There was a time when a camera was a special feature on a phone. Today pretty much every smartphone has a camera, but not all smartphone cameras are equal. Some take photos that rival what you’d expect from an expensive point-and-shoot camera, while others are just a bit above what you’d expect from a pinhole camera.
This year we’ve seen a number of companies start offering smartphones with better-than-average cameras, including the Samsung Galaxy Zoom and Nokia Lumia 1020. Even phones that don’t have zoom lenses or crazy high-resolution image sensors put an emphasis on the camera: the HTC One and Motorola Moto X both feature cameras designed to take decent shots in low-light settings.
Now it looks like Chinese device maker wants in on the action.
The Oppo N-Lens camera hasn’t officially been announced, but the company has already hinted at plans for a camera-centric phone. This week some leaked specs and images hit the web, painting a picture of a smartphone with a 12MP image sensor and support for optical zoom.
Optical zoom means that the lens can actually move to allow you to focus on items that are further away. It generally offers much better image clarity than the digital zoom you’re stuck with on most smartphone cameras, which basically just leads to really pixelized, blurry shots.
While Samsung and Nokia both offer phones that can shoot higher resolution photos, more megapixels doesn’t always mean better shots. We won’t know for certain just what kind of photos you can shoot with the Oppo N-Lens until it hits the streets… or at least until we have more than a few leaked details to go by.
“This year we’ve seen a number of companies start offering smartphones
with better-than-average cameras, including the Samsung Galaxy Zoom and
Nokia Lumia 1020.”
Well last year we saw one company, Nokia, stun the mobile world with the launch of the 808 Symbian OS smartphone. This year we saw Nokia Lumia launch the WP 1020. The Nokia’s are not only “better than average” they’re leagues ahead of any other cameras in any other smartphone. Your “better than average” makes them sound like just slightly better than the iPhone, or Galaxy 4, or HTC One’s cameras, which would be an understatement for an overachievement.
There used to be a class of point and shoot cameras that had optical zoom, were thin, and the front of the lens did not move. They had a prism and some moveable optics inside the camera. These days I see this form factor on “tough” cameras, like this one from Sony.
I am surprised that nobody has tried this kind of lens setup in a phone.
It seems the common thread among these cameras is that the images are very poor quality. It’s useful for waterproof cameras, since any openings and external moving parts will compromise the seal, but otherwise you suffer a big hit on image quality. That camera you linked to has worse shots than my smartphone.
“It seems the common thread among these cameras is that the images are very poor quality.”
In case you missed them in your evaluation, here is one camera from Fuji that is not waterproof:
And one from Nikon, also not waterproof:
“That camera you linked to has worse shots than my smartphone.”
For those people who don’t know what kind of phone you have, could you give the make and model? That way people could do their own comparing and come to their own conclusions.
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