My phone is Kyocera Hydro Icon with Android 4.4.2.

I use its back and front cameras to take pictures of my head and face at distances around an arm's length. I found the front camera gives more pleasing pictures than the back one, for example,
the pictures taken by the back one often shows my eyes are proportionally smaller.

Also the front camera seems to produce completely dark pictures when the lighting isn't good, while the back camera can still produce clearer pictures.

Which camera gives more accurate or realistic pictures of my face and head at distances around an arm's length?

  • That will most likely depend on the device and the hardware used in it (which makes it an Android independent question), and what kind of picture you're taking. Usually, the front camera is "intended for selfies" (video telephony) and such suited for that, while the back camera has a much different main purpose. As said, for selfies it's usually the front camera you should use ;)
    – Izzy
    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:59

2 Answers 2


Resolution governs quality of pictures

  1. The back camera invariably is of higher resolution and is meant for better quality. Typical resolution is upwards of 10 Megapixels
  2. Front camera is not meant for high resolution and was intended for visiting the image during video chats. With demand for better quality (including "selfies", it is now typically upwards of 2 megapixels and in recent phones 5 or more. Dark images as reported is less for to quality of camera but more to do with subject focus and lighting conditions


OPs concern is more about "distortion". To reduce distortion

  • Take the snap at arms length, picture would be smaller but less distortion
  • Reduce aspect ratio (if default is higher) to 4:3
  • Keeping the subject and camera at same level and experiment with aligning your face to the top/bottom edge of photo to see if it reduces distortion
  • Try an app like Cameringo, which augments photo taking capabilities considerably and adding effects (I use the pro version of this but more for rear camera shots and both trial and pro versions are good). This may also help tackle the rear camera issues faced
  • Thanks. My question is more about the distortion of different parts of my face/head shape non-proportionally than about resolution. Which one is more realistic in terms of shape when taking pictures at distances around an arm's length, the front camera or back camera?
    – Tim
    Dec 29, 2015 at 5:08

Interesting question. I found that the back camera does kind of "distort" the face when used for selfies, probably because it was constructed for capturing objects/persons at a longer distance (probably because of the "barreling" effect etc.). The selfie has less MP but it does show the aspects of the nearby face more correctly IMO. Even concidering the lower photo quality of the selfie camera I would still use it for selfies, back for full body in mirror etc.

As a blogger I first wanted to mount a tiny mirror on the back of the phone so I could use the back camera for selfies because of the higher MP. But I found out that this camera was in fact designed for another purpose. The moment the camera is 1+ metres away from the person, everything looks fine. It's the handheld selfies where the back camera "problem" starts to appear.

My phone is a Huawei Honor 6.

  • Thanks. When I use the back camera, it seems that I have mouth protrusion problem to such a degree that I am considering to see an orthodontist or a oral surgeon. Do you think the back camera itself may distort the image around a person's mouth?
    – Tim
    Jan 17, 2018 at 15:40
  • I apologize for not noticing this specific reply of yours and getting back to it so late! I do believe that is possible. With the current camera technology of smartphones, I do recommend using the front camera for that type of photos. I hope everything went well! Feb 3, 2020 at 15:35

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