Cameras In Smartphones Are Megapixels So Important? Smartphones artificial intelligence aperture camera specifications have long gone beyond the usual “dialers” and turned into a mobile interactive device, the capabilities of which can be easily equated to a handheld computer. From smartphones, we not only make calls and use them as a means of communication, but also listen to music, watch videos, solve current work problems and, of course, take photos. Due to their versatility, these gadgets have pushed devices such as MP3 players and soap cameras from the market, which today are almost never found on store shelves. And although smartphones’ cameras have not yet grown up to professional photographic equipment , their ambitions are simply grandiose.
With the launch of each new smartphone on the market, cameras are gaining more and more extensive capabilities and technologies, which are not so easy to understand at this stage. Today we will try to highlight the main nuances of the cameras of modern mobile gadgets. Does a smartphone need a 64 megapixel camera? What is a camera matrix and pixel size and why is it important to pay attention to it? How does artificial intelligence work in cameras? Do smartphones really need multiple cameras? The answers to these (and not only these) questions can be found below.
- Megapixels: the more, the better?
- What you need to know about the camera sensor
- How Super Pixel or 4-in-1 Technology Works
- What is an aperture or aperture size?
- Why do smartphones need multiple cameras?
- Optical stabilization – is it necessary or not?
- Is the software part so important camera specifications?
- A few words about artificial intelligence
- To summarize
Megapixels: the more, the better?
What you need to know about the cameras in smartphones sensor
A camera matrix is a plate on which photosensitive elements are placed, which we call pixels. Actually, the concept of “megapixel camera” refers specifically to the matrix. In order not to go into the jungle of the construction, we draw an analogy – in film cameras, the role of the matrix was played by film. In digital cameras, the matrix is responsible for converting the light signal received through the lenses of the camera into an electric one. And the more information (read – light) she can consider, the more high-quality picture we will see in the end. But here, too, has its own nuances.
A lot of pixels are good. But if there are too many of them, then the effect will be the opposite, since with a higher density of pixels their size decreases and, accordingly, the amount of light that they can catch. And the quality of the photo depends on the light.
Imagine a regular sheet of paper in a cell measuring 20 × 20 cm. This will be our imaginary matrix for a 12 megapixel camera (and here we have 12 million pixels). In this situation, the number and size of pixels is quite suitable in order to capture enough light for a good image. Now imagine that the same 20 × 20 cm sheet has 20 million pixels, which is true for a camera artificial intelligence a perture camera specifications with a resolution of 20 megapixels. The number of cells (that is, pixels) has increased, and their size has been proportionally reduced and they “catch” less light. So, under the conditions of the same matrix size, 12 megapixels can provide better shooting quality (which is especially noticeable in low light conditions) than the more attractive 20 megapixels.
That is, in order to roughly understand what the pictures will be in a particular smartphone, it is important to consider not only the number of megapixels, but also the size (diagonal) of the matrix and the pixel size, measured in microns (or μm in Latin) camera specifications. True, there is one catch — manufacturers, even now, have begun to indicate the pixel size in their camera specifications, but in most cases the matrix size is ignored as a class. And all because this parameter is often not so attractive as to build an advertising campaign on it.
For example, in the Sony IMX386 12-megapixel camera, which could be seen in Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, the matrix diagonal is 6.2 mm (1 / 2.9 ″) and the pixel size is 1.25 μm. If the full characteristics of the camera for a particular smartphone are available, then the larger the diagonal of the matrix in mm (or the smaller the second digit in the fractional parameter, after unity) and the larger the pixel, the better.
How Super Pixel or 4-in-1 Technology Works
Having played enough with the number of megapixels, manufacturers noticed that just the astronomical resolution of the camera (48 megapixels, 64 megapixels and more) ceased to motivate users to make a choice in favor of their gadgets camera specifications. Therefore, modern smartphones use pixel binning or Super Pixel / Quad Pixel technology. In other words, the union of four small pixels into one large.
Such a “knight’s move” reads out the light received by four pixels and combines them into one point. This affects the illumination of the frame and photos with such technology look very decent. But you should understand that this is achieved with the help of not the hardware, but the software part. That is, binning technology is a photo processing algorithm that “pulls” an image in low light.
