You don’t need a 200MP phone, but Motorola is making it anyway.

Once upon a time, 8 megapixels in smartphone cameras were a big problem. The 50 megapixels were impressive. Then the 100MP phone arrived and that was neat too.

But does anyone really want 200 megapixels? That seems to be what Motorola expects for its upcoming flagship phone.

Lenovo’s general manager posted an image mocking a 200-megapixel smartphone. weibo (Lenovo owns Motorola). A separate post described a foldable device (probably the Razr 3) boasting a new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, but this post hasn’t revealed much about the device after its July launch date.

Credit: Motorola/Lenovo (via weibo)
Motorola teaser for 200 million MP phone

Let’s be clear. 200 megapixels on a cell phone is overkill. High resolution has its advantages, but even the world’s most expensive professional cameras don’t natively achieve these resolutions.

The $47,000 camera Hasselblad H6D-400C can reach 400 megapixels by combining multiple images into one, but the actual sensor is ‘only’ 100 megapixels. Phase One’s XT IQ4 has the highest native sensor resolution available in a prosumer camera at 150 million pixels and costs $57,000.

If the pros don’t need this type of resolution for their cameras, they don’t need them for their smartphones. For reference, 4K is only 8.3 million pixels, and 8K is only 33.2 million pixels.

Again, that kind of detail has some advantages. When smartphones use these high resolutions, they rarely actually produce high resolution pictures. Instead, it effectively combines multiple pixels in a process called “”.pixel binning,” can improve the low-light performance, dynamic range, and color rendering of your photos. So, you’re more likely to get a 12-megapixel photo instead of a 200-megapixel photo.

Likewise, a high-resolution sensor is an easy way for people to “zoom in” a scene without having to mount a large telephoto lens on a thin device (zoom is quoted because zooming only crops).

However, using these high-resolution sensors is not without problems. If the image is saved at a higher resolution, it requires more processing power and more storage space. And even for binned images, the image quality benefits are negligible compared to simply using a low-resolution sensor.

Perhaps more importantly, such a high resolution will not make a noticeable difference in image quality.

First of all, the lens of a smartphone cannot resolve so many details. Even the lenses of a professional camera cannot address these resolutions, let alone the tiny optics of a smartphone.

The other consistently confirmed that image processing is more important than modern camera hardware these days. There’s a reason the Google Pixel phone was able to take some of the best photos of its time, even with outdated hardware.

But 200 megapixels sounds better than 50 megapixels. 200 megapixels.

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To be fair, we know that 200-megapixel phones will be available some time ago. Motorola’s next phone is likely using Samsung’s Isocell HP1 sensor. presentation last year.

However, as is often the case, it took quite a while before the sensor was actually usable. Samsung itself isn’t expected to use this sensor until next year’s S23. And that lag is likely because even Samsung knows that you don’t need the latest and greatest hardware to get great pictures.

For most of the history of smartphones, image quality has little to do with resolution. Few phones have the highest resolution sensors, with phones generally considered to have the best cameras, and that’s unlikely to change no matter what Motorola prepares. A high megapixel count is a neat party trick, but here we want the company to pay more attention to image processing than the numbers in the spec sheet.

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