What is the difference between cell phone camera lenses?

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Smartphones with three, four or even five cameras. In recent years, the industry has decided to invest heavily in quality photography as a differentiator for cell phones. However, not everyone is familiar with the types of camera that a device can offer.

It’s not just about quality. A cell phone whose camera has a resolution of 12 megapixels is not necessarily better than one whose camera has a resolution of 10 megapixels . There are a number of factors to consider, such as the sensor type and focal aperture of the camera.

However, there is more to it than that: the type of lens that a cell phone provides is decisive for the style of photo it is capable of producing. This also explains the need to include more than one rear camera on the devices. In this article we will know the main types of cell phone lenses and the differences between them.

ultra wide lens

Smartphones with an ultra-wide camera, also known as wide-angle, have the differential of taking pictures with a greater field of view. When this type of lens is attached to the rear camera, it is possible to take landscape photos by capturing a larger frame than usual.

When this feature is incorporated into the front camera, it becomes possible to take selfies in which more people appear. The greater the curvature of the lens, the greater the area that can be captured. Manufacturers like Samsung and Motorola use lenses with around 120 degrees of curvature.

macro lens

You know those photos where even very small objects look huge? They are taken with macro type lenses. The idea is that they work as a magnifying element for objects smaller than 10 centimeters. 

For those who like to photograph flowers, insects or details in whatever, having a smartphone that has this feature is ideal. It can be considered the opposite extreme of the ultra wide lens type, as the idea here is to reduce the capture area as much as possible to bring out the details.

depth lens

Also known as “Portrait Mode”, photos taken with depth lenses allow you to blur the background (background) and emphasize the main subject (foreground). This effect is known in photography as “bokeh” and has proved very popular with users.

This feature has always been a success in studio photos taken with professional cameras, but when it was incorporated by Samsung, in the Galaxy Note 8, and by Apple, in their iPhones, it ended up becoming a real fever, especially for the simplicity of operation to get good results.

telephoto lens

If your goal is to get closer to objects that are far away, then the ideal is to resort to devices that have telephoto type cameras . They offer optical zooms that allow you to zoom in to a certain degree without loss of resolution – or to zoom in very closely but with loss of resolution.

In general, smartphones that have this feature, such as the Samsung Galaxy A9, have a camera with 3x optical zoom without loss of quality. Some models can zoom in on the object photographed up to 10 times, but in this case, without the use of a tripod, there is a high chance that the result will be quite distorted.

And the main camera?

All of the lens types that we mentioned above have some special features. Either they zoom in or out on an image, in addition to providing a greater or lesser level of detail. These are quite specific features and, for that reason, require a separate lens.

The main camera of smartphones has as its main mission to be balanced and offer photos in good resolution. The idea is to simplify the user’s life: just take your phone out of your pocket and take a picture so that it comes out reasonably good, even if you’re not a great photographer. The proposal is to unite the balance with the best possible resolution.

So if you are looking for something specific in a smartphone camera, you should be aware of the types of complementary lenses it offers in addition to the main camera and the selfie camera (front).

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