Photography has become one of the most popular applications of smartphones. For many consumers, this makes camera quality one of the most important considerations when choosing a smartphone. Better cameras rank among the top five most-wanted smartphone features, with 14 percent of women and 9 percent of men saying they want their smartphone to have the best camera available.
Camera quality in turn depends on the sophistication of the mobile platform underlying smartphone design. Here’s a look at how mobile platforms support smartphone photography applications and why it’s important to get a phone with a top mobile processor when seeking a quality camera.
One popular feature of today’s best smartphone cameras is dual camera sensors. When a smartphone has more than one camera, the second camera can be dedicated to perform specific functions that enhance photo quality. Some dual-camera smartphones use the second lens to improve camera depth perception by confirming coordinates picked out by the other lens. Other cameras use smartphones to improve lighting quality by taking a monochrome image with superior lighting to compare with the other camera’s color image. The second lens can also be used for wide-angle or telephoto shots. All these dual-camera applications depend on sufficiently powerful mobile platforms that are fast enough to efficiently compare and process images from both lenses. Snapdragon mobile platforms, for example, is designed to support superior camera functionality. They are able to capture 64x more color information as well as record video in movie-like quality.
Another important camera quality mobile processors support is shutter speed. Shutter speed is one of the most important exposure settings for taking quality photos. Shutter speeds that are too slow create blurry pictures, while speeds that are too fast can underexpose your shot and create a dark scene. Instead of using a mechanical shutter like traditional cameras, smartphone cameras use an electronic shutter which digitally tells your camera how long to record your scene. Today’s best mobile platforms have automatic optical stabilization that can coordinate with shutter speed in order to reduce blurs in photos and videos.
Resolution is another important camera feature dependent on processor power. The resolution of smartphone cameras is defined by the amount of information the camera can capture per inch, as measured in megapixels (MP). The more megapixels, the better the resolution of the resulting images. Cameras that support 4K resolution depend on processors that can handle high megapixels. As a general rule, capturing an image at twice the maximum size of the intended medium will produce a better picture. However, more megapixels does not automatically translate into better photos, since megapixel size also matters. Larger megapixels capture more light per area unit than smaller ones, delivering better lighting. The best smartphone cameras achieve a happy medium between megapixel number and megapixel size. For most leading smartphone cameras, 12MP achieves optimal results, although some phones go much higher. Pixel size can range from 1.1 microns to as high as 8.4 microns for digital cameras.
Mobile platform processors are also responsible for processing images after shots are taken. One task processors need to piece together the different pieces of information captured by camera sensors into a coherent picture, which involves chores such as placing each pixel in its correct spot in the image, sorting out colors and filtering out noise. Processors also improve images by adjusting features such as color saturation and contrast around an image’s edges. Finally, processors must compress image file size to make photos easier to store and share. Today’s best mobile platforms use artificial intelligence to optimize these processes.
Mobile processors control an array of smartphone camera features that are vital for picture quality, from multi-camera support and shutter speed to resolution quality and image processing. This dependence on processing power makes choosing a smartphone with a superior mobile platform essential for assuring optimal camera performance and picture quality.