It is logical to assume that combining a square of four pixels in the final photo reduces its actual resolution. That is, a 24 megapixel camera with Super Pixel technology will produce a picture with a real resolution of 6 megapixels. On cameras with a relatively small (or rather, with a sufficient) number of megapixels, you rarely see such a chip. But smartphones artificial intelligence a perture camera specifications with 40, 48 and 64 megapixels are most likely to use binning technology, since the modest size of the matrix in a mobile device does not allow full use of the full potential of “serious” camera modules. In general, such a software crutch, the significance of which is not fully understood.
Although manufacturers rarely indicate the size of the matrix, almost everyone is already talking about the diaphragm. The size of the aperture, which is also called the aperture or aperture, is a parameter of the “openness” of the camera lens, so more light can penetrate through it camera specifications. Usually indicated by the letter “f” followed by a number camera specifications. Its designation can be seen, for example, in the form f / 2.2 or F2.2. In any case, in smartphones nothing changes in the way of writing.
In order not to miscalculate and choose a smartphone with a camera that transmits more light and, accordingly, can take more illuminated pictures, the smaller the number after the letter, the smaller the aperture size and, accordingly, the aperture ratio of the camera is higher camera specifications. In the picture above, which is more characteristic of professional photographic equipment, this is just clearly depicted. Therefore, between cameras with an aperture of f / 2.4 and f / 1.7, the latter will show the best result. And, yes, it is also important to pay attention to this.
Why do smartphones need multiple cameras?
One would think that 2, 3 or more cameras in smartphones are the same marketing as 64-megapixel sensors. But, actually, no. Several camera modules have their own quite sound justification and in practice this is not at all a useless twist. The times have already passed when cameras in gadgets were something expensive and significantly affect the final pricing. That’s why even fairly budget smartphones boast multiple cameras.
What is the point of multiple cameras? And the whole point is that each module has its own characteristics and is better suited for a particular shooting. Most of their roles are distributed as follows: there is a main module with the largest number of megapixels, which can be conventionally called universal, and all the rest are additional sensors that have, for example, a wider viewing angle (wide-angle), decent digital zoom for approximating distant objects with smaller loss of quality artificial intelligence a perture camera specifications, or serve to blur the background and so on. The list is quite extensive. But, if we make an intermediate result, then the secondary modules essentially do what with a stretch can do the main one, only several times better, since they have mostly the same functionality.
Consider the example of the fresh Xiaomi Mobile Mi A3 , which just has three cameras on board. The main module here is 48 megapixels with an aperture of f / 1.79 (and, by the way, with Super Pixel technology). And this is the same universal sensor with which the main part of the photo is taken. The second lens is an 8-megapixel wide-angle with an f / 2.2 aperture with a viewing angle of 118 °, which is needed so that the frame coverage is wider. With its help, landscape pictures are obtained well – more space is placed in the photo, but at the same time it is not a panoramic frame, in which many pictures are taken along the path of the camera, and then “glued” into one. And the third is a telephoto lens with a modest 2 megapixel cameras in smartphones. It is needed in order to determine the distance to the subject and achieve the popular bokeh effect in portrait photos. Yes, the bokeh effect is also used in smartphones with one camera, but it is achieved there not due to cameras, but due to software processing. If the algorithms work correctly, then blurring is obtained where necessary. But sometimes the algorithms in single-chamber smartphones are not perfect and the background can be obtained on the principle “it’s blurry here, but here it’s clear”. With an additional camera, albeit only 2 megapixels, this problem is solved.
Optical stabilization – is it necessary or not?
OIS or optical image stabilization in cameras is a kind of “shock absorber” that levels the camera’s movement during shooting, so that pictures are clearer even in motion. This is not about a clear transmission of a moving object in the frame, but about the quality of the photo (and video) if the photographer himself is in motion. By the way, this chip “migrated” to smartphones from professional equipment cameras in smartphones.
In order to make a good shot, you need to “aim” and wait a second or two until the camera focuses and “catches” the object in the best way. It would seem that it could be easier than holding a canopy rather light smartphone for a few seconds? But in fact, the task is not the easiest. Even a subtle “trembling” of the hand, which you can not even pay attention to at all, for a camera can mean a “shot down”, as a result of which she will have to re-frame and catch focus.
The mechanism (and this is precisely the mechanism) of optical stabilization smoothes the shaking of hands when taking pictures, and during shooting the video can smooth your movement (walking, for example) if you shoot a movie while in motion. In the video, the presence of OIS is more noticeable – the movement of the operator in the frame is noticeable, but in the end the video turns out to be smoother and more even. That is, purely technically, optical stabilization serves as a kind of replacement for a tripod in those moments when it is not possible to use it. And this happens almost constantly, since in most cases we take rather spontaneous pictures or videos. And not every amateur photographer will carry a tripod with him.
