One of the most frequently-used technologies of today is the smartphone camera. Over the years, people have been placing an emphasis on capturing pictures with their cellphones a lot more, which has further spurred demand with the significant popularity of social media in the past decade. With an increasing number of users who are demanding cameras with superior imaging capabilities in cellphones, companies have also taken it upon themselves to up the game. Every new phone coming out is now working on innovating the space of mobile camera sensors, focusing on techniques and optical stabilization mechanisms, along with using wider lenses and laser-assisted autofocus.
With the launch of the latest models of the iPhone, the Google Pixel and Samsung’s Galaxy S10, the camera phone market has been shaken up once again. The newest iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max have made choices even harder than ever! To help you out in choosing your next camera phone, we’ve compiled this list of camera specialties with the latest and most innovative technologies.
Telephoto and Zoom
For everyone interested in capturing more than just selfies and family photographs, there will come a time when they consider using a telephoto lens. The telephoto lens magnifies the image and technically has a focal length of at least 60mm. The ultimate advantage of having a dedicated telephoto camera module is that it takes better pictures at long focal lengths.
Most cellphones now come with a telephoto lens in addition to the regular wide lens. These include Apple, OnePlus, HTC, Xiaomi, Motorola, and Nokia models. The comparatively old phones had a traditional camera module that was paired with a 2x telephoto module, although the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro make use of a 3x telephoto. You can also fix an extra lens over the top of your inbuilt lens to get additional telephoto “power.”
The next step in zoom: Time-Folded Optics
This is a way to overcome the focal length limit that the phone’s thickness imposes. Traditional camera lenses were typically made up of many different lens elements that work together to provide a sharp, high-quality image. However, in folded-optics technology, the parts are folded on top of one another to reduce the thickness of the optic.
The larger the number of folds in the imager, the more powerful it is. Huawei has recently launched 5X zoom on P30 smartphone using folded optics. In this phone, different elements are combined to make a 90-degree right turn after the lens cover, and the CMOS sensor is arranged horizontally, kind of like a periscope. The result is a picture that delivers excellent detail for objects that are even several hundred feet away, with almost no loss in detail. That sort of quality and innovation is astounding, and as technology grows, it’s only going to get better with time.
Zooming out: Wide-angle capability
Let’s now talk about something you are probably a little more familiar with – wide-angle photography. If you have recently read the reviews about the Samsung Galaxy S10 or the iPhone XS Max, you know what we are talking about. Some of the more recent flagship phones feature a wide or ultra-wide lens, and it’s a great addition for people who want more in their shot.
Wide-angle photography helps people capture more in their shot by increasing the range to match what the human eye can see. This helps in taking pictures with a lot more subjects in them, and is especially useful when photographing scenic vistas. Lots of people now prefer wide-angle cameras for their social media posts simply because it adds so much more. If you’re interested in getting a phone for yourself, you may want to consider this option if most of your time is spent outdoors.
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Multi-shot Night Modes
Most smartphones come equipped with a night mode now built into the native camera app. Night mode works by taking multiple exposures and then combining the information from each of the shots to help produce what the computer deems a well-lit photo without much noise. iPhone 11 Pro, Google Pixel 3, and Huawei P30 Pro do a fantastic job of making night photos look like we are using professional lighting to capture the image.
This process relies more on the computational power of your phone, but having a powerful camera array is also essential to getting the best-looking photos around. Google has long been relying on achieving this with only one camera, but with the rising trend of multiple cameras on phones, more companies are able to harness this technology and deliver outstanding night-time pictures with some great detail. Check out this handy scale to see which phones score the best.
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