The mobile phone has millions of pixels. Do I still need a camera to take pictures?

   The weather has been nice recently, it’s pretty windy and sunny. A few days ago, I was carrying a micro-single with an ultra-wide-angle lens, and I was squatting on the ground to focus carefully, adjust the aperture, and prepare to shoot a white lotus. An uncle’s voice came from the side, “Yo, little girl, use the micro-single. I use my mobile phone to take pictures now, with a lens, double great, look.”

   I leaned over and took a look, the uncle really didn’t blow, it’s really great, with high definition, bright colors, and everything that needs to be highlighted and blurred. And the picture in my camera, because of the uncle’s scream, my hands were suddenly shaken and confused.

   This PK between my uncle and I reflects the dilemma faced by the camera industry in the era of mobile photography.

The mobile phone has millions of pixels. Do I still need a camera to take pictures?The mobile phone has millions of pixels. Do I still need a camera to take pictures?iPhone shooting iPhone shooting

   With the dramatic improvement of smartphone camera effects and the increasing demand for lightweight travel, the aura of the camera seems to be slowly fading, and we are also beginning to think about the meaning of the camera’s existence today.

   When we look at the “competitive” history of cameras and mobile phones over the years, we find that the days of blindly pursuing SLRs have passed, but the era when mobile phones can replace cameras will not come. In fact, mobile phones and cameras have their own limitations and advantages, and they are both image recording tools belonging to this era.

   1. The status change of the world: the glory of digital cameras and the rise of mobile phones

  The golden age of cameras belonged to ten years ago. According to data from the International Camera and Photographic Equipment Industry Association of Japan, global camera sales peaked in 2010 at 121.5 million units.

The mobile phone has millions of pixels. Do I still need a camera to take pictures?

   When the camera enjoys the spring breeze, the mobile phone has just entered the camera field. Even though the exploration of the mobile phone’s camera function can be traced back to 2000, it is equipped with the Sharp J-SH04 with 110,000 pixels-the first mobile phone with a camera. But the official turning point was actually the release of Apple’s iPhone 4 in 2010. This touch-screen smartphone is equipped with a 5-megapixel 1/3.2-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor to update the user’s mobile phone camera experience.

The mobile phone has millions of pixels. Do I still need a camera to take pictures?

   Since then, the era of mobile photography has arrived. Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OPPO and other major manufacturers have successively opened up the mobile phone camera market. Nowadays, smart phones have ushered in the era of 40 million pixels, which can reach up to 50 times digital zoom, and even support external cameras. The overwhelming retouching software and the feature of sharing along with the shooting has helped the trend of mobile photography. And digital cameras are gradually fading. Last year, the global sales of digital cameras fell to 15.2 million, almost only 13.6% of the sales in the golden age of 2010.

  Second, the dilemma: mobile phones win in simplicity and portability, and cameras win in picture quality

   The biggest advantage of mobile phones is portability. Photography is an art that races against time. It is often that moment that is captured. Imagine a scene like this. The clouds and the clouds in the sky are ever-changing. When you need to record the scenery at this moment, you can directly turn on the phone camera and click the shooting button.

   If you use a camera, you may have more preparation time, take off the lens cap, adjust the mode, parameters, and even need to carry equipment. In the process, the fascinating scenery may have passed away. But there is also a possibility that another scene will appear. A photo taken instantly with a mobile phone, click and see, it is obviously hazy and beautiful, but it turns into a dark cloud. The pictures taken by the camera are clear and rich, restoring the beauty of what you see.

The mobile phone has millions of pixels. Do I still need a camera to take pictures?

   It can be said that in terms of operation, the mobile phone saves some cameras The photographing process does not require too high learning costs, and the entire shooting and filming process is simpler and faster. However, the image quality of a mobile phone still cannot be fully comparable to that of a camera. The main reason is that the mobile phone is limited by its size and cannot carry a larger sensor. The area of ​​the sensor greatly affects the image quality.

