2020 promises to be a particularly interesting year in mobile photography, although it will not be for incorporating new photographic features but for establishing existing ones. These are some of the features that you should look for when choosing a mobile phone for your camera in 2020.
It is always difficult to know what the manufacturers will surprise us within the new smartphones that will be presented during 2020.
This does not seem to be a year in which the efforts of the brands are going to address great innovations that change the direction of mobile photography, but it seems that the trend will be to strengthen the technologies currently on the table.
In this sense, we will see how manufacturers manage to achieve better control of light with systems based on the grouping of pixels (Pixel Binning) and how different lens configurations are combined in the lenses until the magic formula that conquers users is found.
2nd sensor revolution: More megapixels, but not for what you think
There was a time when brands measured the photographic power of their phones by the number of megapixels of their cameras. This absurd battle ended at the moment when users realized that the number of megapixels is not as important as their efficiency.
Anyone attentive to the latest releases will have realized that the new models announce with hype and saucer cameras with sensors of 48 megapixels, 64 megapixels, and even 108 megapixels. Does this mean that manufacturers have returned to the streets?
The truth is that in this case the increase in the number of pixels is justified by two factors: the first is conditioned by an increase in the size of the sensors and the second by the ability to manage the software to group pixels.
The size of the sensor is important since a larger surface will allow improving the capacity of light capture than a smaller one. A larger surface also implies a higher pixel density.
This higher pixel density is not intended to increase the size of the photos as it happened a few years ago but allows you to group them 4 by 4 using a technique called Pixel Binning.
This technique groups the annexed pixels 4 by 4 creating a larger super pixel, which expands its ability to capture light. When grouping its pixels, the photos generated by a 40-megapixel camera are equivalent to a 10-megapixel camera, that of a 64-megapixel camera is equivalent to 16 megapixels, but showing a better quality since those pixels manage to capture the light with greater precision.
Unlike what happened a few years ago, a greater amount of megapixels is needed so that, when grouping the pixels, an image with a size between 12 and 27 megapixels remains, just as they had been incorporating the cameras of the mobiles until now.
Therefore, on this occasion, more pixels do improve the image quality, although not in the same way that the manufacturers argued in the past, but because of the need for more light collection cells, thus improving the amount of information of each pixel that transforms into a greater dynamic range in the colors of your photos.
Bet on the versatility of the lenses
One of the trends in the mobile industry that has left us in 2019 has been the incorporation of several cameras with different focal points. This is one of the features that you should keep in mind when choosing a mobile phone for its camera.
More than having a double camera with which to improve your portraits, a new concept is being imposed in which lenses with different focal points are incorporated which, combined, not only allow good results when blurring the background of your photos but also offer a greater variety of approaches.
Having several different lenses has many advantages. These focal points are usually double (or close) to each other (it is usual to find configurations of 16 mm / 26 mm / 52 mm / 80 mm or more), which allows direct access to an optical zoom of 5x or more.
On the other hand, the incorporation of several cameras with different focal points improves the recognition of the silhouette of what you are photographing, facilitating the trimming and blurring of the background.
One of the lenses that received the best reception is wide-angle lenses (which should be considered ultra-wide-angle) since they provide a visual angle of up to 120 degrees and allow you to incorporate much more information into your photos.
These wide-angle lenses are perfect for group photos, interiors where there isn't much space to get away from the object you want to photograph or to immortalize all the monuments or landscapes you'll see during your vacation.
On the other hand, having this combination of several cameras also allows you to access a Macro shooting mode, which reduces the focusing distance to the object you want to photograph, being able to get much closer to capture all the details.
The aperture and quality of the lenses
The improvement in the sensor's light collection can be diminished by poor management of light when passing through the lens. In this aspect, two mobiles with the same sensor can show very different results.
The quality of the lenses is crucial to reduce light distortion. That is, a mobile phone with good quality lenses can bring light to the sensor more efficiently and direct it precisely to the sensor without causing light loss along the way.
The same can be said of the camera opening. This parameter must be taken into account when choosing a mobile phone for your camera in 2020.
With the same trigger parameters, but different diaphragm openings
It is convenient to look at the number f that is usually indicated next to the resolution. This number indicates the percentage of opening that the “gate” of light allows for more light to enter the sensor.
A smaller f-number indicates that the lens has a greater aperture and, therefore, is brighter than one with a higher f-number. By allowing a greater entry of light, the images obtained have the greater richness of detail and better colors even in night photos.
Artificial intelligence to control everything in computerized photography
The computerized photograph is a technology that is making a difference in quality, achieving squeeze the maximum components which seem to give more of themselves, but with the help of artificial intelligence is achieving amazing results.
For this reason, having a good processing system is one of the characteristics that you should take into account when choosing a mobile phone for your camera in 2020.
The final quality of the captures will depend on the efficiency of artificial intelligence when applying photography algorithms. It is of little use to have the best components if that quality is not managed in the right way.
Artificial intelligence applies computerized photography techniques to manage the grouping of pixels in technologies such as the Pixel Binning, which we have already mentioned, or to manage the photos of the Night mode with which some brands are achieving truly amazing results.
This function also depends on other functions such as scene detection, which automatically adjusts the camera settings for the best results or slow-motion functions.
Since the quality of these algorithms does not appear in the specifications of the smartphone, the only way to check their operation before buying the smartphone is to do so by reading the analyzes of these mobiles in specialized media.
Stabilized cameras, but not only for video
It is usual that, when talking about the optical stabilization of the cameras, one tends to think about its importance when recording video. However, having a stabilized camera is also good news for taking pictures.
The optical stabilization is used to obtain images sharper and better quality even in low light because the stabilization system keeps the shutter open for longer compensating for small movements that can ruin your photo.
This has a direct impact on the quality of night photos, being much easier to obtain perfectly focused photos with optical stabilization of the lenses.
In video recording, optical stabilization allows you to create videos with a much more professional look and without needing stabilizers or gimbals to achieve smoother and more fluid movements in your videos.
Before choosing a mobile phone for its camera in 2020 you should notice that at least its main camera, it has the OIS stabilizer function (for the acronym of Optical Image Stabilization ) which is the method that offers the best results.
You can also find electronic stabilization systems EIS ( Electronic Image Stabilization ), but this option offers lower quality since it is done in post production and depends on the power (or quality) of the processing algorithms.