If you ask each of us what criteria he chooses a new smartphone, 99% of users, if not the first paragraph, then certainly in the top three, will be called camera. It is indeed important, but do we know how it works? Try to understand!

Perhaps, in our time, people think that the cameras in smartphones should be inexpensive due to the fact that they became very much. Even the most simple devices questions “in your new camera phone?” finally drowned in the depths of the beginning of our century.

Thus, it should be noted that the cameras didn’t just appear everywhere, but they began to give very good pictures and decent video, even on relatively inexpensive smartphones. For example, if the average of the top flagships around 100 percent, smartphones at 30 percent will produce images that, under certain conditions, can compete with the top representatives of the smartphone.

Previously, similar results were shown smartphones, which was approximately at the level of 60-70% in this virtual table.

This is connected not only with attempts to unify everything, but because technology in General become more affordable. If you don’t need maximum performance, the smartphone for 20000 rubles will be not so bad. This is due to the fact that the person I called seal technology.

For themselves by this term I mean those situations when every next step in technology is becoming more and more expensive, at the same time, existing technologies are becoming more and more affordable. Nowadays it is everywhere — in cars, in computers, phones…

What is the smartphone camera?

Returning to the smartphone camera, it should be said that their design is fundamentally no different even between the flagship and the most affordable device for a couple of thousand rubles. The difference will be reduced to materials, number of elements and, importantly, software.

For software also is the CPU as it is at the forefront of the computing power of the entire device as a whole. A common set of information received from the sensor does not cost anything and it should still handle. And millions of points, each of which needs to be folded into the picture and all this for a fraction of second.

In a Network it is easy to find the extended processor features. Not the ones where we write the power and number of cores, and really full. Among them, there is always this option as the maximum resolution of the camera. It becomes clear why cheap smartphones are not a killer feature to put top camera, paying for it. Everything should work in tandem, as in any computer.

Matrix smartphone

As well as optics, the matrix of any camera is the fundamental element of picture quality. In fact it will receive the material that will be transferred for processing. For a start, let us examine what it is.

The main type of matrix used in modern devices, consists of light-sensitive cells collected into blocks. The more of these elements, the higher the resolution and the greater the clarity of the images can provide camera. Of course, there are some factors, which nullify the value of a large number of these elements. This can be a low build quality, poor optics, or a desire to make the matrix less when you save on it the same number of photosensitive elements.

It should be noted that the light-sensitive elements themselves cannot work without the special filter applied to the surface of the matrix. These filters pass only the red (Red), green (Green), and blue (Blue) color. Therefore, a system is called RGB.

 

If the item misses the light of a certain color, then it falls on the next. This is the principle of determining the color of a picture, so the camera and understand what color, or hue, should be the point. After collecting a few millions of pixels (megapixels) together, the processor processes them and collects in the finished image.

Many ignore this indicator as the size of the photosensitive cells, which greatly influences the final image quality. Yes, the cell size is expressed in microns and the difference of a few tenths of a micron may seem very insignificant. However, the larger the pixel size, the better. And evaluate them it is necessary from the point of view of proportions. That is, 1.14 micron 15 percent more than 1 micron.

Also the picture quality is affected by the distance between pixels. If the pixels are very small and “Packed” very tightly, the camera can have an arbitrarily large resolution, but the pictures are bad and large amount of noise.

All of this is the explanation of why many producers still hold resolution cameras at 12 or 16 MP. They have several advantages over cameras with a resolution of 48 Megapixels. For equal physical size of the sensor, the quality will be worse due to the large amount of clutter. At the same time, weak optics and the impact of the digital removal of these noises can nullify the usefulness of the extra megapixels. The detail in this case will not be better than a more “modest” matrices. Perfect working camera when at maximum zoom you start to see the squares of pixels, not somalinet. But in smartphones, this still does not happen.

The camera lens of a smartphone

Let’s say we have a great sensor with smart features and a minimal amount of interference, but from the world it separates the glass is of poor quality. Exaggerating and say that it is muddy. I do not need to explain that in this case, the good shots are possible.

For such a rough example, you can understand the value of a good (and clean) optics for the camera.

The camera lens of the smartphone is not in vain called exactly so. This is the lens, as in the case of SLR cameras, just very small. The design of the lens the smartphone uses a few lenses. The exact number depends on the manufacturer, but they can be 4, 5, 7, 8 and even more.

