Smartphones & The Subsequent Future Of Photography

What lies ahead toward the future of photography, when combining it with the latest tech in our pockets.

Rahul Lal
Rahul Lal
Jun 30, 2019 · 6 min read
Image courtesy of yours truly.

The history of capturing images has always started from an outstanding feat. The daguerreotype, calotype, dry plate, film, and digital have become many of the strongest historical presences in photo-making technology. It is surreal how far we have come from making reflections out of photogenic paper to digitally reproducing detailed images. Recently though, there has been a shift within the momentum of the photographic genre. Though film photography and digital photography are still going strong to this day, a new medium has arrived in the realms of capturing imagery.

The smartphone has become one of technology’s most grossing advancements in the past decade. The device started off as a way to communicate to loved ones, employees, kids, or maybe a pet goldfish (hey now, it is possible). Advancements in smartphone technology took a turn shortly after 2008 with the unveiling of the first generation iPhone. After the Jobs-lead product made its way out to the public, the competition heated up. Well known companies, such as Samsung and LG, caved into the smartphone craze with their Galaxy S and G lineup of smartphones. Soon OnePlus, Google and Huawei followed with their own renditions. It is a widely populated industry that had one particular substance in common with each other. This familiar aspect, across the well-known contenders, stated above, was the main attraction when devices were unveiled. This main attraction was camera technology.

As smartphone technology has increased drastically in a variety of developments, one aspect of advancement that always surprises consumers is the camera system. Known companies such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, and many more, have captured the best essence in camera tech over the last decade. Cameras found in modern day smartphones have fantastic quality towards photography. Each company’s design team has carefully crafted the best towards the camera(s) to give off a similar quality to DSLR captures from something that can fit into a pocket. Two smartphones that hold up to the evidence, that smartphones are becoming a new genre in photography, are from Apple and Huawei. Huawei’s P30 Pro and Apple’s iPhone XS are prime examples of how the smartphone could potentially lead a future genre of photography.

HUAWEI P30 PRO

Image courtesy of Huawei.

The P30 Pro, from Huawei, delivers some of the most outrageous camera specifications ever seen in any smartphone. One of the craziest specifications is the amount of cameras on the device. The P30 Pro features three rear cameras:

  • A wide 40-megapixel f/1.6, 27mm
  • A 3x telephoto lens at 8-megapixels f/3.4, 125mm
  • An ultra-wide 16-megapixel f/2.2 sensor, 16mm

The combination of these cameras makes way for an insane quality jump that differs greatly from the competition. One of the biggest quality jumps is when the camera and software combine towards the zoom ability.

Most camera capabilities on a smartphone are not known for the zoom feature, but rather quality. Huawei, using Sony lens tech and their own software, combine the quality and zoom ability. The camera technology allows a 50x zoom capacity. With software updates, the quality of the image still holds up. The farther the zoom, the same quality.

Speaking of quality, the last of the greatly executed features, from Huawei’s 2019 flagship, is night mode. Night mode creates a whole new environment on the P30 Pro. As an auto feature, taking photographs during the night cannot get any easier. The quality of the images taken is just out of this world, beating both the iPhone and Pixel. YouTube tech guru Marques Brownlee played around with night mode and noticed clear and non-noisy imagery. Brownlee stated that the exposure is so clear that in post-editing, subject matter not seen by the human eye is detected. If that is not a statement on its own, I do not know what is.

APPLE IPHONE XS & XS MAX

Image courtesy of Apple.

Innovation has been skyrocketing for the Cupertino company, in terms of camera technology. Apple has been one of the peak smartphone companies to deliver products with great camera specs. In fact, one of the very first matters that is considered when discussing the iPhone is the camera tech. Though it came out last year, the iPhone XS lineup had some of the best camera systems in all smartphones. iPhone XS and XS Max featured a double array of 12-megapixel cameras. One of the cameras being an f/1.8 aperture and the other an f/2.4 aperture. Though the megapixel count, compared to other models of smartphones, is smaller, it screamed quality thanks to software enhancements + optical image stabilization. Software developments included improvements in high dynamic range (HDR), and portrait mode.

The HDR feature granted consumers a detailed judgment of imagery. The depth of field, coupling with the low aperture settings and twin 12-megapixel cameras, strengthened the quality by a long shot. This means that consumers could get quality shots for Instagram, professional photography, and embarrassing family moments. Gearing towards Instagram and professional photography though, there was a feature on the iPhone XS camera that gave a studio experience to the average consumer.

This feature was Portrait mode.

Different examples of Portrait mode on iPhone XS. Image courtesy of Apple.

Portrait mode allowed users to switch between different phases of photographic genres. The purpose is geared towards enhancing the reality of photographic portraiture. Different styles, such as natural light, contour light, and studio light, produced a unique leaning towards different creativity and individuality. This is what makes the iPhone camera technology immense, due to the specs of both cameras and software enhancements.

CAN THE FUTURE OF PHOTOGRAPHY LIE WITHIN YOUR POCKET?

It is possible for a new genre to emerge around smartphones regarding photography. #iPhoneography has been a matter for a while now, so has impeccable photographs from Android devices. The two examples, written above, prove that smartphones have their own feature sets that can lead to a powerful notion within the photographic world. Both Apple and Huawei had different creative controls regarding the camera sensor and software advancements. These tools of creativity bonded the strength of the overall practice of photography. The technologies that all smartphone manufacturers provide strengthen the art of capturing images. This sets up the idea that smartphone photography could be the future of overall photography, another genre, or even both.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

While researching various smartphones and their own camera tech, it was a struggle to write about only two. Google and Samsung were in my mind, but there was something about the underrated P30 Pro and Portrait mode on iPhone XS that got me conclusively.

Cannot wait ‘till the next iteration of advancement in smartphone camera tech.

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Photo Dojo

Photo Dojo is a publication focused on sharing great…

Photo Dojo

Photo Dojo is a publication focused on sharing great articles written by talented photographers around the world. We publish anything from tutorials and gear discussion to photo essays and philosophical articles.

Rahul Lal

Written by

Rahul Lal

Photojournalist | Writer

Photo Dojo

Photo Dojo is a publication focused on sharing great articles written by talented photographers around the world. We publish anything from tutorials and gear discussion to photo essays and philosophical articles.