iPhone to “crush” DSLRs? Dual Camera iPhone 7 Plus Could Offer ‘DSLR-Like’ Quality, 3D Depth Mapping

by Hugh Brownstone8 Comments

Is 2016 the Year of Multi-Lens Smartphone Cameras?
I first wrote about multi-lens camera technology for smartphones in May, 2015
 and wondered if this kind of tech would make its into the iPhone 7.

By August, I wondered if this kind of tech would crush DSLRs altogether.

At least one securities analyst thinks the answer to both of these questions is likely to be ‘yes.’

Take a look at this Apple patent , and then read on and tell us what you think in the comments!

Good thing I opted for Apple's annual upgrade program when I bought my 6s Plus. (planetMitch note: if you're looking to save money, this is not the right choice if you ask me… you're essentially leasing the iPhone for $700+ more than you would pay to own one for the 2 year contract (which you can then sell if you want). You can buy a nice lens if you're willing to forsake the option of getting a new phone every year! Sorry Hugh, just had to throw that in there because I think it is a bad option)

Dual Camera iPhone 7 Plus Could Offer ‘DSLR-Like' Quality, 3D Depth Mapping

Via MacRumors:

Earlier today, reputable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the iPhone 7 Plus will likely have a dual-lens camera system based on technology Apple acquired from LinX Imaging. The new hardware could lead to some significant improvements in camera quality on Apple's next flagship smartphone.

LinX's multi-aperture cameras pack impressive image quality in a smaller size than single aperture cameras, meaning the iPhone 7 Plus may lack a protruding camera lens and be able to take SLR-quality photos — think Canon or Nikon. The camera modules are also capable of very interesting technology called 3D depth mapping and more.

We previously provided an in-depth look at LinX's camera modules after Apple acquired the company, but it is worth recapping some of the major advantages of their technology, given today's iPhone 7 Plus rumor.

Noise Reduction

The images captured by the LinX camera are brighter and clearer, with significantly reduced noise levels, compared to smartphone cameras. Available detail when zoomed into a photo was also much greater, as can be seen in the comparison below. View this PDF for more side-by-side image comparisons.

Noise Reduction

Read full article at MacRumors “Dual Camera iPhone 7 Plus Could Offer ‘DSLR-Like' Quality, 3D Depth Mapping”

Apple patent describes dual-camera design

Via DPReview:

Looking at a new Apple patent that has recently surfaced, it appears we might see a dual-camera setup in future iPhone generations. The design uses two camera modules, one with a wide-angle lens and another with a longer focal length. Throw some Apple software wizardry into the mix and you get yourself a smartphone zoom lens that should get close in quality to fully optical zooms and much better than existing digital zooms.

However, improved zoom may only one be of several applications of the design. The dual-camera could also be used to create 3D images or increase image quality in wide-angle images by adding additional detail that is captured with the longer lens.

Apple patent describes dual-camera design

In video mode it could help capture better still images during recording and allow for picture-in-picture effects, capturing footage that shows an entire scene and specific detail at the same time. It could also be possible to capture standard video on one lens and use the other for time-lapse or slow-motion recording.

Read full article at DPReview “Apple patent describes dual-camera design”

Source: USPTO | Via: Apple Insider

(cover photo credit: snap from DPReview)


  1. iPhones will never “crush” DSLRs. That concept is ridiculous. What it means is that the overall visual standard that consumers perceive will only get better. People will have a sharper eye and become more aware of the concept of depth and framing. This is great! As our technology evolutionizes and expands to a better (and more obtainable) quality, thus grows a new form of documentation for life in general. The day an employer hires me to work on a film, but asks me to shoot on an iphone, is the day I may consider picking a different profession.

