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Do Lots of Cameras Make Your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy Smartphone Any Smarter?

Salvatore Babones

Remember was when smartphones had digital cameras? These days, it seems more like we all carry around digital cameras that, in an emergency, can also make phone calls. Like fashion photographers on a shoot, we accumulate so many pictures that we never even look at most of them. The ones that make the cut get shrunk to one-twentieth their original size when we post them to social media. No one wants your 10-megapixel photo, unless you happen to have caught a terrorism suspect reflected in a store window 100 yards away, CSI-style.

But the smartphone camera arms race shows no signs of letting up. The 2019 iPhone 11 Pro has three rear-facing (picture-taking) cameras; the new Samsung Galaxy S20 has four. Plump for the S20 Ultra, and you can really annoy your friends by sending them your 108-megapixel photos. Well, you'll have to send them links, since Gmail won't even take photos over 25 megabytes. And if four cameras aren't enough for you, the five-camera Nokia 9 has already been on the market for more than a year.

What's so smart about all those cameras? Not much -- yet.

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