Qualcomm recently announced that most of its new chipsets support cameras with up to 192 megapixel sensors, as part of a specs sheet update. That got a lot of hearts racing about the possibility of such a smartphone camera coming this year. And while the company says that 192MP cameras are not coming anytime soon, there will be other breakthroughs this year.
In a media interaction, Qualcomm’s Judd Heape, Senior Director Product Management told Beebom that this year we will see smartphone cameras with 64MP sensors, and even phones which will have close to 100MP sensors.
by the end of the year, we should be touching over 100 megapixels
“There are no 192 megapixel sensors available right now. I think, pretty much in the market today, the most common large megapixel sensor is the 48 megapixels. There are more that will be coming out later this year at 64 megapixels. And by the end of the year, we should be touching over 100 megapixels from a couple of the sensor providers,” Heape told us on the phone call.
Qualcomm believes that more and more manufacturers will unlock the potential of the latest Snapdragon chipsets, its ISP and the DSP, to bring super-high-res cameras to smartphones. That could be at the expense of increased shutter lag and low frame rates in the viewfinder.
“Basically when we say that a device is capable of 192 megapixels, that’s the maximum single photo that the device can capture, but we don’t say anything at that point about what the frame rate could be,” Heape added.
In fact, Qualcomm does not even have a 192MP sensor to test the full capability of the chipset, and it says no one is working on a sensor that large at the moment. Theoretically, though, the chipsets can support that size, even at the cost of bad user experience.
When it comes to the large megapixel cameras, Heape said, smartphones will soon have slightly larger sensor sizes too to accommodate all those pixels, which is a trend which we are already seeing.
It must be noted that Qualcomm says the ISP in the Snapdragon chipsets has always been able to capture images up to 192 megapixels in resolution, but SoC is capped to 30 frames per second, for a smoother and better user experience.
There are likely to be other trade-offs, such as smaller pixel sizes for less detail captured. It’s not the ideal situation, Heape admitted, but it’s the trend that manufacturers are moving towards – i.e towards a large megapixel count over actual larger pixel sizes.
It also comes at the cost of increased processor load when processing such large resolution photographs, so the situation is hardly ideal, but for fans of large megapixel cameras, the good news is that we will go past 100 megapixels in a smartphone camera this year.