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Smartphone cameras are getting out of hand!

Smartphone cameras are getting out of hand!

A smartphone camera setup

Smartphone cameras just keep getting crazier and crazier. Before, it became as simple as ‘point and shoot.’ Now, smartphone cameras would include features. Of course, this would include 100x zoom, high megapixels, and multiple camera lenses. However, what if we tell you that most of these big and crazy features don’t even matter?

In the real world, an average person only utilizes one main camera lens on our phones. But, why have smartphone companies started to release three or, sometimes, even four camera lenses? Are the crazy features even necessary? Well, the truth is – smartphone companies do it for one big reason.

It’s all about the numbers!

A smartphone's camera is one of the main selling points that can drive the sales of a smartphone.
Photo from Pinterest

It comes as no big secret that marketing has a big factor in the success of a newly-released smartphone. If it fails to get on the hype train, then it fails to sell. Smartphone companies try their best to make their products marketable. Before their smartphones can become competitive in the market, they should first be competitive on paper.

A smartphone’s spec sheet builds up a lot of hype and anticipation. It gives us an idea of how good a smartphone is. In a spec sheet, we will see all sorts of features in a smartphone. This, of course, includes the type of display, battery capacity, and camera setup.

Typically, in a smartphone’s spec sheet, you will see multiple camera sensors and features like the megapixel count and aperture, or its video recording capabilities.

However, most of does not matter in the real world use. We are being brave here when we say that they only do this to make it look impressive against the competition! Smartphone cameras, especially in the midrange to upper midrange categories are pointless. Imagine having three sensors, one is the main lens, and the other two are a depth sensor and a useless macro lens with horrendous quality.

In a real-world scenario, you will only use the main lens to shoot your zoomed or ultrawide photos. It also has lenses used for other features of your phone’s camera. This also includes night mode, panorama, or video recording. So, why add the useless third camera sensor aka the macro lens? Well, as we’ve said – it’s all about the numbers!

But, what about the megapixels? How many is enough for a smartphone’s camera?

The megapixels don't define a smartphone camera's performance.
Photo from Pexels

Usually, twelve to sixteen megapixels are enough. Whether your phone’s camera has 48 or even 108 megapixels, you won’t actually get to use it. The reason behind this revolves around shooting a photo. The default product also always goes somewhere around 3000x4000px which goes around 12 megapixels. 

Unless you intentionally use the high megapixels which will produce a large file size image. However, all that for a photo that you will view on your phone? We say the high megapixels on your smartphone’s camera won’t be actually worth it. High megapixels will only matter if you plan to print out large size of a photo. Or, if you plan to crop out a part of that image and you want it to have the best resolution possible.

So, if the megapixel count doesn’t really matter, then what does?

There are four aspects of your phone’s camera matter: the sensor size, zoom, image stabilization, and aperture.

Sensor size

This remains crucial. The bigger it is, the more light it can let to produce better shots during the day or the nighttime during low-light scenarios.

Aperture

This is crucial, too. It also relates to the sensor size. It is the hole that the light needs to travel through. In this case, a lower aperture number becomes better because it can let through more light for low-light scenarios. This can also create a better depth of field and a more dynamic photo.

Zoom capabilities

This matter simply because a good zoomed image quality is what everybody wants in the camera. You can zoom in and capture something from far away.

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Image stabilization

This, of course, matters. What good will it do if your camera goes shaky when you take a photo? What good will it do if it produces a blurred image?

What else do we need in a smartphone’s camera?

Now that we clarified why we don’t need all those crazy megapixel counts and the useless and terrible extra lenses, we can focus on what we really need out of a smartphone’s camera. Aside from the four that we mentioned earlier, the image processing of a smartphone becomes one of the most important.

This may have to do more with the software. However, it still counts. If a smartphone manufacturer wants to make its phone competitive, especially in the camera department, then they have to step up their image processing. Good software tuning does wonder for the outcome of a photo, as well as the user experience.

When it comes to the inclusion of big and pro features on a camera, these have their target market. As long as these remain functional, the head-turning features of a camera can sometimes become useful for some people who can maximize the features. And, for those who can’t, then it is still okay. Average people have as much right to learn and enjoy these features.

The main takeaway here is manufacturers should stop putting gimmick features on their smartphones all for the sake of making an intimidating spec sheet. With the way things are, phone manufacturers are making absurd and unnecessary features on smartphone cameras that people do not need!

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