All eyes on 2014: what's next for smartphone cameras
A lot of amazing things have already happened for smartphone cameras. 2013 - with all else - brought us unprecedented variety exactly in the camera area. Starting with state-of-the-art cameraphones like the Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41-megapixel PureView camera and unmatched image quality, to the more polished smartphone camera interfaces coming from point-and-shoot lands with Samsung's high-end Galaxy devices and LG's phones, and finally ending with the large-pixel experiment of HTC One's UltraPixel camera. There was something for all tastes, and consumers could not complain about lack of choice.
With all this in mind you might be wondering: “Can 2014 bring us a new revolution in smartphone cameras?” There are a few technologies that have been ripening in the past couple of years and may finally land in real devices in 2014. We lay them all out below, and we're looking forward to hearing what are you most excited about. Have you heard about an exciting camera technology? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts and opinions.
All eyes on 2014: what's next for smartphone cameras
1. MEMS cameras: the big opportunity
MEMS cameras are still a nascent technology, but Chinese premium phone maker Oppo has already placed an order, and we expect the first smartphone with a revolutionary MEMS camera to arrive in 2014. Sadly, it might take a bit more time until a large phone maker adopts the new camera tech.
2. 16-megapixel Samsung Galaxy smartphones
3. PrimeSense Kinect-like camera in an Apple product
4. One camera, many lenses
5. 3D cameras exit sci-fi realms
The possibilities that the Structure 3D sensor enables are huge - you can use it for 3D mapping, augmented reality games, and even 3D object scanning.
6. 3D scanning capabilities starting to come to smartphones
All of that could - if the stars align right - come late next year (at the absolute earliest) in the form of a simple Google Play application. The possibilities are endless, but with all the limitations of the current patent system, this might actually spill out into 2015.
7. 8-megapixel cameras becoming the standard for the mid-range
2014 might be the year when Android smartphones start the move to 16-megapixel cameras. The estimated market for 8-megapixel devices is expected to grow to a whopping 440 million in 2014.
1. jellmoo (Posts: 652; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
2014 will bring two things to smartphone cameras:
1) What Nokia does.
2) What everyone else does.
5. ihavenoname (Posts: 1334; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
I'm really wating for GS5, it might have one of the best smartphone cameras ever. And I really hope the camera is so good there is no need for S5 Zoom.
50. Darkhell (Posts: 26; Member since: 03 Nov 2013)
No it won't, it will have the best smart phone can for the average person unlike the Lumia 1020 with a monster can. Samsung sells practical, faster, more convenient and wants to be over the majority. I doubt they will rival Nokia.
58. mzetko (Posts: 2; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)
WHAT THE F****? Samsung is more practical than Lumia? In what way? More Addroid ads? More lagging? Less integration? More viruses? Tell me!
17. Ashoaib (Posts: 1486; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Well samsung's camera results are very good without being 41mp... what if samsung come up with 41mp? It will beat the butts of nokia... but 13mp or 16mp is fine, no need to jump to 41mp and make the shooting lover like me to run out of phone's memory...
26. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
Why would Samsung's be better❔ We couldn't possibly know that until we had a full, unbiased, comparison..
28. kenjoe (Posts: 7; Member since: 18 Mar 2013)
I havent yet to see any talk about Samsung camera that good compare to Nokia 808 and 1020 could bring
38. hung2900 (Posts: 779; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Have you seen the comparison on GSMArena? The outdoor photo of Not e3 is equal to 1520, or a little bit sharper, night photo is worse(but not much) due to the lack of OIS, but video capture is outstanding.
39. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
Let's just consider this the best camera phone with best overall performance...
51. Darkhell (Posts: 26; Member since: 03 Nov 2013)
41 MP only shows with proper light, the best thing about the Nokia cam is the zoom, it has an actual camera like zoom. Nokia was stupid to not have an SD slot on a phone that takes 38mp pictures.
53. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
Yeah, that was dumb.. Or they could've had a 64gb version..
63. x_maly_x (Posts: 62; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)
2 years pass Lumia 920 and Slamdong still don't have OIS... Samsung = copy + pastle
20. Ashoaib (Posts: 1486; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
MEMS and pelican technology sounds convincing
40. TechCrazyedBoy (Posts: 129; Member since: 12 Nov 2013)
those two vs. PureView..
now thats sounds convincing...
22. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
Right❕..At this point we're talking about Lumia devices, and what they are to bring, and how everyone else follows.. Microkia is at the forefront of Smartphone camera technology, and they're not going to let that go anytime soon..
Lets not forget Nokia's investment in Pelican's 16 lens technology this past year.. We have a lot to look forward to..
27. akki20892 (Posts: 3312; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
It's not about microkia. Ms just bought device department. Nokia is still alive. I don't care what ms will bring, but we only care what nokia will bring. We r talking about nokia not lumia. And Please you don't know what nokia is. Nokia is still alive.
32. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
This article is about what's to come in 2014❕.. Nokias entire team is still making Lumia devices.. I'm sorry, but if you're talking about what Nokia is to bring in 2014 then you're talking about a Lumia device.. As much as you don't like that, and aren't willing to accept it, this is reality..
Now, I understand how you feel about one of your favorite brands because I would be pissed off too. I love my 920, my 1520, and I'm 36 years old so I may have been using Nokia devices way before you ever got your hand on a mobile phone.. I still have old Nokia devices from the 90's so don't tell me what I do, or don't know.. I love Nokia,, but that doesn't mean that I can't face the reality of the situation... Nokias device division is still Nokia no matter what it's called, and nothing is new about Nokia making Lumia devices.. They've been doing it for years now...
Now, if Nokia makes devices again then great❕... But, we're talking about what's to come in SPCT this year.. Are you expecting for Nokia to pump out a device under the Nokia name in 2014?..
Be for real man..
33. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
Well, they could make a device under the Nokia name in 2014, but it's most definitely still going to be a Lumia.. Sorry, but this is they way it is for now.
45. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1121; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
i wonder if nokia can make a camera with kinect capabilities
54. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
There's so much that Microkia can do to make devices much better, but they hold back.. For example, your Kinect idea..
55. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)
1) How about a Lumia 1020 - OIS + 5" 1080p screen + S800 + 4K recording??
2. zuckerboy (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)
Ive already decided what Im gonna do this year. Im gonna either buy iphone with 4.7 inches or galaxy s5. Camera isnt important so much to me. (I have dslr)
11. Astoni (Posts: 441; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)
I really want to see what apple brings to the table with the 4,7 and 5,7 inch smartphones :). I've been an android user since I switched from Iphone 4 to Various android devices. Also own a Lumia 520 (bought it to test WP, not really a big hit imo) But It would be nice to see what apple will do with a Note type of iphone.
3. Teja171 (unregistered)
I want 10 ultrapixel camera.
6. aayupanday (Posts: 514; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
Guess they'll have to make the device very thick in order to accommodate something like that.
14. hboy857 (Posts: 157; Member since: 03 Jun 2013)
I hope second gen HTC One will come with atleast 8 megapixel camera. All HTC have to do is improve their camera on their next flagship (Don't you dare mess it up HTC).
47. Birds (Posts: 972; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
Its a crying shame that the wavering feature for HTC devices falls simply upon the camera and battery... LOL. I wish them the best.
61. jaychildz (Posts: 104; Member since: 31 May 2013)
sorry all we can offer you is a coke and a smile
4. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1227; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Why are they still mostly focusing on cameras... I do like taking good quality pictures, but without good battery life I cannot go one day trip without my phone dying. Please Please Please!!! Someone start packing a phone with at least 4000mAh of battery already XD
8. Stuntman (Posts: 711; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)
A good camera is more likely to sell than good battery life.
9. Shatter (Posts: 1997; Member since: 29 May 2013)
I rarely use my phones camera but use the battery every second the device is on.
Battery life is more important than the camera.
25. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
That's besides the point of the article, and it makes no sense to even bring that up.
10. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1227; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Yes and no. Average user would more than likely choose better battery life over camera. As far as in the US market. A phone with dead battery is just a very expensive paper weight. However, as far as we, geeks, on PA of course would think differ. But I would pay $200 more just for a phone with both great battery life and camera since I use my phone a lot in everyday life.
