Remember your first smartphone? It probably started with a phone featuring a “whopping” 2.1 megapixel camera. Your next phone most likely saw a bump up to 3.2 megapixels, followed by 5, 8, 10, 12, 18 etc… For a while, the megapixel count was one of the unique selling points of any new smartphone. Then something interesting happened – manufacturers realized customers preferred something that could shoot photos in the dark, so they introduced camera sensors with larger pixels, reducing the overall pixel count, allowing for some truly amazing dark-light photos. Phones suddenly went from 18 megapixels back down to 12, and even 8, all to make room for larger pixels capable of capturing more light.
Well, those days are (partially) over, and the megapixel war begins again… The first smartphones with a truly insane 48 megapixel sensor are making headlines, right on cue before the 2019 consumer electronics show in Vegas in January.
All joking aside, we really are about to enter a whole new era of photos from our phones; the newest batch of sensors for smartphone cameras are able to do the two things we all want – greater detail from higher megapixel photos, with great dark light performance.
Sony and Samsung have each announced their newest 32 and 48 megapixel sensors, and since these two are the most important global producers of the components needed to make a good smartphone camera, chances are those of you who’ll be shopping for a new phone in 2019 (and who isn’t?) will most likely get a phone with significantly better photo and video performance than the current generation of devices.