What is each camera on your mobile for? We show all the types that exist

Find out what each camera is for on your mobile and tell them apart.

Nowadays in the markets we can find mobiles with two, three, four and even five cameras. Marketing does a lot. The number of cameras or the size of the megapixels makes it possible to sell more mobile terminals.

We have the concept that the cameras of our terminal perform different specific functions. We know that we have a primary camera and the others are secondary, but… do we know what cell phone cameras do? We will explain below what each camera of our terminal is used for.

Different types of state-of-the-art mobile cameras

master bedroom

The main camera is the one used by default by the mobile phone for snapshots. The incorporation of artificial intelligence allows it to recognize scenes and automatically apply adjustments to get the best shot possible. In some mobiles, this Artificial Intelligence makes it possible to highlight a particular color and leave the rest of the scene in black and white.

What is each camera on your mobile for? We show all the types that exist

Xiaomi 12 Pro sensors

If we go into more technical details, the main camera usually has a wide viewing angle. This angle makes it easier to capture the background of the scene being photographed. Normally it is usually around 60º. The focal aperture can vary from f/1.5 to f/2.8 on cheaper phones.

telephoto cameras

Telephoto lenses have the function of zooming in further. While most smartphone cameras allow you to zoom by cropping the image and enlarging the result, devices with separate telephoto lenses do this optically.

What is each camera on your mobile for? We show all the types that exist

Photograph taken with a telephoto lens, applying a 3X zoom

Thanks to the telephoto lens, we obtain the opposite effect of the wide angle, since the telephoto lens brings the image closer to what we want to photograph without losing focus. The difference between this camera and digital zoom is that digital zoom crops the image to enlarge the result using software, resulting in a lower quality result.

wide angle cameras

As their name suggests, these are cameras that have an increased viewing angle. They are normally used in circumstances where what we want to photograph does not fit into the scene. Thus, wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle cameras move the image away, thanks to the wide viewing angle they have.

Ultra wide angle Samsung Galaxy Z fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 ultra wide angle photo

Therefore, these cameras are ideal for photographing distant landscapes or high-rise buildings where we want the whole building or landscape to appear in the scene. These cameras save focus capabilities, using a fixed focus.

monochrome cameras

In an effort to improve the amount of detail and sensitivity in photos, some manufacturers include monochrome cameras in mobile devices. By not including a color filter in the sensor of these cameras, the sensors create different images which are combined thanks to the algorithm used by each manufacturer for the images. With this we achieve that different perspectives of the images are captured and we can, at first, achieve better results when taking photos.

Huawei black and white photo

Monochrome images could help improve the quality of the resulting images

infrared cameras

Infrared cameras are those that allow to obtain thermal images. The uses of these cameras are generally varied. The most common is used to enhance the face unlock feature. Apple uses this technology to be able to have a better face unlock.

Change Screen iPhone 13 FaceID Lock (2)

Infrared cameras are used in the iPhone for Face ID

Time-of-flight (ToF) cameras

Time of Flight Cameras or Time of Flight Cameras have a sensor that emits beams of infrared light to measure depth. They calculate the time that elapses since the light reaches the object we are photographing and returns to the sensor again, they analyze the depth of each element of the image.

Huawei P30 Pro, screen and software

The Huawei P30 Pro was one of the mobiles that brings a ToF camera

What we get with this camera is improved 3D scanning. Used for facial recognition because they are cheaper and do not require external light, they have moved to the back of our terminals to take 3D photos, improving virtual reality and creating a more precise bokeh effect.

macro cameras

Macro cameras make it possible to quickly capture small details at very short distances, without losing focus. With this type of camera and a little practice we can get very good captures of everything we can miss with the naked eye. We can take pictures of water drops, plants, animals, among others, to see the smallest details of our world.

Samsung Galaxy A33 macro camera

Image of a flower with the Galaxy A33 macro camera

As we can see, there are many types of cameras in our mobile devices today. Most importantly, sometimes it’s not the number of cameras we have that is most important. The most important is the work behind. The major companies usually do pretty good post-processing of the captured images to improve the capture and improve the photos.

At the time, Google used few cameras and took very good photos. This was all due to the algorithm used to combine the images and get a good result. Let’s also not forget that more megapixels does not mean better photos, since everything depends on the treatment, as they say, that they make of the image obtained.

Related Topics: Mobiles

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What is each camera on your mobile for? We show all the types that exist

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