Smartphone manufacturers have been caught up in the megapixel spec race to prove that their camera is better than their rivals. We have come to a point where even the cheap or lower-end camera smartphones are packing more pixels than they should. This has made it hard to differentiate between the camera hardware.
Most of us believe that a smartphone whose camera has more megapixel takes better pictures than those with few megapixel. However this is not always the case. This is because you can’t be able to note any difference in resolution taken by two different phone cameras, since most screens you will be viewing them on are not capable of displaying the range of megapixels it supports.
We can say that anything bigger than 8 megapixels tends to be only helpful for cropping. What am saying is that a smartphone taking 12 megapixels pictures can be cropped by approximately 50 percent and its resolution will still be as high as the 4K TV.
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Here are some factors to consider if you want the best of the best out of your camera.
Sensor size represents a lot of important values regarding the camera such as the necessary focal length, the crop factor, and its f-number. Most manufacturers have that figured, leaving the only vital thing you should worry about: the light intensity gathering properties of your camera’s sensor.
This is a bit easy to comprehend. A large sensor has more area for light to penetrate giving a greater capability to gather the light.
The pixel size comes handy in measuring how larger individual photodetectors are in a CMOS sensor. Pixel size for smartphone camera fits in a narrow range that is between one and two microns or micrometers (abbreviated as µm) in either the vertical or horizontal direction. The larger it is, the more light each pixel will collect. That’s why the HTC One M8’s camera with 2.0 µm performs better than in dark conditions than the Galaxy S5 that has 1.12 µm pixels. This is simply because the M8’s pixels are a bit larger and can capture more light. In short, a camera with a high pixel size tends to capture more light than that with a lower pixel size.
Another spec to look is the aperture size that is represented by f divided by a number (eg. f/2.0). Since ‘f value is divided by’ the setup, this is one of the rare camera specs where a small number produces a better image than a larger one.
The key benefit of a wider aperture is that you the camera will take better low-light photos. This is because a wider aperture lets more light to be captured at once when taking a picture. You should keep in mind that a smaller number means a wider aperture.
Image stabilization is either listed as OIS or EIS. These stand for Optimal Image Stabilization and Electronic Image Stabilization.
OIS technology means that the camera sensor moves physically to compensate for unexpected shaking while holding your smartphone. If you are walking when you are recording a video, for example, the steps you take shake the camera. However, OIS ensure that the sensor remains steady even if the rest of your smartphone shakes.
The drawback of OIS is that the hardware required tends to be costly and takes up the previous space, hence it is not included in many handsets. Instead, most smartphones use EIS to try and achieve the same effect. EIS works by stretching, cropping, and changing perspective on individual frames which make up a video.
In general, it is much better to have a camera that is running OIS since stretching and cropping can reduce quality or create a ‘Jello effect’ in videos.
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