I recently wrote my predictions of the trends we will see in photography in 2018, and the first thing that I wrote is that I remain the strong believer in computational photography.
I did not, however, expect my predictions to start happening too soon. This is soon to change, because Huawei is rumoured to release a world’s first smartphone with three lenses in the back. The expectation is that such a setup might produce 40 megapixel images, obviously computed from two or more cameras.
While details are scarce, what’s more important is the trend — we will see more smartphone makers adopting multi-camera setup.
In case of Huawei’s upcoming P20, there are several layout options:
- One camera (in the middle) is a monochrome wide angle sensor for details and contrast, while two cameras on the outside are wide and tele lenses. They are separated far enough to produce “portrait” mode as well as stereo and other computational photo effects.
- All three cameras might have the colour sensor, and either have different focal lenses — ie 28mm (in 35mm camera equivalent), 56mm and 28mm. All three lenses in this setup can adopt the Light methodology, and the same focal lens can be used to produce in-body shift to make a final computed image.
- All three lenses might adopt different lens for a unique zoom capabilities, bringing a phone closer to the mirrorless or a DSLR territory. In that case, lenses ranging from 24/28mm, 56mm and 105mm might provide 1x, 2x, and 4x optical zoom. Couple that with a stabilization, and it’s a phone that photographers might envy.
Regardless of the setup, the release of a first triple-back camera phone is a statement. Huawei is sharing second place with Apple as the largest smartphone maker in the world, so you can be sure folks in Cupertino are watching this Chinese threat with a great zeal.
Evgeny Tchebotarev founded 500px, a 13-million-photographers-strong community, backed by Andreessen Horowitz. He is a guest writer for Forbes, Co-Director of Startup Grind Taipei, and helps other companies unlock 10x potential. He is based in Taipei, Taiwan.