With the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung created one of the best Android smartphone cameras we’ve used. At least, if you ignore the likes of the Panasonic CM-1 which is more a camera powered by Android than a smartphone. Low-light performance is great, and images come out sharp and full of color. But, if a recent rumor is anything to go by, its future smartphones will make the S7 look like a cheapy disposable camera by comparison.
According to PhotoRumors — a site whose reputation we can’t verify — Samsung is doubling down efforts on its mobile imaging after moving core staff away from its NX compact systems camera department to focus on smartphone tech.
The site’s sources state that Samsung is working on a compact 1/2.3″ sensor (compared to the smaller 1/2.5″ sensor on the S7), and has the aim of eventually building a huge 1/1.7″ camera sensor with f/1.4 aperture. If they achieve it, that would mean a sensor with up to 24MP resolution and fast lens. For the user taking pictures, that means bigger, sharper images with much better low light performance and shallow depth of field. It’s worth noting, this is allegedly intended for regular smartphones, not for the Galaxy Camera-types.
On the software front, Samsung is also allegedly working on a new smartphone camera UI based on the NX camera menu system, further blurring the lines between smartphone and ‘proper’ camera photography.
It can’t be overstated how big a deal this could be for mobile photography if Samsung manages to get a sensor this good in to a regular smartphone. In the past, cameras with huge sensors are kept for the niche handsets like the Nokia PureView or the aforementioned CM-1. These were/are nothing close to being mainstream handsets for the masses, whereas Samsung’s Galaxy range are adopted as some of the best-selling flagship phones around.
The Korean tech manufacturer could get incredible cameras in to the hands of a lot of consumers. And while it won’t offer the quality, focal length or versatility of a Micro 4/3rds or DSLR camera, it will surely be a huge step for mobile photography, giving us even more reason to leave our real cameras at home.