As evidence that megapixels are important in smartphone cameras, Motorola has released a photograph shot with its Edge 30 Ultra phone's 200MP Samsung ISOCELL HP1 sensor.
Lenovo's General Manager Chen Jin posted a photo of a bunch of flowers on the Chinese social network Weibo, showing the power of the world's first phone with a 200MP camera. The result is pretty impressive.
Using pixel binning to reduce the file size of a 200MP image into a manageable 50MP one while keeping details intact, the resultant photo looks crisp and clear.
Punching into the yellow flower in the middle, you can see water droplets between the petals, which we believe even the best camera phones might not be able to detect. On some sunflower leaves, which have a beautifully detailed and textured dark middle that contrasts with the bright yellow petals, you can even see individual hairs.
In this photo, there is a good deal of contrast, at least to our eyes. In the Google Pixel 6 Pro, it is easy to see subtle differences in the colors of the flowers. This helps give the photos a textured look and depth.
Despite a bit of fringing, the orange petals of an orange flower do not perfectly match the blue paper they are sitting on. There is one flower on the left that appears more blurry than those on the right that appears in a similar position; this would indicate that the Edge 30 Ultra is struggling to apply a depth of field effect perfectly.
There are, however, a few minor quibbles that could be attributed to the compression of the image rather than the quality of the 200MP photograph. This picture still looks impressive, more like something you'd get from a DSLR camera than a smartphone.
We'd need to see other shots from a 200MP camera under different conditions before we start expecting more phones with triple-digit megapixel primary cameras. We get the impression that computational photography techniques can do so much with relatively standard 12MP lenses, so it's an indication that megapixels are starting to matter again.
It seems like we're marching towards a time when more megapixels in a smartphone camera could indeed be more beneficial, given that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 108MP main camera, the Pixel 6 has a 50MP main sensor, and the iPhone 14 Pro has a 48MP main sensor.
Other factors on a smartphone camera should not be overlooked; the way a phone's image processor handles colors, contrast, light levels, and so on are still crucial. To take phone photography to a new level, you will need to have more pixels and thus more detail to play with.
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