View Full Version : Phonetography

06-02-2015, 6:25pm
As we all know, the ubiquitous nature of phones with cameras these days have more or less decimated the low end point and shoot camera market.
And as the quality of these cameras improve, it is making in-roads up the camera food chain.
Being consumer electronic equipment with volumes in the hundreds of millions, it no doubt dwarfs the enthusiast dedicated camera market and as Ricktas in another thread suggests, R&D dollars are likely being driven my this market.

Of course I, as a photography enthusiast, would like the R&D to focus on the higher end, dedicated photographic tools.
But just to play devil's advocate, I like to open up discussion how camera phones can improve from where they are today.

Some of the mentioned shortfalls of camera phones include:
- small sensor with poor low light performance
- poor photographic ergonomics
- lack of zoom

They are phones afterall and need to be carried everywhere everyday so of course ergonomics must favour this.
The moment someone adds an accessory grip or an attachment lens, the camera phone looses some of its convenience.

So how big can sensors get before making a phone too thick.
The largest I know of is the Panasonic CM1 that has a 1"sensor, followed closely by the Nokia 808 Pureview with a sensor a touch smaller. Subsequently the phone thickness is also at the edge of probably what most people can accept.
The Samsung Galaxy zoom pushes this envelope even further by including a zoom lens but IMO it is probably thicker than what most would find acceptable for an everyday phone.
At 1", the sensor should theoretically be on par with the upper end P&S market such as the Sony RX or Canon G7x.
I'm ignoring lens quality for the time being but image quality of 1" sensor cameras are very good these days.

Without a grip phones are also not very steady to handle. Tapping on the screen induce movement and often needs a second hand to operate. A side button often substitutes as a shutter button but in my experience doesn't have the right tactile sensation.
Can the lower part of the camera bezel be hinged to bend 90 degrees to provide a make shift grip with a dedicated shutter button?

Instead of a zoom, can we have multiple lensor units at various focal lengths eg. 24mm, 50mm, 90mm
At least if the sensors are kept quite small such as existing popular sizes like 1/3"or 1/1.7" (and not the 1" Panasonic CM1's), they are actually quite small and thin lensor units.
At least in Asia, phablets seem to be all the rage so having real estate for extra lensor units shouldn't be an issue.


07-02-2015, 8:55am
I think if we make phone camera's more complex we will be doing away with what they are are.. Simple.

I believe that most do no want extra features, unless they are automatic. They want a photo, they want it now. Open camera app, press button. share on facebook.

The phone manufacturers would be silly to start adding to much in the way of lenses direct to the device, cause as soon as it becomes more complex to take a snap than the phone next to it on the display in the store, sales would drop. You can buy snap-on lenses for phone cameras now and that serves a purpose for those that want of such things, without unsimplifying the actual device.

I agree that larger sensors would be good, when and where they can fit them without making a phone to thick. It still needs to comfortably go in a pocket.

I just took at a look at my phone camera menu. It has a heap of auto modes (selfie, selective focus, pano, sport, sequence, food, and more) and via the settings menu, I have options to change Ev, ISO, WB, metering mode, HDR, image stabilisation, grid lines and more). I suspect most phones offer the same, but I usually just open the camera app and take a shot. I use my phone for a different purpose to my DSLR's.

My phone gets used to mostly share photos of my everyday life, with friends, pets, and also my cooking. After photography, I love to cook and am a member of a few cooking groups, forums. I never bother getting the DSLR out, setting it up etc to take food shots. I just use my phone and a small hand-held, battery operated, LED light panel. I want to eat my food while it is still warm. If I got my DSLR out, I would be taking photos from different angles and lighting options and end up having to re-heat the meal. :rolleyes:

Phone cameras are great for sharing stuff on FB and making them to complex would see most people go looking for another phone with a simple to operate camera. My phone camera is for fun. I would not use my phone camera to take stunning landscapes (not sure I manage to many stunning landscapes with my DSLR either) with my phone camera.

