Mobile photography turned “selfies” into a global phenomenon, spurred the creation of countless apps and social networks, and made it easier for everyone to capture and share the memories that matter. But, until recently, the gap between smartphone cameras and high-end dedicated DSLRs was wide. Smartphone cameras were “good enough” and their portability gave them an edge – but with smartphone photography being a main driver of how and why people use and choose a smartphone, impressive new technology is leading to more capable mobile cameras that rival expensive, cumbersome professional gear.
Welcome to Dual Lens Era
At its core, photography is the art of light, and the amount of light admitted determines quality. The larger the lenses and sensors, the more light can be used to capture the perfect image.
Looking for solutions to increase camera performance that did not lead to larger, bulkier lenses – and in turn, larger, bulkier phones – some phone manufacturers have begun adding a second lenses to increase the sensor area to admit more light – resulting in images that surpass what many thought could be possible with a smartphone.
Increasingly more and more smartphones, from top- and mid-range to some low-end devices, are getting dual-rear cameras, with some OEMs implementing dual rear and front cameras for a better mobile photography experience. A dual-camera set up increases an image quality by having two lenses first divide the work, before working together to produce higher-quality images.
To further increase the light admitted, OEMs also are opting for an RGB and monochrome dual camera design modeled after the imaging principles of the human eye. The monochrome lens is equivalent to rod cells, used for distinguishing shading and definition, while the RGB lens is equivalent to cone cells, used for capturing colour information. This distinguishing capability is especially outstanding in low light.
Like the imaging of human eyes, when the color information from the RGB lens is combined with the shading and definition information from the monochrome lens, the result is an image with both rich details and realistic color. The monochrome lens cancels out the RGB lens’ color filter array, making every pixel admit light three times that of the color sensor. Based on this, the dual camera can obtain a higher amount of light admitted in low light environments, without extended exposure time. Most premium dual-camera smartphones this year will give desired effects like depth of field photography that were once limited to expensive DSLRs.
Benefits of Dual Lens Cameras
The ability to create the bokeh effect, which is the out-of-focus blur in a photograph, has long been associated with high end photography setups. Highlighting the subject your photos by purposefully blurring the background lends a dramatic, impactful effect to photos, no matter the skill level of the photographer behind the lens.
With a second lens, even mid-range smartphones can simulate photographic techniques once reserved for high-end DSLRs. Additional content that’s captured by the second lens allows the sharpness of the image to be improved.
Another benefit of dual-lenses camera is the amount of perspective captured in a picture. Thanks to the second lens, distances are analyzed better and a near-3D image can be produced.
Some devices also are optimized to offer an excellent hybrid zoom feature that is superior to the digital zoom that you’ll find on most smartphones. Hybrid zoom gives users more versatility by allowing you to zoom in while still retaining super-high sharpness. While most smartphone cameras only use digital zoom, due to the large amount of information collected with the dual sensor, hybrid zoom is equivalent to optical zoom cameras.
How MediaTek is Delivering on Dual Camera Features
Want to enhance your mobile photography experience even future? Look for smartphones that feature MediaTek’s Imagiq 2.0 technology suite which encompasses everything-dual-camera for photo and video capture. Imagiq 2.0 incorporates a range of specific hardware that works in harmony with one another and all the other compute resources with the Helio System-on-a-Chip. Together, it delivers the best experience that not only shoots the best quality pictures and video, but also creates a sustainable and reliable experience that’s power efficient.
When you go from a dark to light, or light to dark, the camera sensor needs to adjust the exposure settings so the image doesn’t appear too bright or too dark – just like the iris in your eye reacts to the environment around you. Using MediaTek Instant Auto Exposure (AE), the speed is virtually instantaneous, thanks to another dedicated piece of hardware: the Camera Control Unit (CCU). It delivers considerably faster, automatic exposure adjustment when environmental lighting conditions change suddenly giving an AE convergence speed that’s up to twice as fast as competitive AE performance.
MediaTek also has a built-in Vision Processing Unit (VPU) that is paired to the Image Signal Processors (ISP). This VPU provides a dedicated processing platform for image capture and post-processing functions. Its proximity to the source of image capture makes it an ideal partner, while its dedicated design not only frees up the CPU and GPU, it also saves considerable power, extending battery life.