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From 110,000 pixels to 40 million three shots, we reviewed the 18-year growth path of mobile phone camera technology.

via:博客园     time:2018/7/22 12:02:22     readed:566


Image Source @视觉中国

Taking photos with your mobile phone has become an activity that most people take for granted. Going up to the white-haired old man, down to the child who just played the mobile phone, anyone can pick up the phone and turn on the camera to record his life.

From the earliest concept of mobile phone photography, it has become an indispensable feature on mobile phones. In just 18 years, this little camera on the phone has grown from scratch, from point to point, from function to gameplay, step by step and transforming our social life.

“Double-and-a-half-pixel, dual-camera, AI photography ……” This kind of technology has listened to countless times of nouns, representing the history of a mobile phone camera in a generation, just taking pictures of mobile phones in modern times. When this matter became more and more critical, some people thought about what changes have been made to this small camera on the mobile phone.

Nowadays, the mobile phone is photographed at the age of 18, and the titanium media has combed the development history of mobile phone photography technology to see how this young adult has learned his own skills in his youth.

The first person to eat crab: Sharp J-SH04


Sharp J-SH04

What is the most difficult stage of a technology? That must be the first step from scratch. If it is a function that the vast majority of users urgently need, it is natural to say, but in 2000, this is not a good time for mobile phone photography. From phone texting, to color screens, to taking pictures, these basic functions take more than a decade to connect, and a camera on the phone is still very absurd 18 years ago.

In September 2000, the world's first camera-equipped mobile phone was born —— Sharp J-SH04. Its camera pixel is only 110,000 pixels, you are not mistaken, 110,000 pixels, even the pixels of a one-inch photo are not enough, and it has no auto focus, no beauty, no flash. Sharp J-SH04 has been unprecedentedly cold after it was released. Consumers don’t buy it at all. Why should I take a photo with my mobile phone? Its pixels are still so low, I can use the camera.

A series of questions almost made Sharp's suspicion of life in mobile photography, but it is better to wake up other mobile phone manufacturers. Although the performance of the Sharp J-SH04 market is not as enthusiastic as expected, the addition of camera modules to mobile phones has become the mainstream trend in mobile phone development in the following years.

In the following years, Sharp released the first megapixel mobile phone Sharp J-SH53 (2003) and the first optical zoom phone Sharp V602SH (2004). Slowly with the development of technology, Sharp has successfully become a leader in mobile phone camera functions.

Welcome to tens of millions of pixels: Samsung B600


Samsung B600

The words of the mobile phone are like the stones in the lake, which provoked the development of the major manufacturers at that time. In 2003, Panasonic released the world's first mobile phone P505iS capable of autofocus. Although the focus speed and focus success rate were very general, it was greatly improved at the time.

Then, around 2006, consumers' demand for mobile phones has increased, and their quality has been higher. The 2 to 3 megapixel mobile phones have begun to be despised. In order to match the 2-3 inch mobile phone screen, Samsung has taken the lead in releasing the megapixel mobile phone ——B600.

The Samsung B600 is the world's first camera phone with a built-in 10 megapixel camera. It has 3x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom, and flash, autofocus, shutter speed of 1/2000, but from the lens, it is more Like a digital camera.

The originator of the thigh, Nokia and Carl · Zeiss: N90


Nokia N90

Now we can see that many mobile phones will cooperate with traditional optical giants, such as Motorola and Hasselblad, Huawei and Leica, but do you remember the beginning of this cooperation model? Yes, it is the mobile phone overlord Nokia.

Time came to 2005, Nokia released a dual-rotor design "Mermaid" mobile phone N90, which is designed to look like a portable open-cover camera in the shape of the camera. In terms of mobile phone cameras, the Nokia N90 has a level of only 2 million pixels, and the actual picture quality is not particularly outstanding.

Despite this, the N90 has pioneered the cooperation between mobile phone manufacturers and traditional optical imaging giants, and its descendants have gained market recognition with the aura of master optical imaging giants.

Joe helped the Lord withVGA video changes the world: iPhone 3GS


iPhone 3GS

Speaking of mobile phones, the old Joe's assistant of the Apple family can't help but mention it. In 2009, the iPhone 3GS was officially released. At this time, the domestic awareness of the brand of Apple has not been so hot, but it can't change the change of the photo of the phone.