Specialist tools are seen in most walks of life. Most people have a knife set at home, but who spent $1K on a chef quality set?

08-02-2015, 12:17pm
While I have taken photos with my smartphones over the years .. they have really only been a quick few sample shots when the phone was brand spanking new.

ie. more of a curiosity than a need to take photos.

I do use my phone for pics almost on a daily basis ..at work. Not for the photos as such .. more so as a a lazy persons method for making a quick note.
Sometimes good come into the depot and no paperwork comes with them.
I go out to see the goods which may have an address label on it. Instead of scrawling that address on piece of scrap paper that I forgot to take with me, and a non existent pen becasue they've all been stolen .. a quick photo is the easiest and quickest way to get the info back to the office with the lowest amount of effort.
back at the office, open the image, and make the paperwork directly off the info in the photo .. err ... quick note :D

Apart from those two scenarios, I can't ever remember a time when I've taken a photo with a phone.

What would make them better. response!


'press' ..... err .... _ ...... errr ...... ummm .... :confused013 ..... oh! of course take a photo ..

kind of response.

It doesn't have to be DSLR type 0.001 microsecond shutter lag .. just an imperceptible response time would be nice.

if they can do 20fps best shot features, why can't they also have 0.05 s shutter response times too?

As for zooms. I remember a breakthrough in optics design some time back, where the lens's profile (meniscus/fluid type if I remember right .. but not sure) was variable with the use of a very small electrical charge through it.
The idea being that the variable profile of the lens made for varying focal length to a small degree.

Think of it in this manner. Those images you may (or may have not ?) seen of refracted flowers seen through dew drops .. the dew drop is basically a magnifying glass a magnifying glass's magnification is dependent on the profile of the glass surface. change that and the focal length(magnification at a given distance) changes.

make it small enough and this ability to change focal length makes for a teeny weeny zoom lens!

Liquid lenses have been available for quite some time.

08-02-2015, 12:31pm
The great thing about a phone is that it's always there. And it's easy, since there's no mucking around with menus or worrying about exposure. Either the phone will do a good job or it won't, and short of holding it steady and (in some models) selecting the right focus point, there's not a lot you can do to help. Except what is perhaps the main business of photography which is to stand in front of something interesting and get the framing and the timing right (even timing can be problematic...)

Now I reckon Arthur will say this is exactly what makes a phone a terrible camera, and he'll be right, except that much of the time the phone will do an acceptable job, and in that case having a camera with you, whatever it is, is the difference between getting the shot and not getting it.

08-02-2015, 2:13pm
..... and in that case having a camera with you, whatever it is, is the difference between getting the shot and not getting it.

Actually it's this specific point that probably gives me the most uncomfortable feeling about the point that, as Jim said .. "It's always there"

We humans seem to have (on the whole) a lack of an ability to to respect a persons need to privacy in some situations where it's the most appropriate thing to do.

Without trying to locate a specific situation, I think we all agree that sometimes not taking a photo(or video or whatever) would be the respectful thing to do.

yet, in our general need to see things(that don't really need to be seen) or capture a moment that doesn't really mean anything to anyone other than the possible hardship that may follow for the subject .. we lose the concept of maintaining our distance and respecting someone's possible need for privacy.

In a word .. voyeurism/rubbernecking/gawking! .. Ok make that words then, not word! :p

Twice last week, I had the displeasure of having been disrupted by an accident on a freeway AGAIN!(why does this always happen when you're under deadline pressures! :rolleyes:)

Anyhow, now basically stuck in heavy traffic and not wanting to stress over it(AGAIN) which generally means more nails in the coffin in a short amount of time .. I noted that far too many idiots on the other side of the freeway slowing down with their idiot smartphones either videoing or photographing the scene of the accident on our side of the road.

Does the world really need this sort of brainless activity?

