Is this the future of mobile photography?

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The race for more lenses in mobile cameras has done nothing else. While companies like Google are out to bet on one, there are others that already contain three and even four sensors in the main body (such as the Galaxy A9 and its four rear cameras).

With this in mind, we have long heard of Nokia and its potential terminal with five cameras, but LG’s latest patent is undoubtedly the one that breaks all records in terms of lens count. The Korean brand has registered a mobile camera system containing a matrix of no less than 16 sensors.


Is this the future of mobile photography? Does it really make sense to integrate so many sensors?



LG is not the first to bet on 16 sensors

Is this the future of mobile photography?
Allegedly filtered image of the Nokia 9

With the triple camera on the market, it’s time to take another step. Proof of this is what Samsung has done with four sensors in the Galaxy A9 or that will soon make five lenses in the back camera of the possible Nokia 9.

LG, however, has not been satisfied with taking a step, but wants to take a couple of strides, or at least, that is the conclusion that emerges from his latest patent, revealed by LetsGoDigital : a camera system for mobile with nothing less than 16 sensors arranged in a four-by-four array .

This concept, which has surprised everyone, is not new, as the Light L16 has already suggested something similar. This camera does a different job with each of its 16 sensors, and an intelligent system combines these images to produce images of up to 52 megapixels.

How useful are so many sensors?

Is this the future of mobile photography?
Light L16

For the Light L16 camera, the purpose of incorporating such a number of sensors is to use the quality they provide (to achieve a total resolution of 52 MP) and the versatility of their optics. The sixteen cameras are distributed in a special way and have different focal points: five are 28 mm / 2.0, five are 70 mm / 2.0 and six are 150 mm / 2.4.

With this system we achieve two advantages. On the one hand, increasing the number of sensors increases the amount of information (and light) that is collected, and so, when combined, we get higher resolution images (52 MP, as we said). On the other hand, we can play with depth with more lenses with different emphases and encounter a greater number of photographic situations, from close-ups or macros to landscapes.

Is this the future of mobile photography?
Huawei P20 Pro

On the other hand, the Huawei P20 Pro with a 40-megapixel camera, a secondary 20-megapixel monochrome and a third eight-megapixel telephoto lens is a perfect example of how each of these sensors fulfills a specific function makes this phone in particular Aspects such as optical zoom stand out.

Today, the inclusion of more sensors responds to the desire to increase image quality and versatility thanks to the variety of focal and optical zoom.


Is this the future of mobile photography?

Looking at the patent filed by LG, we also find that the matrix of four by four sensors distributes them with different orientations. In this way, a unique arrangement is achieved that can be applied to the scanning of 3D objects or creates an effect of moving images by taking the same shot from these slight angle changes. Even the patent itself indicates how these photos could be combined to modify certain sections of a picture and replace them with the same section, but which was taken by another sensor.

Are we facing the future of mobile photography?

Is this the future of mobile photography?
Nokia OZO VR

First of all, we need to emphasize one important point: the idea of including so many cameras in a mobile phone is not something of the future, not even of the present, but something that has existed for a long time. In recent years, several manufacturers have followed the concept of multiple cameras.

This is the case of Amazon and its Fire Phone, whose failure has led the next generation not to see the light that six cameras would have to follow their eyes and view 3D images.

Nokia has also tried it with its OZO VR cameras, which were equipped with eight lenses and designed for virtual reality, the project has finally given up.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are other fields in which a mobile phone with a camera system like the one proposed by LG could have utility

Especially the virtual reality and augmented reality are other areas in which a mobile phone could be useful with a camera system as suggested by LG. In any case, the integration of this number of sensors in a mobile phone can be associated with costs that significantly increase the final price of the product. And we can not ignore the power required to process such a large amount of data.

Therefore, it seems not very feasible that we will be in the short or medium term with 16 cameras in the mobile market. Considering that, as Google has shown with Pixel 3, many of the benefits of installing more sensors can now be achieved through software without the need for more complex and expensive hardware.

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