When the software and hardware in smartphones were not so advanced on front camera features, manufacturers were able to implement new innovations quite quickly. After the development of cameras and the ability to get high quality images from small sensor sizes, manufacturers introduced major innovations in the front camera. There was a competition around the world to see who could take the best quality photo on the front camera. We list the front camera features that were made 5 years ago but are not on any smartphone now.
Front camera flash
Front camera flashes were once a common feature on smartphones, especially on devices designed for better selfies in low-light conditions. However, many modern smartphones now use screen brightness or other technologies for improved front camera performance in low light, making dedicated front camera flashes less common.
Putting an external flash on the front camera is both eye-healthy and costly, so manufacturers have stopped using it. Using the screen as a flash illuminates a larger area and provides better illumination when taking selfies.
Flip front cameras
Instead of putting a low resolution front camera on the screen, there was a front camera system where we could use the rear camera as a front camera. We could use the rear camera as a front camera by manually or automatically rotating it. However, due to the damage to the cables and the deterioration of this rotation mechanism, manufacturers stopped using this experimental feature.
Popup front cameras
Popup front cameras have emerged as a different and innovative design solution in the field of smartphone technology. In recent years, manufacturers have used the popup front camera system to completely eliminate the screen frame. These cameras are placed discreetly within the body of the device and subtly pop up when needed, giving users a full-screen experience without allowing for a notch or bezels. This feature was also waived when under-screen front cameras and smaller front camera sensors became popular.
Auto focus on front camera
Auto-focus was traditionally more common on rear cameras, while front cameras typically used fixed focus. However, as front camera technology advanced, some smartphones did incorporate auto-focus for front cameras. In recent years, fixed focus or other technologies like phase detection autofocus (PDAF) for front cameras have become more common. But manufacturers still uses fixed focus on their front cameras.
Dual front cameras
Dual front cameras, often used for depth sensing or wide-angle selfies, were a feature in some smartphones. However, newer advancements in image processing and software have enabled single front cameras to achieve similar effects without the need for dual sensors. Manufacturers started using wider angle lenses on the front camera. They improved the zoom through software and removed the second camera.
OIS on front camera
OIS has made its way to the front camera, significantly enhancing the overall imaging experience. OIS technology compensates for unintended movements or shakes during photography or video recording, resulting in sharper and more stable images. This proves particularly valuable for front-facing cameras, which are frequently used for capturing selfies and participating in video calls.
The inclusion of OIS on the front camera ensures that users can achieve clearer and more professional-looking self-portraits, even in challenging conditions or when shooting on the go. As smartphone manufacturers continue to prioritize the enhancement of front camera capabilities, the integration of OIS underscores a commitment to delivering high-quality and visually appealing content for users across various photography and video scenarios. Due to advanced EIS technologies, manufacturers have started to remove OIS and use EIS in order to take up less space in the front camera and to reduce costs.
Over the five years we’ve witnessed advancements in front camera technology on smartphones. These advancements have allowed us to consolidate hardware components into an one. The need, for flashes has been replaced by screen lights rotating mechanisms are no longer necessary and even dual front cameras have been streamlined into a lens. The continuous evolution of facing cameras holds the promise of developments, in our pursuit of capturing the perfect selfie and enhancing video calling experiences.