- Smartphones will use in-built gimbal stabilisation.
- More smartphones will offer 8K video recording.
- Snapdragon 888 SoC will enable simultaneous capture.
There was a time when a dual rear camera smartphone was a flex. Now, it is a necessity, not luxury. That's how far the smartphone cameras have come in the past few years. Triple rear camera modules are common in the budget and mid-range segments while quad-cam modules have also made their way to the sub-Rs 15,000 category. It's not just the number of lenses or megapixels but even the camera technologies are fast evolving. Night Modes are becoming increasingly popular and several flagship-level smartphones are making 8K video recording possible.
With so many changes already taking place, it's hard to imagine how smartphone camera can further change. But, that's the most interesting part about technology - it keeps evolving. Here is a look at how smartphones will evolve in 2021.
8K Video Recording to Become More Common
Almost every mid-range smartphone available in India is capable of recording 4K videos and the next sensible step up would be 8K videos. Few smartphone makers introduced 8K video recording in 2020 but the tech is far from becoming mainstream. One of the reasons is that very few people across the globe have access to screens that support 8K videos be it smartphones, laptops or televisions.
Given that most smartphone makers focus on future these days, this is unlikely to stop them from adding 8K video support to their smartphones. However, the adoption rate is likely to remain low over the next 12 months as some brands may still hold up till 2022.
In-Built Gimbal Stabilisation
The role of smartphone cameras is changing. The initial boost came as more and more people started using smartphones to click images instead of spending on professional cameras. With the popularity of social media platforms and video content, the next boost will be stitched around advancements in video recording capabilities.
Till now, smartphones have been using optical image stabilization to ensure that your images and videos skip shakes. Yet, content creators are forced to spend on a Gimbal for improved quality. Vivo was the first smartphone maker that tried to change that last year by using in-built gimbal stabilisation on the Vivo X50 Pro.
Even though it was the first attempt, the improvement was clearly visible. It is only about time before other smartphone makers take not and integrate the technology on their smartphones.
High Resolution Sensors
Smartphone makers often face a lot of criticism for promoting products around the megapixels. Some call it a gimmick. If 8K videos are to become mainstream, this gimmick will also become a necessity. To record 4K videos, you need sensors higher than 8-megapixels. This is why we have seen smartphone makers using larger sensors in the last few years.
Similarly, to record 8K videos, you need camera sensors above 33-megapixels. This leaves smartphone makers with no other option but to use larger sensors. Those likely to make a move include Apple and Google, among others, who have relied on 12MP lenses for long. The other way around this is to use the 12MP lenses with an additional higher resolution secondary sensor for 8K videos.
In-Display Selfie Camera
The front camera is yet to find its ideal position on smartphones. It is moved around easily depending on what the smartphone maker is trying to achieve. As a result, we have had pop-up selfie cameras, notch style selfie cameras and punch-hole shooters as well. Not to forget, there were motorised cameras too. These experiments are far from being over.
The next big evolution is the in-display selfie camera. OPPO and Xiaomi have already given a glimpse of this tech in 2020 and more smartphone makers are expected to follow soon. The technology will help manufacturers achieve near full screen display. Whether it rolls out for commercial use or not will be interesting to see.
Simultaneous Capture on Smartphones
The first wave of flagship smartphones in 2021 will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 SoC and one of the biggest changes it brings is that the number of ISPs have been increased to three. For those unaware, an ISP or image signal processor is the chip which is responsible for processing imaging data from a phone's cameras.
In simple words, users will simultaneously be able to capture from up to three cameras. The ISPs now allow for concurrent 28 MP ZSL capture (zero shutter lag). The chipset will also allow smartphone users to simultaneously capture 4K HDR from three different cameras.