It is also the iPhone 3GS. People no longer stop recording simple photos with their mobile phones. Their VGA quality (640*480 resolution) video allows people to start recording vivid video with their mobile phones, recording more and better. The details of life.

Although the photo is professional, but it is no return: Nokia N8


Nokia N8

In 2010, a new era of the old and the new era of struggle, the first Nokia N8 came into being. With a 12 megapixel Carl & middot; Zeiss-certified lens, 2x digital zoom, and F/2.8 aperture, it also incorporates an unprecedented Xenon flash, a tall configuration and a new flash that makes people shine. There is a illusion of "professional".

However, this "professional" also gives Nokia a sense of distance from the mass base. Its complicated photo settings make it easy for beginners to let old players hate it. Unexpectedly, since then, every new generation of Nokia has not escaped this old road, from where it fell, where it fell, until it was monopolized by many acquisitions, and finally became the world's highest market value. s company!

The first dual camera:LG P925


LG P925

For these newly released phones, dual-camera has become a must-have feature, but you know, the earliest dual-camera phone was available in 2011, and it is still released by LG.

On February 14th, 2011, LG released the P925 Android machine at MWC. The configuration itself has few highlights. The highlight is on the back: dual 5 megapixel camera, which can take 3D-like photos through polarization technology. Innovative features are really bright enough.

However, after the market was calm, I realized that this is actually only a tasteless taste of the tastelessness. People will initially imagine that the two cameras will not produce super clear and stunning photos, but then HTC G17, also did not achieve the quality of mobile phone dual camera breakthrough.

However, the introduction of the dual camera also brought a nectar to the mobile phone sensor, lens and software algorithm that slowed down at that time. It proved to the market that the mobile phone camera should be higher on the basis of sufficient photos. Playability and fun.

High pixel battles: 2010-2013


Nokia 808 PureView

In fact, the problem of taking pictures of pixels on mobile phones has always been one of the most important areas for manufacturers. The hottest era of this battlefield is between 2010 and 2013. In the current situation, higher pixels will bring a qualitative improvement to the delicateness of the phone. It is for this reason that the improvement of pixels has almost become the history of smartphone development, for a long time, "the main theme".

In 2012, Nokia introduced the 808 PureView as a typical example. “PureView” is the world's first smartphone with PureView imaging technology, 41 million pixel sensor, Carl & middot, Zeiss lens and pixel supersampling technology. Nokia 808 PureView is turned on. A new era of smartphone imaging.

However, unfortunately, Symbian was a late year, and could not compete with the new favorite of intelligent change such as Android and iOS. This also made the mobile phone become the last Symbian mobile phone developed by Nokia. Since then, Symbian has become Singing.


Sony XperiaZ1

Unlike Nokia, Sony's mobile phones have been tepid in the domestic market. But this does not become a reason for not working hard. Sony likes to have a very deep foundation in the field of sensors. It is not difficult to put it on the mobile terminal. In response to the trend of "high pixel", the Sony XperiaZ1 was born.

The Sony XperiaZ1 is loaded with a Sony G lens, a 1/2.3-inch 20.7-megapixel sensor, and a mobile BIONZ image processor. With a F2.0 large aperture 27mm wide-angle lens, you can get better photo effects in low light conditions.

According to the professional DxOMark evaluation, the Sony XperiaZ1 performs exceptionally well in a series of indicators such as exposure, white balance, outdoor shooting, color reproduction, and noise reduction performance, while its autofocus performance is very fast and clean, also in smart phones. Second to none.

There are large pixels before high pixels: HTC


HTC Ultrapixel technology

In fact, high-pixel is not the only topic pursued by mobile phones. In the original limited volume, more pixels are inserted, and the imaging quality may not be good. In this case, individual vendors are beginning to increase the single-pixel size, with the most aggressive non-HTCs.

If you compare a limited volume to a plate, the high pixel is to put red beans into the plate, and increase the number of pixels to form higher pixels. HTC's approach is to put in jujube, reduce the number of pixels and increase the size of a single pixel, so that a single pixel has a higher amount of light, in order to obtain a better nighttime photo experience.

