Is it Worth Buying a Phone with Multiple Cameras? The Truth

09/05/2019     Author: Billy Gray

You’ve no doubt seen tons of phones coming out with dual-lens cameras on them – it’s become the new norm. But is it worth paying more money for more cameras?

 

Smartphones nowadays all seem to come with a whole bunch of cameras on the back of them. But is that really doing anything special? Or is this just for show? It’s no secret in the tech world that the Google Pixel 3 is arguably still the best camera smartphone on the market – and it has just one single lens on the back. So why is everyone else pushing this whole ‘dual-lens/multi-lens’ thing?

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In this post, we’ll look over what these lenses actually do and why manufacturers bother to put them on phones. We’ll also look at why the Pixel 3 is considered to be such a good phone to take pictures on when it only has one lens. After all that, we’ll give you the lo-down on whether or not you should actually be paying more money for this stuff.

What are those lenses even for?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering this, then you’re not alone. Those camera lenses can be quite baffling, like, do they all take overlapping pictures? Why do some have so many MP, while others have barely any?

Now we’ll take a look at what the camera lenses are and what they do, one by one. This should give you a clearer understanding of what’s actually going on in your smartphone’s camera setup.

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Main sensor: This is probably the camera with the most MP (although, sometimes this isn’t the case). If you have a 40MP sensor on the back of your phone, then the chances are that it’s the main sensor. Basically, this is your default camera that handles everyday shooting.

Ultra-wide angle lens: This is another common feature of flagship smartphones and sometimes it’s got even more MP than the main sensor. The ultra-wide angle lens is best used for landscape shots and it can get more into a photo than your main sensor.

Telephoto lens: This is a kind of ‘pre-zoomed’ lens. It’s already zoomed in a certain amount, meaning that this lens comes into play when you’re zooming in to take a photo. It basically means that you can zoom in without losing as much quality in the photograph.

Depth sensor: This is another very common one, this allows the camera to understand how far away objects are and thus it can produce higher quality photos that look more true to what the human eye would see.

Aperture: These phones also feature cameras with a different aperture, which allows them to take different style photos in different light environments. This helps to take photos at night, but also allows the phone to generally capture better shots in various scenes.

Most flagship smartphones now use some variation of the above mentioned sensors to allow users to take better photos in a variety of conditions, and to allow them to get better focus and zoom photos. This is a great innovation in the smartphone world and one that is being constantly improved.

Why does the Pixel 3 only have one camera?

The Google Pixel 3 is still referred to as being the best smartphone camera on the market. But with just a single lens – how are they doing that? The Pixel 3 is kitted out Google’s very own machine-learning camera software, which allows the camera to ‘learn’ and essentially understand what it’s seeing.

This means that the Pixel 3 camera can then adjust itself and its settings automatically in reaction to this. These internal smarts are what make the Pixel 3 such a formidable camera phone and says a lot about what is important in a good camera.

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Google obviously have a lot more clout when it comes to AI – they run their own world-leading AI development team. This is something that most other phone manufacturers make an attempt to do, but none of them can really compare to what Google is doing. This makes the Pixel 3 something of an anomaly.

It’s worth noting that the Huawei P30 Pro is considered to be just a small step behind (some would even say in front) of the Pixel 3 – and the P30 Pro has multiple cameras on the back. The point of this is that Google have essentially managed to do with one camera what everyone else is doing with three, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that having multiple camera lenses on the back of your phone will get you some stunning results.

Is it worth buying a phone with multiple cameras?

If you like the phone, then yes. As mentioned above, the range of different cameras that phones offer do actually have a purpose and they can create incredible photographs. While Google has done a great job with the Pixel 3, it would still be a better camera phone if it had a separate camera with a different aperture. This would allow it to take great photos in even more light conditions.

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You should note, however, that just because a phone is loaded up with cameras, doesn’t mean that it can take the best pictures. You’ll want to know how many MP (megapixels) the main camera is, plus what the other sensors are actually doing there.

The internal makeup of the phone also makes a huge difference. If what’s going on inside works well, then the chances are you’ll be able to take stunning photos with your new smartphone. But if the phone doesn’t communicate with itself well, then your photos will suffer.

The wrap-up

The latest flagship smartphones are all going to be very capable and have decent camera setups. In short, if you’re spending in excess of a thousand dollars on a phone, then you’d expect nothing less than a good camera and a device that does exactly what it’s told and knows how to communicate with itself.

So, if you like the look of a phone, and it’s got multiple cameras, then go ahead – you’re probably getting a good deal if it’s an iPhone, a decent Samsung, Huawei, or another top brand. Do a bit of homework before, though, just to be sure.

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