I'd much prefer if the camera makers made it super hard to activate the camera on your smart phone .. even to the point where it only activated when completely still and zero motion sensitivity(this could easily be done) and that the time it took for the camera to eventually activate could be counted in the hours or days. (But that the response time of the shutter were in the nanosecond range :D)

This would alleviate at least two of my issues with the general public.

1/. fewer (to none) idiot passing motorists with aspirations to be the next Steven Spielberg!
2/. hopefully far fewer seriously not funny and inane youtube or facebook videos for brainless workers to laugh over, which results in less bludge time at work.

Don't get the idea that I have this autistic need for super high quality everything .. it's just that the inane and stupidly idiotic is a direct result of making things easier.
The idiot (who would otherwise not have the capacity to turn on the camera) now has idiot level access .. and you reckon they'll post up or capture something worth capturing.

I liked Malcolm Fraser's out look on life ;)
.... and then Steve Jobs came along totally stuffed it up! :tog:

08-02-2015, 2:55pm
...dunno where to start lambasting schyoopid human behaviouor...
- So I'd better not.:rolleyes:

08-02-2015, 3:19pm
I don't think there's anything companies can do to idiot proof their devices. People's inquisitive nature will make them slow down to take a look. A nice police camera placed at the scene facing the bypassing traffic should be useful evidence for fining all those using phones whilst driving.

But back to the subject.
Jim makes the point that phones are always there and AK argues whether that's a good thing or not.
It's a grey area. I think part of the reason Google glass failed is because it crosses the line into a perceived voyeuristic nature whether the wearer was actually recording/taking photos or not. It's their ability to do so so inconspicuously that people don't like.

Personally I've always liked the idea of a high quality photographic device with me all the time and have forever been searching for such device.
But I already carry my phone with me all the time. Do I want another device with me?
Sometimes yes but from an all the time standpoint then no.

Hence why I've started this discussion.

Can a phone device step up to the next level?
Rick mentions the conundrum of the inevitable increase in complexity of such a device. And therein lies the biggest challenge IMO. The form factor must remain convenient for the primary function of a phone/web device.

So has smart phones peaked and camera manufacturers can rest in the safety that a smartphone can never reach the functionality of an advanced compact camera that some users may be looking for?

One should never bet against technology and AK gives the example of meniscus lens.

From a user standpoint I also take photos of mundane information pics cos it's just quicker. I don't really know why ikea still give people pencil and paper to note down isle location of products. It's much quicker to take a pic.
But at the other end of the spectrum, a recent trip to Hawaii saw many of my friends forgo any dedicated camera in favor of the then newly released iPhone 6/plus and a smattering of other flagship Android devices.
These are their most used electronic devices with costs subsidized by telco companies and anecdotally, the purchase of top end mobile devices is a very easy decision to make. The flagship smartphones also compete photographically amongst other parameters and as many of the specs max out on a practical level (such as clock speeds on pc's) there will other battle fronts drawn - one of them the camera.

So I think the phone camera will continue its march.
How much better can it get, where can the improvements come?

Thanks for the inputs for those that have responded btw. I realize this is a very theoretical discussion and fly in the face of the 'go out and shoot' mantra but I do find future forecasting in technology very interesting and worthy of discussion.

08-02-2015, 3:23pm
Just to get myself back on topic, Swifty, of course they have a place in general "photography".
Hard to forecast, but I just think that there'll always be a marked division between cameras and phones.
Of course, they can always build phones into "normal" cameras:rolleyes::D

08-02-2015, 4:15pm
Saw a couple 41mp s/phone adds, where it was used to take wedding, as well as grand canyon shots.
The quality seemed pretty reasonable. Love my DSLR, and like others just use my phone camera for social media and work.
But,.. think how good it would be to have something reasonable, when not having you camera handy, and a photographic opportunity presents itself where you want to capture the moment in all its beauty, and have some control as to the settings.
New technology,... bring it on!!..... l'm happy to live in both worlds:cool:

08-02-2015, 9:06pm
At the rate that serious camera makers are 'innovating'(if that's an appropriate term to use :p) .. smart phones will eventually overtake all the serious camera devices capabilities ... combined.

