We are running out of ideas about phone cameras. Rumors about the iPhone 16 are more proof

I dedicate myself to (thankfully) hands-on testing every high-end mobile phone on the market. And I can’t remember the last time I was surprised by some groundbreaking new feature of their photographic hardware. I’m sure that, apart from possible improvements to the sensor (there’s still room), we’ve started to exhaust the possible configurations.

In fact, there are manufacturers trying to sell us new features that were already present in phones many years ago. This reflection was born in the wake of new rumors about the iPhone 16 Pro camera: do not expect big news for this year.

Megapixel, Apple’s cool innovation for 2024. The latest leak They point to changes in iPhone cameras by 2024. The sensor that will use the ultra wide angle will be customized by Sony, with a resolution of 48 megapixels. Other than that, the core sensors are expected to remain the same.

The full transition to a triple 48 megapixel system will arrive in 2025, the year the telephoto lens jumps to this resolution. Beyond a possible change in the focal length of this last lens and a change in the size of the main sensor, the roadmap doesn’t aim to change much.

But the iPhone isn’t alone: ​​we’ve been seeing for years how mobile phone cameras are pretty stagnant, both in terms of results and hardware.

Analysis 6
Analysis 6

We no longer have room for large sensors. Let’s be clear: we’re starting to hit the ceiling with the size of sensors. Talking about a “one inch” sensor seems like a novelty, since they are not yet mainstream. But the reality is that these sensors have already been spotted Sharp phones will return in 2021 And, again, there are few of them.

The sensor structure, processing technology and more can be improved, but a one-inch sensor already represents a significant physical commitment in a phone. Their size doesn’t make them easy to implement without huge modules, making it even more complicated to increase the size of the rest of the sensors and free up space for the rest of the components.

We already have the entire focal range. Our phones are capable of shooting from 16mm (ultra wide angle) to almost 1,000mm in some cases. This is a focal range that, on a professional camera, would cost us several thousand euros and some lenses to exchange

We have a fairly angular main sensor, an ultra wide angle to get more space and telephoto sensors with three, five, ten times magnification… There are also those who choose macro, although this is a much less popular feature.

Analysis 55
Analysis 55

Software is cheap to build. It is very, very difficult for us to increase the size of the sensors, the quality of the lenses is already great, that it does not seem to make sense to introduce more cameras, and that the photographic hardware has reached. Its ceiling over the years, passed the solution by software.

Fine-tuning algorithms is usually cheaper than completely overhauling the photographic system’s hardware, and many manufacturers have been doing it for years. The problem? Namely custom. Cameras are configured to offer the most attractive photography and this is usually completely incompatible with the most natural photography.

How to improve your photos with your mobile by changing these three simple settings

Thus we encounter a curious moment in the history of mobile photography, full of twists and turns, where it is not entirely strange to find current mobile phones that process worse than phones of a year or two ago.

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