Back in 2000, Sharp released the first cell phone with a camera – the J-SH04 model was able to shoot photos with a resolution of 0.11 Mp. Since then, mobile photography has reached unimaginable heights. We take smart phones on vacation instead of “DSLRs”, and the market for compact cameras breathes into incense. We are talking about new technologies in mobile photography.
Once the steepness of the cameras depended on the number of pixels. Many users even today choose a Smartphone, focusing on the Mp. However, the trick is that the more pixels are located on the matrix, the smaller they are and, consequently, the less amount of light that they capture. But the light is the most important thing in photography. The more light is delivered to the photocells, the brighter and purer the resulting images. Realizing this, Smartphone manufacturers decided to stop the race of megapixels and began to increase their size.
In the flagship HTC 10 pixels increased to 1.55 microns. Together with the large aperture f / 1.8, the 12 megapixel camera HTC 10 is able to shoot high-quality photos even with a lack of light.
In smart phones Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge pixels increased to 1.4 microns. In addition, in their own matrices ISOCELL Koreans separated the pixels from each other so that each of them received their own ray of light without admixture of the neighboring one. The technology has expanded the dynamic range and made the color rendering more accurate.
Around the mechanisms of auto focusing the last couple of years there is a lot of interesting. Manufacturers of smart phones are trying to make autofocus faster, more accurate and even smarter.
In the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple introduced the technology Focus Pixels, which migrated to the “eski”, and then to the sevens. The manufacturer does not disclose the features of technology, but mentions that it is from the world of “DSLRs”. Experts believe that the Focus Pixels hides either phase or hybrid auto focusing (tandem phase and contrast).
In the Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 edge and S7 / S7 edge, you can also find technology from the world of “DSLRs” – a two-pixel autofocus mechanism. Each 12-megapixel pixel matrix consists of two parts that collect color information, and participates in the phase auto-focus operation. For the first time such technology was applied by Canon in the EOS 70D SLR camera for amateur enthusiasts.
Laser auto focusing has become almost commonplace. It can be found even in inexpensive smart phones, for example, in ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser. The mechanism works by the principle of a range finder – the camera sends a beam of light to the object of the survey, which is reflected and returned back. So the Smartphone calculates the exact distance to the object, and for hundredths of a second. Laser autofocus can be found in ASUS Zenfone Max, ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser, HTC 10, HTC 10 Lifestyle, LG G5, LG G4, LG G4s.
It is noteworthy that in flagships, for example, Huawei P9 and Honor 8, laser auto focusing is part of a hybrid auto focusing system – works in conjunction with contrast and phase. Using laser auto focusing, Sony even came up with a predicative hybrid autofocus that can predict the trajectory of the subject’s motion – the technology was introduced in the new smartphones Sony Xperia XZ and Sony Xperia X Compact.
Smeared photos can spoil the impression of a vacation, a party and just a walk. All because of the “shake” – the trembling of the hands does not allow the camera to take a clear picture, especially in conditions of insufficient lighting, when a long exposure is necessary. The help comes optical image stabilization – a mechanism that compensates for camera vibrations due to the displacement of the lens.
Optical image stabilization is used in the iPhone 6 Plus, 6s Plus and in all the “Seven”, in the Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 edge and S7 / S7 edge, in the HTC 10 and HTC 10 Lifestyle. Huawei P9, Honor 7, Lenovo Vibe Shot also received optical image stabilization.
The last squeak of mobile photography is a double camera. However, despite the external similarity, it is used differently by different manufacturers.
So, in Huawei P9 and Honor 8 the dual camera consists of two 12-megapixel photo modules. One of them is built on a color RGB-matrix, the other – on a monochrome. After the shutter is released, the frames from both cameras are combined, making up one shot – bright, clear, with a wide dynamic range and a beautiful side.
