The more, the merrier. I don’t know how much of this saying is true, but it seems like smartphones manufacturers are quite impressed by this. Lately, a majority of smartphone makers are opting for dual rear camera setup instead of a standard single camera in their devices, thereby justifying the phrase. So, what does a dual camera setup mean for an end customer? Would it really result in a better image? What are the different types of dual camera setups? Well, we try to find out.
How are dual cameras different from a standard single camera?
The smartphone makers have taken two different approaches to the dual camera technology. One is to offer more features by adding a secondary camera where both the cameras work independently to provide extra features which were not possible yet with a standard single camera. This can be achieved by featuring a wide angle secondary lens which captures the wide shot and also assists the primary lens in measuring the sense of depth. The secondary lens also enables the refocus features which let you focus on the objects even after the image is captured. LG G5 and iPhone 7 Plus are the perfect examples of this approach. The iPhone 7 Plus features a wide-angle lens and a secondary telephoto lens at the back. The wide-angle lens captures the wide-shot whereas the telephoto lens can do optical zooming. LG V20 and G5 features a wide-angle secondary lens which captures a wide shot, and the LG camera app provides an option to choose between the two when capturing an image.
Another approach is to simultaneously use both the lenses to capture more details in a picture. In this approach, the smartphone makers use a monochrome sensor along with a conventional color sensor which helps in capturing more details and vivid colors. The secondary monochrome lens captures a slightly different image than the regular lens which is then stitched together using camera software to create a better image. You’ll get to know more about the working of a monochrome sensor in later paragraphs.
History of dual rear camera phone:
Talking about the history of dual camera phones, HTC and LG were the first companies to launch a smartphone with dual rear camera setup. In 2011, HTC launched the first ever dual rear camera phone – HTC Evo 3D to take on 3D photography which was also followed by LG. Both of these phones failed drastically in the market, and the companies learned their lesson.
Eventually, five years later in 2016, the dual camera technology caught on, and we have the great flagship devices which feature dual rear cameras.
The Monochrome Lens
The majority of the smartphones launched recently with dual rear camera setup come with a secondary monochrome lens. The monochrome lens brings out more details and sensitivity in a capture than a conventional lens. Unlike RGB color sensor, the monochrome sensor captures all incoming light, i.e., 200% more light than the color sensor, therefore, each pixel receives 3x more light. The camera software then stitches the color and monochrome images together to create a single, high-quality image. Currently, Huawei P9, Honor 8, Mi Note 2 are the phones which feature a monochrome lens along with the regular color lens.
How is dual-lens camera better than the regular lens?
The dual rear cameras offer tons of features like sense of depth, refocus, wide shot images which were earlier not possible in standard single camera. With the help of secondary monochrome sensor, the smartphones are now capable of capturing much more details in the images than it used to. Also, with the help of two cameras, the companies can produce great results without compromising on device thickness. The dual camera technology also offers better results with less manufacturing cost. Taking the example of Google Pixel, it has a great camera and scores 89 on DxoMark rating. Whereas the LG G5 also has a great camera which scores 86 on DxoMark rating, but it cost way lesser than Pixel.
So, what do you think? Is the dual rear camera technology here to stay? Will it replace the standard single camera smartphones altogether?