Our mobile phones are no longer just phones these days. They’ve become smart, for one thing; and for smartphone-makers product development it is now about better connectivity, camera capabilities and standing out and being one step ahead of competitors.
Mobile phones today have evolved into multifunctional and highly integrated devices that come in very sleek, compact forms – and the camera is now one of the main features that consumers consider. Smartphones have become more ubiquitous, sophisticated and convenient and manufacturers are focusing on their next devices’ camera capabilities as camera phones are quickly replacing point-and-shoot digital cameras.
More than megapixels, you need to consider the pixel size
In measuring the quality of a camera, the popular mantra in the old days was to compare the number of megapixels. We know better now and with camera phones today, it’s all about hyper-advanced optics and the quality of the pixels. “Micron pixel pitch,” which pertain to the camera’s sensitivity to light, result in a better image because they enable the sensors to get more accurate information in a shorter amount of time.
Larger pixels collect more light per pixel, therefore image quality will be much better than small pixel cameras. Keep in mind that light is delivered by the lens, and the lens is the real reason the large pixels are able to collect more light. Currently a professional DSLR will have around 8 micron pixel pitch, semi-pro approximately 4-7, and consumer under 3 pixel pitch (in microns). For those curious, the iPhone 5S has 1.5 micron pixel size and the Galaxy S5 has 1.1 micron pixel size.
Apple developed its very own Image Signal Processor (ISP) for their iSight camera, which is equivalent to the digital signal processor in traditional digital cameras. This feature does all the adjustments needed to stabilize, maximize and enhance image color and quality. To date, iPhone’s camera is one of the most highly regarded due to its consistent performance. It has more than its share of rivals in the smartphone camera game, however, and a close eye is also being kept on Samsung’s latest offerings from the Galaxy line as well as those from Nokia (Pureview and Lumia) and Sony (Xperia).
Camera phones today also feature better stabilization and low light capabilities, which allow the user to take beautiful photos even at night or keep the subject clear and in focus while in motion – we can expect these features to get even more refined in the future. Camera phones that can record videos in 1080p resolution are also on the rise along with advanced built-in photo editing applications that allow the user to capture, edit and share photos with ease.