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Smartphone cameras are getting better and better. In every iteration, phone manufacturers are trying to improve their camera quality and ability. These days smartphones come with many cameras, and different camera setup gives you a different perspective to capture an image. You have more flexibility now than ever. If you are looking for a new smartphone, you’ll likely have a better camera.
When you look for the camera specifications on the smartphone, you’ll see jargon that may sometime confuse you a little bit. Here we will discuss how you can choose a better camera phone based on their specs.
What are the things you need to look for while choosing a camera?
Here are some of the specification you may need to look for while choosing best the smartphone camera
Sensor size gives you information on how blurry the background of the picture is going to look. The bigger sensor size also means less noise in images, especially in low light.
A larger sensor will let more light in and will give you better overall images. The small sensor may crush the darker part of the image and lose the details.
How to check the sensor size?
Sensor size is measured in inches, and in the fraction form like google pixel 3A has a sensor size of 1/2.55″, which is smaller than OnePlus 8 Pro that has a sensor size of 1/1.43″.
Lower the number in inches larger the sensor size.
A larger sensor can accommodate more pixels in it. More pixels means the image you’ll take from your phone will be sharper even after cropping.
More megapixels sharper the image quality
Next thing, after looking for pixels and sensor size, you should look for the aperture of the camera. The aperture size of a lens is the diameter of the opening in the lens’s diaphragm. The wider the aperture of the lens, the better the image quality. It may sound like “sensor size,” but it is different. Both larger sensor sizes and aperture can increase low light performance and gives you a beautiful bokeh effect.
How to check the aperture size?
The aperture is measured in f stops or f numbers. ROG 2 primary camera aperture size is f/1.8, and Mi 10 Pro has a bigger aperture of f/1.7.
Unlike DSLRs, smartphones have a fixed aperture. You should always look for a bigger aperture size lense.
Lower the number in f stops larger the aperture size.
Some smartphones have built-in stabilization so that you can capture the image even while walking and get a perfect shot. Because of the movement of your hand, the image can be blurry, especially in low light. There are two types of stabilization OIS and EIS.
OIS:-Optical Image Stabilization is a mechanism to still the camera. You’ll get better quality videos without a tripod, and the still image will not be blurry because of shaky hands.
EIS:- EIS is software-based stabilization. Some smartphones only have EIS, and you’ll find both EIS and OIS in the flagship smartphone. The videos are going to be more stable when both OIS and EIS kick in.
Both EIS and OIS means better stabilization and better quality.
Number of cameras
Nowadays, almost all smartphones, be it a budget, midrange, or a flagship, you get more than one camera.
Name of the different camera lenses, that you might discover while choosing a phone.
- Telephoto lens
- Ultra-wide angle lense
- Main Lens
- ToF lense
- Color filter lense
You need to make sure if the other cameras on the phone are worth upgrading. More camera setup on a smartphone doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. You may need to look closely and check if multiple cameras are useful for you or not.
Primary camera:- The main camera on your phone is called a primary camera, and it has a standard angle of view, and chances are most of the time, you’ll capture the pictures from your primary lens.
Ultra-wide:- This lens can help you achieve capturing wide perspective images.
Different smartphones have different field of view. Samsung has 120 degrees, but OnePlus 7 Pro has 118 degrees. The wider the field of view, the better.
Telephoto:- This lens can help you capture faraway subjects by zooming optically to an extent without losing the quality of the image. Keep in mind after a certain extent, the phone will digitally zoom in and will not give you sharp images.
ToF:- This camera is to map the depth between the subject and background. It helps the primary camera to decide how far the background is from the subject and create the creamy bokeh effect.
FishEye:- Fisheye lens gives you an entirely different perspective. It is not common in a smartphone, but some smartphone-like LG has experimented with this lens in the past.
Color filter:– Color filter lens can change the colors of the images. You can capture black and white.
All-new flagship and mid-range smartphones come with a different type of auto focus like laser auto focus on Samsung and LG, and phase detection on the iPhone.
AutoFocus is essential, especially for videos.
HDR lets you capture more details of the highlights and darker parts of the image at the same time. A phone captures multiple pictures when HDR mode is on and combine them into one so that you get a balanced image.
HDR is important when you are shooting in extremely low or bright light conditions for a balanced image.
The most important thing in mobile photography is how the software process the image after capturing it. You may look for the best specification, yet the results may not be that pleasing.
Software is responsible for how the images are going to look like on the screen.
Google Pixel captures the best images despite having a smaller aperture and sensor size than Samsung galaxy S10. The Samsung galaxy saturates the photos a little bit, but the pixels keep the natural tone to the images. The same goes for the night mode and portrait mode.
You’ll see all the flagship smartphone cameras have a more or less similar specification, yet some of them are better than others.
In the end, the software is the king.
The camera quality in smartphones has drastically changed in the past few years, some of them can also compete with an entry-level DSLR.
If you are thinking about buying a new smartphone and camera is the main focus, I would recommend looking for the phone reviews and specifications of the phone.