What is each camera on your mobile for? We show all the types that exist


Find out what each camera is for on your mobile and separate them from each other.

Today we can find on the market mobiles with two, three, four and even five cameras. Marketing does a lot. The number of cameras or the size of megapixels make it possible to sell more mobile terminals.

We have the concept that the cameras in our terminal perform various specific functions. We know it we have a main camera and the rest are secondary, but … do we know what cell phone cameras do? We will explain below What is each camera on our terminal used for?.

Different types of state-of-the-art mobile cameras


The main camera is one standard for mobile phone for snapshots. The incorporation of artificial intelligence enables it to recognize scenes and automatically apply adjustments to get the best possible picture. In some mobiles, this artificial intelligence makes it possible to highlight a particular color and leave the rest of the scene in black and white.

What is each camera on your mobile for?  We show all the types that exist

Xiaomi 12 Pro sensors

If we go into more technical details, the main camera usually has a wide viewing angle. This angle makes it easier to capture the background of the scene being photographed. Usually it is usually around 60º. The aperture can range from f / 1.5 to f / 2.8 on cheaper phones.


Telephoto lenses have the function of zoom in more. While most smartphone cameras allow you to zoom by cropping the image and enlarging the result, devices with separate telephoto lenses do this optically.

What is each camera on your mobile for?  We show all the types that exist

Photo taken with a 3X zoom telephoto lens

Thanks to the telephoto lens, it succeeded the opposite effect of the wide anglesince the telephoto lens brings the image closer to what you want to capture without losing focus. The difference between this camera and digital zoom is that digital zoom cuts the image to enlarge the result using software, resulting in a lower quality result.

wide angle cameras

As their name suggests, it is cameras that have an increased viewing angle. They are usually used in circumstances where what we want to photograph does not come into play. Thus, thanks to the wide viewing angle they have, wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle cameras move the image away.

Ultra wide angle Samsung Galaxy Z fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 ultra wide angle photo

That’s why these cameras are ideal for photographing distant landscapes or tall buildings where we want the whole building or landscape to appear on stage. these cameras they save focus opportunities by using a fixed focus.

monochrome cameras

With the intention of improve the amount of detail and sensitivity of images, some manufacturers include monochrome cameras in mobile devices. By not including a color filter on the sensor on these cameras, the sensors do not different pictures which is combined by the algorithm which each manufacturer uses for images. With this, we achieve that different perspectives of the images are taken, and we can initially achieve better results when we take images.

Huawei black and white photo

Monochrome images can help improve the quality of the resulting images

infrared cameras

Infrared cameras are the ones that enable thermal imaging. The use of these cameras is generally varied. The most common It is used to improve the face locking function. Apple uses this technology to get a better face lock.

Change screen iPhone 13 FaceID Lock (2)

Infrared cameras are used in iPhone for Face ID

Time-of-flight (ToF) cameras

Time of Flight cameras or Time of Flight cameras have one sensor that emits rays of infrared light to measure depth. They calculate the time that elapses since the light reaches the object we are photographing and return to the sensor again, they analyze the depth of each element in the image.

Huawei P30 Pro, display and software

The Huawei P30 Pro was one of the mobiles that brings a ToF camera

What we get with this camera is improve 3D scanning. Used for face recognition because they are cheaper and do not need external light, they have been moved to the back of our terminals to take 3D photos, which improves Virtual reality Yes create a more accurate bokeh effect.

macro cameras

macro cameras, allows you to quickly capture small details at very short distanceswithout losing focus. With this type of camera and a little practice, we can get very good shots of everything we can miss with the naked eye. We can take pictures of, among other things, water drops, plants, animals to see the smallest details in our world.

Samsung Galaxy A33 macro camera

Picture of a flower with Galaxy A33 macro camera

front cameras

Front cameras have several features in our mobile devices. As we have already said, one of the uses of the front camera is to be able to have face recognition. Thanks to a ToF camera or an infrared camera, the mobile recognizes our face. Another of the main uses is could take a selfie.

Over time, the selfie camera has evolved and improved. Nowadays, the sensors are usually of quite high quality and selfies usually have really good sharpness and resolution. Currently, some manufacturers choose to hide the cameras under the screen so that the terminal does not have the notch that we all know.

OPPO presents its cameras below the screen

So good is a “selfie” taken with OPPO’s under-display camera.

As we can see, there are many types of cameras in our mobile devices today. Most importantly, sometimes It’s not the number of cameras we have that matters most. The most important thing is the work behind. The big companies usually do a pretty good finishing of the captured images to improve the recording and enhance the images.

At that time Google I used few cameras and took very good pictures. This was all due to the algorithm used to combine the images and get a good result. Let us also not forget that more megapixels do not mean better images, as it all depends on the processing that they say they make of the image obtained.

Related topics: Portable


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