Tail wags dog as camera phones become even more sophisticated

26th November 2018
Tail wags dog as camera phones become even more sophisticated
2X telephoto on the Samsung Galaxy A9

Phone cameras may not outperform DSLRs, but they are giving them a run for their moneyB
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore November  26 2018: Like the tail wagging the dog,  cameras on smart phones  are becoming  the dominant technology on the handset, out-performing  the basic telephone  features -- and indeed --  accounting for the most complex hardware technology on board.  Already,    dual-lens camera phones turn out as good or better pictures, than any dedicated  point-n-shoot camera.|
With the launch of the first quad-lens cameras,  smart phones may  take on -- albeit  in a small way -- the basic function of   digital single lens reflex cameras  by  offering  an easy switch between, normal, wide angle and telephoto zoom  modes -- something that still involves a clumsy lens change in most DSLRs. 
Let's face it:   the professional photographer is not about to ditch his bulky DSLR -- even the relatively lighter mirror-less models.  Why? Because the lenses in an SLR are still multiple times larger than the largest phone camera lens -- and for great imagery, lens size still  matters.   But cameras are fighting back: Since the size of the  handphone  limits lens size, designers  go for  a combination of tiny lenses -- each with a separate camera function. The Galaxy A9 opts for  4 separate lenses and  parcels out the main modes of an SLR between them. The upcoming Redmi Note 6 Pro  calls itself quad by virtue of twin cameras, fore and aft. This, added to the  enhanced  AI-fuelled software ensures that lens size limitations are   somewhat overcome,.  
10x zoom coming
More is coming. Four or five lenses  on a phone are here. Next  year, we can expect this trend to consolidate.  Some phone makers are  working in another direction: "Three or five times  zoom is not enough, ten times zoom with the smartphone  is unique...we could have surprises for you.”, Huawei executive Walter Ji was quoted recently as saying.
One thing is clear: Quad cameras on phones may become standard in 2019, trickling down to the sweet spot  of  affordability: Rs 10,000.