29 July 2019
In the past couple of years, we have seen a race among smartphone makers regarding the camera prowess of their respective devices. All the OEMs are trying different methods including adding multiple camera sensors and increasing the megapixel count for individual sensors. And now, Carl Zeiss CEO Michael Kaschke has said that 40-megapixel camera sensors are more than enough for smartphones.
Kaschke was talking to Indian Express in an interview happened on the sidelines of Museo Camera launch (a museum dedicated to photography). He said that there is no doubt smartphone cameras have evolved a lot in recent times but it is also a fact that there is a limit to what they can achieve. These are mostly physical limitations which is why he believes computational photography is the way to move forward.
Since smartphones can only be thick to a certain level to maintain their portability and comfortable grip aspects, there is a limit to the sensor size that companies can put inside. This affects low-light photography as well as telescopic capabilities of a good sensor. As a result, OEMs look for other ways which include adding multiple sensors to offer specific capabilities. Kaschke says that the whole idea behind going for multiple sensors is to "enhance photos and treat smartphones DSLR-like".
He also shared his views on the currently ongoing megapixels war among OEMs which is something he is not a fan of. He suggested that a 40-megapixel camera is more than enough for smartphones. He believes that more and more pixel binning only leads to the noise problem in shots.
Michael Kaschke said,
“More pixels are not necessarily better. Why? If you stay with the full-frame sensor and divide that sensor into more and more pixels, the pixels become smaller and smaller, and then you get into a noise problem. I think for most of the applications, also serious professional applications, my guess would be the 40MP is already more than enough.”
He also added that despite all the improvements in smartphone cameras, there will always be a segment of users who would still prefer DSLRs and actual cameras. These will include professionals, semi-professionals, and artistic photographers. Even though Zeiss works with smartphone makers to enhance their camera performance, this is the segment Zeiss mainly wants to focus on.