5 Features to Look for in Your Next Smartphone Camera

Smartphone cameras were once a substandard alternative to traditional cameras. If you didn’t have a “real” camera on hand, you could always snap a shot with your phone. Today, many smartphone cameras are better than the dedicated handheld cameras of the past.
With the right features, a smartphone camera can become a professional tool. Even a professional photographer can capture outstanding images with little more than a smartphone and a bit of skill.

Deep Machine Learning

Deep machine learning is as futuristic as it sounds. Machine learning is truly the future of high-tech photography. The right camera can perform many of the tasks once reserved for talented human photographers. Machine learning allows smartphone cameras to identify and focus on faces, detect movement, and compensate appropriately for motion and lighting.

Deep machine learning is a very broad term, and it is one that is constantly evolving. A prime example is machine learning in the Camio app, which allows smartphone and tablet cameras to act as surveillance devices. The app is continuously improved by the user, who gives clips a thumbs up or a thumbs down, training it over time in which types of movement are alarming and which are acceptable. Smartphone cameras that incorporate machine learning updates will offer continuously improved functionality.

Image via Gabriel Santiago

The ability to harness the bokeh effect is one of the most alluring features of the new Apple iPhone 7 Plus camera. Bokeh refers to the quality of the out-of-focus area in a photo. This is of minimal concern to casual photographers, but those who want a shot that’s worthy of Pinterest fame or sleek enough for business use will thoroughly enjoy this depth of control.

The iPhone 7 achieves this effect with the image signal processor (ISP) built into its A10 Fusion chip. The ISP can handle more than 100 billion operations, automatically delivering a real-time bokeh effect that takes smartphone photo quality to a whole new level.

Optical Image Stabilization

Optical image stabilization is a must for smartphone cameras. Slim and sleek, these lightweight devices aren’t always easy to hold steady because they lack the heft of larger cameras. Although this makes them easier to slide into a pocket, it presents a challenge when it comes to keeping the device perfectly still for that standout shot.

There are many approaches to optical image stabilization. SmartSensor is one of the best. Whereas traditional stabilization technologies shift the lens to minimize shaking, SmartSensor moves the image sensor. This extends the stabilization effect from two axes to three, effectively controlling pitch, yaw, and roll.

Dual Camera Optical Zoom

A high zoom rate is a popular feature that nearly all smartphone cameras now attempt to provide. The True Zoom/Moto Z Play accessory for smartphones offers up to 10× digital zoom so that you can really get into those tiny details. However, the optical zoom game goes to a new level with the dual cameras of the iPhone 7 Plus. With two cameras working simultaneously, you can employ multiple megapixel sensors. Combining a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens is one of the most popular ways to achieve high-quality dual camera zoom.

When you’re shopping around for a professional-quality smartphone camera, it’s important to look beyond the numbers to the actual image. Zooming in is a boon only when the resulting image offers outstanding quality and detail, which is what you can achieve with dual lenses.

Raw DNG Images

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus and some Android cameras offer the ability to shoot raw DNG images. If you’re looking for a smartphone that can handle professional photography, this is an outstanding feature. However, it’s important to fully understand what this means. Raw DNG images give you finer control over the file, allowing for outstanding editing with professional photo editing software. They cannot, however, be uploaded directly to a site such as Instagram. You’ll want to use this feature only when you have big plans for the final shot.

You don’t need to invest in a second set of equipment to capture professional photos. Simply upgrade to the right smartphone, and you’ll have everything you need in the palm of your hand.

Featured image by Rami