What the future holds for smartphone cameras
Smartphone cameras have improved tremendously over the years. From devices that were used only in last-resort situations, our handsets are quickly replacing point and shoot cameras for a lot of users.

In 2011, the iPhone grew to become the most popular camera on Flickr. Last year, top of the line devices moved to backside-illuminated sensors allowing for smartphone cameras to perform noticeably better in low light. In 2013, optical-image stabilization is becoming a common feature improving night shots and video.

Further on, we expect to see even more revolutionary advances in smartphone cameras in the following areas:

- faster auto-focusing
- Lytro-like technology that will allow you to choose your focus after you shot the image
- live HDR and a lot more processing happening on the device
- double the low-light performance
- DSLR-like dynamic range
- an always connected camera

We'll take a look at all those in the next pages, so stick with us and don't forget to take a look at our conclusion to see what the ultimate cameraphone of the future may look like.

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29 Comments

2. reuben

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

all smartphone cameras have improved except the sony phones

3. Dimitru

Posts: 40; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

duh.. sony is the first one with 13 mp camera

9. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

So what? The image quality isn't as superb as it sounds! And what if Sony came up with 13 megapixel? Nokia came up with 41 megapixel sensor...try comparing it the the big dogs if you must.

24. Dimitru

Posts: 40; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

up to you...i just disagree with reuben... 13 mp camera is a fact for him

10. adjou

Posts: 106; Member since: Jul 06, 2010

Sony really need to focus on the software side of things. They have the sensors to take great pictures but software gets worst and worst ever year... :S Really dont get how Sony is still behind other competitors when most of them uses Sony sensors

14. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Sony's sensors are used in most of the flagship smartphones. Sony also supplies many of the high-end DLSR manufacturers with imaging sensors. As you posted, Sony falls down in the software area. It is a shame, because Sony really has top notch imaging hardware.

11. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

first HDR video is sony. that's not improvement?

13. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Others are providing HDR video as well. The difference is in the quality of the video. Sad to say, but Sony's video quality doesn't lead the pack.

15. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

others provide software HDR, sony provides hardware HDR (as in hardwired) and sony's video quality is not bad actually (not considering nokias stabilization ofcourse..) http://youtu.be/z0cN_NPSNu0

5. alfalf

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 11, 2012

nice article. i realty don't know

6. reuben

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

dimitru which camera is better overall the one in xperia z or galaxy s3 not the s4 the s3 ok. can u tell me

7. shreyas.s666

Posts: 83; Member since: Aug 24, 2012

"In 2011, the iPhone grew to become the most popular camera on Flickr" really?

8. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Lytro is cool, but it would be nice to be able to disable autofocus on every phone BEFORE you take the photo. Sometimes the situation calls for that, and you wish you had an EDoF lense. I know some apps will let you do this, but it'd be nice if all phones had this straight from the factory.

16. TheBitterTruth unregistered

You forgot the champ "Pureview"

19. sbw44

Posts: 433; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

Its Victor H dude! As soon as I saw his name I knew Nokia won't even be mentioned!

27. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Its been 2 years now and there is no phone to challenge 808 pureview -_- Come on Phonearena atleast accept the fact!

17. pureviewuser

Posts: 501; Member since: Nov 11, 2012

Lets see what nokia is bringing

28. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Another unbeatable Pureview phone to crash the plastics phones :) Dislikes coming! BSI sensor + OIS + Floating Lens + Some software customization = MONSTER!

32. TheBitterTruth unregistered

I told you Sammy fanobys will dislike my comments! :) even the 8mp iPhone crashed the Galaxy S4's 13mp in blind camera test. How about the 13mp iPhone or the 13mp pureview?

18. shikroi

Posts: 187; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

How did you write an an article about recent camera innovations in the phone industry and the possible future without mentioning the 808?

20. sbw44

Posts: 433; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

Typical Nokia Hater! nowhere its mentioned about Pureview Stage 1 (Oversampling) or Stage 2 ( Floating Lens and OIS) and the fact that Nokia is working on Pureview Stage 3!

22. shikroi

Posts: 187; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

He mentioned OIS, he just didn't associate it with nokia.

21. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Thats ok!! We all heard the new cybershot phone is in works for Q3. So this is it for sony

23. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

I highly doubt that NIKON would damage their brand by associating it with android/google/nexus

25. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

smart phones are starting to replace alot of old techs. A smartphone can do: flashlight, heart monitor, tv, credit card,map, music player, work out monitor,and even more That used to require expensive individual devices.

26. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

There's a rumor around that Apple and Google going to buy Kodak?

29. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Apple and google? How on earth both of them (rivals) can buy a single company named 'KODAK'?

31. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

That's what i came to know!

30. pureviewuser

Posts: 501; Member since: Nov 11, 2012

Any competition between all manufacturers is good as we will all benefit in the end

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