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Wednesday 18 January 2017

What is the need of dual rear camera in smartphones?

Dual camera system in smartphones for better photography

Using dual lens system, some  limitations of phone cameras can be overcome to an extend
Content Highlights
  • Dual Camera system in smartphones
  • Need for dual camera in smartphones
  • How dual camera system works
  • Advantages of dual camera photography in smartphones
  • Phones with dual camera system

Smartphone technologies are evolving much faster than anything else.Many leading manufacturers are rolling out dual camera smartphones for better better photography.Thickness of smartphone is less than 10mm and people always prefer slimmer phones.So, phone cameras are starting to reach some hard physical limits.To overcome this constraint phone companies are looking for alternative
means to keep improving.Dual camera is just one solution to overcome this constraint to an extend.
Dual cameras were first introduced in the HTC Evo 3D smartphone way back in 2011. At the time, the dual camera was used to capture 3D images to work with the 3D screen of the HTC.In 2015, Lenovo introduced a dual front camera in the Vibe S1 — it had a primary 8MP front camera and second 2MP front camera to capture better selfies. Vivo is the latest brand to launch a smartphone with dual front camera in the Vivo V5 Plus.

Need for Dual cameras in smart phones

When compared to other digital cameras phone cameras have got lot of limitations.They are listed below.
  • Limited optical zooming 
  • Limited aperture 
  • Lack of multi-focus 
  • Smaller sensor size 
To overcome above limitations phone companies have introduced dual cameras and dual lens cameras.

How Dual Camera Works in Smartphone

We can call main camera primary and other one secondary.Usually primary camera will be of higher pixels and secondary of lower pixel resolution. In a dual lens camera or dual camera setup one camera is used to take the pictures and the other one is to capture the depth of field. It is interesting to see that different phone manufacturers exploit secondary camera in different ways.Some manufacturers use it merely for collecting details about the image captured by primary camera while others use it also for capturing the image.

Advantages of Dual Lens Camera in Smartphones

Greater Depth of Field in Pictures

With dual lens setup you will get wider aperture if both cameras are working together. It allows more light to pass through the lenses to the sensor resulting in greater depth of field in the pictures. We have already seen, one lens is used to capture the image and the other one is used to get the depth of field.

Faster Focus

Dual lens camera give you faster Auto-focus (~ 0.1 seconds) which is not possible in single lens camera smartphone.


Refocusing means 'focusing the picture even after the shot has been taken'Dual camera can allow you to refocus the picture.The secondary camera helps to perform refocus functionality.

Bokeh effect

bokeh effect

You can also create the bokeh effect by blurring the out of focus parts or background of a picture. Image processing software also plays a large part in creating this effect.

Better Picture Clarity in low light conditions

Dual Camera Smartphones can takes better quality pictures in low light conditions. This is because dual lenses allow more light to pass to the sensor which results in better picture clarity in areas with low light.

Better Noise reductions and sharpness

By comparing the inputs from primary and secondary cameras special algorithms can easily detect and reduce the noise in the final output.

Disadvantages of rear/front Dual Camera Smartphones

  • Currently dual lens cameras have been designed mainly for high quality photography. Videography has not been benefited by this system so far.
  • Higher cost due to addition of hardware and software.

Now, let’s us have a look at some smartphones that have a Dual-lens rear camera setup.

List of Dual Lens Camera Smartphones

HTC One M8

HTC one M*

HTC is the front runner in dual lens camera technology,The HTC One M8 was released in March 2014 as HTC’s flagship model, replacing the HTC One. HTC One M8 feature 4MP dual camera.
Key cmera features:
  • UFOCUS, where you can change the focus later after the capture is finished. 
  • 4MP dual camera with UltraPixel sensor 

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone & Plus

Recenctly launched iPhone 7 plus features dual rear camera.It offers best in class mobile photography with lot of smart features.
Key camera features:
  • Dual 12MP camera (wide-angle F/1.8 + telephoto F/2.8)
  • live bokeh effects. 
  • optical image stabilization, 
  • quad-LED flash
  • phase detection auto focus, 
  • wide color capture
  • face-body detection.
  • The dual camera setup on iPhone 7 Plus offers 2X optical zoom, which is the first of its kind on a smartphone. 
  • 10X digital zoom.

Huawei P9

Huawei P9

Huawei P9, is also a real innovation in the world of smartphone camera photography.
Key camera features:
  • Dual 12 MP camera setup with Leica sensors on board, which makes it the best smartphone camera for low-light photography. 
  • Among the two lenses on Huawei P9, one(primary camera) is fairly standard and captures color photographs, while the other(secondary) lens is to capture monochrome information. This monochrome sensor captures up to 3x more light to deliver amazing low-light shots. 
  • The camera shoots in RAW format, 
  • phase detection autofocus 
  • Dual-LED (dual tone) flash. 
  • Different shooting modes including Photo, Monochrome, HDR, Panorama, Beauty, and Light Painting are provided on board.



As you know LG is one of the leading smartphone company.They also have come up with dual camera technology in their recently launched LG G5.
Key camera features:
  • Dual-lens camera setup features a 16MP main camera,78-degree angle view with F1.8 aperture. 
  • The secondary camera lens is the first of its kind 135-degree super wide angle camera with 8MP resolution and F2.4 aperture. This makes LG G5 the best smartphone in the market for wide angle photography. 
  • laser autofocus and a color spectrum sensor

Honor 8

Honor 8

The recently launched Honor 8 is also packed with an innovative bionic 12MP dual-lens system.
Key camera features:
  • One lens enables the system to capture rich color, and the other monochrome lens give the images more light and increased sharpness. 
  • Dual lens system suitable for macro images or capturing images in black light, low-light, and complex conditions.
  • hybrid auto-focus technology that enables laser focus for short range imagery and precise depth focus for long range shots
  • DSLR Bokeh effects, an effective manual mode and built-in Light painting modes for Long Exposure shots.

XOLO Black

Xolo Black

This is one of the affordable Dual camera system smartphone launched in India recently
Key camera features
  • 13MP(primary)+2MP(secondary) combination 
  • 13MP camera does the capture part and the 2MP camera records the depth of field to defocus the background in the picture.
  • Bokeh effect

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom was announced at the CES 2017 . It features a dual-lens camera on the rear camera. Primary camera does capture part while secondary lens is for zooming in having 2.3x optical zoom and upto 12x digital zoom.

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