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Essential Phone: Engineer explains how the dual-camera system works

When it comes to our smartphones, one of the most important components is the camera. This year’s big camera trend has been focused heavily on dual-sensor setups, and the upcoming Essential Phone will be rocking one of its very own. Recently, an engineer from Essential outlined just how the Essential Phone’s camera package will work and why it’s soon going to be one of the best on the market.

Dual-camera systems can be used in a few different ways, and with the Essential Phone, the camera package contains a primary color sensor and a secondary one that captures only monochromatic shots. When these two sensors are used in tandem to capture an image, photos end up having a higher resolution and less noise than what you’d find with competing handsets. While the primary sensor is capturing all of the red, green, and blue (RGB) colors, the secondary monochrome one is giving each individual pixel its one black or white color value. When these two systems are combined to produce a single image, you get superior end results.

Essential engineer Yazhu Ling says that she’s been working on getting the camera experience right on the Essential Phone since October of last year and won’t stop, “tuning the camera on [the Essential Phone] until the last possible minute to provide the best photographic experience possible.”

Ling has been working with the team at Essential to properly tune the post-processing for photos taken with the Essential Phone, and since January of this year, more than 20,000 photos/videos have been captured with 15 big changes made to the way images and videos are processed. All of this has been done to make photos look just right, and as you can see from the photo examples below, the changes made over the past few months have had a profound impact on the end result.

According to Ling –

“When we set out to build the rear-facing camera for our phone our primary goal was to have a camera without the telltale bump and have it integrated seamlessly into the overall design. However, we were not willing to sacrifice image-quality in low light which is a common point of frustration for many people who rely on their phone’s camera. In a nifty bit of engineering we were able to accomplish both those goals.”

Details on the Essential Phone have been few and far between since its initial announcement, and with more and more competition facing the phone and the further back it gets delayed, the more difficult it’s going to be for it to make a dent in the market. With that said, if the camera performance truly is as good as Ling and her team perceive, the Essential Phone might still be worth waiting for.

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Avatar for Joe Maring Joe Maring

Joe has been a writer and occasional video producer for 9to5Google since July 2017. Follow him on Twitter @JoeMaring1 and send all emails to

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