I am newbie in this subject. I've read several articles about Androids' cameras, but cant still make the difference, how much difference is there between single-camera and dual-camera(new generation phones), like this:

  • Single Camera with 24 MP


  • Dual 12MP/12MP camera (like this, or 16MP/8MP like this)

edit: I mainly want for in-door videorecording (lectures and etc, uploaded on Youtube). I used 21 MP Motorola Turbo 2, which seemed to have somehow an acceptable quality, but becomes heated and lags during recording, and decided to replace it. Now, I have to choose between dual-camera (16MP/8MP or 12MP/12MP) and single-camera (~24 MP phones available). p.s. Android Phone is only choice at this moment, due to my specifics (so, I dont consider buying Video/Photo camera)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why do you think more megapixels are good? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 12:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PhilipKendall if megapixels arenot good, then why at all they produce high megapixels? I am newbie, so dont know about that. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.Todua
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Define "better". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MathematicalOrchid really? what definition does it need? if one is not fully better, then i needed answer, that partially described, in which cases are "better" and when worse. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.Todua
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of What characteristics make a digital sensor good? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 22:25

4 Answers 4


First about “digital”: Digit is a common word that that describes numbers. It is Latin for finger or toe, because people often count using our fingers.

Now the heart of your camera phone is an imaging sensor chip. This is a solid state electronic device. When you are about to take a picture, the camera lens projects a miniature image of the outside world on the surface of this chip. This surface contains millions of tiny imaging sites called picture elements. The picture element is the smallest portion of a picture that conveys intelligence. We call these picture elements pixels for short.

When you take a picture, each pixel on the imaging chip records a tiny fraction of the scene by assigning a numerical value (digital value) based on the brightness and the color of that portion of the picture. This is paint by numbers scheme. The entire picture is broken down into millions of tiny pixels and each is assigned a digital value proportional to the actual vista.

As a rule, the more imaging sites (pixels) that make up the imaging chip, the finer the quality of the end result. Once a picture is taken, the digital value on each site is read out and presented for your viewing pleasure on a viewing screen. The key here is the software inside the phone is limited as to how many pixels it can handle. If the phone has two cameras, front and rear, the software can be overwhelmed so in a two camera phone the number of pixels per camera is reduced as compared to a one camera system.

In the world of digital imaging, the more pixels on the image chip, the better the potential quality of the end result, which is a picture.

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    \$\begingroup\$ thanks. but i dont mean FRONT/REAR in "dual-camera", instead I mean DUAL-REAR CAMERA androids (new generation). \$\endgroup\$
    – T.Todua
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ My answer remains - front/rear or duel-rear! Two cameras translates to duel use of resources . \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 16:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ "In the world of digital imaging, the more pixels on the image chip, the better the potential quality of the end result, which is a picture". I respectfully disagree. Especially with video, there is no real value to more pixels than the format allows while small pixels can increase noise. Even in still imaging, you can have more pixels that the lens can resolve. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 18:42

MP is all but one parameter that would influence photo quality. It determines the maximum number of pixels in the image that the camera would take. It doesn't determine how good the sensor is, whether it's better taking low light, etc etc...

Whether the lense is good optically will contribute to photo quality. On a smartphone, the software package that processes the sensor output is also very important to the perceived quality of the photo.

There are also some phones with optical image stabilization now, which would help with counteracting against shaking.

With that out of the way, there are also different ways smartphone manufacturers made use of dual camera. In the past, there was a bit of a fad to have 2 of the same camera to take 3D pictures. That didn't take off.

iPhone 7+ went a different route, with a single wide angle, and a 2x telephoto, so it's possible to take some zoomed in shots without resorting to software zoom. That and using AI techniques to take portraits to mimic wide aperature DSLR shots.

So to determine what is "better", what kind of photography you want to take? If you like night shots, and don't care about portraits with the fake blur background, then you probably don't care about dual cameras.

So figure out what you want, and look at actual reviews comparing the photos instead of deducing quality from a number.

Edit: To respond to your intended use, having two cameras most likely won't make any difference compared to a single camera, unless the phone you pick has a telephoto vs wide angle camera, and you'd want the optical zoom capability.

Heat on a camera phone, when it's doing a lot of processing is unavoidable. A large phone with metal back may help with dissipate the heat, but recording long videos are not good for battery life.

Another alternative might be to find a used DSLR / mirrorless in good shape, and use that to record videos. It would give you a lot more options for your video production, at the expense of overall cost of owning a piece of hardware that only does video.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool. Added a blurb about your intended use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Calyth
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ "That and using AI techniques to [...]" Are you sure it's artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence is not the same thing as "lots of clever programming and data processing". \$\endgroup\$
    – user
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 14:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Current AI techniques is data processing and clever programming. We are nowhere close to the SciFi version of AI. What the iPhone 7+ does is to identify the subject close to camera, their claim was to identify the person, and identify the background, and then blur the background. \$\endgroup\$
    – Calyth
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Calyth thanks, but i have to record it with android phone specifically, cant switch to Video/Photo camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.Todua
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 15:52

Pixel is an important factor in photography, but there are also other factors to be considered. Dual camera might be better at receiving more light, therefore better at low light situation.

Again, pixel is good only if it is handled properly. Higher pixel means easier to be blurred if you don't have steady hands.


Like everything in photography, two 12 mega-pixel cameras versus one 24 mega-pixel camera entails a set of tradeoffs. A two camera arrangement facilitates a different approach to computational photography and for many uses a more computational approach may produce images more in line with the intents and preferences of the median cell phone photographer.

That is not to say that a single camera is not amenable to computational approaches, just that the information available to the algorithms will be different and therefore provide a different set of possibilities and impossibilities and required inferences.

In the end, the proof of what is better is in the images and the opinions of the photographer and viewer.


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