Cameras

5 facts about dual-camera smartphones

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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.

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The first-ever dual-camera smartphone, LG Optimus 3D

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.

Huawei P9

The Leica-branded Huawei P9

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.

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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 P9 and iPhone 7 Plus

The Huawei P9 (left) and iPhone 7 Plus (right)

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.

iPhone 7 Plus zoom

Real-time zooming with the iPhone 7 Plus

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.

 


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Innity Philippines.

Cameras

GoPro HERO 7 goes official with plethora of video and imaging features

The best GoPro yet

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GoPro HERO 7 lineup

After the hiatus, GoPro is back in the game! Well, they weren’t really gone but their presence in the action camera realm has been pretty non-existent lately. To set off a great comeback, GoPro announced the HERO 7 action camera family. We don’t only have one or two new cameras to play — we have three!

The main highlight is the HERO 7 Black which boasts in-camera HyperSmooth stabilization that’s said to rival those bulky gimbals. Then there’s the TimeWarp feature which will undeniably be popular for travel. The Black is also capable of online livestreaming straight from the camera.

GoPro HERO 7 Black

GoPro’s best camera is capable of shooting 4K at 60fps or 1080p at 240fps slow-mo, but it’s not just for videos. It can also capture photos with a new smart scene recognition that applies necessary settings to get the best shot possible. It has better audio capture and supports hands-free voice commands as well.

GoPro HERO 7 Silver

If the Black is too much for you, there’s the HERO 7 Silver. It’s cheaper but it lacks the HyperSmooth stabilization and 4K 60fps video recording. No worries, GoPro said it still has a “significantly improved” video stabilization and other important features from the Black.

GoPro HERO 7 White

The most of basic of the bunch is the HERO 7 White. It boasts about the same features as the Silver model but it maxes out at just 1080p at 60fps. If you really just want to have a high-quality action camera for your trips, you can’t go wrong with this.

Here’s a simple table to help you understand more about the differences between the three new HERO 7 cameras from GoPro:

All three HERO 7 models are now available for pre-order, with retail launches starting on September 27 internationally. The high-end HERO 7 Black goes for US$ 399, the mid-tier HERO 7 Silver is at US$ 299, and the entry-level HERO 7 White is available for US$ 199.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi is thinking about acquiring GoPro

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Cameras

Polaroid OneStep+ puts a modern twist to old-school photography

Don’t judge a camera by its vintage appearance

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As the throwback trend continues to be popular, print photos are coming back in style. And in a time where the Fujifilm Instax line has taken the world by storm, Polaroid jumps back in to take back the crown with their latest release, the Polaroid OneStep+.

Inspired by the 1977 OneStep model, the Polaroid OneStep+ takes the classic Polaroid camera and packs it with a bunch of cool features to pull it right into the late 2010s. You can still snap a photo instantly, just like old-school Polaroids, but now you can also use a new app that lets you do fancy stuff with your camera.

 

 

Remote Trigger, Self Timer, and Noise Trigger make it so that you can get the perfect group shot even without having to ask a stranger to take it. Give your photographs more character with Double Exposure and Light Painting. And enhance the quality of your captures with Portrait and Manual mode.

Just like that, your instant photography game just got much more elevated. And apart from the i-Type film that’s specially made for this line, you can use their 600 film which gives this new and innovative little machine even more of a vintage feel. For the price you pay, I think it’d be well worth it!

The Polariod OneStep+ is available now, and you can get it for US$ 159 on their website.

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Accessories

Snap’s new Spectacles are here

And they actually look real good!

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The idea of having cameras built into eyeglasses has always been a great one. When Snap (creator of Snapchat) decided to make that a reality with Spectacles, it almost seemed like the greatest idea ever — except it only came in one style and it wasn’t a style I was particularly fond of.

When they released the Spectacles 2, the shades-camera combo came in more colors, but the same size. I still wasn’t sold.

But, Snap’s latest Spectacles release has me wanting the famed frames. Finally, the company has announced Specs I’m on board with. Introducing, the Nico specs:

There’s also the Veronica:

Now these glasses, I’d definitely wear! They feature the same 105-degree camera and the same LED light design found on previous Spectacles. Both are only available in black and retail for US$ 200 each.

BRB, getting these glasses!

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