Apple expected to continue ignoring smartphone camera megapixel numbers game in favor of image quality

“People familiar with the matter have told AppleInsider that Apple will likely forego a high-megapixel camera in its 2014 iPhone offerings, in favor of tweaking other image-enhancing components,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider. “In other words, megapixels are less of a priority for Apple than overall image quality.”

“The current iPhone 5s is a good example of how Apple is not interested in playing the numbers game when it comes to camera sensor pixel count. Instead of boosting the number of pixels in the iPhone 5s camera, Apple enlarged each pixel’s size to 1.5 microns in diameter, a 0.1-micron increase from the iPhone 5,” Campbell reports. “The larger surface area increased the sensor’s light gathering capabilities by 33 percent compared to the previous iSight rear facing camera. Outside of the camera sensor, Apple refined the iPhone’s optics package to allow for greater light transmission. The 5s brought a faster f/2.2 lens group into the mix, offering better low-light performance and improved image quality.”

Campbell reports, “This does not mean that the next-gen iPhone will stick with the same 8MP iSight camera as the iPhone 5s and 5c, but may suggest Apple is planning a more conservative upgrade route.”

Read more in the full article here.

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  1. Apple is doing some nice magic with the camera. I for one do not want some honking thing sticking out the back of my phone. I want the back to stay smooth, flat and clean. I don’t like the look of slapped in camera on the back. As far as photos, I’m still shocked on how awesome the 5S takes photos indoors. Even in the evening indoors. Focusing is even better. The video is also a remarkable improvement. Love it.

  2. The number of pixels has a positive relationship to only one measure of quality… how big can you enlarge the image. A 12 MP image has has a resolution of around 4000 by 3000. When do you need such an image? It’s roughtly three times as large as the resolution of the best HD TV set. Color rendering, noise, the lens itself, sensor size are all of great importance in determining quality of a particular camera’s images.

    1. The only possibly use for such ginormous images is either to make hi-res posters out of them, or to blow up certain areas of the photo to crop. In other words, not things your average cellphone owner would do.

      Face it, if you need to do professional stuff with a camera, you’re gonna use a DSLR, not a cellphone.


    1. Idiot. You clearly have zero comprehension f who an 8Gb iPhone is aimed at, and their needs.
      Such people will be mostly using social networking sites, particularly Instagram, Twitter, and Fb, where memory is irrelevant. They’ll almost certainly be keeping very little music on the device, and what’s on there will be 128Kb, they’ll mostly be streaming. We’re talking teens/twenties, who don’t care about arty photos, mostly selfies.

      1. That’s an unfair insult. I agree Apple’s not doing it for sake of their 8 GB phones but he does have a valid point. Certainly many who buy an 8 GB model don’t consider image size and could easily take tons of photos and videos once on a vacation or if they have kids. As soon as my wife got an iPhone she started taking tons of photos and videos of our then 6 month old child. More than I expected. I got her a 64 GB (because of a killer deal and future resale value) but she probably would have gotten an 8GB if she were the one shopping for it.

  3. Good. When I read about Oppo’s 50 MP phone camera I thought that’s a ridiculous marketing gimmick. Over 8 or 10 MP is not gonna make much difference for most people, given the other factors of these phones. Actually even over 6 MP won’t make much diff for most. Better to focus on other factors affecting overall image quality

  4. My 13 year old Olympus C-3040 camera is a 3.3 megapixel but with excellent optics. I can print 11 x 17 photos that most people think came from film.

    If Apple keeps refining all the other parts to get their camera closer and closer to 35mm, then we are all winners.

    Cropping way down is the only benefit of huge MP sensors.

    Not to mention the file size of these 20 MP photos eat up a lot of drive space.

  5. Apple will (hopefully) never chase buzzwords over quality.

    There are many, many ways to improve picture quality without increasing the MP count, esp when you get beyond around 16 MPs.

    Many excellent, top DSLRs have only between 18 – 24 MP sensors and then you typically spend >$1000 for just one lens without even blinking.

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