What Is a Dual Camera?

G. Wiesen

A dual camera is a type of digital camera designed to provide a user with the functionality of both a still camera and a video camera. While many digital cameras designed to take still pictures also allow for video to be captured, this functionality is often fairly limited. Use of this type of camera, however, allows someone to have all of the features and options provided by a video camera while also having the various features found on a still camera. This type of camera is often designed in a way similar to a video camera in terms of style and aesthetic.

A dual camera doubles as a digital camera and a video camera.
A dual camera doubles as a digital camera and a video camera.

The main purpose of a dual camera is to provide a user with a single device that can be used to capture both still images and video images at high definition or quality. Many digital cameras designed to capture still images can also capture video images. There are even mobile phones and similar devices that can be used to capture still and video images in a digital format. Still cameras that can capture video, however, usually do so at fairly low quality but a dual camera is designed to maintain high standards of quality for both types of images.

Some phones have dual camera functionality.
Some phones have dual camera functionality.

A dual camera usually allows the user to change between the two modes of usage. When still image mode is used, the camera functions like a basic digital camera and often include functions such as zooming, timed photography, and a flash for additional lighting. A dual camera that is set for video mode includes various functions and features expected of a video camera. This can include reduction of blur and bouncing from movement while in use, the ability to record without holding a button down, and controls over the quality of the video captured with regard to picture resolution and file size.

Though different companies manufacture these cameras, they are typically designed to resemble a video camera. A basic digital camera is often designed to appear and function more like an older film camera. While this certainly works well for taking still images, such a design can make capturing video images more difficult. The design and aesthetic more closely resembles video cameras to allow the user to more easily hold the camera still while viewing the images he or she is recording.

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