When mobile phones first developed digital video cameras, many people saw it as an oddity. Why would you want a camera on your phone? What good would that do? Then, people began to use them and find how convenient it was to carry a camera with you everywhere you went. You could record spontaneous moments, share them with friends, and remember them for later. However, these phones were limited by the quality of their cameras. The functionality just was not there. So, the cameras began to improve very quickly. However, many companies still think of the camera as an addition to the phone instead of a key feature. When the camera is thought of as a key feature, you begin to see unique innovations that rival dedicated digital cameras.
Digital cameras work similarly to the classic film cameras. In a classic film camera, a glass lens opens up, allowing light to strike a frame of film that records whatever the lens sees. In a digital camera, the lens opens up, allowing light to strike a digital sensor which captures whatever the lens sees. As you can assume, the better the quality of the sensor, the more accurately it captures what the lens sees. The way to accomplish this is with CMOS sensors.
CMOS stands for complementary metal oxide semiconductor. This technology is used for creating RAM for computers, microprocessors, and most importantly, camera sensors. These are the same sensors used in professional digital SLRs. The N1 mini mobile phone is a good example of a device that utilises an advanced CMOS sensor to deliver clear, high-definition images.
If the sensor captures what the lens sees, then the lens has to be high quality as well. The lens is made from glass that is ground smooth; the smoother the grind on the glass, the better the image will be. Also, a lens is curved to focus an image and reflect it into the sensor. To get the best quality image, that light needs to be focused as tightly as possible. In a practical sense, this creates clear images over blurry images. If a camera has more layers of glass in its lens, then it will create a clearer picture. Common cameras tend to have five layers of glass. Some mobile phone cameras have even fewer; however, the best mobile phones actually have six layers of glass to create crystal clear images.
A lens allows light into the camera to hit the sensor and capture an image. So, the more a lens opens up, the more light it allows in. This opening is called an aperture; larger apertures allow you to shoot in lower light situations. The size of the aperture is measured in F-Stops; the lower the number, the wider the aperture.
Many modern mobile cameras can stop all the way down to f/2.0, which is incredibly good in low-light situations.
Mobile phone cameras have made many thrilling advancements that make them more useful and usable; however, some phones are still leaps and bounds above the rest.