It won't happen soon, and it may not happen in our lifetimes, but I seriously think it may eventually happen (unless of course the serious camera makers start pushing features boundaries).

Features can be anything.. not just specific to yours or my needs(when or if they arise).
Eg. the astro centric not really raw raw file from our Nikon's as one example.

Without the ability to value add what Camera maker A perceives their product to have the capacity to do .. is (in effect) limiting it's ability.

I posted something similar in another thread, but the way our generations are heading, the so called ILC camera may well be a completely obsolete device within only a generation.

Thom Hogan talks about a camera's ability to be programmed. He may well be on a totally different tangent to my thoughts on the topic, but having played with and enjoyed playing with my daughter's little Galaxy Camera, the fun factor overwhelms the camera's inherent weakness(mainly in that the IQ is pretty ordinary when compared to a proper camera/lens combo.

But the difference is(between the camera/lens combo and the Galaxy Cam device .. is the OS(or firmware).

Our current generations have a set level of expectations, and interest in possible alternative operating systems our devices are capable of.

Some are into the possible alternatives .. others not.
A parallel is one of Canon's stock firmware vs the Magic Lantern alternative.
Some are into it, others are not.
Most likely, with the older generations and current generations eg. Babyboomers/Gen X /Gen Y's .. which generation you belong too will determine whether you are an alternative seeker, or a don't carer
Some are simple technophobes others are inherently tinkerers.

But as the next generation(s) start to develop, the major difference with this newly forming group is that their lives will be entrenched in the entire tech/IT/gadget environment.

You see this everywhere with iPad doodads for 2 year olds to play with.
I mean seriously what ever happened to the good old rattler toy .. or teething ring .. I remember kids of that age loved these devices.
Now tho, it appears that iPads are the new rattlers and teething rings(man, I hope those things contain safe levels of poisonous materials! :D)

The point is that these newer generations will come to expect their devices will just have the ability to just do what they want it too.

If their newest smartphone can do HDR raw images .. why the hell can't these big heavy cumbersome mirrorless cameras!

Try telling your DSLR or mirrorless camera to take the photo for you! You can't.
But using no hands and no programming, nor any other devices gadgets connections or smoke and mirrors, I can tell the little Galaxy Camera to shoot .. and it will.
I can't remember all the commands it does, but does some others too. Easy. Why .. because some geeky person realised that the OS already has voice command, so why not use it for the camera.

Hardware will eventually catch up. I still think we have a lot more Mp to go before we see an actual end to the increasing numbers of these things. Even tho we all know 'we don't need more' .. the reality is most folksies do want them.

Me! ? ... gimme a D800 any day!! .. And now watch as the latest 50Mp Canon 'sells like pancakes'(within the Canon circle of friends). Do they need them!... hell yeah they do.

Smartphones(as cameras) .. what can they do to make them better(or as Swifty asked how can they be improved)?
I reckon (more so than not) .. just keep doing what they're doing! They're getting better every generation.
But with a few caveats tho.(I'll come back too in a moment).

In terms of hardware ... it's a given that the latest and greatest innovations will be in the smartphone sector .. As already said liquid lenses that allow zooming raw files are already here, HDR is already here, panorama creation is already here .. etc, etc.
In camera post processing is already here(if you want it). It will only improve with each generation.
It won't be long before your smartphone (as a camera) will not only be your camera, but your entire workflow too.

No serious camera(with the exception of the galaxy camera and I think one compact Nikon Android camera too) can do this post processing .. with any level of seriousness that is.

Ie. I can load up Lr's mobile version of whatever PS or LR or whatever) and shoot and process the images from the Galaxy Camera using only the galaxy camera.
People used to speak highly of Lr's ability to batch process easily as tho it was some neat trick.
This process is going to seem prehistoric compared to a potential ability to shoot and batch process at the same time on the one device .. or in real time.

