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Dual cameras: are two better than one?

What exactly are dual cameras?

Dual cameras are cameras that have two lenses, which allow the camera to capture extra information and ultimately produce a better photo. These lenses normally have very different characteristics and take slightly different images. For example, the lenses may capture different angles or colour schemes such as black & white vs. colour. The two images are then fused together using software on the phone to create the ultimate picture.

Is this a new trend?

Dual cameras on smartphones certainly aren’t a new thing. The earliest prototype of the dual camera can be traced back to the 2011 HTC Evo 3D. Dual cameras initially emerged as part of the rising trend of 3D. Back then, the dual lens camera didn’t amount to much and was little more than a gimmick.

The dual camera made a return in 2016 when LG and Huawei released flagship phones with dual cameras. While both phones had dual cameras, they had different capabilities. The LG G5 had a 16 mega-pixel regular angle lens and a 135 degree wide angle lens. While these two lenses didn’t work together to create one image, users could switch between them depending on their photography needs.

On the other hand, the Huawei P9 dual camera had one colour lens and one monochrome lens. As the monochrome lens didn’t need to capture colour, it could capture extra details to enhance the focus and sharpness of the image. A computer software program then fused the two images together to create one awesome photo.

The dual camera has quickly been picked up by other smartphone companies. This isn’t overtly surprising as dual cameras certainly have many benefits.

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Benefits of dual cameras

In addition to enhancing focus and sharpness with the monochrome lens, dual cameras can also create the bokeh effect. The bokeh effect is a technique employed by professional photographers to concentrate on one subject by blurring the background. Achieving the bokeh effect on smartphones was previously impossible.

However, Apple has used innovative technology in the iPhone 7 Plus to address this issue. The dual camera in the iPhone 7 Plus creates the bokeh effect by using an imaging map to identify the subject and then the software blurs the background.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues with traditional single lens cameras is the lack of zoom. This is another problem that can be corrected by dual cameras with the use of lens with different focal length. Both Apple and LG have included this feature in some of their smartphones.

With so many advantages, it is not surprising that dual cameras are being incorporated into more and more smartphones. As a result, it likely that this trend will only become more popular as technology continues to evolve.