GT Explains: Are Dual Camera Phones Worth the Hype?

Technology is a never ending game of innovations and changes. From simple phones with basic calling features, we have moved on to smartphones with built-in cameras and loads of other brilliant features. And just when we thought that camera technology couldn’t get any better, the dual camera phone becomes the latest fad in the market.

Dual Camera Explained

Since it’s a relatively new tech when it comes to mobile phones, it begs the question if dual camera phones are any better than the phones with single cameras.

Without further ado, let us quickly jump in and see how a dual camera works, and if it’s really worth the hype.

ReadHuawei Honor 6X vs Coolpad Cool 1: Dual Camera Battleground

Overview of Dual Camera Setup

A dual camera phone is packed with two cameras on the rear. Out of these two, one is a primary camera and the other acts as a secondary camera. This camera-combo strives to make a picture more dynamic and intense by adding minute details, which a single camera fails to add.

The primary camera is more or less like any normal phone camera, with slight modifications.

Secondary Camera: The Game Changer

The secondary camera aims at producing pictures which have a greater field of depth, clarity and overall a faster focus ability.

The type of the secondary camera depends mainly on the make of the phone. It can be a wide angled lens (LG G4), a telephoto lens (iPhone 7 Plus) or a plain simple monochrome lens.

Dual Camera Explained 2

Let’s start with the monochrome lens.

The intent of a monochrome lens is to capture scenes only in black & white. This helps in regulating the amount of light that comes to the focus point, thereby yielding a sharp picture with much finer detail.

On the other hand, an RGB camera has a much serious job at hand. While taking a picture, this sensor has to filter the light to determine which color goes where, thus yielding an image with far less detail.

The situation is different in those setups which focus on the zoom effect. These lenses aim to capture more of the background details, giving a perception of a longer image or an image with a greater field of depth.

Let’s move on to how these setups have been included in the new-age smartphones.

Huawei Honor P9 – RGB & Monochrome Camera

The Honor P9 packs in an RGB and a monochrome camera and combines the best of both worlds. The combined picture picks up the color aspect from the RGB camera while the minute details are infused into the picture with the help of the monochrome lens.

Honor P9

This setup is especially helpful in harsh sunlight conditions or during low light photography.

iPhone 7 Plus – Optical Zoom Advantage

iPhone 7 Plus has gone a notch above and has a completely different dual setup (compared to Honor P9). It comes with a 28 mm wide angle lens in the primary camera, whereas the secondary camera has a 56mm telephoto lens.

iPhone 7 Plus

The 56mm lens can be considered as a telephoto lens, if you will. As per CNET’s Lori Grunin, lenses longer than 70mm are more likely to be called as telephoto lenses, technically.

So how does this second lens help in achieving the perfect shot, you might ask? Simple. The telephoto lens with its 2x zoom helps in getting that magnificent depth-of-field effect in the portrait mode.

Yes, those photos of your friends on Facebook, taken on their new iPhones with that blur effect in the background which they’ve been flaunting…. blame this new camera.

Don’t miss out on these amazing tips for using portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus.

LG G5 – Wide Angle Advantage

LG’s G5 dual camera system boasts a super wide angle secondary camera which will squeeze in a wide area into a single frame, without the need to use panoramic effect.

LG G5
Image Courtesy LG G5

The field of view (FOV) of 135 ultra wide angle is the widest in any smartphone camera till now, however, I have seen a few rants about pictures getting stretched in the middle.

Get the most out of the LG G4 camera by following these amazing tips & tricks.

Now that you know how a dual camera usually works, we arrive at the most important question…

Which One to Buy?

The bottom line is that the overall quality of the picture depends mostly on the primary camera. And the secondary camera will help in better effects — be it the blurred effect, low light captures or the zoom features.

The primary camera is the hero of the picture and the secondary camera acts as the sidekick.

But not all dual camera phones live up to expectations. Take the Lenovo Phab Plus and Moto G4. The Moto G4 captures much better photos with its single camera as opposed to the dual camera in the Phab Plus.

Though there is a definite advantage of having a dual camera phone, it’ll depend on what you want out of your photos and which feature matters to you. We’ll advise against spending unnecessarily because many of these effects can also be achieved through apps (not perfectly, but not too shabby either) on normal phones. But if you have the moolah to spare, then sure, go for the icing on the cake.

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