Essential Phone’s dual camera setup explained in company blog post.
Between all their various space, cost and computation constraints, smartphone cameras are hard. Producing great photos from a tiny lens and sensor in a pocket-sized device is a serious challenge, even at the high end.
Essential, makers of the Essential Phone is one of the many manufacturers adopting a dual rear camera system in its handset, with one sensor capturing color detail and another capturing monochrome images for improved clarity.
Yazhu Ling, lead image quality engineer at the Andy Rubin-led startup, walks through exactly how this dual camera setup works in a new post on the Essential company blog:
The first rear-camera is designed for color, and like most cameras, it applies a red, green, or blue color filter at different pixel locations, and then assigns that pixel a value. As a result, the camera must interpolate the neighboring pixels to produce the final image. What does this mean? If only some of the pixels are assigned color values, the camera must infer what the rest of the image should look like, and this often leads to less-than-ideal resolution. That’s why we made our second rear camera a true monochrome camera, which does not require any color filter. The lack of a color filter means that no interpretation is necessary—every pixel is assigned a true black or white value, which enables the camera to produce images with much less noise and much higher resolution, no matter the lighting conditions.
That’s all well and good, but combining data from the monochrome and RGB sensors into a pleasing photo is another challenge…
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