There is a fairly extensive list of camera-related specs included in today’s smartphones. For many of us, our smartphone has replaced our primary camera since we constantly have it with us.
In its most basic form, taking pictures with a smartphone is just a matter of gathering photons of light and turning them into electrons (image). To capture your selected topic in high-quality photographs, you must have the right technology and software in place.
IMAGE SIGNAL PROCESSOR (ISP)
The Imaging Signal Processor (ISP), which is a component of a smartphone’s chip-set/CPU and works with the operating system and applications to enhance and add special effects to photographs after they have been taken, is a crucial component of the smartphone camera experience. They include of object recognition, filters, face detection, and panoramic scene capture.
If the phone has an integrated GPS chipset, images are additionally geo-tagged with the GPS coordinates of the location where the photograph was taken.
QUICKLINKS CAMERA INDEX
As seen in the Huawei P20 Pro example below, our phone specification pages provide comprehensive camera specifications and features:
A smartphone’s camera’s resolution is measured in megapixels, yet more megapixels don’t automatically mean a better picture. As manufacturers place greater emphasis on the quality of those megapixels acquired, the urge for ever-increasing megapixels has decreased. In contrast to a high-resolution CMOS sensor, which has smaller pixels and so collects less light, this is achieved by having bigger pixels within the CMOS Sensor to capture more light. Images with a higher megapixel count can be “cropped” without drastically losing information. When printing, for example, “posters,” greater megapixel photographs also guarantee a higher quality image.
A 4K TV has an 8.3 megapixel count while images are being shown back on a television or monitor, compared to an HD TV’s 2.1 megapixel count.
Still photographs are often stored as jpeg or HEVC files, which reduce the size of the image file without sacrificing any detail (loss-less compression). Some expensive phones take pictures in RAW, which results in substantially bigger file sizes. H.264/H.265 is the most widely used format for capturing video. To minimise the burden on the phone’s internal storage, Google and Apple provide paid “cloud” storage for off-loading your photos and videos through WiFi or cellular.
How much light a lens lets in is indicated by its aperture. Light is allowed in more or less depending on the size of the aperture; a smaller aperture allows in less light. These numbers are inverse when expressed in f-stops; as the aperture chart above illustrates, the greater the aperture, the lower the f-stop number. More light enters via an aperture of f/1.4 than an aperture of f/8.
ELECTRONIC IMAGE STABILIZATION (EIS) AND OPTICAL IMAGE STABILIZATION (OIS)
helps reduce camera shaking and provide images of higher quality. Some smartphones effectively employ digital optical image stabilisation, while the finest smartphones use a mechanical OIS technology.
Although most modern smartphones feature an inbuilt focusing system, the external Lens Covers prevent you from seeing it. Macro photography, or taking pictures of objects up close, is only possible with focused cameras.
Many smartphones employ a digital zoom when zooming in on your topic, which results in a lesser quality image at any given size because it is essentially “cropping” the image for you. To enable optical zoom, many top smartphones, however, use a second lens.
PHASE DETECTION AUTO FOCUS (PDAF)
In order to simulate your eyes, PDAF Technology employs paired, masked pixels on the image sensor. The ISP adjusts the camera lenses until the subject is in focus and both pictures are in sync with one another.
Compared to Contrast Detection Auto Focus (CDAF), PDAF focuses more quickly and produces crisper images.
An integrated laser transmitter and receiver is part of the camera system. The distance to the target is calculated by the phone using the time it takes for the laser to bounce off its target.
Fast and low-light photography is advantageous, while landscape photography—where the subject is far away from the camera—is less beneficial.
When the lighting is dim, a flash will illuminate your subject.
Up until recently, cellphones mostly used LED flash technology. It consumes minimal physical area, uses little electricity, and can operate constantly. Yet it only illuminates a very limited area, it moves slowly (causing fast-moving objects to become blurry), and the colour temperature is frequently inappropriate for the situation.
For instance, an LED flash emits light at around 5,500 Kelvin (K), which is similar to the warmth of sunlight. Because of this, some images taken indoors in low light with an LED flash may seem blue.
Some smartphones have several LEDs built into the flash itself to generate light with a temperature that better suits the surroundings. Combining the various light temperatures produced by each LED can result in images that appear more realistic.
High Dynamic Range, or HDR, aims to increase the “dynamic range” of your photos.
HDR mode produces three photographs at various exposures as opposed to one. These three photos are combined by the CPU/ISP, which also emphasises the best elements of each image. You may frequently choose between a conventional shot and an HDR photo on your smartphone. In contrast to what your smartphone’s camera sees, the outcome ought to more accurately reflect what you see.
See the differences between the two photos in the comparison gallery below, for instance when examining shadows.
HDR isn’t always the ideal option, depending on your subject and lighting circumstances. In order to decide the optimal way to use HDR and other settings, smartphone manufacturers use AI and Auto HDR.
Your smartphone needs to go through a few stages in the background before it can take a panoramic photo. When you move your phone around the scene or landscape, your camera app starts to capture a sequence of overlapping frames. Your CPU/ISP then “stitches” the different frames together to create the final Panorama.
It’s obvious that it’s not as easy as it seems. In addition to positioning each picture inside the overall panorama, the CPU/ISP collaborates with your smartphone’s camera AI, gyros, and other capabilities to make sure each frame matches its neighbor’s exposure, colour, and other characteristics. All of these amazing tricks guarantee the best overall image quality.
The majority of smartphones can record 720p HD video at least 30 frames per second (FPS). The smoother the video is, or in the case of slow-motion photography, the slower you can shoot without sacrificing quality, the higher the FPS. More storage space is needed the higher the resolution and the more frames there are.
COMMON VIDEO FORMATS & FRAME RATES ARE:
- 1080p HD at 30 fps
- 1080p HD at 60 fps
- 4K at 24 fps
- 4K at 30 fps
- 4K at 60 fps
- 720p HD at 240 fps
- 720p HD at 960 fps
- 1080p HD at 120 fps
- 1080p HD at 240 fps
- 1080p HD at 960 fps
We advise looking at the manufacturer’s specifications for the higher 960 fps cellphones to discover exactly how the 960 fps functions. Some phones only take a very brief burst at 960 frames per second, making capturing more difficult.
MAIN AND SELFIE CAMERAS
Rear-facing cameras are referred to as the main camera system. The lens or lenses are either on the back of the phone or within a pop-up camera module that faces backward.
Front-facing cameras are referred to as selfie cameras. The lens or lenses are located either on the front of the phone or within a housing for a pop-up camera that faces forward. The selfie camera may be paired with other hardware and software to offer powerful facial recognition capabilities. Applications for video conferencing are also utilised with the selfie camera.
Depth sensing capable camera systems can be utilized for Augmented Reality applications and animated emojis.
the combined number of lenses in the selfie and main camera systems. the terms Single, Dual, or Triple are used.
For clarity, we detail each camera lens in a distinct row.
Specifications include megapixel count, aperture, focal length, sensor size, zoom type, stabilisation techniques, and focusing mechanism.
Manufacturers of multi-lens smartphones select several lens combinations that they believe would deliver the best and most flexible solution. Using both wide-angle and zoom lenses, for instance.