Selfie camera mannequin is no dummy when put to the test

Meet the new head of testing for selfie cameras


mannequin for selfie camera tests
Sienna never blinks.
Photo: DxOMark/YouTube

The automotive industry has crash test dummies. The lab testing virtually every kind of digital camera made has Sienna, a lifelike mannequin created to measure the quality of a smartphone’s selfie camera.

DxOMark has been an independent tester of conventional digital and smartphone cameras since 2008. Sienna is the newest addition to the team because the French lab only started testing front-facing cameras this year.

DxOMark’s mobile division today introduced its selfie mannequin – which is really just a bust – in a video posted on YouTube.

Google researchers claim smartphones record 93 million selfies each day and smartphone makers, like Apple, Samsung and Google have placed greater importance on improving front-facing cameras.

Selfie camera mannequin faces rigorous tests

So why not test with a real face? DxOMark uses plenty of live people in their test shoots, which tend to involve more than 1,500 photos and two hours of video shot indoors and out and under various lighting conditions.

Objective testing depends on a protocol that is reliable and repeatable, especially when smartphone cameras are compared side-by-side.

DxOMark uses mannequin to test selfie cameras
Two identical faces for the front-facing camera.
Photo: DxOMark/YouTube

Sienna can be used in the same controlled environment each time as technicians measure how a selfie camera renders color and skin texture, and also determine the level of noise appearing in shots made in low light.

One of Sienna’s best features is her eyes – because they don’t blink.

Apple’s iPhone frequently scores well in DxOMark testing, but the front-facing camera on the flagship iPhone XS Max currently ranks ninth.

The Asus ZenFone 6 front camera is currently first, ahead of three different Samsung handsets and the Google Pixel 3.

The video, posted below, is just over a minute but shows how the mannequin was made and how it is used in testing (you can read DxOMark’s testing protocol for selfie cameras here).

The mannequin was created with a movie special effects studio using 3D scanning on a member of the DxOMark Mobile team, the muse to create the mannequin’s appearance.


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