Smartphone photography has improved by leaps and bounds in the recent years. One important factor behind that has been the availability of multi-camera smartphones at accessible price points. Dual and triple camera smartphones are extremely common now, and quad camera phones are also getting there. However, not many of us know what role the different types of lenses fulfil. Here’s an easy guide to understand the different type of smartphone camera lenses.

Wide or Ultra-Wide

To put it simply, wide angle lenses can fit more into an image. They have a bigger field of view, often at the cost of introducing some distortion at the edges of the image. This can be present even at the front for wider selfies.


While wide-angle lenses fit more into an image, telephoto lenses can get closer to the action by providing zoom capabilities. Quite often, the telephoto lens is combined with other lenses to understand depth information and create bokeh effect.


Black and white images have more sharpness to them than typical colour images. While the presence of a monochrome lens creates better black and white images, the same information can also be added to colour photos for overall sharper images.


An easy way for affordable camera setups to create a good bokeh effect, depth sensors fulfil their namesake role. While more expensive setups use the wide-angle or the telephoto lenses for the same purpose, depth sensors are still common in mid to low range phones.


A dedicated macro lens helps in taking high-quality pictures of things close to the lens. This allows the photographer to take pictures of small objects and details up close and makes for great natural and indoor photography.

Are they necessary?

Smartphone camera setups with multiple sensors are just how every manufacturer is trying to provide a better photography experience to everyone. However, software plays as important a role as the hardware in modern smartphones. Quite a few smartphones boast of remarkably good post-processing skills that often make up for the absence of a multi-camera setup. When you pick your next camera smartphone, remember to take both into account.