OnePlus Nord quad camera module close up

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Multiple rear cameras have become the norm on flagship smartphones. Often, a primary sensor is joined by ultra-wide and telephoto or depth-sensing snappers. But sometimes, firms add a fourth sensor to the mix. We’ve seen the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, Samsung, and OnePlus do just that on their devices, with each adopting a different philosophy. But what do readers think this fourth camera should be?

We asked for your opinion in a recent poll, and the results are now in!

What should be the fourth rear camera on flagship phones?


Just over 1,200 votes were tallied since the poll was published on September 7. Among the five predetermined choices on offer, two stood head and shoulders above the rest.

The lion’s share of voters wants the fourth rear camera to pack a 3D ToF or depth sensor. As mentioned in the intro, several phones use this sensor as the third camera to improve depth of field and portrait photography performance. Zoom photography also proves to be popular with our readers, as 27.6% of respondents pine for a second telephoto shooter. Companies like the Huawei P40 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra have demonstrated how this arrangement improves the quality of images through the zoom range.

More reading: Want a phone with a great camera? Here’s what to look for.

The two wildcard options — microscope and macro cameras — racked up 15.4% and 14.8% of the vote, respectively. The latter stars on Oppo’s Find X3 Pro to produce pretty creepy and fairly solid 60x equivalent shots. On the other hand, Macro shooters can be found on phones on both ends of the price spectrum with varying performance.

The least most popular choice is a bit of a surprise. Only 4.8% of respondents would want the fourth camera to feature a monochrome sensor.

We also asked readers to lend their own ideas of the fourth camera on flagships, with 6.1% of readers opting for this choice. Read some of the choice comments below.

Your comments

  • Demongornot: There shouldn’t be 4 cameras to begin with. A great phone would have two real zoom (continuously variable focal length), one from Ultra-Wide to Wide, and one from Wide to higher magnification Telephoto.
  • Miguel J. Sesma: Thermal camera.
  • Peter Brittain: I would like to see either a Thermal camera, or a Super-Slow-Motion camera that captures more than 0.8s of footage at >=1000 fps.
  • Techngro: I never understood the fascination with smartphone cameras. I just want one decent camera. Doesn’t need to be able to see through walls or capture shots of Jupiter ascending. Just take a decent picture of my check when I’m depositing it in my bank app.
  • Jason Mills: I think they should go for a fisheye lens.
  • Wongwatt: Having had a P40 Pro Plus briefly I’d say the 10x lens was useless. I’d go for a 3x (which was brilliant on the P40 Pro+) and a 6x periscope if there are 4 lenses. I’d rather have a proper zoom of course.

That’s it for this poll. Thanks for your votes and comments. If you have any thoughts about the results of this poll, be sure to drop a comment below.