  2. Amen! … and phones will never replace a true video camera or cinema camera – at least not for a serious amateur or professional. I’ve never had a client say “that looks good considering you shot it on (whatever camera.)” They only care about the final image, and my gauge has always been what I see on TV or film, because that is what people see every day. This technology is great – but the first thing that occurs to me is that the sensor size is somewhat determined by the THICKNESS of the phone. So it doesn’t appear that they will ever have a large sensor, which will limit a narrow depth of field. In addition, let’s face it, why jump through hoops with attachments and rigs for phones, when you can much easier use a camera designed for the purpose, unless you like to be able to say you shot it on a phone – and that’s not even considering all the issues with sound. I do realize that the original intent here was that phones will crush DSLRs, which are consumer cameras as well, but again, phones are simply cumbersome to take good photos with. I dare say that people who are happy with the current phone cameras, won’t bother with DSLRs anyway, so I’m not sure how much more the market phones will capture than they already do.

  3. GirouxFilms Depends how you define crush, but I think you’re right. On the other hand, can you imagine fewer and fewer enthusiasts going to DSLRs because these phone cameras get so much better? I can. It’s already happened with point and shoot.

  4. HughBrownstone 

    (planetMitch note: if you’re looking to save money, this is not the right choice if you ask me… you’re essentially http://thenextweb.com/apple/2015/09/25/the-pros-and-cons-of-apples-new-iphone-leasing-plans/#gref for $700+ more than you would pay to own one for the 2 year contract (which you can then sell if you want). You can buy a nice lens if you’re willing to forsake the option of getting a new phone every year! Sorry Hugh, just had to throw that in there because I think it is a bad option)

    This is 100% incorrect information. The ‘2 year upgrade’ where you buy the phone for $199 is a lie and always has been. Ask your carrier if they will raise your line fee by $20 a month. (they will)

    $20 x 24 month contract = $480 extra over two years vs the $450 discount they give you.
    also, they will charge a $40 upgrade fee, so basically the “2  year upgrade” makes you lose $70 more dollars than just buying the phone outright.

    ALSO, with iphone upgrade program with apple, you are only paying half the phone off before trading in for the next model, so essential I could own an iphone 7 for one year, then an iphone 7s for another year, and in that two year period, I’m paying $70 less than with a Verizon upgrade, and I’ve owned 2 different phones instead of the one phone I would own if I had bought it outright, for the same PRICE!

    planet mitch might know about cameras, but he is a novice in the world of carriers and phones.

  5. Bull-loney. I would never exchange an interchangeable-lens camera (mirrored or mirrorless) with a high-quality viewfinder for an iPhone. We don’ need no stinkin’ iPhones.
    If cell phones are in the process of displacing P&S cameras, it’s because the owners of the latter have little interest in anything other than snapshots.

  6. I’m on Hugh’s side of the coin. With two lenses triangulating the objects in the frame, the iPhone will be able to allow you to “adjust” the amount of blur you’d like in the background. (see the existing app Focalyz, which has a stumbly version of what I’m talking about for still shots.)  The “out-of-focuse” background is one of the only thing that’s still selling DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. 

    Don’t get me wrong, I too wish I could cling to my DSLR, but, other than impressing clients by the size of your camera, the resulting shots will not be looking much different at the end of the day. (I do not look forward to holding an iPhone on the next shoot, however. I love the foldout screen to avoid having to lay in the dirt for the great angle.) 

    What these tech breakthroughs haven’t replaced is the craft of knowing how to light a subject and choose a good background. This is the skill that separates the mediocre picture from the award-winning picture.

  7. cinebootcampfletch Just so – thanks! Remember the Speed Graphic? Me neither (though it was a great camera in its time). 

    I visited the Jewish Museum in New York today to see “The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film.” It’s only running until the 7th, but if you get the chance, it’s a must-see (thejewishmuseum.org/exhibitions/the-power-of-pictures-early-soviet-photography-early-soviet-film). Sergej Eisenstein didn’t need an ARRI, RED, DSLR, mirrorless or even an iPhone to create Battleship Potemkin, all of which (including the iPhone) yield “higher quality” images than the cameras he had available to him then.

    Cartier-Bresson would have thrown up his hands and walked away from any of today’s still or hybrid cameras, with the possible exception of the iPhone (or Android equivalent).

    In the end, there are things the big guys can do that the little guys can’t — and vice-versa. As always,  it depends on circumstances, objectives, skill, and creativity.

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