Optical stabilization has a software analogue – digital stabilization, which is widely used in low-cost smartphones. In this case, there is no cushioning mechanism in the camera module itself, and photo clarity is achieved through an algorithm that “smooths corners” with blurry frames. But a digital solution is just an analogue that cannot be fully called a replacement, and on the video its presence can hardly be noticed. Therefore, if you want to shoot smoother videos for stories or a family archive, you can not do without optical stabilization.
Is the software part so important?
Everything that we talked about above, in fact, is related to the capabilities of the camera modules themselves (with the exception of 4-in-1 technology). But the camera application also matters. And the point here is not the interface, but whether the software part can reveal the hardware potential or not. Sometimes it happens that the cameras in smartphones are very promising, but the working algorithms used in them only partially use all their capabilities. And if in flagship smartphones or “middle peasants” this usually does not arise, then in the case of budget gadgets – sometimes there is a place to be.
Back to the aforementioned Xiaomi Mi A3. The cameras in it are really solid, but there are some questions to the algorithms. Especially during portrait mode, when having a telephoto lens for the bokeh effect, you can see how blurring of the background is sometimes achieved through software processing. And sometimes in night mode, some areas are “blurred”, although this, in theory, should not happen. That is, the developers did not stint on a very decent “kit” of cameras artificial intelligence aperture, but the application itself still needs to be finalized. Therefore artificial intelligence a perture camera specifications, when answering the question “is software support important in cameras or will it work?” The answer is obvious – it is important. Without practical experience, it is unlikely that it will be possible to determine how well the application is designed. But for now, it is comforting that a certain discrepancy in most cases can be observed only in inexpensive gadgets.
A few words about artificial intelligence
And finally, I want to pay a little attention to artificial intelligence, which is used today in many smartphones. In fact, AI (or AI – Artificial Intelligence) in cameras is a collection of software algorithms that help to make the most balanced photos. It is based on the analysis of millions of images and machine learning, thanks to which a smartphone can independently “see” and recognize what is in the frame and offer the most suitable color, contrast, depth and the like that are most suitable for this photo.
In a literal sense artificial intelligence aperture, artificial intelligence is the antipode of manual settings. The user does not need to dive into the jungle of the manual mode, google how the white balance or the ISO indicator affects the frame, and immediately get high-quality pictures. And AI can be compared with the built-in dynamic Photoshop, which processes the photo right during shooting.
But in different smartphones, this algorithm can work in different ways. And, as in the case of camera applications, it depends on the manufacturer, or rather, how AI is implemented in various gadgets. For example, in the same Xiaomi Mi A3 there is artificial intelligence, but the principle of its work is not perfect yet. Sometimes you can use it to get a cool shot, and sometimes not. In general, this intellect still has something to “learn”. But if you compare the AI in Mi A3 and last year’s Honor 8X , then in the latter it works better. That is, when taking a photo on the Honor 8X in AI mode, there is no desire to reshoot the frame or “roll back” the proposed option to the source (it just has such an opportunity and with its help it is possible to evaluate AI’s efforts visually). And this is despite the fact that smartphones from Xiaomi and Honor are in the same price range. In general, this parameter is also individual and without practice it is difficult to evaluate its capabilities.
To Summarize Camera Specifications
Due to the fact that cameras in modern smartphones already have quite serious parameters, a concept such as mobile photography has appeared, which exists along with photography in its classical sense. With their help, you can take really solid shots, achieve interesting photo effects and even do competitive work. However, in order to choose a smartphone with a really high-quality camera, one concept of the number of megapixels will be clearly not enough.
The quality of smartphone photos is affected by many factors – from the size of the pixel and the matrix, the information about which is not easy to find, before the application of the camera itself is arranged. To evaluate all the capabilities of the camera, practical guidance is indispensable. However, it is difficult to get any smartphone for a long test drive, Camera specifications but you can “cry” in the store and make a couple of test photos in different modes. This is facilitated by the reviews of smartphones, in which the characteristics of the camera are usually displayed in a separate large section. And the more sources of information, the more objective the opinion can be added about the cameras in a particular gadget.
In any case, chasing only the high resolution of the matrix, these promising megapixels, as you know, does not make much sense camera specifications. On a cameras in smartphones at this stage of its development, you will not get real 48 megapixel photos. But 10-13 megapixels – quite. And the detailing of the pictures you will not be disappointed.