What the hell does the wide-angle lens on your phone do?



Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

Remember when phones had a single camera on them? Normally on the device’s rear? Now, concentrate, and try to conjure a mental picture of them…

… THEN THROW THAT IMAGE IN THE TRASH, WE’RE IN MULTI-CAMERA WORLD NOW, BUSTER.

Yes, we now live on a planet where your everyday mobile phone probably has a variety of lenses on the back — and we’re here to help you understand what they all do.

We’ve already looked at a time-of-flight (ToF) camera and the functions of a telephoto lens, but today we have something different. So, one-and-all, let’s find out what the hell your phone‘s wide-angle lens does.

Pray tell, what does the wide-angle lens on my phone do?

We’ve mentioned before that modern phones use their array of lenses to take a range of shots. The device and its software then combines these images into the single super picture you see on your screen.

The part a wide-angle plays in this is, unsurprisingly, width.

In other words, a wide-angle lens gets as much as possible in a shot. It means that if you’re taking a photo of a big row of people, you won’t have to step back very far to fit them all in.

Some phones these days are going beyond simple wide-angle lenses, and feature ultra wide-angle cameras, with the Huawei P30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S10 foremost in this field. Although there’s a technical differentiation between ultra wide- and wide-angle lenses (it’s to do with the focal length width), for the regular consumer, it’s pretty simple: ultra wide-angle lenses can fit more stuff in the shot.

So, there you have it. Next time you’re snapping something quickly with your camera phone, remember it’s the wide-angle lens on the device that’s helping fit everything in without you having to walk backwards. Stay tuned for more explainers about how photography on your phone works.

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Published August 27, 2019 — 13:27 UTC




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Motorola launches a $195 phone with a GoPro-like wide-angle action cam



Motorola launched its One Action phone in India today, with a dedicated wide-angle action camera. The brand, which once dominated India‘s mid-range segment with its G series of phones, has only just launched its third phone for the year in the country.

The phone starts at Rs 13,999 ($195), and has pretty standard budget-phone specifications. The only thing that’s remarkable about it is the action camera on the rear, which is meant to open video capture capabilities similar to what a GoPro might offer.

Specifications

  • Screen6.3-inch Full HD+ screen, 21:9 aspect ratio
  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 9609, clock speed up to 1.6 GHz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Rear camera: 12-megapixel wide sensor with f/1.8 aperture + 16-megapixel ultrawide dedicated video camera sensor + 5-megapixel depth sensor
  • Front camera: 12-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture
  • Battery: 4,500 mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

The company says its wide-angle action cam will let you record videos vertically and play them back in landscape mode. Plus, there’s electronic image stabilization and pixel-binning to improve the quality of videos.

The phone’s in for a tough fight with Xiaomi’s Android One phone, the Mi A3, and the Realme 5 – both packing 48-megapixel main sensors on the rear. It’s hard to say at the moment if the action cam is enough for consumers to choose the One Action over the competition.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on
Twitter and
Flipboard.

Published August 23, 2019 — 08:29 UTC




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