In LG and Apple, a dual camera is used differently. The flagship LG G5, mid-sized LG X Cam and iPhone 7 Plus are equipped with cameras with different focal lengths. LG relied on a combination of a “normal” camera and a wide-angle camera for capturing landscapes, architecture and large companies, while Apple used a “normal” camera and a camera with a telephoto lens with a 2x zoom for shooting distant objects. It is noteworthy that LG smartphones with different resolution, and the iPhone 7 Plus both at 12 megapixels.
Cameras in smartphones have ceased to be just a tool for shooting text. Today they can play the role of a full-fledged instrument in the hands of a photo artist. Manufacturers come up with more and more chips, hammering one nail after another into the coffin of the coffin of the compact camera market.
In which cases can the Smartphone replace you with a full camera?
The word “photography ” entered our daily life long before the words “Smartphone”, “instagram”, “filters”, etc. But it still remains one of the most significant among both ordinary people and among the Internet gurus. To think, a small file can carry so much to the points and emotions, how many cannot give a detailed account of the event, so carefully etched in the photo. Previously, only masters of their craft were capable of this, not everyone could afford heavy and expensive equipment. After a while, cameras appeared easier and easier, now millions of people around the world have recorded events and people. After a couple of decades, people swept digital cameras off the counter. Probably, it seemed the most accessible way to take pictures for memory. But it was not so, literally 7 years ago, companies like Apple and Nokia decide to integrate quality photo sensors into their phones. Then it could seem like a pampering, but now we all understand that the engineers from these corporations looked to the future.
But is it really going to the fact that smartphones will displace cameras as a relic? I do not think so. Still, we do not consider dinosaurs of reporters, photographers, advertisers, designers. Of course, they use professional equipment, but sometimes it seems to me that after smartphones have conquered the market of compact cameras – or simply soap cases – nothing will stop them from being dealt with and with SLR cameras. “What kind of stupid fantasies,” I say to myself at these moments, “mirrors are absolutely necessary for another!”. But for what? Is it really impossible to shoot a masterpiece or a sensational shot on an iPhone camera? On the contrary, the Internet we all often and often we see the opposite. But I assure you that amateurs and professional photographers will never give up large and heavy cameras. There are several reasons for this.
First of all, automation and ergonomics. Electronics accompanies us during the entire shooting process, adjusts the shutter speed, ISO and other parameters. The camera differs only in that the intervention of the automation can be minimized. But then another problem, how to give the user a convenient and fast way to keep all these parameters? The answer is simple and old-fashioned: physical buttons. And there are a lot of them on SLR cameras, but I can adjust all the parameters of the future photo directly to the touch. On smart phones, this is simply impossible!
With external devices all more or less clear. Quality flares, tripods and lenses are simply not available for mobile devices. And even if it were, no one would want to buy something that weighs 3 or even 4 times more than the phone.
And finally, the last and, in my opinion, not the most important – the quality of the image. Even in the “auto” cameras give the picture several times better than smart phones. But, as always, there are exceptions. Optics from ZEISS and 41 megapixels Lumia 1020 simply compensates for the shortcomings of a small matrix, and RAW format allows it to compete with budget models of SLR cameras. Further more. But only in auto mode.
I do not dissuade anyone from buying a camera. But you need to understand that there is no sense in buying an expensive and high-quality camera when using it only in auto mode. This is inefficient and stupid. Photography is not only an expensive and interesting, but also a time- consuming hobby. I’ll have to read more literature, learn how to use Photoshop and practice a lot. If you are frightened by such a prospect, and you do not need professional staff, you just want to make a photo for memory, and then the iPhone is an ideal camera.
Photo, flash, panorama, slow-motion video – everything is easy. The result will not impress the masters of their craft, but what is the difference for ordinary users? Moreover, photography is not only lifeless megapixels, matrix size, aperture, retouch, shutter speed and ISO, but, first of all, feelings and emotions. And this will not add to your photos, not even the most expensive and professional, camera.