Do you have a camera phone but know nothing about its camera? Perhaps it was given to you as a gift and you’d like to know if it can take good photos or not. Is there a way to check the quality of your phone’s camera even if you don’t have the box or manual? Sure, there is.
Whether or not a mobile camera can take good photos is determined by things such as the size of the sensor, the number of pixels, and other factors that you can read about in this article that highlights the differences between a good mobile phone camera and a bad one.
There are, basically, two ways to check the quality of a smartphone camera-- on paper by looking up the specs, and visually by taking test photos.
Let’s start with the specifications.
Look up the specs online
The quickest and easiest way to check the quality of your smartphone’s camera is to search for the specifications online. By having a look at these, you can get an idea of the performance you can expect from a mobile camera.
Huawei P40 Pro specs as seen at GSM Arena.
If you visit websites such as GSM Arena, DxOMark, Epey, or any other in-depth mobile camera review website, you’ll find camera specifications for thousands of phones. These specs include things like megapixels, focal length, image stabilisation, optical zoom, and much more.
However, if you don’t know anything about cameras and have no idea what you’re looking at, the mobile camera specifications can be confusing with all the numbers, letters, and fractions. So, to check your phone’s camera quality by reading the specs, you need to first understand them.
Remember, a camera’s quality is not only determined by the number of megapixels it has. It’s a combination of different factors.
Use an app
If you happen to have one of those system information apps on your phone, you can use it to view your phone’s camera specs. For those of you who don’t know, a phone info app is an app that gives you all the information regarding your phone such as the chipset details, CPU clock speed, RAM, and much more.
Most phone info apps will give you details about all the cameras. The information may include the resolution of each camera, the focal length, and a few others. The information might not be as extensive as the information you would find online, but it can give you an idea of what you’re working with.
If you don’t have a phone info app and would like to have one, you can easily download any phone info app of your choice from your device’s app store.
Check EXIF data
A bit of a less-than-obvious way to check some of the specs of your phone’s camera is to look at information from photos you have already taken. Every time you take a photo with your mobile camera, not only does it save the image, but it also saves a lot of information relating to that image.
This information is commonly known as EXIF data. EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format and can include anything from the date, GPS location, and even some camera settings.
You can view this information easily from your phone, mobile device or computer. All you have to do is navigate to any image captured with your smartphone camera and open it to look at its EXIF data.
To view a photo’s EXIF data on an android device, you can use any file manager or photo explorer app of your choice. For this quick walkthrough, I will use Google Photos since it’s available on pretty much every Android device.
- Launch Google Photos
- Complete the setup process (for first-time users)
- Open a photo that you shot with your mobile camera
- Click on the “i” with a circle around it.
- The image’s EXIF data should appear on the screen
When it comes to your iPhone or iPad, viewing the metadata for a picture can be quite a pain, as you’ll need to jump through a few hoops. The reason for this is that Apple made the assumption that the everyday person doesn’t need to see the EXIF data, so why would they include it in the Photos app? Typical.
The first easiest way for you to view your Photo’s metadata is with the Files app. What you will need to do is:
- Open the Photos app on your iPhone.
- Navigate to a photo and tap the ‘Share’ button in the bottom left-hand corner.
- Scroll down until you find the “Save to Files” prompt with the folder icon on the right side.
- You will be prompted to save the image to a specific folder within the Files app, so pick or create your folder and save it.
- After the photo has been saved, open the Files app and navigate to where you saved the picture.
- Perform a Force Touch on the picture until a menu appears.
- Tap ‘Info’.
- At first glance, you won’t see too much information here, but there is a menu button to “Show More”. When you tap on that, all of the EXIF information will appear for that specific photo.
- Open the folder where your image is located
- Right-click on a photo taken with your mobile camera and then select Properties
- Click on the Details tab
- The image’s EXIF data should now be displayed
Windows EXIF data
- Open Photos for macOS
- Open an image captured with your smartphone
- Tap the ”I” button on the top-right
- You can now view the EXIF data for the photo
Typically, EXIF data will give you the following information pertaining to your camera:
- Camera maker
- Camera model
- Shutter speed
- ISO value
- Focal length
- 35mm focal length equivalent
- File size
The information found in the EXIF data relates to the particular picture you’re looking at. So, it is possible that you will get different readings for settings such as ISO and shutter speed, particularly if you were not shooting in manual mode.
But even though the shutter speed and ISO values may be different from photo to photo, things like aperture and focal length don’t change on smartphone cameras unless you switch between cameras on a phone with multiple cameras.
Granted, mobile photo EXIF data will not give you all the information you need regarding your camera’s specs such as sensor size, pixel size, AF, OIS, etc. However, the little bit of information that it does provide gives you an indication of the camera’s abilities.
EXIF data is readily available on original photos that were captured with your camera. Once you put an image through a photo editing app and save it, chances are the EXIF data will be removed.
So there you have it, folks. Just some of the ways you can check the quality of your phone’s camera. Granted, knowing the specs only gives you an indication of a camera’s potential to capture great photos. The true test lies in going out and taking photos with the camera.
Remember, a camera is only as good at taking photos as the person using it. So, even if it doesn’t have a ridiculous number of megapixels, a mobile camera with relatively modest specs can still capture some great shots.