The Essential Phone is the brainchild of Android co-creator Andy Rubin, and it promises to turned the smartphone landscape on its head. One of the key features the phone is relying on to make such a grand statement is its camera, and Essential has put every effort to make the best smartphone camera around. Essential published a post highlighting what makes it so good.
Right from the start, two of main issues the engineers wanted to put the focus on was camera hump and low-light performance. This was accomplished as the Essential Phone doesn’t have a camera hump and it is promising top notch low light performance.
The Essential Phone features a dual-camera set up that work together. The first is the main lens that puts the focus on color; the second is a monochrome lens. Differentiating the two is the need to assign color to the pixels, which the main lens needs to do while the monochrome just assigns a white or black value.
“The lack of a color filter means that no interpretation is necessary—every pixel is assigned a true black or white value, which enables the camera to produce images with much less noise and much higher resolution, no matter the lighting conditions,” writes Essential image quality engineer Yazhu Ling.
Taking a picture with the Essential Phone uses both cameras, fusing the images into a final version. This is where Ling’s real work takes place. To make sure the fusion of images stays as rich with detail and quality, it must use a complex Image Signal Processing (ISP) that Ling is responsible for tuning to the most accurate level possible. Otherwise the images don’t come out looking as good.
The first level of tuning starts with choosing the right golden and limit samples. From here, thousands of pictures have to be taken to find the right modules. This essentially teaches the ISP to read certain characteristics the engineers are looking for.
Essential’s testing began in January 2017 and has continued ever since. It has gone through 15 major tuning iterations while fixing minor bugs and issues that have come up.
Hopefully, when the Essential Phone finally launches, the camera will be as good as Essential claims.