The latest smartphone camera technology these days features something known as a “dual camera.” Manufacturers have been tweaking this technology for several years, but it’s only been within the past year that it’s become available as a standard feature on premium devices like the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9+, and Samsung Galaxy Note8, each of which offer dual 12 MP cameras. For those of us who already love the quality and convenience of smartphone photography, it’s a wonderful new tool. While there are some variations on each model, here’s a general overview to help you understand more about what dual camera technology means for you.
If you look at the back of your phone, you’ll see a small camera lens. In a smartphone, the camera module is quite tiny, since the phone itself has to be slim. Inside this tiny module are multiple lens elements, including an image sensor and sometimes even motors for optical image stabilization. With a dual camera setup, there are actually two lenses, placed side by side horizontally or vertically. This gives the device two complete, independent camera modules that work together to produce sharper, richer images. Typically, the primary lens does the main work while the secondary lens adds fine detail by capturing additional light, increasing the field of view, or adding background effects like a soft blur.
Depending on the settings included, dual camera technology can help you get clearer, more detailed photos by enabling an ultra-wide-angle mode, or help you take photos with a shallower depth of field to make the subject stand out. On some models, the dual camera setup adds one or two times more optical zoom so you can take closeups without them looking blurry or pixelated. This means that you can focus on the face of a person, or a plant, and really capture fine details.
Best of all, manufacturers are continuing to refine dual camera technology, and according to most industry insiders it is expected be available on an even wider selection of smartphones in the near future. It’s already possible to take beautiful, nearly professional-quality pictures with most smartphone cameras, and that functionality just continues to get better!