It's a matter of who is going to make the software work in this manner(if it doesn't already).

Which camera maker is going to be the first to pull the trigger that gives any serious camera the option to do this if the user wants too.
(I'm hoping it's Nikon, but not holding my breath).

I have to say, while it's a bit of fun(and we've had a laugh with it(with my daughter) .. I'm still pretty much old fashioned when it comes to the process of images from capture to final presentation.
And this is also whilst at the same time an technophillic geeky dork too! :D

I even turned my once luddite brother into a smartphone hacking geek too. He has my old Galaxy SII(because he smashed his old one) and wanted some new uber cool feature, so he sourced a much later(KitKat) firmware for it.
Works fine, does the job .. one strange behaviour which he says he can live with but here's a small sample of generation X morphing into a more demanding user.

I'm similar to a degree in that I can be a more demanding user, but my demands are a bit more tempered. If possible I'll look for an alternative(which I do and have and trialled)

And back onto the topic of how smartphones can be bettered. Don't restrict them. Don't force us into corners! We probably going to rebel .. or look to hack our devices, possibly risking warranty!
It doesn't work .. it's retarded and backward thinking. People will eventually update! It just won't be every new device that comes to market.
make them cheaper. We know you're making squillions off these devices(Apple .. we're looking at you here :p). A $10 device shouldn't sell for $800! :rolleyes:

Android makers .. take note! We don't want to be locked out of our much loved and used external memory cards.
Doing so is a retarded measure. It just means that more folks will do the hack to get around this profit seeking practice.
yeah .. Android KitKat doesn't allow you to write to your micro SD card any longer from within the device itself. The retarded part is that you can write to it if you connect it to a PC .. via the PC. Great sucurity measure that one ..
The hack to undo this idiotic step is easy, but you have to hack the phone to give yourself root(admin) access.
If you're going to give us raw file capability does it make sense to then restrict the ability to store those raw files if you want more than about 10 of them.

Simply because of sheer greed, at least one company has lost my tablet updating dollars this year .. and maybe next year too, all because I now can't use any tablet's sd card without hacking it.
I would have liked a better screen .. maybe 8" instead of 7 .. higher res would have been nice.. faster multicore processing, for faster operation would have been nice too. I use this table every day.. updating it was inevitable. Now that's more money in my pocket .. less in theirs.
The more that this sort of behaviour goes on .. the more that a generation born into technology .. growing up on it .. chewing it(if it's still safe to do so) .. shaking it to pieces to see what comes out of .. will shun it. They'll look to older tech, or alternative or obscure tech.. probably from Kickstarter or something.
The almighty Kodak fell, the mighty Nokia fell too none of these currently massive companies are immune to failing too.

Again .. how to make smart phones better .. simples! ... don't make them any worse. ;)

08-02-2015, 9:50pm
I think phones can provide damn good quality at times. In the hands of a photographer or person who understands how to make the most of the limitations of the sensor size and other factors.

08-02-2015, 10:44pm
Shokan ^ had a sore eye as he had been in a bit of biffo with my brother's dog earlier today. 13 year old Labradors should know better than to pick on younger male dogs.

10-02-2015, 6:20pm
I think phones can provide damn good quality at times. In the hands of a photographer or person who understands how to make the most of the limitations of the sensor size and other factors.

Think these shots are pretty good indeed. Shokan does look a little worse for ware.
My daughter in-law surprises me with some of her shots she sends on sms to me of the grandaughter. Very well done.
Think that's the point, knowing how to get the best with the limitations your challenged with.

11-02-2015, 4:23pm
At the rate that serious camera makers are 'innovating'(if that's an appropriate term to use :p) .. smart phones will eventually overtake all the serious camera devices capabilities ... combined.

