Top 11 Best Budget Camera Phones For Photography Under £300 2020

Top 11 Best Budget Camera Phones For Photography Under £300 2020

If you’re looking for a budget smartphone with good camera performance, then you’ve come to the right place. Cameras in smartphones have come a long way over the last few years, with a number of features that have greatly improved the quality of images produced by smartphones, including optical image stabilisation (OIS), larger sensors, bright lenses, and even optical zoom making them even better for photography. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good camera on your smartphone, here we look at the best camera phones available for under £300 sim-free.

You’ll also find more in-depth comments on each of the smartphones featured in our list over in reviews, plus, take a look at our technique and feature sections where you’ll find a range of articles that’ll have you snapping top smartphones shots in no-time. 



1. Motorola Moto G Pro

Motorola Moto G Pro


The Motorola Moto G Pro is a well-built, well-equipped phone offering an excellent camera set that all perform exceptionally. The handset looks great and is available at a fantastic price considering what it offers. 

Colours are very natural and the handset is extremely responsive – we were especially impressed by the features available on the front camera, including full manual settings and the ability to give portraits different lighting scenarios and bokeh blur according to the situation. 

The manual mode and ability to shoot in RAW, as well as RAW + JPEG, make this phone a really strong contender for photographers. As such we are happy to highly recommend it. 

Camera features at a glance: 

  • 48 MP Sensor (f/1.7, 1.6 µm)
  • Quad Pixel technology Macro Vision (2 mp, f/2.2)
  • Minimum 2 cm focus distance Action Cam (16 mp, f/2.2, 2.0 µm)
  • 117° ultra-wide angle video with Laser autofocus (TOF)
  • Laser Autofocus
  • Front / selfie camera – 16-megapixel f/2
  • Dedicated macro camera
  • RAW shooting in manual mode
  • ISO 100-3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA


2. Honor 9

Huawei Honor9 (1)

The Honor smartphones are part of Huawei’s more affordable smartphone range, and the Honor 9 is a premium smartphone but at a more reasonable price (just hitting the £300 point). It may not be as new as some of the smartphones listed below but scoring 4.5 stars, we’ve not reviewed a budget-smartphone that’s beat its overall score… yet. 

The Honor 9 offers a dual camera smartphone, plenty of ram and storage, a stylish and good looking design, 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.

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: 12mp colour sensor f/2.2 lens, 27mm equivalent 20mp black and white sensor f/2.2 lens, 27mm equivalent 8mp f/2 front camera, 4K video at 30fps with stereo sound, FullHD video at 60fps, 720p video at 120fps, EIS, Electronic Image Stabilisation, ISO50-ISO3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA


3. Honor 9X 

Honor 9X


The Honor 9X is a cool-looking smartphone with a good camera and when you combine this with the good battery and a very reasonable price-point – you can’t go far wrong with the Honor 9X if you’re on a budget. 

Do you really need the 48MP option? Probably not and it would have been nice to see a metal/glass design but this doesn’t change the fact that the Honor 9 is a lovely looking smartphone that has a fun pop-up camera, a big screen, feature-packed camera app and, rather importantly for some, a headphone socket. 

There are some negatives with the camera that let the Honor 9X down a bit such as bokeh effects clipping your subject, the odd over-saturated photo and a rubbish digital zoom but for the most part, the Honor 9X will capture good images with good levels of sharpness and colour reproduction (even more so if you’re just going to share images to social media). However, if photography is your main reason for buying a new smartphone, you will probably prefer the quality more premium brands offer. 

Overall, if budget is your main factor but you still want a smartphone that can capture photos with clever AI and fun features that you can share straight to Facebook or Instagram, give the Honor 9X some thought. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear camera: 48MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.4 super-wide-angle, 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor, Front camera: 16MP f/2.2 pop-up camera, AI Video Stabilisation, AIS super night mode, AI camera

Overall Score: 

The Honor 9X is available from Amazon UK for £249.99.


4. Honor 8X 

1/125 sec | f/3.2 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200

Here’s the thing… the Honor 8X is a brilliant phone for its price point but that’s also the snag – its price point. The Honor 8X looks and feels more expensive than it is but when you start to look a little closer, some of the features aren’t quite as good as the phone looks. The second lens making up the dual rear camera isn’t great meaning that the bokeh effect isn’t always spot on, there is no 4K video mode, the AI can be a little overzealous, digital zoom is terrible and there’s the small annoying matter of a microUSB connection. However, on the other side of the coin, the Night mode is excellent, selfies are great, the day-to-day picture quality is good and the screen is pretty much spot-on. Don’t forget that a Pro mode is available, too, something that’s still lacking from Apple! Also, I know we’ve mentioned it already, but it’s a lovely looking phone that could fool most into thinking it costs a lot more than it does. 

So, who should buy this phone? We would say, teenagers as it’s reasonably priced, looks cool, has an easy-to-use camera app that means selfies will be social media ready in minutes but, we know how much they love a well-known brand to give them social status so it could be a hard sell for parents. Other people who may be interested in the Honor 8X are those who aren’t brand loyal and simply want a good performing phone with a decent camera, a large 6.5inch screen, good battery life and style at a price that won’t have them taking out a small loan. 

