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Smartphone photography 101 ; know your terms

Buying a smartphone is supposed to be the easiest and simple thing to do but you get overwhelmed by the the term thrown around by the sales reps ,you look for help online but it gets even more technical but today i am here to break down tech jargon to bits so normal people like you can understand.

Megapixels

A megapixel is a unit of image sensing capacity in a digital camera. The previous perception was that the higher a megapixel count of a camera was the higher the resolution and the perceived quality of a picture was.

That’s no longer true. The race to have the highest megapixel sensor is now over, and many companies have opted to get sensors with LESS megapixels, but with better light gathering ability via UltraPixel tech and variants of it.

Picture quality is a complicated mix of megapixels, sensor sizes, aperture size and the image processing techniques used to mash em all together. Just remember that a higher megapixel count doesn’t always mean a better photo.

Aperture

In photography terms, aperture is the measure of how much light a lens lets in. The lower the number, the more light gets in and the better the camera does in low-light situations. The lower the aperture, the shallower the depth of field is, which means you’re getting a more pronounced blurred background (bokeh) when you’re taking a shot.

High-end phones like Huawei’s P20 Pro has aperture openings of f/1.8 and lower, while most mid-range smartphones have openings of f/2.2 to f/2.0. Samsung has the bragging rights of being the only brand that has a phone with variable apertures, with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus able to switch between a f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture when needed.

Sensor size

An image sensor is the part of the camera that actually captures light and transforms it into the image that you can see. The bigger the image sensor is, the more light it can collect and thus the better low-light performance can be. But since the space on a phone is limited, manufacturers opt to increase the pixel count without increasing the size of the sensor, which compromises light gathering ability in favor of resolution.

One of the reasons why manufacturers are using lower-resolution sensors compared to previous years is the fact that they’re sacrificing resolution for better light-gathering ability. Similar to HTC’s UltraPixel tech, many companies are now opting for low resolutions for better light gathering capability, improving low-light performance.

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Optical and Electronic Image Stabilization

Image stabilization does exactly what it sounds like – it stabilizes the camera lens when you’re taking a shot so your photo is nice, crisp and blur-free. There are two types: optical image stabilization uses mechanical means to keep the lens still when you’re shaking while electronic or digital image stabilization uses software to compensate for the shake.

Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF)

Phase Detection Autofocus or PDAF is a kind of focusing technology that allows for fast focusing times compared to contrast detection tech used in other cameras. Focusing times are paramount when shooting fast moving subjects, with PDAF-equipped cameras delivering quick, sub 0.3s focus when you need it.

PDAF is usually accompanied by another kind of focusing tech in more expensive phones: laser AF. Again, the tech does exactly what it sounds like – shooting a laser at a subject and using the reflection to calculate distance and focus. Laser AF is good at shooting subjects up close and personal, however, it suffers when it’s shooting far away subjects. That’s why phones that have laser AF usually pair it with a PDAF or a more traditional contrast focusing system.

Shooting in RAW format

When a smartphone camera takes an image, it’s usually compressed and processed as a JPG file to save space on the phone. Shooting in RAW format simply means you’re saving the photo as it was seen by the camera sensor. It allows users to the freedom to correct stuff like exposure levels easier since there’s more information available.

AI-assisted shooting

AI tech in cameras is fairly new, and right now there isn’t a straight answer or definition that actually tells you what an AI-assisted camera does. The most common application though is scene detection, which the camera tries to guess what you’re shooting (portrait, food, lanscape, etc) and adjusts contrast, saturation and color accordingly to make the photo pop.

Portrait shooting

It’s the ability to blur the background against the foreground, mimicking shots taken with low aperture lenses forming “bokeh”. Many phones with dual camera systems have this feature in one way or another, but some phones are better at it than others.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the ability of a camera to capture both highlights and low-lights in photos, especially in high contrast situations. It’s the measurement between the whitest whites and the blackest blacks. .

These are the terms used in smartphone photography,Did it help you ? let us find out in the comment section below

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