The first phone to use the 16 megapixel Sony CMOS sensor announced at the beginning of the month has emerged, and it’s a Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot phone. The Cyber-shot S006 cellphone has a 16.2 megapixel sensor and ISO that goes up to 12,800, but it still has a camera-phone with its tiny lens rather than the phone-camera look adopted by the new Panasonic Lumix camera. Thus, though the S006 might pack 3 more megapixels than its Lumix counterpart, the 13.2 megapixel Lumix might end up delivering superior images. We’ll no doubt see extensive image quality tests when both these phones hit the market. The S006 arrives next spring.
It was only at the beginning of the year that the megapixel race for cell phone cameras hit 14.6 megapixels, but now Sony has unveiled a 16.41 back-illuminated CMOS sensor that can shoot 15 frames per second at full resolution, and is capable of HD video recording (30fps at 1080p and 60fps at 720p).
Panasonic has pulled the wraps off its new Lumix branded phone that we first reported on last week. The website set up for the phone now has photos and diagrams, though it’s in Japanese. We now know that it’s a slider phone that looks like a stretched out compact camera, with “13.2 Megapixels” etched on the front to remind everyone that your cell phone packs quite a punch.
Say what you want about cameraphone photography, but this is one beautiful shot. It’s a view of the Ebro river in Spain, and was captured by Joan Ramon Bada Suñe on his iPhone 3GS. What’s more, the post-processing was done completely in-phone as well.
Update: Here’s a larger version of the photograph.
Image credit: Rio Ebro by iPhoneographer joanrbada and used with permission
Gosh, and we though having HD video on a cell phone was enough. Sharp has just announced the world’s first 3D HD camera designed for cell phones and point-and-shoot cameras. This thing is capable of filming 3D footage at 720p, and will see mass production starting in 2010.
Before long we’ll be picture and video messaging one another in 3D. Hopefully it won’t require special glasses.
Speaking on the explosive improvement of camerephone technology in Helsinki yesterday, Nokia Executive Vice President Anssi Vanjoki shared his vision of the future for cameraphones — a future without DSLRs.
Pointing at a professional photographer in the room, Vanjoki said, “There will be no need to carry around those heavy lenses.”
From a poll we ran on PetaPixel last week, we found that 59% of our readers didn’t believe cameraphones would replace even compact cameras. We didn’t even think to mention DSLRs, since there currently does not seem to be any answer as to how cameraphones will address their disadvantage of smaller sensors and poorer optics.
However, the idea of cameraphones replacing even the best digital cameras continues to find its way into news articles. Just last month Wired published a story titled, “Quantum Technology Promises Wedding Photos From Phone Cameras“.
Wedding photography with a cameraphone? Really?
Perhaps these quotes and articles aren’t intended to suggest that the DSLR market will be replaced by cell phones, but rather that the quality difference will be reduced to the point that those who simply bought DSLR cameras for casual photography might be satisfied with cameraphone quality.
If that’s the case, these claims might be true. Enough consumers may buy into the megapixel myth and eschew fancier cameras for the increased “megapixel power” of cameraphones. In the same speech, Vanjoki also predicted that cellphones will be capable of filming HD video within the next 12 months.
Once we see a “Last 3 Minutes” caliber film shot with a cameraphone, we’ll be believers. Until then, we’ll keep bringing our DSLR to weddings.
Verizon and HTC have recently unveiled the HTC Incredible phone, which runs on the Android 2.1 OS, and carries some pretty impressive camera functions.
Most notably, the Incredible has a whopping 8-megapixel camera, putting it a few megapixels shy of the average point-and-shoot on the current market.
Verizon announced in a press release that the phone provides “quick and easy access to Flickr for sharing and viewing pictures.”
The phone also has what looks like a fairly prominent, large lens (by camera phone standards), alongside two LED flashes. Additionally, the camera mode includes the ability to touch the screen in order select an autofocus point, along with impressive manual options to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, and ISO from 100-1250.
Though it’s unlikely to edge out the point-and-shoot just yet, the Incredible certainly seems to be designed with the photo enthusiast in mind.
The HTC Incredible is available April 29th and will cost $199.
InVisage, a California-based start up company, has announced a new image sensor technology that it claims is up to four times more sensitive than traditional sensor technologies.
Their product, QuantumFilm, is a layer of semiconductor material added on top of the traditional silicon that uses quantum dots to gather light.
According to InVisage CEO Jess Lee, quantum dots have a 90% efficiency in gathering light, compared to the 50% of traditional silicon.
What this means is that we can expect cell phone cameras to improve at a much faster pace than what we’ve been seeing, since improving the performance of traditional silicon has proved difficult. Lee predicts that in two years, mobile phones will contain cameras that are superior than current digital cameras in both megapixels and light sensitivity.
If this turns out to be true, we will likely see a dramatic decrease in the number of point-and-shoot cameras sold, as more and more consumers rely solely on their camera phones.
In other news, Wired is reporting that this technology will lead to wedding photography from phone cameras. Really?
Image credit: Photograph by InVisage
Camera phone photography has been exploding in popularity in recent times — pretty much every new phone is equipped with a camera nowadays, the iPhone is the most popular “camera” on Flickr, photographer Chase Jarvis has launched a mini-empire around the slogan “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You”, the sensors for mobile phones are approaching absurd numbers of megapixels, etc… — so it’s not surprising that a UK-based photography school has launched a course dedicated to cell phone photography.
Photography Made Simple offers a variety of courses in a number of locations around the UK. The school’s co-founder, Phil Hibberd, says,
Kids have a real interest in photography but we find they can’t afford an expensive camera so we thought it would be a good idea to run a photography course focused solely on mobile phone photography as it’s still possible to take good creative photographs even with a mobile phone. The iPhone and Blackberry Cameras are very good and sometimes you can barely distinguish between pictures taken on a mobile and those that aren’t.
What are your thoughts on the recent boom in mobile phone photography?
Camera phones may soon offer more megapixels than some DSLR cameras. Imaging company OmniVision announced today that they have developed a 14.6-megapixel image sensor that will fit in cell phones. These sensors are capable of both high-resolution still photography and 1080p high-definition video recording.
I wonder how long it will be before camera phone imaging quality rivals the quality of the best point-and-shoot cameras.
(via Photography Bay)