The Per­fect Click

ARE PHONE CAM­ERAS AT THE PIN­NA­CLE OF THEIR EVO­LU­TION?

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - BY NIDHI SINGAL

The smart­phone cam­era has reached a point in its evo­lu­tion where it is as good as any en­try-level point-and-shoot. We look at the tech ad­vance­ments

When the cam­era was first in­te­grated in a cell­phone it was more of a gim­mick. Now, how­ever, more pho­tos are shot on phones than cam­eras, show­ing how this blend of tech­nol­ogy and de­vices was a win­ning com­bi­na­tion all along.

From the ba­sic VGA cam­eras to op­tics and sen­sors that dom­i­nate the spec­i­fi­ca­tion sheets of smart­phones, the phone cam­era has come a long way. In fact, they have be­come so good and dom­i­nant that the en­try-level pointand-shoot seg­ment has been feel­ing the heat for a few years now. Here is a look at where cam­era tech in the phones stands at the moment.

MEGAPIX­ELS

What started with a ba­sic 0.3MP cam­era has now grad­u­ated to a 13MP cam­era. We get the feel­ing that an 8 MP sen­sor is be­com­ing a stan­dard in the smart­phone seg­ment. But the higher megapixel count need not en­sure a great im­age as that de­pends on a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors such as lens, sen­sor, im­age

pro­cess­ing hard­ware and cam­era soft­ware. In sim­ple terms, a large sen­sor means more light sen­si­tiv­ity and a bet­ter im­age. An 8MP sen­sor does not have to be large enough to give a flaw­less im­age. And this is why com­pa­nies sel­dom speak about sen­sor size.

SEN­SOR & SOFT­WARE

Nokia did really well with its 12MP N8 with the Carl Zeiss lens. But for its next flag­ship cam­era phone, the 808 PureView, the com­pany put in a large 41MP sen­sor. The large sen­sor with Nokia’s PureView tech­nol­ogy en­ables over­sam­pling, which means a com­bi­na­tion of many pix­els are used to­gether to form a ‘su­per’ pixel. Now, the new HTC One has a 4MP cam­era which uses the Ul­tra­pixel imag­ing tech­nol­ogy. HTC claims its cam­era can shoot vivid, true-to-life im­ages with a wide range of colours, even in low light con­di­tions. And this has not been achieved by in­creas­ing the megapix­els, but by en­gi­neer­ing a more ad­vanced CMOS sen­sor, IPS and op­ti­cal lens sys­tem that cap­tures sig­nif­i­cantly more light.

APPS

For over a decade we have been re­ly­ing on the phone’s na­tive cam­era app for all our imag­ing. Now, there are numer­ous apps like Instagram that al­low users to take im­ages, ap­ply fil­ters or do ba­sic edit­ing and even share the re­sults. Sim­i­larly, there are hun­dreds of cam­era apps on all plat­forms with spe­cific or myr­iad func­tions. In­ter­est­ingly, the new Nokia Lu­mia 920 has a lens fea­ture built into the phone that col­lects apps in­stalled on the phone to take im­ages with spe­cial ef­fects.

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