Dual camera smartphones explained: Why they are worth the extra cost

There’s plenty rumors about the next iPhone, the iPhone 7 or 7 plus, or 7 pro or whatever it’s called, having 2 camera lenses. This is a very uncommon feature that even high-end phones are unlikely to have. However, if you’re lucky, you may be able to find low cost tablets for under $100 with the feature here.

I mean there’s plenty of other rumors about the next iPhone but that’s the one we’re focussing on. Also LG and Huawei, both in the last year worked with Google to make the Nexus smartphones that we got.

And then exactly a year later now here, both companies also have a dual camera smartphone out on the market. What do they know that we don’t?

It would be really interesting to find out obviously but with VR having a really big year and 360 degree video having a really big year. And you could argue that the features in smartphones over the past couple years have slowed down a little bit, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see that a bunch of smartphones in the next 1 or 2 years that have dual cameras on the back.

So here’s the deal, this is one of the smartphones with dual cameras on the back. This is what it looks like. This is the LG G5. It’s also a really interesting phone in a bunch of other ways.

Full review of it coming soon but this is what the dual cameras on the back of the smartphone looks like. And like I said, there’s a bunch of others with dual cameras but here’s the thing to note, is there’s almost never 2 identical cameras.

It’s usually one main camera and then also another secondary camera. And then that secondary camera captures sort of extra information or a slightly different image that’s usually given back to add to the original.

Now one of the OGs at this whole dual camera in a smartphone thing was the HTC Evo 3D back in 2011. And this one actually did have identical cameras on the back, so two of the same camera.

The back module was huge and essentially we used both of those cameras to take a slightly different image from that, from that slightly different angle. It would stitch them together in software to create a 3D image that you could look at on its glasses free 3D display.

Now I wouldn’t say this flopped but it kind of did. I mean this was back in 2011 [00:02:00] and how many other 3D smartphones have you seen since then? Exactly!

So more recently phone that came out with dual camera lenses on the back. This one’s probably more recognizable, is the HTC 1M8. So this one had a main 4MP camera in the back and a second sensor specifically for recording depth information of the whole scene.

So this would be able to tell what was in your photo in the foreground, what was further away in the background, and then you can apply some software effects to it like fake boca or whatever artsy stuff to take advantage of the separation.

Now again I wouldn’t  say this one flopped either. In fact the one series is still part of HTC’s most important line of smartphones right now. But this first one was, I mean the software wasn’t that, it was subpar at best is what I’m saying.

A lot of times you couldn’t even tell if was really even using that depth information. The boca would get all glitchy on the edges and you’d wonder why.

So it wasn’t fantastic but it was a pretty cool concept. Now fast forward to 2016 and we have smartphones like the LG G5 and the Huawei P9. Again like I said, from the too many factors that happened to work with Google on a smartphone last year. This G5 has a regular 16MP camera on the back with a regular field of view, but then right next to it, next to the laser auto focus is the additional camera. A super wide angle , 135 degree, 8MP camera for those crazy super wide shots.

And you can switch between them on the fly if you want to. So they don’t really work together to add information to one image, but it can be pretty fun to play with the super wide angle.

It kind of looks almost like a GoPro camera a lot of times. So you can get these cool landscapes or architectures in the city or whatever other really wide angle shots you think look dope.

And the Huawei P9 is the other one. I don’t have a P9 with me but the P9 is the same deal. Primary camera and secondary. The primary is a regular RGB sensor and the secondary camera is a monochrome sensor.

So it’s like a black and white camera. But because it’s less colour information, it can do additional detail and sharpness and dynamic range and it will take that image information and use software to stitch it together [00:04:00] with the original RGB image to create a much better looking original  photo.

So right now there really isn’t any theme or overlapping standard  for why smartphones have dual cameras on the back. It’s just sort of a mix and match, do whatever you want with it.

So like we said, we’re expecting Apple to probably have an iPhone 7 or 7 Pro or something like that with maybe 2 camera lenses on the back. But we don’t know what Apple would be doing with that.

We don’t know if it would be maybe 2 identical image sensors doing stereoscopic 3D or would they be like a primary secondary type of thing where the secondary one would pick up additional colour information or light values.

We just don’t know. What we do know is it’s a feature and it’s not really quite up to its full potential right now in smartphones as we see them. Mostly because we don’t even know what that full potential really is.

I would like to see two identical cameras on the back but facing slightly apart from each other so that they could capture two simultaneous high resolution images and then stitch them together into one high res panorama without software tricks.

I think that would be pretty dope. Or maybe something else related to VR, I mean we see all these 369 degree videos all the time now on Facebook and on You Tube. Obviously having a smartphone that can capture 360 degree without an extra accessory that you have to carry around, would be pretty cool.

But again, this is all just wishful thinking from one person. But what it’s cool to know is that it’s not just me thinking about this stuff. It’s a lot of people. So we know that there are companies everyday working to try to make this into something cool.

So when the next iPhone, or the next Samsung, or the next Nexus comes out and has dual smartphone cameras, now you know why. Thanks for watching, I’ll talk to you guys in the next one. Peace!