HTC Ultrapixel technology is the same, its biggest feature is that it has 2 & mu; large pixels, the sensitivity is 300% higher than the average mobile phone camera, the amount of light is three times that of most mobile phones at that time. However, unfortunately, because of the high pixel size, the number of pixels in the camera is only 4.08 million. The actual shooting effect is terrible, whether it is the monitor viewing or printing photos have "mosaic" phenomenon.

The idea of ​​HTC is actually not wrong, but the technology and R&D at that time were not deepened. In recent years, with the gradual improvement of sensors and software technology, large pixels have been re-raised. Google Pixel, Samsung S7 and more domestic manufacturers have joined, 1.4 & mu; m, 1.55 & mu; m even larger unit pixels have begun to emerge, but their actual shooting effect is much better than HTC.

Focus on the focus to focus: LG G3 & Samsung Galaxy S5



As the flagship product of LG, G3 was introduced to the market in 2014. At this stage, everyone pays more attention to the pixels of the camera. The 13 million or even 21 million and 41 million pixel mobile phones are listed one after another, but the consumer's pursuit of pixels has been Big manufacturers are no longer so sensitive. At this time, LG turned the focus of the camera to the upgrade of the focus, and the G3 came with a laser-focused sensor.

The G3 is equipped with a sensor that emits a cone-shaped laser beam from a window on the same side as the camera. It repeatedly determines the distance of the object based on the length of time the laser is reflected back, and then completes the focus. This technology allows the focus speed to reach 276 milliseconds, even faster than a person blinking.

And because it uses active emission focusing technology, it can also provide a fast and accurate focusing experience in low light conditions. At the same time, it is equipped with a complete professional optical image stabilization system, and the scenes and desires of consumers to take pictures of their mobile phones have been strengthened.

However, it also has a drawback, because the laser power is limited, so you can only focus on nearby objects.


Galaxy S5

At the MWC show in the same year in 2014, Samsung also released its flagship Galaxy S5. In line with LG, Samsung has also shifted the focus of mobile phone photography to focus, and the PDAF phase focusing technology was last mounted on the Galaxy S5. The image sensor that can be used, some of the pixels in the photosensitive area are sacrificed. These pixels are called Masked Pixels and are used in pairs. The distance between the pixels, combined with their relative changes, can help the system determine how far the lens needs to move for accurate focus.

In fact, the PDAF phase focusing technology in mobile phones is like the eyes of our human beings. The actual visual experience can be used to judge the distance of objects. With PDAF technology, the focal length (commonly known as the pull bellows) can be adjusted back and forth like traditional contrast focus to determine the correct focus. In short, this technology can significantly improve the focus speed. Later, Apple also equipped this phase focusing technology on the iPhone 6 called Focus Pixel.

Dual-camera mobile phone photography is fully upgraded: iPhone Plus & Huawei


iPhone 7 Puls

After the decline of Nokia, Apple used the iPhone to set off the banner of mobile phone development. The generation of iPhone iterations will always make people see the updated future. It is no exception in mobile photography. The iPhone Puls model allows us to see the double camera. Another use, let the double camera return to the wrong track from 3D.

The advantages of dual-camera are optimized in low-light imaging and depth-of-field effects, which has made many manufacturers rush. The main reason why the double camera is popular is because it can bring a background blur effect like a large aperture photo to our camera through the algorithm. At present, the mainstream dual-camera solution on the market can be roughly divided into four types: depth of field double shot, black and white + color double shot, super wide angle + ordinary double shot and wide angle + telephoto double shot, the most typical of which is the double between Apple and Huawei. Photo solution.

Apple uses two cameras with different focal lengths to achieve 2x optical zoom. And through the dual camera algorithm, the iPhone also has its own large aperture mode. With a strong advantage in hardware, Apple combined with its excellent algorithms, naturally got better shooting results.


Huawei P20 Pro

Unlike Apple's dual-focus lens, Huawei uses a black-and-white color dual-camera solution. Because the black-and-white camera removes the color filter, the pixel's ability to receive light is stronger, and it can bring more detailed and sharper images. And through the algorithm, it combines with the color information of the color camera, thus retaining the advantages of the two cameras. And support large aperture mode.

