We all know how important cameras in smartphones are these days, since our smartphones became devices that we carry every day, it is now easier than ever take pictures without missing an important moment while stand-alone cameras can stay home. Filters and other editing and enhancing software appeared as a solution when the photo didn’t come up as we thought it would, but now they are used for creative purposes over a generally good photo. There are several technologies that help to create a better picture, from the size of the sensor, its resolution, the aperture of the lens, optical image stabilization systems and the time it takes to focus a certain object. Qualcomm has explained how its processors included in some phones take care of this last feature.
There are new technologies that take advantage of the current processor’s great capabilities as some algorithms are needed to process the information taken by the cameras and the faster they are processed; sharper and clearer pictures will be captured. The Snapdragon processors are engineered to combine some Auto Focus systems and switch between them when needed. Contrast Auto Focus is the most common process, the lens measures the contrast on every possible focus point and selects the best possible one, it works sort of by trial and error, so it doesn’t work that well with moving images.
More advanced auto-focus systems include Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) which is common in DSLRs. The sensor compares two images captured and separated by a certain distance providing more information than contrast auto-focus, it is similar to how our eyes work, as the distance between the images is what is needed to achieve focus and the processor takes care of determining the direction and distance needed to get a precise focus. This technology was found first in the ISOCELL camera of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and more recently in the Oppo R7 powered by the Snapdragon 615, Sony has also introduced the IMX230 sensor featuring this system to capture better pictures of moving objects.
Laser Auto Focus was a technology featured in the LG G3 and continued to be used in some smartphones from that company, including the recently released LG G4 as well as in the Lenovo VIBE Shot. It works better than PDAF in low-light conditions as it integrates an infrared laser emitter and receiver, so the laser beams bounce in the objects and the processor can calculate the distance between the smartphone and the object producing a faster focus.