Lately, OEMs are focusing more on photography than any other aspect of the smartphone. The continued wrong belief that higher resolutions translate to better photos has resulted in some mindboggling megapixel counts on smartphone cameras.
Today, plenty of high-end and mid-range Android smartphones come equipped with a standard 48MP lens paired with one or two more lenses. In order to capture realistic photos, though, these cameras use pixel binning to convert the shots into lower resolutions of say 12MP without losing quality.
With 48MP lenses now becoming a common thing, vendors are looking to further differentiate themselves by moving to cameras with even higher resolutions. We’ve already seen the likes of Oppo and Xiaomi going public with their 64MP camera lenses. While this might have left some fans excited, it doesn’t sit well with Carl Zeiss CEO & President Dr. Michael Kaschke.
According to Kaschke, there are limits to smartphone camera hardware and therefore it’s prudent that smartphone vendors turn to digital processing to improve photography rather than using lenses with more megapixel count. Speaking to the Indian Express, he further notes that any camera lens with more than 40MP on a smartphone is overkill.
“More pixels are not necessarily better. Why? If you stay with the full-frame sensor and divide that sensor into more and more pixels, the pixels become smaller and smaller, and then you get into a noise problem. I think for most of the applications, also serious professional applications, my guess would be the 40MP is already more than enough” Kaschke notes.
Instead of having one 48MP or 64MP lens, the CEO thinks that having multiple camera lenses with lower resolutions is the way to go. This way, smartphones will be closer to working like a DSLR and in the process produce enhanced photos.
“Smartphone cameras may have evolved over the years and changed the way we take pictures, but there is a limit to what a phone camera can achieve. There is more software to it and less hardware, and we are developing software for computational photography. That said, there is still a limitation, the smartphone can only be that thick,” Kaschke continued.
One good example here is Google and the Pixels that use lenses with fewer megapixel count compared to the Huaweis, Xiaomis, and Oppos of this world but produce great results courtesy of computational photography.
On the other hand, Kaschke claims that having many camera lenses won’t necessarily improve the quality of smartphone photography for various reasons. Essentially, there are limits to the potential of smartphone cameras, including their thin profiles, processing speed, noise, signal to noise ratio, and the expense of having multiple lenses in a phone.
All these affect the overall quality of photography. As a result, smartphone cameras will always fall short of taking great low-light photos as well as suffer from a lack of outstanding zooming capabilities.
You can check out more on the interview with the Indian Express via the link below.