Five phone cameras? Three? Galaxy S10, PureView, Xperia take different tacks
As with many trends in the mobile world, we can look to Apple for popularizing the idea of having more than one camera on the rear of a phone when it unveiled the iPhone 7 Plus back in September 2016. Since then we’ve seen increasingly more cameras on phones, and it’s hard to know where all this madness might stop.
“For me, I think four is enough,” said George Zhao, CEO of Honor, in an interview at MWC. “Maybe we need another solution, a smarter solution — not just adding cameras.”
Honor has so far only included a maximum of three cameras on its own phones (although its parent company, Huawei, put four lenses on the Mate 20 Pro, unveiled in October), and this seems to be a popular option. At MWC this year, it seems that many phone manufacturers have settled on three as the real sweet spot when it comes to number of cameras. This setup usually includes one standard phone camera, one wide-angle lens and one telephoto.
We were kind of late to be equipped with multiple cameras,” said Sony’s mobile chief, Mitsuya Kishida, also in an interview in MWC. At this year’s show, Sony unveiled the Xperia One, its first flagship since Kishida took up his post. It comes with three rear cameras, but for Kishida, the underlying tech is more important than the number of lenses.
In the past, Sony Mobile has collaborated with Sony’s consumer camera division on its phone cameras, but the Xperia One is instead built in collaboration with the company’s professional imaging business. This quality for him is what will make the real difference in the photographs the phone produces.
“I don’t think personally the number of the camera matters, but how we make it and how we accomplish it as a whole application […] including software,” Kishida said. “That that is going to be the key.”