One of the important feature I personally compare between various smart phones is the Camera.
One of the most important invention of the 20th century was this scene capturing device , back in the days they used film coated with photosensitive chemicals to take a picture , the principle back then was that when light allowed through the orifice the camera, the photosentive film captures the image, the principle however even to date remains same ,but with the extensive growth of technology the photosensitive films have been replaced with an electronic sensor measured in megapixels mostly !
The question now is how to judge a camera ?
One of my friend asked me “Yo Srikie, why does my HTC Desire 820 take bad pictures with a 8MP front camera?”
The answer to this question is not that simple according to me, initially, people including me thought that Megapixel count was the important factor in the picture quality, but digging deep in to this subject, started understanding that there is more to Megapixel count!
Primarily the sensor used in the camera of the phone is a important paramater for our discussion, most phones today use a Sony or Samsung sensor, the HTC One M9 last year used a Toshiba sensor with a larger pixel count, but the pictures turned out to be terribly bad, the other reasons for under performing a camera package would be the software, basically the picture processing should be a perfect blend of Picture Processing Software (DSP) and the sensor
Each and every OEM has its own Picture Software, the hardware should be based on that software requirement, some manufacturers like Sony which produces the best sensors in the market have a pretty average picture software.
Coming to the Megapixel homping, Samsung went with a lower Pixel count for the S7 over S6, the reason for this was the light gathering system which includes the aperture, pixel size and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) was made larger and better , increasing the aperture and pixel size lets more light into the sensor and and reduces the noise level in the picture ! , reducing the pixel size from 16MP from 12MP does not make a difference in the image for the human eye!
The flash back in the days used an explosive powder to produce the bright light, some times this flash knocked out or scared the hearts out off the people standing for the picture! Today using the LED lights bright lights could be produced and using a bichrome or a Xenon flash more of a natural lighting condition.
So coming with picture processing, the ample and effective co-ordination of the software governing the hardware module is necessary for the best picture production.
Some implementations like the new iPhone 7 Plus ,has two kind of lens, along with the wide angle lens, there is a telephoto lens, increases the optical zoom range and reduces noise !
Pixel Phones does not have actual motor for stabilisation but uses the Gyroscope Sensor to orient the sensor for video and photo capture while having shaky hands!
Speaking about cameras, it would not be fair if we leave out the Chinese OEMs like OPPO and Xiaomi, their software implementation of great Sony or Samsung sensors is really weird, most of the phones go for artificial softening and white baklance ,reducing the detail in the picture !
To sum it up, Camera performance on the phone just does not depend upon the megapixel count and there is more to it !