It’s amazing how smartphones have become the breeding ground for the latest camera technology. Dual-camera setups, in particular, have raised phone photography to yet another level.
Like adding more processing cores to a phone’s chipset, the idea of having two cameras at once came from the need to push past the physical limits of a single module, and introduce a whole new world of features in the process.
Now that it’s becoming the norm, we have to sort out some facts and myths about the latest trend.
The dual-camera setup isn’t exactly new
It may only be taking off now, but dual-cam setups have been around for a long time. In fact, the LG Optimus 3D and HTC Evo 3D, which were the first smartphones to introduce the feature, came out way back in 2011.
Their implementations were different from what we’re experiencing today, however. Five years ago, 3D content was a thing, and both television and smartphone manufacturers produced compatible devices like the two aforementioned phones. Everyone eventually agreed that 3D technology was best left in the past, and the idea of having more than one camera on a handset took a backseat for several years.
Not all dual-cameras are the same
Even though brands advertise their phones as having double the number of cameras, you need to look a little closer at how the modules work in tandem.
One of the more popular executions is the Leica-infused Huawei P9. It uses a pair of color and monochrome image sensors to produce sharper photos with greater clarity when operating together. You can also choose to rely solely on the black-and-white sensor to create stunning imagery.
Another well-designed implementation is on Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus. Its cameras have different focal lengths, meaning one has the usual wide-angle look while the other provides further zoom, so it’s like having a zoom lens sans the clunky mechanism.
LG’s flagship V20 and G5 smartphones have a similar style to Apple’s. The difference is in the length of the zooms, wherein there’s an ultra-wide-angle lens instead of a zoomed-in unit. This makes LG’s version better suited for landscape photography and large group pictures.
It’s not a gimmick or passing fad
Equipping two cameras addresses several limitations in smartphone photography, such as introducing optical zoom without adding bulk and improving image quality on already-tiny sensors.
In order to add camera functionality while keeping the frame as slim as possible, the only currently known solution is to add more modules side by side. If anything, we could be seeing more lenses on smartphones someday, and look back at twin setups as prehistoric tech.
More lenses doesn’t mean more expensive
It’s easy to associate such an innovation with high-end handsets, such as the $769 iPhone 7 Plus and $559 Huawei P9, but entry-level smartphones have been feeling the love, too.
Huawei’s more budget-friendly Honor sub-brand released the dual-cam-equipped Honor 6X for only $150; before that, there was the US-bound Honor 8 retailing for $400. Chinese rival Xiaomi also offers a $225 Redmi Pro, which is the company’s first phone to have a dual-camera setup — even before the mighty Mi 5s Plus.
There’s more to improving image quality
On the topic of existing technologies, it’s important to note there are several other factors that contribute to image quality. For one, the size of the image sensor matters; a larger one can take in more light and may produce a shallower depth of field for creamier backgrounds behind subjects.
Another important element is aperture. By having a larger maximum lens opening, more light can pass through, and, in turn, enable you to have a higher shutter speed for capturing fast-moving objects without too much motion blur.
Finally, we have image stabilization. It comes in two forms: optical, which utilizes a physical mechanism to steady shots, and electronic, which uses software magic to predict shaky hand movements. When using either of the two, photos normally turn out a lot less blurry, as long as the subject stays in place.
With more and more smartphone manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon, we can’t wait to see what radical designs there’ll be next year.
[irp posts=”4954″ name=”Apple iPhone 7 loses to Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in DxOMark camera test”]
This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Innity Philippines.
Sony’s new ZV-1 camera is built for vlogging
Shipping in June
How much personalization do you want your cameras to have? Some purists prefer completely manual cameras, allowing for absolute control over every aspect of their photos. Other professionals prefer a more consumer-friendly approach to photography, balancing easy-to-use functions with stellar photo quality.