It won't happen soon, and it may not happen in our lifetimes, but I seriously think it may eventually happen (unless of course the serious camera makers start pushing features boundaries).

Haha.. I was actually probably not looking that far into the future. Not that its not exciting but the realms of possibilities just explodes and we starts to loose context and familiarity with what we have today. Let's for argument sake keep this to the next generation or two of smartphones. Which at the rate they come out, can be just 1-2 years.

There're a lot of material in your next section,AK so rather than address all the points, I'll try and discuss some general issues raised.

Certainly workflow is a big issue and at the heart of why smartphones have been so successful. For the average consumer, the destination for those photos are immediate use/sharing via web publishing.
But we're talking about moving beyond this and whether smartphones can be improved to cater for enthusiast photographers too. If so, how?
But stepping back a bit, do we need to do this at all (cater for photo enthusiasts)? Afterall if the enthusiast photographer market is small, why bother at all.
Well, there is bragging rights. Often the consumer mentality is not so much 'will I need it/use it'. Its 'what's the best?' If you have the best photographic smartphone out there, the message will be perpetuated and win over some consumers regardless of the way they use the phone. Nokia somewhat went down this route with their Pureview phones but the original 808 was a Symbian and the newer ones are Windows 8 which aren't OS with significant market share. I'm reminded of the camera industry where no.3 and beyond always have to take bigger risks to knock off no.1 and 2 but its hard to gain traction.

So back to this workflow issue.
Do I really want to process RAW shots on my phone? Do I need RAW for every photo? For me, the answer is no on both accounts.
But do I want RAW photos some of the time - yes. Do I want access to those RAW files off my phone - yes again.
What happens to all the RAW photos cluttering up the phone storage? AK mentioned access to removable storage mediums. For us Apple users, sadly this has never been an option. But it would be nice to dump the RAWs in a microSD whilst keeping all jpegs on-phone.
Cloud storage is becoming more mainstream and likely to be increasingly important.
Features such as handoff on the iOS allows data to be synced across all your devices when you have access to wifi.
Right now I don't pay to increase my free iCloud storage but I do pay for a manicured web gallery on Smugmug, money which can easily be diverted to the other cloud service that offers me the best convenience and features.
Its not hard to imagine manageable cloud syncing where the appropriate data is made available to the appropriate devices. I'm leaving this quite open because what's appropriate for one person will be different to others. For me with an established photo editing workflow using LR, I can't be bothered with others unless it can be shown to offer me significant improvements or convenience. Which means RAW files are only worked on on my laptop (or desktop).

Onto other aspects, and you mentioned not restricting the smartphones.
I'd argue many restrictions are required otherwise we might get a 'The Homer' car (for those familiar with Simpsons references) situation. Basically they let Homer, the average American man unrestricted design of a car that suits him and it turns out to be a disaster.
Sure there are tinkerers out there willing to hack their phones (though I'd argue the percentage is relatively small) but the most successful single smartphone today exists in probably the most restricted ecosystem available. I'm trying not to sound like an Apple fanboy here although I think I'm failing LOL.
On the flip side, of course there are plenty of flaws in the Apple ecosystem. The most obvious being that if Apple didn't design it to operate that way and you want it to, you're gonna have a baaaaaad day.

I'm less familiar with the Android OS but being the largest volume of users on a world wide level (although fragmented into many varieties of Android) how Google perceive photography on the software and workflow side will likely have a large impact on manufacturer's hardware.

Back to phone photographic hardware.
The sensor is restrictive, the lens are restrictive, the ergonomics are restrictive, the flash is restrictive yet despite all these restrictions they actually make great photographic devices many of the times.
We're back to the form factor conundrum as their primary function remains a phone/web device so maybe there're no ways around these restrictions... or is there?

- - - Updated - - -

I think phones can provide damn good quality at times. In the hands of a photographer or person who understands how to make the most of the limitations of the sensor size and other factors.

Absolutely. Making the most of limitations sums up my feeling.
Can we reduce some of those limitations and realise more of the camera phone's potential?

