I do agree that smaller the aperture value, you get better quality images. But it also depends on the size of the sensor on-board. Ex - Nokia 808 PureView with its huge sensor on a mobile device.
Nokia is surely getting started on the camera part with Zeiss partnership from Nokia 8. Looking forward to more options from Nokia.
Yes, I think in this respect we have to be patient. The PureView Pro in the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 wasn't made overnight, I think it took a few years to perfect to production quality. HMD Nokia don't have access to that IP (AFAIK) so they and Zeiss have to start again.
In general though I agree with you, larger aperture is better. :)
Larger apertures doesn't necessarily mean better images, though they could mean improved light-gathering and better bokeh. Apertures on smartphones are a pure marketing trick though, as they never state their 35mm-equivalent. The numbers sadly therefore mean absolutely nothing.
I'll give you an example:
The new LG V30 or Huawei Mate 10 both claim an f/1.6 aperture. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn't it? Let's calculate it based on their crop factor though (a way to compare cameras via 35 mm equivalents). You calculate this by dividing the diagonal of a full frame sensor (43.3 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor you want to make your calculations on.
Both the Mate 10 and V30 use ~6 mm diagonal sensors, giving us a crop factor of 7.2. This means their 35 mm equivalent aperture is f/11.5. Now that doesn't sound very great, does it?
Let's do some similar estimates to actually compare the different models and their apertures:
Nokia Lumia 1020:
f/2.2 - Crop factor: 4.11
Actual aperture: f/9
Nokia 808 PureView:
f/2.4 - Crop factor: 3.28
Actual aperture: f/7.9
Huawei Mate 10:
f/1.6 - Crop factor: 7
Actual aperture: f/11.2
f/1.6 - Crop factor: 7.3
Actual aperture: f/11.7
f/1.8 - Crop factor: 6.75
Actual aperture: f/12.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8:
f/1.8 Crop factor: 6.2
Actual aperture: f/10.5
f/1.8 Crop factor: 6.77
Actual aperture: f/12.2
So as you can see, the marketing trickery is rather blatant.
If you get a full frame system camera and set the aperture to the equivalent number (f/10-f/12), you'll get similar performance to a smartphone in low light. The crop factor calculation also helps explain why the depth of field on smartphones extends so far and why the bokeh effects are so poor, even with a supposed "f/1.6" aperture. It simply isn't a true f/1.6 aperture.
Juan Bagnell actually did a short video on this very topic if you want examples:
So what I think we should hope for instead of wider apertures is an excellent combination of good software, larger advanced sensors and high-quality optics. What matters the most at the end of the day is after all the performance, and not the details on a specification sheet.
Well I can only give you one thumbs up, but you deserve two! :D
Thanks for solving this mystery for me, I had a suspicion something wasn't quite right with these aperture sizes.
So to get the 35mm equivalent aperture size I need to multiply the given aperture size by the crop factor... this is very helpful to know. The website www.devicespecifications.com shows a lot of camera of the camera specs for phones so your calculation is a useful way to complete the comparison.
I agree that specs are only part of the story, same with
any gadget. A well made device with average specs will often work better
than a poorly made gadget with "top" specs. Thankfully I think that HMD are on the right track with their new Nokias, with the best yet to come!