How smartphone cameras work

This is how your smartphone’s camera works.

For many users, smartphones have completely replaced photo cameras. Terminals with spectacular photographic sections might produce startling effects if used properly.

But have you ever wondered how your phone’s camera works? Taking into account that most smartphones have very small sensors but are still able to capture spectacular images, today, thanks to the colleagues at Android Authority, we want to shed some light on the matter and explain how the photographic sensor that hides your mobile phone works.

How does a smartphone’s camera work?

The operation of the camera hardware

Before we see how the camera of a mobile phone works, we must know the internal process that occurs whenever a user decides to take a photograph. It is worth noting that this process is identical in both smartphones and SLR cameras.

  • First, the user focuses through the lens.
  • Following that, the light enters the lens before capturing the forography.
  • The aperture of the lens determines the amount of light that will reach the sensor.
  • The camera’s shutter controls how long the sensor will be open to light.
  • The sensor captures the image.
  • Finally, the camera hardware processes and stores the captured image.

Because both the lens and the sensor of smartphones are usually very small, problems arise when capturing light and determining the exposure time. Fortunately, the terminals have post-processing software that serves to compensate for these problems.

The different types of approaches and how they work

The first thing we should always do before taking a photograph is to focus. This simple process serves to move the focus point of the lens and thus obtain the desired photo with a sharp image of the object we wanted to capture.

In addition, most current smartphones have autofocus systems. There are three popular technologies, which we will explain in more detail below.

Phase detection, or PDAF focus

The PDAF focus works thanks to the use of photodiodes in the sensor to measure phase differences. Next, it “moves” the focus element on the lens to be able to focus the image.How smartphone cameras work  Due to the use of photodiodes, it is one of the least accurate and slowest systems.

Dual Pixel

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Lenovo Moto G5 Plus feature Dual Pixel focus.
This sensor uses more focus points than the PDAF.
This device uses two photodiodes in each pixel to compare minor changes and “move” the lens to focus the image.   Today, this is the most effective approach available on the market.

Contrast detection

It is the oldest system of the three mentioned.How smartphone cameras work  Its operation is based on the theory that the contrast of an image is greater and its edges are appreciated more clearly when it is focused correctly. The issue is that it is a relatively slow system in comparison to Dual Pixel technology.

What’s in a lens?

We have already talked about sensors and focusing technologies. But what parts make up the lens of the camera? This is probably the most important component of the photographic section of our mobile phone, and it is divided into several parts that we will explain in more detail.

First of all, we have the focal length. In most specification sheets, it is usually captured as a number accompanied by “f/” and refers to the viewing angle equivalent to the 35mm standard. How smartphone cameras work So, the longer the focal length, the larger the final capture will be. Otherwise, the shorter the image, the further away it appears.

On the other hand, the focal aperture refers to the mechanism that adjusts the amount of light that will enter the sensor. He is in charge of controlling the so-called “depth field.” Thus, the more closed the aperture, the more objects in the image will be focused, and the more open it is, the fewer objects will be focused.

The higher the megapixel count, the better… are you sure?

There is a widespread belief that the more megapixels a camera has, the better the photos it will take.Well, as we have already explained on other occasions, this does not have to be so.

The only good thing about a camera with more megapixels is that the photos it takes will have a higher resolution.However, How smartphone cameras work the more pixels a camera has, the smaller they will be, which will result in a lower-quality image because they will be able to collect a lower amount of light.

Thus, it has been shown that cameras that offer higher quality in the telephony sector range from 12 to 13 megapixels. Firms such as Samsung or Google with their Pixels have opted for these amounts, and the results could not have been better.

What are the benefits of having a dual camera?

More and more manufacturers are deciding to bet on including a double photographic sensor in their smartphones. Users think this will improve image quality, however it doesn’t always.

Most dual-camera systems are intended to take photographs with different effects, such as the wide-angle mode of the LG G6. However, certain smartphones, like the Huawei P10, combine data from two images to produce more detailed information.

Understanding the technologies inside smartphone sensors can help us enhance our photography.
To maximize your phone’s camera, check out our mobile photography tips.

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