The last few months have been all about dual cameras in the smartphone industry. We have seen almost every smartphone manufacturer participating in this race by announcing a dual camera phone in the market. Some of these smartphones offer RGB + Monochrome, while the majority of them use both the camera sensors to add bokeh effect.
What is a dual camera setup on a phone and what are its benefits?
A dual camera setup on a smartphone can be placed on the front or the rear side of the phone. Less than a year back, we only had smartphones with a single camera enabling us to capture decent quality images. But somethings were lacking such as the ability to optically zoom and to achieve DSLR-like bokeh effect.
Very soon the manufacturers realized the need of the consumer and introduced smartphones with dual camera setup. Using this evolution in hardware, smartphones allow the user to click photos of much better quality, with more details, with optical zoom, and with DSLR-like bokeh effect. There are various ways in which smartphone companies feature the dual camera setup on their phones, so let’s discuss this in details.
Types of Dual Camera Smartphones
RGB + Monochrome Dual Camera Sensor Setup
The first kind of dual rear camera combination being used is to allow the users to capture better monochrome (black and white) as one of the sensors is monochrome while the other is RGB. Smartphones such as Honor 8 and Huawei P9 pro feature two camera sensors, one of which is a monochrome camera sensor. Apart from capturing monochrome photos, this sensor also captures better details in a given frame. When paired with the second camera sensor which is RGB, this results in a photo with more details and better quality.
Wide-angle + Telephoto Dual Camera Lens Setup
The second variation is where both the sensors are RGB but they work together to capture photos with bokeh effect and longer focal length. So the first lens would be a wide-angle lens while the other would be a telephoto lens, allowing you to capture a photo as per your requirement of focal length.
We never had the option to increase the focal length of a smartphone camera lens optically, we were only able to perform digital zoom. This was until smartphone manufacturers launched dual camera phones which are able to perform optical zoom by 2x/3x. Smartphones such as Samsung Note 8, OnePlus 5T, Xiaomi Mi A1, Moto X4, Asus Zenfone S, etc feature dual-rear camera setup resulting in longer focal length and optical zoom.
Another feature of smartphones with dual-rear camera setup is the portrait mode which gives DSLR-like bokeh effect. In portrait mode, the smartphone uses the focal length and the aperture value of the telephoto lens. Using both the lenses, the smartphone senses the depth in the scene and calculates the distance between the subject and the backdrop. This allows the sensors to capture details such as the position of the subject in the frame and the amount of blur to be applied.