Bits And Bytes (week of 11/13)

petershihpetershih ZTE FanaticUnited StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
<body><p>Welcome to our weekly <a _jive_internal="true" href="">Bits And Bytes</a> poll and discussion! Give your honest opinion, debate ferociously, and respect each other at all times...</p><p></p><p><strong>Question</strong>: What's the most important quality or feature of a smartphone camera?</p><p></p><p><strong>Context</strong>: Camera performance have skyrocketed in recent years, leading to many stand-alone cameras collecting dust. While mobile camera technology is certainly catching up, there are still important differences. But which feature is the most non-negotiable to you? Speed to focus and capture? Optical zoom? Low-light performance? Bokeh effects through dual-camera setup (which was available in the 1st generation Axon, arguably ahead of its time)? Image stabilization?</p><p></p><p><strong>Action</strong>: 1. Select one of the options below and 2. reply to justify your reasoning. Although there is no correct answer, please provide sound reasoning to support your selection. After a week or so, your Mod Squad will soon identify and reward those with the most thoughtful responses!</p></body>

Bits And Bytes (week of 11/13) 70 votes

Speed to focus and capture
40% 28 votes
Low-light performance
41% 29 votes
Optical zoom
0% 0 votes
Bokeh effects
0% 0 votes
Image stabilization
18% 13 votes


  • runtohell121runtohell121 Analyst United StatesPosts: 2,262 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    If I only had to choose one, I would go with speed to focus and capture, as having a fast capture from photo to photo, you might not miss some moments. Some phone might have a good camera and processing, but the the slow shutter and image processing afterwards make it not a great phone to have with you if you rely on the camera. Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S7, and iPhone 7 is a good example of how good the camera is, almost no shutter lag at all and HDR processing is instant to the user, having an overall good performing is definitely nice to have and would want to see it feature on an upcoming ZTE phone; where the phone have a good sensor for both day and night, along with fast focusing and image processing.

    Optical zoom would be nice, but that might increase the size of the phone unless it's something like the iPhone 7 Plus, but still not really a true optical zoom; it's just using 2 lens/sensor at different focal length.

    I could care less about the bokeh effect at the moment, as mostly is done with software currently and still a bit artificial when compared to actual DSLR/mirrorless bokeh.

    Image stabilization would be nice to have, optical that is for photos to allow a longer exposure and less shaky photo for low light. Electronic image stabilization is also a good replacement for optical if done right like on Google Pixel.

  • fzrrichfzrrich United StatesPosts: 4,257 mod

    I selected speed to focus and capture for the fast point and shoot camera. I just like a phone camera that takes solid photos right out of the gate with out much thought going into to it. We have all seen that you can take great photos  in manual mode if you tweak the settings but all this takes time and  some fiddling around that many just don't have time or want to do to get a good photo. I also appreciate a really good image stabilization especially when shooting video. Over all snappy performance is a must.

  • The type of camera in question here should guide us to the most appropriate answer to this question. A smartphone camera is not a full frame professional camera.  It is a convenience that we have on our phones meant to make it feasible for those of us who are not professional photographers to have a camera with us at all times to capture those fleeting and unexpected moments we want to remember forever. The most important part of this camera's performance is for it to take good pictures quickly. Bokeh effects are unnecessary. If you are really looking for that kind of quality, consider purchasing a professional camera with an adjustable focal length. The same could be said for zoom (most photos we take with a phone are close)  and image stabilization (most people can hold their phone steady enough or find a way to steady themselves when taking a photo).  However; the secondary goal should be to have decent or good low light performance because unexpected moments still happen when the sun goes down or in poorly lit rooms. I say low light performance is a secodary focus because I would argue the majority of photos are taken in adequate lighting and those taken in low light are often still usable. If the camera is also able to take an image quickly it will also help improve low light performance by reducing the time handshake can affect a low light photo that needs a slightly longer exposure. Technology has improved significantly so we can have a balance of all of these features, but the time to take a photo and the low light performance should be focused on first and in that order.

