How much better can smartphone cameras get? They’re already really good — enough to replace point-and-shoots for most purposes. But manufacturers may have hit a ceiling when it comes to quality because of the traditional smartphone limitations: they have to keep thickness and weight down.
The answer could be multiple cameras in one device. Here’s all that you need to know about this technology.
1. What Exactly is a Dual Camera Setup ?
If you look around the back of a phone, you’ll see a tiny camera lens. In a smartphone, the camera module is quite tiny, owing to the fact that the phone itself has to be slim. Inside this tiny module, they have to fit in multiple lens elements, an image sensor and sometimes even tiny motors for optical image stabilization.
For dual, you’ll see two lenses, placed side by side horizontally or vertically. This means the device will have two complete, independent camera modules. Typically, one of them is the primary lens that does all the major lifting while the secondary lens works on capturing additional light, increasing the field of view or helps with a nice background blur.
2. Dual Cameras made Debut in 2011
Not really, dual cameras were first introduced in the HTC Evo 3D smartphone way back in 2011. At the time, the dual camera was used to capture 3D images to work with the 3D screen of the HTC. Post that, manufacturers kept experimenting with the tech, but it never really took off. That is, until 2014, when the HTC one M8 arrived with its Duo camera setup and the impressive depth of field effect.
In 2016, dual cameras have evolved to deliver excellent results — effectively overcoming space limitations in modern phones.
3. So what is the Primary Advantage of a dual Camera System ?
Depending on the type of secondary camera used, a dual camera can help you get a sharper image with more details, enable an ultra-wide angle mode or simply help you take photos with a shallow depth of field to make the subject stand out.
At times, the dual camera setup can also help you add 1x or 2x optical zoom to the phone (we’re seeing this on Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus and Asus’ Zenfone 3 Zoom).
4. Image Quality depends on Sensor Size, Pixel Size, Aperture and more
While the dual camera system does offer excellent results, several other factors such as sensor size, pixel size, aperture and even post processing plays a big role in the result.
Smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, Google Pixel, OnePlus 3, LG G5, HTC 10 and few others will give you better results in low-light and better detail compared to many dual camera phone. The only dual camera smartphones that can match these flagships are the iPhone 7 Plus and Huawei P9.
5. Vivo V5 plus is the first Smartphone with Dual Cameras in front
In 2015, Lenovo introduced a dual front camera in the Vibe S1 — it had a primary 8MP front camera and second 2MP front camera to capture better selfies. Vivo is the latest brand to launch a smartphone with dual front camera in the Vivo V5 Plus. It has a 20MP + 8MP front camera and a dedicated Bokeh mode for the user to adjust the aperture as per preference for a better depth of field effect.
6. Dual Camera Smartphones are no Longer more Expensive
The first set of smartphones with dual cameras that arrived in India last year (Huawei P9, LG G5, iPhone 7 Plus) were premium offerings and thus priced above Rs 35,000. However, the tech has since appeared on entry-level smartphones like the Xolo Black. Towards the end of 2016, we saw the Honor 8 with dual cameras in a sub Rs 30,000 price.
Now, in January 2017, dual cameras have made an appearance on budget smartphones like Coolpad Cool 1 and Honor 6x – both these phones deliver great photo results.
7. Dual Camera setup Phones to be Biggest trend of 2017
Dual camera have been around from 2011 as mentioned earlier. While it may have taken its own sweet time to evolve, the technology seems to be ready for consumer use. With Apple joining the dual camera bandwagon and budget options coming-in from the Android quarters, we expect dual cameras to be one of the biggest smartphone trends in 2017.
Going ahead, dual camera setups are expected to improve the image quality and open up additional image effects via software such as improved Bokeh, superior portrait modes as well as long exposure effects in photos. In addition, smartphone brands might tweak them to work with existing hardware such as laser autofocus, RGB sensor and so on.