Qualcomm VP believes smartphones have what it takes to match DSLR image quality

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,464   +171
Staff member
In brief: Sony is not the only tech giant that believes smartphone cameras are on pace to eclipse DSLRs in the not-too-distant future. Judd Heape, VP of product management for cameras at Qualcomm, seems to agree with Sony's stance.

In a recent interview with Android Authority, Heape said that in terms of getting towards the image quality of a DSLR, he thinks the image sensor is capable enough and the amount of innovation that is going into mobile image sensors is faster and more advanced than what is happening in the rest of the imaging industry.

Another advantage lies in the processing power available inside smartphones.

According to Heape, the processing of a Snapdragon is 10 times better than what you will find in top-of-the-line Nikon and Canon cameras. Even with a smaller lens and a smaller image sensor, Heape said, they can do a lot more processing.

Sony Semiconductor Solutions (SSS) President and CEO Terushi Shimizu said earlier this year that he believes smartphone image quality will exceed what is possible with a DSLR within the next few years.

What's more, leading DSLR makers seemingly are not prepared to put up much of a fight. Over the summer, insiders said Nikon is preparing to exit the DSLR market to focus on smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras. Late last year, Canon confirmed it had produced its final flagship DSLR and would shift its attention to mirrorless models.

As for the megapixel war, Heape believes the sweet spot is around the 40-megapixel to 50-megapixel range and feels the industry should focus on that target instead of striving for sensors capable of hundreds of megapixels.

Samsung's latest Galaxy S22 Ultra ships with a 108-megapixel rear-facing camera and the company will start mass producing its new 200-megapixel Isocell HP3 image sensor later this year for inclusion in early 2023 flagships.

Bigger pixels could also help the cause as could larger sensors, but the latter is unlikely to expand past one inch in the foreseeable future.

Permalink to story.

 

Eldritch

Posts: 500   +910
Nobody uses DSLR except for few pros. Even the tourists wearing heavy DSLR on their neck/back simply take photos from phone. Nobody wants to open a lens cap, adjust the lens, config and take a pic when you can just point and shoot for most images.
 

dangh

Posts: 791   +1,343
Nobody uses DSLR except for few pros. Even the tourists wearing heavy DSLR on their neck/back simply take photos from phone. Nobody wants to open a lens cap, adjust the lens, config and take a pic when you can just point and shoot for most images.
Nah, I love using various lenses and put caps on them;)
I tried to use mobile, but that was to first comparison to a raw when I see how bad the results are. Sure, if I get somewhere with phone I styl can take a picture which I probably will not look at ever, but when I want to have some memory of a place or print a copy to put on a wall then my 24-70 2.8 is the right tool for the job.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,284   +7,656
Nobody uses DSLR except for few pros. Even the tourists wearing heavy DSLR on their neck/back simply take photos from phone. Nobody wants to open a lens cap, adjust the lens, config and take a pic when you can just point and shoot for most images.
All I have to do is set mine to "A" take off the lens cap, point and shoot. And I get better quality images than my cell phone could ever give me.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,376   +3,047
I've shot photography since the late 70's. SLR's, transition to digital SLR's in 2000's.
Yes, for "point & shoot" type photos, the smartphone has replaced pocket cameras, but
if you want true brokeh not that artificial garbage, get a real camera.
If you want true DOF, sharp contrast day & night, nothing can beat an SLR or mirrorless
type camera. The glass in front of the sensor makes a lot of difference.
Until they can slap on a 100-400mm lens or similar without DIGITAL zoom, forget it.
 

umbala

Posts: 786   +1,562
Nobody uses DSLR except for few pros. Even the tourists wearing heavy DSLR on their neck/back simply take photos from phone. Nobody wants to open a lens cap, adjust the lens, config and take a pic when you can just point and shoot for most images.
Spoken like someone who has absolutely no idea what "photography" actually is. Yeah, just pull out your phone and click click click. just as good as an actual camera.Hilarious!
 

CowsGotMilk

Posts: 105   +229
Phones have great camera AI techologies, these days, but they can’t have lenses or sensor size that DSLR has. New technologies has to be inovated to fully replace DSLR or EVIL cameras with phones. Until then pro’s will use real cameras, but not the phones like in Apple ads. 🙂
 

rmcrys

Posts: 297   +239
Nobody uses DSLR except for few pros. [...]Nobody wants to open a lens cap, adjust the lens, config and take a pic when you can just point and shoot for most images.
Spoken like someone who has absolutely no idea what "photography" actually is

Both are right and wrong.

A) dSLR to overweight a high-end smartphone must be a mid to high-end one as well as the lenses.