  • gryphticongryphticon Quebec, CanadaPosts: 315 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Speed to focus and capture is the obvious reason I'd ever use my phone camera. The sad truth is that mobile phone cameras will never surpass DLSR or dedicated cameras. Sure, they're catching up but they're not quite at the same level. That put aside, we carry out phones everywhere and we use them alot for various purposes, this means that when we see something that catches our attention, we can easily record it with our phones. If we were to get a dedicated camera, whatever happened would've passed. This is why we need fast focus and capture, this would allow us to take quick pictures of stuff we see so that we can keep going afterwards.

    On top of that, I'd like to say that phones are way more portable than dedicated cameras so being able to take photos quick while on the move is a big advantage.

  • hollaphollap United StatesPosts: 8,377 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Since I don't use my phone for "action" type shots or sports, I chose low light.  I'd like the option for my pictures to be good in daylight or low light. 

  • maulgandhimaulgandhi United StatesPosts: 519 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When i purchase a smartphone, I look for everything. Being good at one feature is not good enough these days. Look at Pixel Phone & Galaxy S7, a perfect device that takes good pics in any conditions, so that is something ZTE should do as well. All rounder in all aspects of the camera whether it is low light performance, fast focus, OIS, EIS or any other feature. ZTE should perfect cover all the areas and this would help ZTE to next level. You guys are doing great already, but focusing on all areas little better, a little more effort in all areas would make ZTE top seller one day across the world.

  • samsamhasamsamha United StatesPosts: 2,363 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    among the choices listed, I picked focus and capture. I think ultimately able to capture the moment is the most important feature so you won't missed that perfect shot. Next to that (not being listed) would just be a good image quality, which includes low light. I think there of the "features" such as dual camera, optical zoom, bokeh, etc are something that is good to have to add additional factor that can give a phone a bit of an edge. However, if it fail to capture a good shot within the time you are framing the shot, then all is moot. I often feel for a smartphone, the camera is that device that you have on you that you just want to shoot good image in that split seconds and capture the important moments of your life.

  • low light performance is probably the only thing keeping me from using the camera on my Axon 7. Its honestly atrocious and if every other part of the device wasnt great i would have sent it back already. But using this phone's camera in any kind of dim setting renders it almost unusable with images coming out very grainy and blurry. It feels like it would be more beneficial to not have a camera because it would be less of a tease.

  • wimbetwimbet Dallas, TXPosts: 6 ✭✭✭

    I voted on speed to focus and capture because I have 2 young kids that are sometimes difficult to take pictures of. If the camera is slow and you miss the shot, then the other areas don't matter as much. I'd really like to see a dedicated camera button that can be used to quick launch the camera app, and then multiple focus modes to make sure the camera is ready to take a pic fast. I really like what HTC did with the original Zoe mode that took a burst of photos every time and then let you select the best picture later. As others have said, Pixel and iPhone also do a good job of this.

  • cavanaughtimcavanaughtim Wisconsin, USAPosts: 645 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Focus speed is not only more important, it is logically prior to other considerations. If you can't get the shot you want, either because the focus is blown or because you missed the shot waiting for focus acquisition, then it doesn't matter how good the image quality ends up being.

  • dasm1078dasm1078 OrlandoPosts: 157

    I chose low light performance just because there are sometimes those indoor moments you need to capture that sometimes a flash will over do it such as a birthday party.

  • razor512razor512 United StatesPosts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I picked low light performance, though you cannot have that without fast focusing and speed to capture.

    A low noise shot means nothing if it is out of focus, as the end result is a lack of detail.

    Poor high ISO performance is also not good, as with all camera sensors, the effective resolution in terms of how much detail can be resolved in an ISO12233 chart, goes down as the ISO increases. This is why you see cases like the Sony A7rII's 42 megapixel sensor, resolving less detail at high ISO than the 12.2 megapixel Sony A7s II.

