Impact of Dual Lens in 2017

by Vishnu Sankar

on December 19, 2017

In 2017 the smartphone industry continued its innovative run, with the competition being neck and neck. Many manufacturers decided to play safe rather than to go all out with “wow” features on the phone. While 2017 was the year where many manufacturers went with energy efficient processor than with performance-oriented processors. It was also the year improved access security where fingerprint sensors almost standard on every smartphone, Facial recognition seems to be the next step towards this. The year was also notable for the announcement of a smartphone with a holographic display, the most visible of the trend was that of the dual camera system.

The first dual camera smartphone was launched all the way in 2011, LG Optimus 3D. Since then a couple of manufacturers have tried with the system but failed to capture the imagination of click buffs. In 2017, the difference was the number of choices of smartphones with the dual camera lens. The trend is likely to continue into 2018, we will cross that bridge when we will get to it. Before that let’s go into the types of dual camera available just to enlighten typical smartphone user.

The Depth Sensor sensibility   

Modeled after the workings of the human eye, the depth sensor basically allows the primary lens to adjust to perfect zoom levels by calculating the distance between the camera and the object. The goal of this technique is to create a shallow depth of field effect, this technique works well with big lenses found in DSLR lens. But smartphones lens come nowhere near the size of a camera lens. This lens works well in indoor situations but fails everywhere else but to the unnatural feel of the images produced, this also the rarest of dual camera lens system.

The Monochrome Advantage

In theory, this system of camera collaboration works to create the perfect images. But, experts in the field have their doubts about the effectiveness of this system. Both cameras have the same lens, same apertures, focusing metrics etc. The only difference being the colour receptors in each lens, one camera only captures the variations of grey. The idea here is that the monochrome lens captures better depths of lights and has inherently less noise when compared to the colour camera. The images of both cameras are processed together to generate a single image with best of what each camera has to offer. While some this system is more about the processing prowess rather than the quality of the cameras, and the other side just simply loves the images.

The Wide Angle View

Party piece or a serious addition to a shutter bug’s arsenal, the wide angle lens has had the largest impact on the dual camera trend. The formation is simple a normal lens coupled with a wide-angle lens, both the images can combine for an image with amazing depth or the wide angle lens can be used individually. The wide-angle lens is suited for the traveller and adventurous hearts. The wide-angle lens has changed how the world views the photos from smartphone cameras, this must have something do with traditional camera angles which was intended for portrait view only. The competition to this system is from cameras of body cams such as GoPro.

The telephoto wow!

The exact opposite of the wide angle lens, the telephoto lens is intended for the social media shutterbug who loves clicks pictures all day. This combination of lens come with their own pros and cons. Pros being the optical zoom the telephoto lens brings, the quality of the image will be largely unaffected by this advantage, portraits photos have exceptional depth and quality due to the presence of the telephoto lens. Cons, or the biggest drawback is low-quality photos from a telephoto lens in low light. While some say this can be addressed with camera flash but the output seems to be over processed images with too much colour and general CGI feel to the images. This is a trend in dual camera setup which is expected to continue more than any system other discussed here.

Crossing the bridge

After the improvements made in 2017 to the existing systems, 2018 seems where the camera will be considered as selling points for smartphones. We expect more improvements rather than innovation, better lenses are expected, better low light cameras etc. Beyond the expectation, 360 cameras, thermal cameras, and dedicated optical zoom cameras seem to be a possibility in 2018.   

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