This article exclusively covers the complete guide on ultrawide cameras. As ther are plenty of phones that are delivering the ultrawide cameras. Therefore, this will help in picking the best one out there. Since the ultrawide factor is the one part of the equation when it comes to delivering a great wide-angle experience.
What is an ultrawide camera?
Primary rear cameras on smartphones are also known as wide cameras. As they offer a field of view that’s wider than traditional digital cameras.
An Ultrawide camera with a 123-degree field of vision, expands your view in a significant way, seeing almost as much as your eyes can. This is much wider than the Wide-angle Camera does. Therefore when you want to capture more of the scene all at once with your smartphone camera, the Ultra Wide Camera on your Galaxy phone is able to fit it all in the frame.
The Ultra Wide Camera is part of the pro-grade camera system on phones like Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, and Z Flip.
Steps to taking a photo with Ultra Wide Camera
To take a photo with the Ultra Wide Camera, simply open the Camera app and use the three icons near the bottom of the viewfinder to toggle between the pro-grade Ultra Wide, Wide-angle, and Telephoto Cameras. This wider field of view allows you to cram more into your picture and is also more in line with what your eyes see.
The downside to ultrawide cameras
Talking the downside to ultrawide cameras is that various of them suffer from fish-eye lens distortion. Those with an extremely wide field of view (~120 degrees or higher) usually face a more pronounced distortion in this regard. And as a result of which, straight lines at the edges of a photo can appear curved. Whereas, some people like this distortion because it gives images a look similar to a GoPro.
On the other hand, it’s tough to create ultrawide lenses that avoid this distortion in the edges of the image. The reason is that the light is essentially being bent by the lens near the edges, in order to capture as much of the scene as possible. Whereas many manufacturers try to correct it via a software algorithm or by simply cropping the distorted edges out of the final image, commonly activated via a toggle in the camera app.
Ways to reduce distortion
Companies like Google, Huawei, Oppo, and LG simply usually capture a narrower field of view in the first place (110 degrees and lower). In this way, you’ve still got a sensor capable of capturing more than a typical phone camera. While the distortion got reduced compared to traditional ultrawide sensors.
Moving ahead, one more solution, we came across is a so-called free-form lens that uses an asymmetrical design compared to more conventional camera lenses. This type of ultrawide camera lens can be found on the OnePlus 9 series. The company compares them to progressive lenses used in spectacles.
What makes a good ultrawide camera?
Now, as we got the idea that what an ultrawide camera is and how field-of-view works. Moving more deeper, time to take a closer look at the ingredients you need for a great ultrawide shooter.
The right amount of megapixels
Although the Megapixels are not the primary factor for determining ultrawide image quality. Yet they’re still a vital consideration. Especially important, if you plan to print ultrawide snaps. Also, you simply want to crop into an ultrawide image.
In addition to this, for the best results, there’s no less than an 8MP Ultrawide camera available on the market. Whereas, we have seen 5MP ultrawide sensors as well on older low-end phones. Therefore, in normal conditions, they are pretty okay but in the case of super-bright or dark scenes, they often lack details.
This is another important factor for making a good ultrawide camera experience. The consistency in terms of colour reproduction and provide dynamic range between the main camera and the ultrawide lens. Various budget phones, also some flagship models lack consistent colours between the two cameras. Now the same results in photos that can look overly saturated with the ultrawide shooter but washed out with the main camera.
Autofocus is the feature that tends to look for on ultrawide mobile cameras. Surprisingly, various brands don’t include this option. Wide-angle pioneer LG doesnt add this in its flagships. Even the Pixel 6 series lacks this option too. Thankfully, it’s becoming more common on flagship phones these days.
One of the main reasons you’d want autofocus on your ultrawide camera is that it turns the door for macro shots with no dedicated macro camera. And in this way, you can take extreme close-up images without relying on a low 2MP macro sensor.
While the Autofocus on an ultrawide camera also makes for a more flexible camera. It allows you to make the ultrawide lens more like a normal camera. By focusing on the foreground or the background as you see fit.
Smartphone cameras have progressively performed in low light in the last few years. But this hasn’t stretched to the ultrawide rear camera in exactly the same way. Still, it’s hard to find a major difference in quality in main and ultrawide cameras in absence of sunlight. This is largely due to the fact that primary or main smartphone cameras tend to offer wider apertures, larger sensors, bigger pixels, and/or pixel binning in order to deliver better low-light performance.
The phone that has the best ultrawide camera
Although there is a variety of smartphones with great ultrawide cameras out there in the market today. It subsequently offers consistent colour profiles, autofocus, great detail, and good night-time capabilities. With respect to all the other important factors detailed above.
Vivo X80 Pro
This smartphone isn’t available in the US market. Meanwhile, the European, Chinese, and Indian consumers should consider this 2022 flagship if the ultrawide camera is a priority.
OnePlus 9 series
When it comes to great Ultrawide camera experience then the OnePlus 9 series is the right choice as compared to the OnePlus 10 Pro and OnePlus 10T.
To be noted, both the standard OnePlus 9 and Pro models use a 50MP IMX766 camera sensor for ultrawide shots. The OnePlus 9 series also offers autofocus and a free-form lens on its ultrawide cameras. Now it enables increased flexibility and reduced distortion respectively.
Google Pixel 6 series
However, the Google Pixel 6 range doesn’t have the most inspired ultrawide camera system on the market. It offers the config of 12MP and 114-degree field-of-view. You become more surprised by knowing that these don’t have autofocus for macro shots. While the Pixel flagships still have the capability to churn out the concrete ultrawide shots that are consistent with the main camera
Oppo Find X5 Pro
This is one the great phone considering the Ultrawide camera present on the market today. The Oppo’s Find X5 Pro have both main and ultrawide shooters which use the 50MP IMX766 sensor. Whereas, various reviews noticed its consistent exposure as well as the noise between the main and ultrawide shooters.
Samsung Galaxy S22 series
Coming to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S22 series, which maintains the previous year’s 12MP ultrawide camera. It offers a 120-degree field-of-view and 1.4-micron pixels for decent low-light results.