B) If the human behind is the phone and camera has no PRO idea, then with a phone it will be MUCH better; if the human behind is a PRO it will depend on how long it needs to access the DSLR, have the right lenses and have the right settings. That is because the AI on DSLR is much inferior than on Smartphones, so you need to get it right yourself and have time for it.

C) Smartphones have much better sensor and lenses *per size* than DSLR, of course physics count a lot, but after millions spent on R&D for clever and powerful AI, much is compensated. The much faster RAM and storage allow much higher quality computational tricks and great pictures.

At the end of the day:

- if you are on a trip and other 99.9% of the time/ scenarios, usually you need ASAP to take a photo and smartphones are far better and always there.

- if you are on a planned work flow, a proper camera is better because the raw photo has much more detail, dynamic range and editing possibilities.

- physics matter more on video and video is MUCH better on a proper camera than on an iPhone (because they are the best for video, as Samsung is better for photo)

FYI, I used to use (and only) DSLRs for photography (hobby and other scenarios, but not for work) and I had only ok results with jpeg, then I used to shoot on raw and edit and.... I still have thousands of photos to proper edit; since I had the S8, S9+ and other high-end phones, most photos with my skills, some light editing, tricks etc came fantastic. And it is more than enough. For work? If I needed to, a full frame DSLR without a doubt.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,253   +2,810
TechSpot Elite
The best camera is the one you have with you and for most people, that's a phone. DSLRs and mirrorless can do more with a decent photographer behind the lens, but for posting the typical online ephemera, phone cameras are more than just good enough, they're overkill.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 500   +910
Spoken like someone who has absolutely no idea what "photography" actually is. Yeah, just pull out your phone and click click click. just as good as an actual camera.Hilarious!
Did you just Gatekeep photography? Hilarious!
Anyways, I take photos quite regularly but only for personal consumption. I take photos with bokeh, custom shutter speeds, sometimes slow motion and sometimes macros.
But I guess since I am not using a DSLR they aren't photos. Kind of like saying you ain't a real gamer unless you buy 4090!
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,743   +909
I think they might, eventually.
But judging by the speed of progress, it wont be any time soon. Besides, mirrorless cameras are also getting better. If smartphones can catch up to curent slr/mirrorless, they would still be years behind.
I use my cheap 100$ prime lens on an old dslr camera. I never had a phone that could create such quality.
 

NumberSix

Posts: 175   +281
I've got 4 Canon DSLRs and a bunch of L lenses and the better the phones have got the less I have used them for everyday or walkabout use as my phone can pull shots out of the bag my cameras can only dream of.

That said I wouldn't turn up to do a wedding or an air show with my Pixel 6 Pro.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 297   +239
Every device has their field, but 10 years ago there was no computational photography, sensors were very weak, specially on low light and the use cases was very limited. So people had to have a good camera or dSLR (as I did).

Nowadays most people shouldn't bother buying a camera unless they have some very special or professional use case. I even did some big prints with some high resolution Samsung photos and people where very happy with the result.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,817   +6,029
Did you just Gatekeep photography? Hilarious!
Anyways, I take photos quite regularly but only for personal consumption. I take photos with bokeh, custom shutter speeds, sometimes slow motion and sometimes macros.
But I guess since I am not using a DSLR they aren't photos. Kind of like saying you ain't a real gamer unless you buy 4090!
The best camera is the one you have on you. While my S21+ takes fantastic photos, my Sony a7 blows it absolutely out of the water. And then you have low like performance where the only solution is just more aperture, hence the reason the best telescopes are the biggest
 

ScottSoapbox

Posts: 423   +786
"Exiting" DSLR to mirrorless cameras merely means no longer making old tech cameras (remember film?) not actually exiting the camera business.

Pro Tip: DSLR is a specific type of camera but many people incorrectly think it means fancy or "real" camera.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 297   +239
You may find it hard to believe, but film (which has resolution that digital sensors can only dream of) is making a comeback - not unlike vinyl records are making a comeback. https://www.photoexpressionist.com/will-film-cameras-come-back/
It won't come back. Vinyl is to PLAY and it's on (though it wears down pretty fast), a film type of camera is to RECORD. If you do that, the recording costs climb 5000000x and editing costs that to ^3.

No-one cares film anymore.
 

rogueTempo

Posts: 9   +0
Nobody uses DSLR except for few pros. Even the tourists wearing heavy DSLR on their neck/back simply take photos from phone. Nobody wants to open a lens cap, adjust the lens, config and take a pic when you can just point and shoot for most images.
Lmao. No no, you're totally right, everyone in the film industry pulls out their phones instead of using a DSLR, of course! Those things are just props...! Very expensive... capable... props....?