Zeiss CEO says that there are limits to the evolution of smartphone cameras

Zeiss CEO says that there are limits to the evolution of smartphone cameras
The thin profile of the modern smartphone limits the potential of smartphone cameras. That isn't a statement thrown out by a Wall Street analyst far removed from the industry. These are actually the thoughts of Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Zeiss Group. Kaschke says that while there is a limit with the hardware, digital processing is one area that could make a difference. According to Indian Express, Kaschke was in India to help open Zeiss' camera lenses experience zone at India's Museo Camera photography museum.

Google is a good example of a company that has embraced computational photography. The combination of the camera hardware on the Pixel handsets and Google's digital image processing prowess has put the Pixels near the top of the list-if not at the top-of handsets that produce the best photographs. One thing that won't necessarily improve the images snapped by a smartphone are the number of lenses on the back. And that comes right back to the limits placed on a smartphone's photography system because of the form factor. Kaschke says that the depth on these devices forces them to sport small sensors. As a result, he says that there are two shortcomings that smartphone cameras will always face. One is the problem of taking great pictures under low-light conditions. The second is the lack of outstanding telescopic capabilities.

64MP is overkill, even 40MP is "more than enough" Zeiss' CEO says


Even though smartphone cameras are popular, Kaschke says that there will always be a place for professional photography equipment. He says that "...instead of going to the common variety of photography, which I think the smartphone will eventually prevail over, we (Zeiss) focus on the professionals, semi-professional and artistic photographers." That doesn't mean that Zeiss won't continue to sell some of its optics to manufacturers like HMD Global. Weighing in on the penta-camera setup on the Nokia 9 PureView that uses Zeiss' lenses, he says that the optical quality on the phone is among the best available. But he hinted that the use of multiple lenses and digital image processing on smartphones is still in its early stages. He also states that the only way smartphone manufacturers can differentiate themselves is through the performance of the cameras on each model. Having said that, the executive says that the 64MP sensor announced by Samsung is overkill. 40MP is "already more than enough," he says, pointing out that the full-frame sensors in use today divide a large number of pixels into smaller and smaller pixels creating too much noise.


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13 Comments

1. LawnBoy

Posts: 189; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Exactly why I keep saying phones are too thin

7. Mike88

Posts: 401; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Anyone who really cares about taking good photos should buy a real dslr or mirrorless camera.. Phone is a quick camera when you need to record something or take a quick photo like products, documents etc but it's not for true photography and it won't be anytime soon because real cameras also keep getting better every year

2. ijuanp03

Posts: 594; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Nokia 9 Pureview may have a capable camera but the very very slow image processing of taking just one pic isn't worth the above average quality. It's far from the best photos taken with the Pixel 3.. or even an iPhone XS, S10+ or P30 Pro. Heck, HTC U12+ can take better photos.

3. meanestgenius

Posts: 22035; Member since: May 28, 2014

While the processing speed is still a tad slow on the Nokia 9 Pureview, it has been improved with the latest update. The quality of the picture is worth the time, and what you can do with said image afterwords due to the sheer amount of information captured is fantastic. Admittedly, the average consumer won’t go for the Nokia 9 Pureview, but the camera/photo enthusiasts will, and that’s whom HMD has already stated this smartphone is intended for. Not everyone cares about the “Instagram worthy” shot. Some of us prefer the more realistic looking shot, and The N9PV provides that due to the sheer amount of information it captures in photos. The N9PV also takes more natural looking photos than the the other smartphones you mentioned, and there have been comparisons put up that have it beating out the Pixels 3 in many areas, as well as the P30 Pro, and the others you’ve mentioned. Where it doesn’t excel is videography, but the Pixels and the P30 Pro fall short there as well.

4. User123456789

Posts: 913; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Of course. You cant expect the hardware to process more than 60MP at same time other process 12MP.

6. Venom

Posts: 3541; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I agree. It takes far too long to process the image and the images that you do get usually aren't worth it. When it comes to smartphone cameras, the Pixel phones are the best hands down.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 22035; Member since: May 28, 2014

The photos that are produced from the Nokia 9 Pureview are fantastic. The processing time is well worth the wait, especially with what you can do with the amount of information captured in the photos. They are also produce more realistic and natural looking photos than the Pixels do. Pixels are not the best, as plenty of smartphones have beaten them out now, and that’s a fact.

5. shafayatsohail

Posts: 29; Member since: Jan 14, 2016

40 MP is not 40 MP, rather it's 10. And 64MP is actually 16MP. this is rubbish. There should be a sensor like 1/2" 24MP 6000X4000p

10. mootu

Posts: 1517; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

"That doesn't mean that Zeiss won't continue to sell some of its optics to manufacturers like Huawei and HMD Global" Errr!, Huawei uses Leica not Zeiss.

11. foreverNOOB

Posts: 160; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

No, "Leica" in Huawei are just their processing software and branding only not the actual lens or any hardwares related things.

12. geordie8t1

Posts: 298; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

The only limits are the ones in your imagination, a 1" sensor has already been fitted into a Panasonic android device about 5 years ago, granted it was 14mm thick at the sensor end, and it didn't have phone functionality it it shows it can easily be done, given advancements in design, i would speculate you could get that thickness down a few mm nowadays, even if it had a nokia pureview 808 style hump, with foldable displays around the corner, the hump could house the large sensor unit and the folded screen would fit flush against the hump, similar to the hump on the huawei mate X

14. hemedans

Posts: 755; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Don't Forget 1020 had acceptable thickness with large sensor.

13. saddameu

Posts: 14; Member since: Mar 26, 2017

let-s look how small a cat`s eye is yet it can see so good in the dark and not only.That's proof that we still have room for improvement in the same psychical space but progress will slow down since we are "near" the limit. I would say 10 years from now phone cameras will improve max 1%per year.

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