- - - Updated - - -

Random thought:
With all the sensors (proximity, accelerometer, gyroscope etc.) and processing power of modern smartphones, they make excellent stitching cameras.
If it doesn't exist already someone needs to make a Brenizer method stitching app. It effectively increases your sensor size shooting (semi) static subjects. Its only a slight extension of the stich panorama.
If you could do that with a longer focal length lens then you can start to more effectively control DOF for isolation despite the smaller sensor restriction.

- - - Updated - - -

More thoughts:
I see that the immediate use of camera phone images is usually for web publishing. So lets forget RAW for a moment. The market that wants this may indeed be too small.
But the market for image filters are surprisingly big. I remember being gobsmacked by purchase price of Instagram by Facebook.
A quick search of the App store reveals no filter app from the old film giants like Fujifilm and Kodak.
Apps exists that help you send your photos to their printing kiosk though. Seem like they may be playing catch up with how people commonly use their phone images.
I'm pretty sure Fujifilm and Kodak should understand colour as good or better than others, especially their own films that many filter companies are emulating.
Seems like they are missing out on big opportunities with things they are already the best at.

13-02-2015, 12:33am
This is where Fuji and Kodak could leverage their 'names' to cut out their slice of the smartphone pie.

They don't need all of it of course .. just 1% should provide them with enough cash flow to help their respective parent companies.

So if they get people hooked onto their photo printing apps in some way, they could then build apps that integrate seamlessly with their smartphone hardware but provide a better experience of some sort.

It appears that people love their smartphone for 'everyday' photography, yet there are still well over 20million camera sales(of both compacts and ILC's).

If I were Kodak/Fuji(with the image printing infrastructure already in place), I'd be looking to create a smartphone as per normal type, but with a docking station that handled like a camera.
i.e a camera like body where the smartphone would connect too. The connection would be wired(ie. plugged in so it snaps the smartphone with a firm grip and connection).

The dock being shaped similarly to a camera, would contain minimal hardware and circuitry for normal camera operations .. that is, it's have a lens mount system, and a sensor and battery .. but the majority of the brains would be the smartphone you just docked into it.
The smartphone's screen would be the interface, but the dock would have some hardware controls too.

it would be kind of similar to Sony's weird little camera modules that operate via a smartphone, only that you don't operate it via the smartphone, the smartphone clips into it and you operate it as a normal camera.
The important bits are lens mount sensor size/type and battery life.

Sony, Fuji and Kodak have some of the technology and infrastructure to implement such a device.
Fuji has it's X-Trans and Fuji lens mount system(whatever it's called).
All they need is a good smartphone design to get something like this up and running.
Sony would be in the box seat for such a device.
Imagine an A7 shell(basically) where your Experia Z type phone plugs into the back and you now have your super duper and smart camera that's also your phone.
The dock doesn't cost too much .. maybe $500 less than a similarly specced camera would.

Can't remember all the details of it, but Ricoh did a modular camera system a few years ago .. so the idea of it is not impossible(in a hardware sense).

Kodak have joined the MFT alliance, so they could also easily leverage the MFT hardware system too.
I think I remember Kodak were doing a smartphone too.
(smartphones are where the real money is in consumer gadgets nowadays, so it kind'a makes sense).

But if a smartphone camera type dock device ever came to market, had a big enough sensor decent lens selection, and performed as good as any contemporary camera of the day .. I'd definitely consider it as an alternative solution.

FWIW: I still have these delusions that I think I want one of those Sony camera module doodads. If I had just one lens as an excuse to get one .. but I'd have to source a lens as well as the camera module.
( I have an Experia Z phone).

raw for every photo ? .. you're right .. definitely not(in this situation) as your device is a smartphone, and almost by default the implication is that the photography is more about opportunity rather than quality.

