Every year, we get smartphone trends that define the industry. As performance gains become less noticeable, manufacturers have to rely on other means to stand out.
Whether it’s Xiaomi pushing the envelope with bezelless displays, Apple demonstrating courage by removing the headphone jack or Sony making their displays HDR, some trends seem to resonate so much that everyone ends up following them.
This year, it was all about dual lens camera setups. The benefits are numerous.
For starters, dual cameras have perfected the bokeh effect, making the picture pop out more. The monochrome lens has higher dynamic range and the resulting black and white photos are far more dramatic. Lastly, manufacturers claim dual camera photos have more detail but that’s a claim we’re not inclined to believe having seen them in practice.
As dual camera setups have started to make their way to mid range and even some entry level devices, their utility has become dubious. The bokeh effect looks great but you don’t necessarily need to achieve it via hardware.
Software can be used to generate a tilt shift effect, which is similar enough to bokeh that people are tricked into thinking that it’s their dual camera setup in action.
This is a problem because cameras are heavily marketed these days, particularly in the Pakistani market. A phone with a dual camera might command a higher price than a competitor with similar value but a single lens camera. In some cases, it might even be the main selling point.
Here is how you can tell if your phone actually uses both cameras for bokeh mode. Simply cover one of your camera lenses with tape and try out the bokeh mode.
If it works well and you can’t tell the difference between photos with one lens and two lenses, you’ve been lied to by your phone manufacturer.
A popular Youtuber named mrwhosetheboss claims that up to 60% of phones with dual cameras are using this trick to generate a bokeh effect. It bears mentioning that the issue is far more prevalent with non-major brands on the lower end of the price spectrum.
Sadly, the technology not being available or it not being sustainable at a lower price range isn’t the case. It is simply end users being scammed by companies thinking they can get away with it.
So if you are going to purchase a phone and a dual camera setup is an important feature for you, please look at detailed reviews and if possible, check out the phone in person to judge if it really delivers or is just a case of deceitful marketing.