Each lens is performed from a special plastic or special glass. Each of them collects the light beam so that it fell evenly on the working part of the matrix. The slightest shift of one lens to thousandths of a millimeter can lead to the complete unacceptability of the quality of the pictures.

An important criterion of a lens is its focal ratio or f-number. When choosing a smartphone, if you have an important camera, you have to choose the figure will be less, for example, f/1.75 and below. It will be significantly better than f/2.0, f/2.2 and more. Everything is simple — the lower the value, the higher the aperture the better the camera shoots in low light.

Another important indicator will be the focal length, but now it has lost its relevance for cameras smartphones. All modern smartphones are equipped with cameras that work well at almost any distance from the subject. Moreover, the last time the cameras were equipped with several modules, complementing the functions of the main camera features telephoto (similar to optical zoom) or, conversely, giving the opportunity to shoot a panorama.

In most of the smartphones from the outside the whole structure is covered by a sapphire crystal or other solid formulations. After all, the slightest scratch on the glass can permanently deprive the camera of the ability to take good pictures.

Autofocus

At the dawn of creation cameras for mobile devices, they are not equipped with autofocus. The clarity of the images was achieved by a sufficiently large depth of field. This allowed me to not think about how to make the great panorama — everything was in focus. Of course, this had several drawbacks and it’s time for new solutions.

Modern autofocus (not just smartphone) can be divided into three main types. The first is contrasting. The essence of his work is to find the optimal contrast of the image to make sharp the entire image or some part of it selected by the user. For such a system no matter how far away the subject is.

The second type of autofocus got the name laser. It works only on small distances and aligned with other systems for coverage of range of distances. He is able to determine the distance to the object and thereby adjust settings focus.

The third type of focus is called a phase. To implement additional sensors that allow the camera to capture more data for focus adjustment.

The most advanced smartphones capable to unite the various ways to focus and even provide continuous autofocus adjusts to the position change of the object.

The image stabilization system

Digital stabilization method has several drawbacks,the main of which is trimming the edges of the image. To avoid such effect, in the most advanced smart phones incorporating a camera with optical stabilization.

This camera module is equipped with a special mechanism that focusing on the testimony of the gyroscope adjusts the optics so that the image reaching the sensor has not changed. As external three axis gimbal, this system can not work, but a slight shaking to remove able.

Often, in high-end smartphones these systems together and allow an even better stabilize the picture.

Surely you saw the pictures with the wrong white balance. Their peculiarity is a pronounced offset of the shades of the picture or clip towards blue (cool) or yellow (warm) shades. To set the color temperature can be manually, but to automatically determine the camera has a sensor of white balance.

Any type of lighting has its own color temperature, and falling on the object, it is reflected differently. The human eye perceives this is normal and can be adjusted, but the camera to operate with such changes difficult. From this problems arise. If the experience in the setting of such a parameter is small, it is better to trust it to automation.

The number of camera modules

Nowadays smartphones with a single camera module produce only a very confident manufacturer. Even state employees release a camera with a minimum of two modules. Except for those who make camera Dual Camera Design. Was this on one of the models Jinga. The second module, without exaggeration, the need was there purely for decoration. It was just painted.

The presence of multiple modules has many advantages. The most obvious of them is that they can have different settings of the focal length. That is, you can shoot with different lenses and choose between panorama, zoom and normal focal length. This can be very useful, but very expensive construction., since you want to have more than one camera, but several. Partly for that reason, many producers put in additional modules simple matrix and save on optical stabilization.

How to choose a good camera?

As you can see, the camera of a modern smartphone is not as simple as it seems. It consists of a matrix with tens of millions of light-sensitive elements, the information processed separately, several are perfectly fitted to each other lenses, miniature actuators and sensors.

All this makes it almost the most difficult element of the smartphone. But it is constantly evolving, after all for anybody not a secret that buying a smartphone we are not in the least pay attention to how he can take pictures.

A clear answer to the question how to buy a good camera there. Moreover, the concept of good is different for all, so also such a thing as perfection there is no limit. A good camera is expensive — it is possible to say for sure. The other question is, is it worth it to overpay twice for a small increase in quality? Here already everyone decides for himself.