From custom imaging chips to RGBW camera sensors and beyond, here are eight smartphone camera trends we’re expecting in 2022.
What can we expect from smartphone cameras in 2022?
2021 is almost over and it was an interesting year for camera phones. We’ve seen mid-range devices that include features like 108-megapixel cameras and astrophotography modes, flagship phones that are ultrawide cameras almost on par with primary lenses, and more brands in the camera industry. Even Google has updated its hardware with the Pixel 6 series after years of 12MP sensors.
Against this background, what does 2022 mean for mobile cameras? We take a look at some potential smartphone camera trends to look forward to next year.
bottom-screen cameras get a boost
We launched the first commercially available phone with an under-screen selfie camera thanks to ZTE in 2020, but several more phones joined the battle in 2021: Xiaomi’s Mix 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 both featured under-display shooters, while ZTE launched its second-generation Axon 30 series. And here, too, the difference in quality between these cameras and traditional front shooters is remarkable. We also get haze in the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s over-camera viewing area, so it’s not exactly perfect.
However, we expect that under-display cameras will improve a lot in 2022, as some of the big manufacturers get acquainted with the technology in 2021 and no doubt improve hardware and algorithms for new endeavours. However, bet that all of the major flagships have this feature.
Cinematic Mode Coming To Android
One of the big selling points of the iPhone 13 series is the Cinematic Mode which is effectively a smarter portrait video mode. Sure, portrait videos aren’t new as we’ve seen from Huawei and Samsung. They already offer that option, but Apple’s version includes auto-focusing on a subject when their face is detected, subject tracking, and more.
We have no doubt that some Android OEMs will copy Apple’s version of Cinematic Mode. But will everyone have a cinematic mode in 2023? That is far from guaranteed. After all, 3D Touch was copied by various brands and we know how it ended up in the end.
We’ll see RGBW cameras again
When Huawei launched the P8, we saw RGBW camera sensors for the first time in 2015. Oppo followed suit in 2015 and 2018 with phones with these subpixel sensors. However, RGBW sensors add white subpixels to the mix, which promises better light irradiation and less noise.
It seems that this technology could be revived in 2022 as both Oppo and Vivo announced their own RGBW camera sensors for future devices. In fact, Oppo says it will launch a commercial device with an RGBW sensor in the fourth quarter of 2021.
There were also rumours that the Galaxy S22 series could get 50 MP RGBW camera sensors in the next year. Even if that S22 claim doesn’t work, it looks like RGBW sensors will definitely be one of several smartphone camera trends in 2022, from devices like the Lumia 920 to smartphones for years, but we’ve seen that various companies in recent years go further. like Vivo with its micro gimbal stabilization technology and Apple with sensor-shift stabilization. The
Vivo is expected to continue the momentum of the micro gimbal next year as Samsung brings OIS to its mid-range Galaxy A series. Oppo also demonstrated its five-axis OIS technology earlier this year and said it will hit the market in the first quarter of 2022. In other words, it looks like better stabilization, especially on cheaper phones, could be another big trend over the next year.
Variable telephoto lens to become more popular?
Sony had one of its most notable technological advances in 2021 when it launched phones with variable telecamera. The feature of the Xperia 1 III and 5 III shows that you don’t necessarily need two separate Tele cameras if you want great zoom performance.
Typical telephoto and periscope cameras take photos with a fixed zoom factor, everything in between with software-supported hybrid zoom. Sony was better, however, with a telephoto camera that can record natively at 2.9x and 4.4x for the best quality (although Sony’s implementation wasn’t perfect).
The disadvantage of this solution is that it is still based on hybrid zoom for interstitial zoom factors, but offers a more flexible and higher-quality zoom experience on paper than a telephoto or periscope camera.
We expect Sony to continue perfecting this technology in 2022, but we also know that Oppo will step up the stakes with it