Digital Smart Phone Photography Is Becoming Serious: Taking a photo with a smart phone has been derided for many years as inferior to old-school analogue cameras, but this perception is slowly changing. Early March saw new technology make smartphone photography viable for professional business, such as real estate listings. As phone cameras move into this new, more professional and legitimized world of enthusiast photography, how is technology keeping up?
Digital Smart Phone Photography Is Becoming Serious
Addressing the storage situation
Smartphones typically sell storage at a premium, and many models have removed storage card capability, further exacerbating the situation. Conversely, older style cameras will often have the capacity for multiple large scale storage cards, which remain the most effective and bulky method of storing photos. To respond, tech manufacturers have produced ultra-portable SD and SSD cards to link up to phones, and cloud services have made their services ever cheaper. Amazon now give away cloud storage for free in some instances, demonstrating the affordability of cloud hosting.
Providing long range shots
The small lens of a smartphone can provide incredible detail up close, but be lacking when it comes to shots from distance. A range of gadgets have sought to address this over the years, such as the simple but ingenious slide-on lens for iPhones. Once again, however, researchers are bridging the gap. According to The Indian Times, March saw the launch of Huawei’s P30 which has the ability to perform 10x lossless zoom images. This will bring an unprecedented level of detail to devices which have been praised for their closeup detail, but criticised for fidelity at range.
Utilizing computational power
According to the Indian Times, the small size of sensors, lenses and equipment in an iPhone makes poorer image quality sometimes unavoidable. With current technology, there is simply a limit on what the device can physically do. This is where new software comes in. For instance, Google’s flagship Pixel 3 smartphone benefits from three separate software suites that pair with its machine learning system. Together, they actively manage the expectations of any given shot, for example by highlighting and touching up features in a portrait, or by using HDR+ when outdoors.
Photography will likely always be the hallmark of smartphones, but where technology has lacked compared to bespoke devices, its now catching up. Software, hardware and research are combining to produce even better images than before. Don’t be surprised if the next professional shoot you see has been sourced from a smartphone.