56. Darkhell (Posts: 26; Member since: 03 Nov 2013)
Get a RAZR Maxx or a S4 or Note 3 and get a extended battery offline that last 2-3 days with heavy use.
7. MarkArigayo (Posts: 240; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)
My LG G2 is more than enough for daily shots, better than Note 2. I'm pretty sure the upcoming G3 would be much better.
13. Astoni (Posts: 441; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)
LG G2 won the Camera contest on this site about 2 months ago xD IT has a really good battery life and camera.
18. Ashoaib (Posts: 1486; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Lg G2 won the camera contest?... nokia lumia won n samsung note3 was the close runner up despite being without OIS and far lesser in mega pixels... G2 was struggling... that roundup was on PA or gsmarena, I dont remember exactly
30. Astoni (Posts: 441; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)
ehm.. Nokia lumia wasnt even in it..
It was a voting contest without names on the pics. so public voting contest.
48. MarkArigayo (Posts: 240; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)
Ya, but so far I haven't had any troubles with my G2's camera. Even in low light condition it can perform well, better than my Note 2.
12. xoxoGeorges (Posts: 194; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
Good algorithm with decent camera>>>>>>Bad algorithm with good camera. They are not seeing were the big problem is: post processing
15. zachattack (Posts: 543; Member since: 31 Jul 2013)
Theres no excuse for bad battery life or cameras now. LG stomped everyone in this regard and if they can do it, everyone else should be able to
19. Ashoaib (Posts: 1486; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Samsung did the best... removable bettery, so if you are wyning about bettery then you can put zerolemon 11000mah bettery to note3 n then sit back relax for 5 days.... wow samsung should pay me promotion fee
24. rawbow (Posts: 409; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
enjoy the brick in your pocket and bend over
29. dil2abu (Posts: 169; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
Why not phonearena mention Xperia Z1 camera in this article?
Nokia 41mp, Samsung's, lg's and HTC's.. But not Sony's?
37. tyger11 (Posts: 66; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Sony came close with the Z1 camera, but blew it with no OIS. I have high hopes for the successor, though. There was apparently an industry shortage of OIS chips, which may have been the problem.
35. -box- (Posts: 3749; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Nokia, as ever (either as themselves or as part of Microsoft) will continue to lead the world in cell phone cameras. We already know they can do some Lytro-like post-refocusing (with their Lumia-only app Refocus), have the best optics (Zeiss), best algorithms from top-notch engineers and photography scientists, and their purchase of (IIRC) Pelican means we may see multi-lens elements. Couple those with PureView and Xenon flashes, and every other OEM will keep falling behind.
36. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3523; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)
This is exactly what's going on right now.. Basically the Lumia's have the best camera technology right now.. Now, were talking about the best overall camera technology.. Not even Lumia's are perfect, but if you want the best camera on a phone then you can't beat the 1520, or the 1020... I don't see Lumia backing down..
I'm sick of this Nokia/Microsoft confusion.. Screw it. For now I'm just referring to it as the Lumia brand.. Nobody says the "Samsung phone" or the "HTC phone"... Screw Microsoft, and Nokia... It's Lumia❕
57. Darkhell (Posts: 26; Member since: 03 Nov 2013)
The 1520 camera is worse then the Note 3s in most situations from motion pictures to lowlight with or without flash. The software seems to make it not work right maybe in the same manner the 1020 needed an update for its camera after launch.
49. enzotarece (Posts: 17; Member since: 14 Aug 2013)
I know right its phonearena have something against Sony.....but wait lg samsung apple all use Sony lens right? Hmmmm how bias phonearen can get
41. TechCrazyedBoy (Posts: 129; Member since: 12 Nov 2013)
3D cameras is maybe a gimmick,8MP cameras in mid range phone is amazingly good,MEMS camera is a game changer,Samsung's 16MP camera sound maybe good and Pelican's camera is shockingly inovative...
Apple PrimeSense is a bust...gimmick..
42. DONUT (Posts: 291; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
didnt we already have 3D camera on phone tho? Optimus 3D, Optimus 3D Maxx and the Evo 3D
43. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1121; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
all i want for ces is new battery technology.