The Future of Smartphone Cameras

by Istvan Fekete on August 14, 2013

Just a couple years ago, a 3.2 MP rear camera on your high-end smartphone was — for many of us too lazy to carry a real camera around our necks — something to show off. Nowadays, the bar is very much higher, with the latest coming from Nokia. The Finnish smartphone manufacturer is forging a new frontier for mobile photography aimed at incorporating the technology of point-and-shoot into the smartphone bundle.

So what is the new high-standard? Well, it appears to be a 41 MP camera built into the Nokia Lumia 1020. Even the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has a decent camera, as it features a 10x optical-zoom lens.

Looking at the currently available smartphones, both high-end and low-end, the majority carry a 5 MP rear camera, while the high-end goes up to 13 MP. But did you know that the smartphone you are holding in your hand right now might already be capable of sporting a 55 MP camera?

While optical glass and image sensors do their share of work when it comes to camera performance, the other elements we are not talking about also contribute a lot: I am referring to image processing chips and the device’s ability to write image files as quickly as the handset can process them.

A great example could be Qulcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor: it integrates two ISPs (image signal processors) into the chipset, which ultimately means that smartphones carrying this processor may be able to support images up to 55 MP. And just to name a few handsets featuring the aforementioned processor: Samsung Galaxy S4, some Sony Xperia Z Ultras, and LG’s “G” series smartphones.

Furthermore, the Snapdragon chip is also able to support up to four cameras, which obviously is a hint that future phones could have multiple front and rear cameras, rather than the two we’ve come to expect.

Don’t think about just snapping some pictures: multiple front and rear-facing cameras could increase the smartphone’s ability to capture gestures, which could be used to control the phone’s interface. Also, these handsets could gather more information about the surrounding world.

And this is just the beginning. Welcome to the future. Are you ready to experience it?

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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