The Camera Phone League: Is pixel count the game maker?

Smartphone cameras has seen a lot of improvements in the year 2019. A multi camera set-up has been a defining feature of modern smartphones. Depending on the price point, you can also have lossless optical zoom, macro lenses and powerful night mode functions to name a few. Among these, the increasing pixel count is in the center of most brand marketing globally. But is it all that matters when choosing a camera phone?  



Understanding the role of pixel count


Pixels are the smallest components of a digital image. These luminous dots pertain to the resolution of an image. The higher the resolution of an image is, the more pixels it contains. On the other hand, the less number of pixels an image contains, the lower its resolution is. In a report by DeviceAtlas, majority of smartphones manufactured in the second quarter of 2019 have a resolution of 1080x1920. This means that each image displayed has more than three million pixels. The pixel count is a good indication of how detailed a digital image will be. 


This year, a number of smartphones with 64MP camera have been released and another brand has teased that they will be launching a new phone with a 108MP camera before the end of 2019. However, Android Authority advises people not to jump into the 100MP hype without understanding its implications first. 


Getting a bigger picture of the playing field


More pixels do not necessarily mean good photos. Android Authority notes that the best smartphone shooters are not only dependent on great camera hardware. Huawei, Apple and Pixel are some of the brands that feature cameras with less pixel count but still produce astonishing images, thanks to their powerful  image processing and computational photography. 


Image processing takes into consideration the white balance, sharp details and vividness of image colors even at low light. Meanwhile, computational photography uses computer algorithms to further enhance the photos that we take with our smartphones. It powers features like the bokeh effect, night mode, slow motion and AI scene detection. 


In a league of camera phones, all boasting of high pixel count, who is the real game maker? LeBron James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player once said, “Listen, we’re all NBA players. Everybody knows how to put the ball in the hoop. But who can think throughout the course of the game?”