Every year, when top brands unveil their flagship smartphone models, one of the key aspects they emphasize are the cameras that come with the smartphone. We see smartphone brands roll out with ad campaigns, boasting about the camera’s resolution. Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series boasts an awe-inspiring 108MP primary shooter, while other brands offer smartphones that come with 64MP or 48MP primary cameras. While we often get caught up in the hype, it is important that we look at the larger picture.
Although cameras with a high megapixel count are indeed impressive, a high megapixel count alone does not guarantee high-quality images. While the term ‘megapixel’ has now become somewhat of shorthand for image quality, it is important to understand the role camera lens play in a smartphone.
Triple and Quad-Camera Setup
Smartphones today come with the triple or quad-rear camera setup, with multiple lenses offering different perspectives while taking a photo. Some of the most common lenses include a wide-angle lens, ultra-wide lens, telephoto lens, monochrome sensor, and a depth sensor, along with the phone’s regular lens. While monochrome and depth sensors do not produce any images themselves, a monochrome sensor provides sharper images, while the depth sensor enables users to take images with professional-style blur effects, along with better-augmented reality rendering.
Importance of Telephoto, Wide and Ultra-Wide Lens
Most of the millennials and Gen Z are selfie-obsessed, and one of the biggest complaints they have had pertaining to smartphone cameras is the camera’s inability to capture wider shots, such as a group picture. However, today, smartphones come equipped with either wide or ultra-wide lens, that fit more space, such as a sweeping landscape.
Modern-day smartphones, whether they are premium flagship models, such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, or phones with best camera under 15000, such as the Xiaomi Poco M2 Pro, come with either wide or ultra-wide lens, and also provide necessary adjustments to ensure minimal to no distortion while clicking photos.
The other common lens we get in a smartphone today is the telephoto lens, which allows you to zoom in and out while taking a photo. The field of view in telephoto lenses is narrower when compared to other lenses, and considering smartphone cameras usually do not have any moving parts, telephoto lenses can be used with a second lens along with a sensor to get closer to the image you want to capture.
Telephoto lenses are also used to create stunning effects, such as bokeh or focus effects. Thus, the smartphone understands the proximity of objects by combining the information it receives from multiple lenses, which enables it to blur the background and bring the foreground into focus. Smartphone brands, in an effort to cater to amateur photographers and photography enthusiasts, have rolled out with models that offer stunning telephoto lens with 60x zoom, such as the Vivo X30 5G, OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, and Realme X3 SuperZoom, which have hybrid systems that use both optical and digital zoom to get closer to the action.
Which is More Important – Megapixels or Camera Lens?
To capture a high-quality image, high megapixel count alone isn’t sufficient. There are several factors that contribute to the superior camera performance of a smartphone, with the two most important being the hardware (sensor size and aperture of the lens), and the software (photo-processing algorithm).
In fact, there was even a time when having more megapixels in a smartphone was considered unnecessary, as the previous models packed more pixels into tiny sensors. Thus, it is important for a good camera phone to strike the right balance by having a healthy mix of megapixels, proper camera lens, and large sensors, to click clear, bright, and color-rich photographs.
The latest smartphone models from brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, and Realme have been largely successful in striking the right balance when it comes to megapixels and camera lenses. Some of the best 6000 mah battery mobile come with 48MP or 64MP sensors and produce stunning images, as they house significantly large sensors (half-inch or more) as compared to yesteryear smartphone models. Intelligent smartphone cameras need a solid foundation, and camera lens, along with megapixel count are important ingredients for developing better camera phones.