Like it or not, the megapixel wars are heating up, with 100MP+ phones around the corner

Like it or not, the megapixel wars are heating up, with 100MP+ phones around the corner
We may not need 100MP+ smartphone cameras, but that doesn't mean we don't want them

It's a pretty well-known fact that numbers don't mean very much when it comes to smartphone photography. Handsets with more cameras or more megapixels are not necessarily better than, say, Google's Pixel 3, which has remarkably managed to eclipse specification beasts like the Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy Note 9 in various real-life imaging battles, despite sporting a single 12MP rear-facing shooter.

But whether we want them or not, it looks like multiple mobile device vendors will continue to push the megapixel envelope. According to a senior Qualcomm executive quoted by MySmartPrice, phones with single 64MP and, get this, even 100MP+ camera sensors are decidedly in the works. The first batch of these cutting-edge imaging sensors should see daylight pretty soon as well, so we're not talking about some distant industry breakthrough like Samsung's pursuit of the "perfect full-screen" design.

If Judd Heape, the semiconductor giant's Senior Director of Product Management within the Camera, Computer Vision, and Video department, is right, several brands have firm plans to release boundary-pushing cameraphones this year. There's no reason to question the reliability of Heape's information either, as the top Qualcomm exec works directly with some of the world's largest smartphone manufacturers to ensure Snapdragon processors can play nice with their latest technological developments.

By the way, that's already the case, as mid and high-end chipsets like the Snapdragon 660, 670, 675, 710, 845, and 855 all apparently (and theoretically) support handsets with camera sensors reaching as high as 192 megapixels. Of course, there are no 192MP sensors on the market yet, and the same goes for 100-megapixel smartphone cameras. But while we know very well larger pixels are the way to go in driving actual photography advancements rather than more pixels, there's this irrational desire building up inside us to try out a 100MP+ monster. After all, that's really the best way to evaluate any new technology.

On a somewhat unrelated note, Qualcomm also confirmed the Snapdragon 855 sequel (which may or may not be called Snapdragon 865) will integrate the company's own take on HDR10 video recording (which will be different from Samsung's current HDR10+ implementation), with added support for frame-by-frame and scene-by-scene metadata.

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17 Comments

1. Loveneesh

Posts: 432; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

48mp camera sensor photo in redmi note 7 pro is 24~28mb. I wonder what size does a 100+mp camera sensor photo size is? I really don't think that 100mp camera is needed not becouse we don't need it but because the storage will filled up pretty quickly, For a 1 or half TB phones its not big deal but for less than that will force consumer to take picture in lower resolutions which makes this whole 100mp a gimmick.

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4132; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

What was the file size of photos on your first phone and what was the onboard storage capability? We are talking about evolution and should never focus on onboard storage limitations. Storage odd constantly growing. I'm waiting impatiently for a gigabit camera.

5. Loveneesh

Posts: 432; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

I'm not against the 100mp + camera sensor, I'm just saying that it will not feel satisfactory at all when you clicked a lower resolution photo even having a 100mp+ sensor due to storage, If they want to add that kind of sensor in there phone then they should give you bigger storage to store that videos, photo. Not that binding pixel technology which make your sensor mp a lot less than actual(and people think it as gimmick) If they want to give a higher pixel count camera then should provide a bigger pixel size like lumia 1020(according to its time) like 1.2um but 0.8um is just too small.

4. AbhiD

Posts: 735; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Full 48 or 64 or 100mpx image means nothing in itself with tiny smartphone sensors. There isn't any perceived gain. But, by pixel binning it can result in some really great images with many pixels combining to act as 1. And the size reduces as well. But to be fair, i wonder how all this process is any better than current tech employed by some brands where many images are captured simultaneously by a phone and then combined to merge best details of all shots. Or a big sensor(like 1/2 inch sensor) in case of 48mpx ones combined with only 12 mpx native resolution where each pixel is bigger by default to let in more light and details.

2. Phonehex

Posts: 759; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

As long is its good for the consumer , any sort of competition amongst the manufacturers is healthy. Let it be 100Mp or 1000 Mp , We anyway can choose to set it at a basic 12-16mp anyway.

6. gd761

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

Sure. After 100MP Camera will come the Next Generation that will be 1GP Smartphone Camera and then the Generation after that will be a 1TP Smartphone Camera. Instead of MP Wars, just make BETTER Smartphone Camera Sensors that Actually get better with each step instead of just adding More MP's for Bragging Rights.

7. KingSam

Posts: 1427; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Luminaries 1020 successor? Large sensor?

8. tokuzumi

Posts: 1873; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Camera quality will be important here. The megapixel wars 6-7 years ago proved more pixels wasn't better. Right now, 12MP has been the sweet spot between detail and photo quality. What I'd really like to see is real optical zoom, not the fake second sensor zoom.

15. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3125; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

The Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 beg to differ. They can still go toe-to-toe with today’s best.

9. blingblingthing

Posts: 948; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

We've been on 12 mp for about 3 years. We've gotten multiple 12 mp on a single phone, we are due for an upgrade.

11. rsiders

Posts: 1935; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

As much as I hate Google's math algorithm approach, it makes more sense to do both because often times hardware alone has not yielded the type of results we were expecting. Huawei, in my opinion, has been the best manufacturer at pushing both hardware advancements and backing it up with software and computational solutions.

12. geordie8t1

Posts: 288; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

Comparing the pixel 3 to any multi camera phone is dumb, i mean if its a blind shoot out between just the main camera and pixel 3 wins, then thats great, but the other cameras serve other functions which would blow the pixel away, im eager to see how the nokia 9 gets on given that all sensors work together, 100mp sensors are not needed, but its called evolution, they will arrive in about 3 years time given the new sensor race taking place currently, the other good thing abiut android is choice and competition, if one company becomes bad or doesn't make the right product, we can just jump ship, wonderful freedom

13. AronWunarso

Posts: 242; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

Oh look, 100 MP camera! But my phone screen is still FHD+ booboo

14. Khyron

Posts: 397; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

Bigger camera sensor with small batteries and the need to carry a charger in 2019

16. talon95

Posts: 995; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

As long as it can bin many pixels into one for a low light frame, and then combine that with multiple full resolution frames I would probably be impressed. Between AI textures and HEIF compression it might become more practical. As long as we can also scale it down to 12 Mpix images that are detailed and sharp or have 8x lossless zoom then I think it will be worth it.

17. Guaire

Posts: 885; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Sounds like BS. 100MP kamera with smallest possible pixels are still to large for smartphone form factor. Large sensors need more focal length and that means thicker phones which is not going to popular. Pixel size should be less than 0.6 micron to match current crop 48MP 1/2" sensors. Even with pixel binning the size will be less than high-end sensors'. Unless there is a breakthrough brewing we are not aware of I don't think it's viable. Another thing is, I don't think that sensor manufacturers will jump more MP until they can get enough money for those 1/2" 48MP sensors. They will add dual pixel autofocus and super slow mo capabilities to those larger sensors yet. This will take years. I think they are sitting on several major developments. Apple acquired Invisage and that company up to 4x light sensitivity compare to CMOS. Samsung sitting on RWB color filter up to 2X light sensitivity. There are many other things like true optical zoom without folded optics, faster more efficient autofocus mechanism etc.

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