Camera Definition

Today’s smartphones come equipped with a very comprehensive set of camera related specifications. Our smartphone, for many of us, has become our primary camera due to it being the one we always have with us.

In its purest form, smartphone photography is all about collecting photons (light) and converting them into electrons (image). The capabilities of the supporting hardware and software are paramount to producing high-quality images of your chosen subject.

Megapixels

The resolution of the image taken by a smartphone is measured in megapixels, a higher megapixel count doesn’t always equate to a better picture. The desire to have more and more megapixels has slowed as manufacturers focus on the quality of those megapixels captured. Accomplished by having larger pixels within the CMOS Sensor to capture more light, contrasting with a high-resolution CMOS sensor that has smaller pixels and therefore captures less light. Higher megapixel images allow ‘cropping’ of the original without losing too much detail. Higher megapixel images also ensure a higher quality image when printed, for example when printing ‘posters.’

As a comparison, when playing back images on a television or monitor – a 4K TV has an 8.3-megapixel count while an HD TV has a 2.1-megapixel number.

In most cases still images are stored either as jpeg or HEVC, these compress the image file size without losing any detail (loss-less compression). Some high-end phones capture in RAW leading to much larger file sizes. The most common format for recording video is H.264/H.265. Google and Apple provide paid ‘cloud’ storage for off-loading your photo’s and video’s over WiFi or cellular to reduce the impact on the phones internal storage.

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