Mobile phone sensor size and M4/3, APS-C, full frame Camera comparisonMobile phone sensor size and M4/3, APS-C, full-frame camera comparison

   As can be seen from the above picture, the current mainstream mobile phone sensor has reached 1/1.28 inches, but when compared with the camera, it is still It looks a bit thin.

  3. Difficulty to bridge the gap: sensor area

   The main influence of the sensor area is the amount of light received during shooting, so in the case of low light, the mobile phone may not be able to absorb more Too much light makes the photo dark. In addition to affecting the light intake, the quality of the sensor is also related to the background blur effect, which is also a point that digital cameras are very proud of. The small size of the sensor of the mobile phone and the wide focal length make it difficult to achieve a high-quality blur effect. When shooting objects, the sense of layering in the foreground and the background is often lost.

The electronic blur effect when shooting close-up shots on the mobile phone with the iPhone X is not counted Obviously The electronic blur effect when shooting close-up shots with a mobile phone on the iPhone X is not obvious Nikon Z 50 shooting aperture F4 Nikon Z 50 shooting aperture F4

   Of course, mobile phone manufacturers have also recognized these limitations and began to solve the image quality problem from both the hardware and software levels. On the hardware, the main thing is to increase the camera to increase the sensor area. At present, the highest configuration of mobile phone cameras, Huawei P40 Pro, is equipped with four cameras. The four lenses bear different functions and have different characteristics. Not only the basic full focal length covers wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, and telephoto, but also the main camera. F1.9, a large aperture of F1.8 for the sub-photograph. In the software, the algorithm is constantly updated. At the moment when the shutter is pressed, the processor performs post-improvement on the photos. The most common way is to synthesize multiple photos to reduce noise and improve the image quality.

   Fourth, the ceiling on the picture quality: the stars and the sea need to be recorded

   Even though the mobile phone manufacturers have made a lot of efforts, the physical size of the mobile phone is still affecting the display of the picture Effect.

  Night shooting is a difficulty for most mobile phones. In view of the limited sensor area of ​​mobile phones, the usable range of high sensitivity is far less than that of cameras, and the picture is more prone to noise. It is true that the picture of some flagship camera phones in the dark environment has improved a lot, but if you look at the details of the photo carefully, you will still be defeated by the imaging effect of the camera. Enlarge the picture further, and this gap will become more obvious. When shooting stars, sunsets, and city night scenes, we often hope that the details of the entire picture can be captured. This requirement may still be difficult for mobile phones to meet.

Photographed by iPhone XS Max in Chongqing when shooting night scenes with loss of details Photographed by iPhone XS Max in Chongqing, there is a loss of details when shooting night scenesNikon Z 7 is capable of shooting Shooting scenes with complicated lightNikon Z 7 can shoot scenes with complicated light

   We will discuss from the distant scenery back to the close-up close-up. Now the mobile phone background blur algorithm has matured, at least It can highlight the subject and blur the background. But the blur effect is not so simple, and whether the border transition is natural, whether the background aperture is rounded, etc. The blur effect of the mobile phone depends on the algorithm. It is the machine trying to imitate the most natural and realistic optical depth of field, and the optical blur of the camera is obviously better.

Nikon Z 50 shooting high-quality optical blur effectNikon Z 50 High-quality optical blur effect for shooting

   When we use mobile phones to shoot, another problem we encounter is that the object we want to shoot is too far away from us, so we have to zoom in by zooming in on the screen. This process belongs to digital zoom. Loss of picture quality, which is why the more we zoom in, the more blurred the picture. The camera zoom is achieved through the lens to achieve the purpose of optical zoom. This process basically has no impact on the image quality.

  The camera brings more possibilities to our shooting. If we are destined to miss some memorable moments in our lives, the camera can allow us to leave more and flow less, reducing the regrets caused by the limitations of shooting equipment. What is even more irreplaceable is the rich creative experience that the camera brings to people. Every time you slide the dial, change and turn the lens, and even include rich post-processing, it is a process of managing artworks.

  Mobile phones have tens of millions of pixels. Do you still need a mobile phone to take pictures? Of course, the answer is yes.

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