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Reversible cameras: genius or gimmick? (TL/DR)

By Joe Levi August 28, 2015, 5:58 pm
flip camera

Most phones these days have at least one camera – or more. The one that faces you is referred to as the “selfie-camera”, and the other is usually called the “main camera”. The one on the back is usually pretty high-end: several megapixels, image stabilization, LED flash, and oodles of more features. The one of the front usually is lower-end: fewer megapixels, no image stabilization, and an LED flash is all but non-existent.

Part of the reason for all this is space – camera modules are fairly bulky and take up quite a bit of space inside a phone. The other reason? Cost. Cameras are fairly expensive components, relatively speaking. One is expensive enough, but two? That’s just crazy talk!


To solve the space and cost concerns (and offer a high-resolution camera for both uses) some manufacturers have opted for a bit more “novel” solution: reversible cameras.

In this scenario, a camera is attached to some kind of mechanism that tilts, swivels, or rotates. Some of these solutions look better than others, but they all introduce moving components – which are more prone to breaking than fixed components are. They’re more likely to get water, dirt, and grit inside them, and they seem to attract fingerprints more than their non-rotating counterparts.

What do you think? Are reversible cameras a genius way to save space and money, and get better selfies in the process, or are they nothing more than a gimmick?


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