spend a fortune on a smartphone but want a cool bit of tech that will make your friends go 'oh, wow' then the Asus ZenFone 6 could be the smartphone for you. 

Camera features at a glance: Flip Camera: 48MP f/1.79 main camera and 13MP f/2.4 125-degree ultrawide secondary camera, Phase Detection Auto Focus, Motion Tracking

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA 

 

8. Honor 10 - Around £300

Honor10 Blue (4)

The Honor 10 is a reasonably priced smartphone with cameras and performance capability to rival today's premium smartphones. If lack of waterproofing and the ability to insert a MicroSD card don't put you off, it's an excellent phone at an excellent price point.  

Overall, the Honor 10 offers good specifications, a good camera with AI capability to recognise scenes, fast processing power and plenty of storage space. This makes the phone very desirable, especially for those that love to take photos on the go. There are a good amount of filters and editing capability within the phone for your images. However, the lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS) is a shame and will put this phone at a disadvantage for video recording. Noise would also be lower if the camera used a 12mp main camera, rather than 16mp.

However, the excellent pricing can't be overlooked. Yes, the camera doesn't carry the hallowed Leica branding, but it does offer similar features, with 2 rear cameras, one of these being a 24mp monochrome camera, and there's also a 24mp selfie camera. 

The Honor 10 is a stunning looking phone, with the iridescent back being a real eye-catcher. Slim, well made and offering high-performance capability, the only things it's missing are waterproof / dustproofing and the ability to insert a MicroSD card if you wanted to. Other than this, it's definitely a more budget-friendly rival to many premium offerings. 

Camera features at a glance: Dual rear camera - 24mp f/1.8 black and white, 16-megapixel f/1.8 colour, 24-megapixel front camera, 4K video recording.

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

 

9. Nokia 7.1 - £219

Nokia 7 1 Blue (2)

The Nokia 7.1 has an excellent 5.84inch screen, a dual-camera set-up and can shoot 4K video which are all features you don't always see in budget-friendly smartphones. Image-wise, they're pretty decent but it's no surprise that when light levels drop, so does the quality of the photo you can capture. 

If you're looking for a smart-looking smartphone that can take good photos, has 4K video built in and has a good screen, the Nokia 7.1 could fit the bill. It's a budget-friendly smartphone that improves on its predecessor so if you're not brand-loyal and simply want a good performing phone, the Nokia 7.1 might be the smartphone for you. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear Camera: 12MP, f/1.8 main lens and a 5MP, f/2.4 secondary lens (ZEISS optics), Front Camera: 8mp, f/2.0 (ZEISS optics), Video: 1080p (both cameras), 4K (rear camera), Pro Mode, ISO 50-3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

10. Nokia 7 Plus - £269

Nokia 7 Plus (2)

Under the £300 mark, at £269, the Nokia 7 Plus is capable of capturing pleasing images in good light. Plus, the live bokeh feature adds a lovely layer of bokeh to portraits. However, in low light, quality does start to waver and niggles such as the smartphone struggling to lock focus can get annoying. Is it a standout phone that will make you go 'oh,wow'? Probably not, but if you're looking for a reasonably priced smartphone without too many frills that still performs really well, the Nokia 7 Plus is well worth considering. The Nokia 7 Plus has a 6inch screen. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear Camera: 12MP f/1.75 & 13MP f/2.6 2x telephoto lenses (ZEISS optics), Front Camera: 16MP f/2.0 lens, Dual tone LED flash, 4K video recording, Live Bokeh, Pro Mode, ISO 100-3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

 

11. Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact - £399

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Green (2)

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is one of a very small number of premium / mid-range smartphones that is also compact in size, without compromising on features and specifications, giving the same performance as it's bigger brother, the XZ2.

The XZ2 Compact has a 5inch screen and is capable of producing images with excellent colour reproduction, although noise can be an issue when shooting at full resolution, and when you view images at full size. The camera app is intuitive and hasn't changed much through the generations, making it familiar to use for those upgrading from older Sony handsets. Video recording is good, offering 4K HDR video, although the smartphone doesn't offer 4K video at 60fps. The lack of optical image stabilisation hampers low-light performance, however, this is partly made up for by the use of electronic image stabilisation, which does a good job, particularly for video recording. 

Camera features at a glance: 19 megapixels f/2.0 rear camera, 5mp selfie camera, Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), 4K HDR video recording, dedicated shutter release button.

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

 

12. Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) - £285

Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 (4)

The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) offers three cameras on the back, including an ultra-wide-angle 8mp camera, a standard (wide-angle) 24mp f/1.7 camera, and a third for depth/background blur and bokeh. There's a 24mp f/2.0 selfie camera on the front. Unfortunately, the smartphone doesn't offer 4K video recording, instead just offering FullHD video, with electronic image stabilisation. 

There's a 6inch screen, and the smartphone has a stylish design that's available in a number of different colours. It features plenty of storage, a MicroSD card slot, and even a headphone socket. 

Camera features at a glance: Triple cameras: 24 megapixels f/1.7 wide-angle camera, 8mp ultra-wide-angle camera, 5mp depth camera, and 24mp f/2.0 selfie camera, FullHD video recording.

Overall Score:

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

 

13. Nokia 8 Sirocco - from £349

Nokia 8 Sirocco Black Lifestyle (4)

Another fairly compact smartphone, the Nokia 8 Sirocco offers a compact body, with a 5.5inch screen, and ultra curved edges which some may love, and others hate. This smartphone is for those who want something a little bit different, with a more square look compared to the usual tall phones available. The smartphone offers a 12mp wide-angle camera, as well as a 13mp telephoto camera, although, unfortunately, neither of them offer optical image stabilisation (OIS). The selfie camera is a 5mp unit. The smartphone was released as a premium model, with a price tag to match, but it has become much more reasonably priced over time, is available from around £349. 

Camera features at a glance: 12-megapixel f/1.8 rear camera, 13mp f/2.6 telephoto camera, 5mp selfie camera, 4K UHD video recording.

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA

 

For more options, have a look at some of our other guides: 

Cheap Smartphones <£200 | Budget Smartphones <£300 | Premium Smartphones 

 

Looking For More? 

Have a look at our complete guide to memory cards to find the right MicroSD card for your smartphone, or have a look at more camera phones reviews.

Support this site by shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, Save 10% with Eversure Insurance.
*It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

Other articles you might find interesting...

Honor 9X Smartphone - Our First Look & It's Very Eye-Catchin...
Oppo Bring Reno2 & Reno2 Z Mid-Range Smartphones To The UK
Google Pixel 4 Vs Pixel 3 Vs Pixel 3a: Which Pixel Smartphon...
Google Pixel 4 Smartphone Can Be Used For Astrophotography
Google Pixel 3a & Google Pixel 3 To Get Improved Night Sight...
Google Pixel 4 Breaks From Tradition & Has Dual Rear Cameras...
Huawei nova 5T Features Quad Camera With Dedicated Macro Len...
OnePlus 7T Pro Smartphones Have A Triple Camera Set-Up & A New Design

There are no comments here! Be the first!



Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.