How Do Dual Cameras Work: Understanding the iPhone Camera Evolution

When the iPhone was first introduced, it had a single camera lens. However, as technology progressed, Apple realized that a single lens could only do so much. This led to the addition of multiple lenses to provide users with more capabilities. But what exactly are these capabilities, and how do dual cameras work?

To understand this, we need to look at the traditional approach to lenses in cameras. DSLR and low-cost digital cameras both have a single lens, but the DSLR lens can be swapped out for different options, while the low-cost digital camera features an optical zoom lens. However, this approach didn’t work well with the iPhone, which had a fixed lens inside the enclosure.

To add features like optical zoom and portrait mode, Apple needed to add a second camera lens. This was first introduced with the iPhone 7 Plus, which combined a standard wide-angle lens with a magnified telephoto lens. This allowed for 2x optical zoom and portrait mode.

The third camera lens was added with the iPhone 11 Pro to offer users a new camera angle. With one lens, the iPhone took standard wide-angle photos. With a second telephoto lens, the iPhone took a magnified photo with no loss of clarity. And with the third ultra-wide-angle lens, the iPhone took photos with a wide 120-degree field of view, allowing more of the user’s surroundings to be included in the shot.

By building three lenses into one camera system, Apple allowed them to work together seamlessly and provide users with even more capabilities. Users can capture outside the frame by taking a standard wide-angle photo and then transforming it into an ultra-wide-angle shot later on. This is made possible by the ultra-wide and wide-angle lenses capturing a photo simultaneously while stitching the edges together for one seamless shot.

Having multiple lenses also allows for multi-camera recording, which uses all the lenses to record video at the same time. This gives creators footage with different angles and magnification without any extra effort.

While an iPhone with multiple cameras may look a bit odd, the extra functionality they provide is well worth it. The addition of multiple lenses has allowed Apple to offer users features like optical zoom, portrait mode, and multi-camera recording. It has also allowed them to capture more of their surroundings in one shot.