    If you will only be shooting when there is ample sun light, then tiny pixels are not a problem, as there is ample light for them, thus you can take advantage of their ability to capture more detail, but Once you find that you need to take the camera indoors, and crank up the ISO, you will see that after a certain ISO, even if you scale the output resolution image down to a lower res (where the pixels can have a form of super sampling take place), the high res image will fail to offer as much detail as the one from a lower resolution sensor, with larger pixels.

    With ISOs above 800 being very common for smartphone photos, Most users are not getting the maximum detail in their images, thus it is best to have sensors which can do well with indoor lighting situations, without having to resort to very low shutter speeds.

    Even with OIS, having a camera drop to 1/10s will make for a bad images, as it cannot freeze the action of people and objects moving in the frame.

    Because of these needs, we in turn need camera sensors which can offer detailed results at ISO 3200+, especially if you want to be able to not rely on flash; since LED flash range on any phone, is not enough to cover a room, and even if it can, the direct lighting, gives everyone that deer in the headlights look, while also making things flatter. In order to achieve this, we need to be able to take photos in doors for most situations, and at least stay above 1/60s shutter speed to ensure that non sporting or running action can be free of most motion blur. This will also mean that we may be shooting at ISO 4000, thus the need for large pixels.

    Low light in turn, needs good auto focus, as contrast detect struggles in low light, and it is often the  phase detect that helps, but its ability to work is low light, is directly related to how good the phase detect sensor is.

    For example, look at the Nikon D5 paired with a high end lens where the focusing motors are better able to keep up. Even in low light, you get that near instant snapping into focus, and users want their phones to get as close to that as possible.

  • I voted for speed to focus, though IS is a very close second. IS doesn't necessarily mean OIS, I'm sure a lot can be done with EIS.

  • frodriguez2010frodriguez2010 Enterprise Tech Support Engineer TexasPosts: 1,904 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Speed to focus and capture for me. My kids are fast, things happen fast.  Don't get me wrong once I capture the moment I'd like the editing effects.  Of course there are other settings id like the option of if I do not have to take quick pictures. 

  • teutonjon78teutonjon78 USAPosts: 326 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would go with low light performance, as this is a very common use case -- taking photos inside, or at night, or at venues, etc.

    And if the phone has good low light performance (which to me includes focus and capture time), then it should be default have those same things in good light as well.

  • nthall350nthall350 Kansas City, MissouriPosts: 505 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I went with speed to focus and capture. Being able to capture the moment the is the most important part of photography to me. I have been leaving the focus set to infinite because of the focus times. It gets the job done, but isn't ideal for all situations.

    Low light performace is a close second, but is hard to achieve with the size of sensor, and lens in a phone. A real camera is always going to be better for night shots.

    Effects are easy enough to add in post processing apps. They aren't really necessary for the capture.

  • saeedtedsaeedted United StatesPosts: 1,219 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Fast focus and capture is key. It's the meat and gravy of taking a photo. If are subjected to be steady all the time for us to snap a photo things would  get dull.

    Lack of the other options can be mitigated with post-processing or some photo-editing.

  • jasonejasone United StatesPosts: 2,118 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I chose low light performance. While I think speed to focus/capture, and stabilization are both very important. It seems like so many phones just fall apart in lower light. Most of the time we are in lower light situations with indoor lighting. I hate having a camera I know I can't use most of the time. Also if quality is good in low light then it will be phenomenal in good light.

  • #1 - quality photos - clear, crisp, high resolution, accurate colors.

    #2 quick launch and focus. Being able to capture multiple shots quickly.

    #3 low light

    Optical zoom is something I haven't had in a phone in a long time.  If that can be fit into a slim package, that would be incredible.

  • Speed to focus is very important, but I chose the low light performance sice I usually have enough time to focus i just don't always have enough light for a good photo.

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