But with the latest version of Android, Google have given it much better(ie. native) raw file capability.
Whether this is due to any pressure from some camera manufacturers, I don't know.
If they could beef up the loading time of a complicated OS like Android, I'd love it on my camera next time.

Maybe that's part of the trick.
I've said previously I'd love a smartcamera(as opposed to another smartphone).
The ability to dual boot if it came to it, so that I'd have access to a smart and hence more flexible/programmable camera OS .. which will invariably be slow or sluggish to operate .. but then if the need was for pure speed, load up the pretty dumb normal F/W.

Maybe that's where smarphones, or cameras may be headed.

Thom says he wants a camera that's programmable(and technically so do I), but he wants his to upload one copy of one of his images as a medium quality jpg to his portfolio, and a lower res one to email or share via social sites .. and one copy of a full blown 14bit raw file for later PP and or printing.
I don't need that .. I'd like a smart camera for more simple things:

Focus stacking using only the camera.
Why not make an app to not only get the camera to do the focus stacking capture in an automated manner, but also to stack the images into a usable image.
I'd love to do more astro, but I can't be stuffed sitting out in the cold for 8 hours during the night capturign image after image after image .. and then black frame after black frame .. etc.
it's probably more boring typing it out like that than it is to do! :D
But again .. an app to get the camera to do this in an automated manner, and then to stack the images and subtract dark frames and so on.

apologies too .. I seem to have misdirected your smartphone thread into a smartcamera diatribe! :p

13-02-2015, 7:31am
If I were Kodak/Fuji(with the image printing infrastructure already in place), I'd be looking to create a smartphone as per normal type, but with a cocking station that handled like a camera.

Hmmm. Are you suggesting that this smartphone have an App to locate all the local brothels? Does this supposed camera support flash(ers)? :lol:

13-02-2015, 7:51am
:D ... errr..

2 possibilities!

1/. I have something on my mind that's coming through in my text

2/. My eyes have completely failed me now and I need a pair of those cool sounding bionic eyes

either way .. if you see my keyboard it all makes perfectly good sense. ;)

13-02-2015, 3:57pm
A timely article although I'd be wary of 'studies' due to the way stats can be manipulated.

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No need for apologies AK. Its always interesting to get alternative views and in the ever converging world of consumer electronics, a smart phone camera and a smart camera probably aren't all that different.

I've thought of the dock idea but wasn't too convinced myself although it obviously would work for some people.
Personally I think Fuji and Kodak have left it a little too late to leverage their names to the social media public, particularly to the younger generation.
I got a good chuckle when a certain segment of social media decided it was so nice of Kanye to give Paul McCartney his musical break when they collaborated.

16-02-2015, 2:35pm

Will this be part of the future of phone photography? Interchangeable camera modules.

20-02-2015, 1:17pm

Patent showing camera phone module with periscopic zoom lens design and stabilization.

21-02-2015, 7:48pm
I can't see a periscope thingy working all that well on an already light limited small sensor.
Even tho materials have progressed to an awesome level now, with more awesome to come .. they're going to lost a fair amount of light via the use of at least two mirrors in a periscope design.

Even if that loss of light is only 1/6Ev .. it's still 1/6th less than the non periscope type sensor module.

I reckon it's one of those things that they needed to design simply to hold the rights to such a design.

18-04-2015, 11:52am
A recent Apple acquisition:


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And here's a similar concept from another start up:

21-04-2015, 2:11am
LG looks like they are getting more serious with their next flagship:

Damn.. How I wish I can get up to 30sec exposures.

21-04-2015, 11:45am
I think Sony likes phone cameras too


22-04-2015, 12:16pm
I'm sure they all do. The sheer size of the market commands the attention that it does and every feature front is a battle front.

Here's another patent down the image-shift line of thinking to increase resolution.

25-04-2015, 2:14pm
Best phone camera quality I've seen to date. But lens seem to underperform a little on the edge, or my expectations are just unrealistic :P
Yes to the larger sensor, no to the large MP count.