Choosing the best dual camera smartphone

Choosing the best dual camera smartphone

May 1, 2017 - 8:30 AM - Technology

Smartphone cameras are limited by two main factors: fixed lenses and sensor size. Because smartphones must be slim, low power and fuse more technology than your laptop into a handheld device. 

To accommodate larger sensors, bigger, deeper lenses are required, but this is incompatible with smartphone design. Therefore, instead of one larger sensor and lens, two cameras together provides the same functionality.

Dual cameras appear on the rear of the smartphone, usually side-by-side. They can provide a number of different options:

By taking two images simultaneously, the data can be intelligently merged to provide a more detailed and accurate image. For example, with mono and color sensors:

Or wide and telephoto dual lenses can provide a choice of optical zoom modes, or, with two photos taken simultaneously it can produce real-time depth of field effects:


The benefits of dual camera are numerous

So, unsurprisingly, you want a new dual camera smartphone, but which is best? First you need to know the best technologies that build the best dual camera devices. Here you need to look for Imagiq 2.0; MediaTek's technology suite encompassing everything dual camera for photo and video capture.

Imagiq 2.0 incorporates a range of specific hardware that works in harmony with one another and all the other compute resources with the Helio SoC. Together, it delivers the best experience that not only shoots the best quality pictures and video, but also creates a sustainable and reliable experience that's power efficient.

Firstly, there are the two image signal processors (ISP). Each ISP supports a digital sensor, or, two strapped together support one super-size (20+MP) sensor in single camera phones.

Dual camera smartphones can either be wide and telephoto zoom, offering a range of zoom options, or a combination of black+white + color sensors that gives excellent low light photography. Most premium dual-camera smartphones this year will opt for wide/telephoto setups, as this gives desired effects like depth of field photography, which were once limited to expensive dSLRs.

Key assets include:

Type

MediaTek Imagiq 2.0 Advantages:

Preview/Capture

Clear Zoom gives a high quality digital zoom and 3DNR

Video Recording

EIS with native, hardware warping engine reduces power use

Wide Lens Capture

Super Resolution boosts spatial resolution from a low zoom ratio.

Tele Lens Capture

Clear Zoom capture + Hand Jitter Reduction (AIS v2.0).

Vision Processing Unit

Most people might only think the four/eight/ten CPU cores are the only processors within their smartphone – this is wrong! There are other processing centres that do specific tasks, such as the Vision Processing Unit (VPU) that is paired to the Image Signal Processors (ISP). This VPU provides a dedicated processing platform for image capture and post-processing functions. Its proximity to the source of image capture makes it an ideal partner, while its dedicated design not only frees up the CPU and GPU it also saves considerable power, extending battery life.

Key advantages of the VPU include:

  • Huge Power Reduction: The VPU has the ability to perform real-time processing functions, that were typically assigned to CPU or GPU, but it uses only 1/10th power! If you’re regularly using your camera for pics and video shooting, this will extend your battery life noticeably.
  • Performance Boost: The VPU can still be used in isolation or as part of a team with the CPU/GPU, employing heterogeneous computing on same memory subsystem for advanced system or multi-application/function tasks.
  • Programmability and Flexibility: The VPU provides a platform that allows smartphone brands the ability to customize camera functionality to drive product differentiation. This gives a diverse marketplace and great consumer choice.

Instant AE

Never miss a 'spur of the moment' scene with MediaTek Instant Auto Exposure (AE). When you go from a dark to light, or light to dark place the camera sensor needs to adjust the exposure settings so the image doesn’t appear too bright or too dark – just like the iris in your eye reacts to the environment around you. The faster the AE adjusts, the faster you can shoot the picture. MediaTek’s Imagiq 2.0 AE speed is virtually instantaneous, thanks to another dedicated piece of hardware: the Camera Control Unit (CCU). It delivers considerably faster, automatic exposure adjustment when environmental lighting conditions change suddenly giving an AE convergence speed that's up to twice as fast as competitive AE performance.

CorePilot 4.0

Despite all this focus on the dual camera part specifically, it must still work in co-operation with the rest of the system – CPU, GPU, for example – and CorePilot 4.0 efficiently manages these resources. It balances the best core, cluster or compute resource at the right frequency and voltage. This energy aware scheduling means the tasks are finished at the right time, yet as efficiently as possible, saving power without affecting the user experience. Being part of the same, integrated silicon means it works very efficiently together – saving battery life and allowing thinner phones or more space for bigger batteries.