On the newly released P20 Pro, Huawei is also using a three-shot solution to add a telephoto lens to the original solution, so that its own products also have the ability to optical zoom. Moreover, Huawei's software level is actually not worse than Apple. Various functions faced by Xiaobai and professional photographers are emerging one after another, satisfying the needs of users at different stages and gaining a good reputation in the market.

From Carl · Zeiss to Leica, why do mobile photography always like to lick thighs?


Huawei and Leica cooperate

From Nokia and Carl · Zeiss, to Huawei and Leica, OPPO and Schneider, why do mobile phone manufacturers always add these camera manufacturers' certifications to their cameras? What is the relationship between them?

In fact, Carl · Zeiss, Leica and Schneider are among the most prominent in the field of cameras in the field of cameras. It is understandable that mobile phone manufacturers cooperate with them. Through their strong technical background, they are responsible for their cameras, colors and blurring. Tuning.

There is a misunderstanding here. It is not that these LOGOs are the lenses they produce, but they are manufactured by other manufacturers. After designing the samples, they are sent to the lens manufacturers to carry out standard tests and modify some places that do not meet the standards. The final qualified lens will be labeled with its logo to prove that the lens meets the manufacturer's standards.

The most successful one is the cooperation between Leica and Huawei. Leica was originally unknown in the photography circle, but it is relatively unfamiliar to the mass consumers. With Huawei's products, Leica has gained a higher recognition. Huawei, on the other hand, is using a wide range of Leica's exclusive technologies, such as Summilux optical structure, color control algorithms and various optical control data, to achieve a more perfect mobile phone photography optimization solution.

There is still a vast world of mobile photography: hardware and AI


Comparison of various types of sensors

As a mobile terminal, the compact and lightweight is a must-have attribute of the mobile phone. This feature also limits its size on the camera hardware. The above picture can clearly show the gap between mobile CMOS and camera.

With the development of technology, the CMOS of mobile phones is also increasing. For example, 1/2-inch CMOS is now a new choice for mobile phone camera sensors. More phones also use 1/2.3 inch sensors. The sensors used in these traditional card DC cameras have become the choice of a new generation of camera phones.

In addition, Sony has developed a stack-structure CMOS as the largest upstream supplier of mobile CMOS. It adds a layer of DRAM dynamic memory between the traditional photosensitive layer and the bottom circuit, allowing the sensor to have the ability to capture large amounts of data for a short period of time. For example, 960 frames of 720P resolution video can be recorded in 1 second, and normal video can be processed 32 times slow.

Of course, mobile phone photography hardware is not only as simple as CMOS single, including electronic aperture, lens structure and zoom scheme, etc., which will become the threshold for hardware development. In the face of solving these problems, we will also see future mobile photography. Better development.


AI scene recognition technology

In addition to the hardware upgrade, the camera function and software assist are nothing new. The blur algorithm under the dual camera scheme is the first to march, and then Huawei's night scene noise reduction, AR cute expression and various beauty algorithms are all It is based on the software layer to face the more in-depth discussion of mobile photography, these functions can not only make up for the lack of mobile photography, but also improve the consumer's playability.

In the future development of mobile phones, the combination of mobile photography and AI is an inevitable trend. Using the AI ​​algorithm to identify the shooting scene and optimize the camera shooting parameters is already a small case, and many manufacturers have already announced the corresponding technology. And the hot beauty of the self-portrait is not to mention, among them, the super-compensation algorithm represented by the beautiful picture is deeply loved by the ladies and sisters of the various roads, and now even the video dynamic beauty.

But more in-depth AI applications will be more, for example, in a beautiful outdoor scenery, AI will teach consumers to shoot and give the best shooting time through positioning, time and past shooting habits of users here. , shooting parameters and shooting angle information. There is also the actual use of AR, through AI for dynamic capture, environmental re-engineering, and perhaps one day in the future you may be able to shoot anywhere in the world with your mobile phone.

Through the combination of software and hardware, future mobile photography will provide us with more excellent shooting effects, and meet the needs of both white and professional photographers, which has become the target and selling point of various mobile phone manufacturers.

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