Combining both aspects, the recently launched Sony ZV-1 is an all-in-one compact camera built specifically for casual video shooters. A boon to the vlogging community, the ZV-1 maintains both uncompromising video quality with ease of use.
Featuring a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and the latest BIONZ X image processor, the camera shoots at 4K resolution with in-body image stabilization. Inside, a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 large-aperture lens allows for dynamic bokeh control. Named the Bokeh Switch feature, the camera can increase and decrease background blur according to preference without losing its main focus.
In the same vein, the new Product Showcase feature allows for an easy transition between different focal points, such as switching between a subject’s face and a focused object. As the name suggests, the feature helps vloggers easily unbox and review products.
A Face Priority autoexposure feature automatically adjusts the device’s exposure settings depending on the brightness of the background. It will prioritize the subject’s face, ensuring correct exposure settings regardless of background. With the feature, it’s easier to shoot in bright sunlight, low-light conditions, and transitioning quickly between the two.
Besides what’s inside, the camera is also built ergonomically for a casual shooter’s hands. Instead of the traditional vertically flipping screen, it carries a horizontally flipping LCD screen, allowing users to easily see what’s being caught on camera. It comes with a 3.5mm microphone jack and a wind screen accessory to reduce wind interference.
Sony will start selling the ZV-1 at authorized Sony stores and through Lazada starting June 2020. It will retail for US$ 799.99.
Use your Canon camera as a laptop webcam
Up the quality on your video call meetings
Video conferencing is the new normal as most of us continue to work from home. Canon hopes to make the experience better with the EOS Webcam Utility Beta.
You may have noticed though that the video quality from your laptop’s webcam is not up to par with your smartphone’s front camera. Most manufacturers tend to put sub-par cameras on laptops. The reason: your laptop’s webcams were not that highly used before the whole COVID-19 situation.
To address this, Canon recently released a tool that will level up your video quality over online conferencing apps. The idea is to transform your Canon camera into a portable webcam. Simply plug-in an EOS or a PowerShot camera to your laptop, configure the software, and you now have a powerful webcam at your disposal.
The utility is called “EOS Webcam Utility Beta”. It’s a software that automatically configures your Canon camera into a portable web camera over a USB connection.
The caveat though is that only select EOS DSLR, EOS Mirrorless, and PowerShot cameras are compatible. The software is still in beta, but if you’re really determined to level up your video calling game, you can view the full list of compatible cameras here.
Grainy and lifeless videos will be a thing of the past for Canon users with this new tool. If you own a Canon EOS or DSLR camera, make sure to give this utility a try to improve your video chats with friends, family, or your fellow co-workers.
These refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras bring back our childhood!
Ah, take me back~
My latest obsession with Polaroid’s latest release — Polaroid NOW — has led me to discover refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras. For 90’s kids, these instant cameras relive our colorful, childhood memories dabbling in popping colors celebrated throughout the 80s until the early 2000s.
Back then, we have Japanese brand Tomy collaborating with Polaroid as a merch for popular manga and anime Kodomo no Omocha, also known as Kodocha.
Ah, this Spice Cam makes us remember the times we dance and sing to Spice Girls — like it’s our anthem before Britney Spears finally took over.
In true Maroon 5 fashion, memories really do bring back you. Seeing these instant cameras made me remember who I was before the world told me who I should be. It felt like an ode to my inner child, calling for retrospection. Remember how fun and young we used to be?
Professionally refurbished by Retrospekt
These vintage Polaroid 600 cameras are refurbished by Retrospekt, a company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded by Adam and KoriFuerst in 2008, Retrospekt started as a project to recreate their beloved instant film products.
Retrospekt uses Polaroid’s original components, and properly clean, test, rebuild and test the products again before sending out. Just like any refurbished vintage product, these instant cameras may show some light wear. Still, Retrospekt guarantees functionality.
And when it arrives at your doorsteps, all you need is just a pack of Polaroid 600 film, and you’ll be back to shooting instant films again.
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