Yes, the Honor 8X isn’t perfect but it’s perfect enough to warrant giving it a ‘Recommended’ award. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear dual-lens (20MP f/1.8 + 2MP), 16MP f/2.0 front-facing “selfie” camera, Night Mode, AI, Pro Mode, ISO50-3200, Full HD and Slo-Mo video (no 4K) 

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA


5. Honor Play 

Honor Play

The Honor Play is another lovely looking smartphone from Honor that doesn’t cost the earth. It’s got an excellent screen, decent battery and can capture a good photo. Yes, there are times when images can lack a little ‘oomph’ and, at the opposite end of the scale, times when the AI can add a little too much ‘pow’ but generally speaking, it’s a decent shooter for the price point. Plus, there are some cool features built in that make photography fun, and creative. If you don’t want to spend much more than £250 on a smart device, the Honor Play is a good option.

Camera features at a glance: Rear dual camera featuring a 16MP + 2MP (depth sensor), 16-megapixel selfie camera, 6.3-inch FHD+ screen with 19.5:9 aspect, USB-C, 4K video with EIS, Aperture mode, 4K video with EIS, 3750mAH battery, ISO50 to ISO3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA


6. Nokia 7.1 

Nokia 7 1 Blue (2)

The Nokia 7.1 has an excellent 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


7. Nokia 6.1

1/80 sec | f/3.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200

Just behind the Nokia 7.1 is the Nokia 6.1 which is another reasonably priced smartphone that is capable of producing good images and excellent video in most situations. Yes, it does struggle a bit in low light and when scenes have a wide dynamic range, results can be disappointing but overall, it did a decent enough job. Plus, when you consider how reasonably priced it is, you can almost let slip its low light performance issues as in all other situations, it’s a really great smartphone camera. 

If you’re looking for a smart-looking smartphone that can take good photos, has 4K video built-in and captures awesome selfies then the Nokia 6.1 might just be for you. It’s a budget-friendly smartphone that surprised us and we reckon you won’t be disappointed with how it performs either.  

Camera features at a glance: Rear Camera: 16mp, f/2.0, 27mm Zeiss lens, Front Camera: 8mp, f/2.0, Video: 1080p/30fps (both cameras), 4K (rear camera), Pro mode, ISO 100-3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK  Buy On Amazon USA 


8. Nokia 7 Plus

1/80 sec | f/5.4 | 34.0 mm | ISO 320

Just creeping under the £300 mark is the Nokia 7 Plus which 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 ‘o, 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. 

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


9. Huawei P smart 2019 

P Smart 2019 |

The Huawei P smart 2019 is a bargain, coming in under the £200 mark and it has a decent camera that is perfectly suited for those who just share images to social media. Colours are accurate, particularly on sunny days and there’s an AI mode built in to assist you if needed. Shooting indoors, or when light levels drop outdoors, causes some issues for the P smart 2019 with detail becoming smudgy but in good light, it’s a good camera. The 8MP f/2.0 wide-aperture selfie camera, which has a fixed focus lens, also produces pleasing results with accurate colours and good depth of field when using the bokeh feature. 

4K video isn’t built in sadly, and there’s no stabilisation either so footage can look a bit shaky. You can shoot in 1080p, though, at 30fps or 60fps. 

If you want to make a sensible choice when it comes to buying a smartphone, don’t want to spend hundreds, or even thousands, on a device but still want decent specs, the Huawei P Smart 2019 is well worth considering. 

Camera features at a glance: 8MP f/2.0 wide-aperture selfie camera, 13MP f/1.8 rear camera with 2MP secondary camera, portrait mode, night mode, pro mode, aperture mode, beauty/bokeh effects, AI, ISO50-1600, f/0.95-f/16, 1080p video

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK 


10. Honor 20 Lite 

HONOR 20 Lite

The Honor 20 Lite is a beautiful smartphone featuring an all-screen display and great specs for the price. There’s a 32-megapixel selfie camera, a 24-megapixel main camera, and generous 128GB storage with 4GB of RAM. 

There’s a triple camera setup, fingerprint sensor, good 3400mAh battery, and a Kirin 710 processor. It weighs only 164g, and the only place where the device is let down is in the zoom area, with limited zoom capability. 

It still has MicroUSB connectivity which is a little dated now, with a lot of phones using USB-C, and some may not like the plastic construction. However, it does offer a good package for the price you pay – just over £200. 

Camera features at a glance: 32mp selfie camera (dewdrop), 24mp f/1.8 main camera, 8mp f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2mp f/2.4 additional camera (depth sensor), HD video (30/60fps).

Overall score: 

Buy on Amazon UK   


11. Huawei P30 Lite 

Huawei P30 Lite


For those looking for a budget-friendly, modern-looking smartphone which will capture decent images for sharing online, the Huawei P30 Lite could be on your ‘worth considering’ list. 

You get plenty of storage, good AI features and the overall design of the P30 Lite makes it look a lot more expensive than it is. The screen-to-body ratio is excellent with the dewdrop front-facing camera not only taking up less room but it also makes the smartphone look cooler, too. 

It has a triple camera, and, OK, sometimes the shots are a little oversaturated and the 48MP sensor isn’t that great but for those who simply want to share images online with friends, the P30 Lite does an OK job. Plus, selfies are actually rather good so those who regularly use Snapchat or Instagram will be happy. 

For those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a smartphone, the price of the P30 Lite could be an attractive pull. 

Camera features at a glance: 48MP f/1.8 wide-angle lens, 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP bokeh lens (supports AF), 24MP, f/2.0, fixed focal length, AI, Pro Mode, Portrait and Aperture modes, 6.15-inch display, ISO3200, 3440mAh battery

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK   Buy On Amazon USA



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

Budget Smartphones <£200  Best Mid-Range Smartphones  Premium Smartphones 

You’re going to need a MicroSD card to expand your phone’s memory so have a look at our complete guide to memory cards to find the right MicroSD card for your smartphone, or you can take a look at more camera phone reviews if you haven’t found what you’re looking for.