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It seems every day that cameras are getting better: camera phones and digital cameras keep improving – higher resolutions, better color, better low-light performance. But none of these improvements are really game changing. What does the future hold for cameras? Is it more of the same, a revolution, or a bit of both?

A Look Ahead with Apple

shutterstock_150869912Just a few years ago, Apple’s iPhone 4 took 5 megapixel (MP) pictures, and 3MP selfie pics. The camera on the iPhone A Quick Start Guide to the iPhone Camera A Quick Start Guide to the iPhone Camera The iPhone is still the most popular point-and-shoot camera on the planet, but many users still aren't away of all that the camera can do. Here's what you need to know. Read More 6s is expected to take 12MP pics and 5MP selfies. A vast improvement in only a few years.

But what’s even more exciting is Apple’s $20 million acquisition of LinX Imaging, an Israeli digital photography tech firm. Linx develops a technology known as ‘multi-aperture photography,’ which is the use of software, data, and multiple cameras to produce a picture far better than anything that could be produced using a single lens.

Camera Phones More Powerful Than A DSLR

Why will these pictures be better? 6 Reasons Your Smartphone is the Best Camera You Own 6 Reasons Your Smartphone is the Best Camera You Own It might not be a digital SLR, but your smartphone is punching well above its weight when it comes to photography. The next time you go out, leave your old point and shoot at home. Read More  Single lens cameras are inherently limited by physics. To resolve a sharper image, the lenses have to get thicker – too thick to fit in a point-and-shoot or camera phone. Hence the ‘camera bulge’ on many phones. Camera arrays can, in theory, get around this limit, by combining information from many thin cameras next to one another. So far, this potential has been hamstrung by difficulties combining the images.

LinX thinks it can solve these problems, and make a tiny, cheap smartphone camera that can go head to head with any digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR).

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The camera array tech created by LinX as seen in a presentation to Apple in 2014, which compares LinX 8 vs. the iPhone 5s, appears to show sharper objects, stunning images at lower light levels, and better, fuller color.

What makes this exciting is that LinX promises to do this with cameras that are smaller in size, weigh half as much as current cameras on the market, and require shorter exposure times.

Futuristic Auto-Focus

What LinX cameras also promise to do is provide better auto-focus.

Nowadays you can focus on an image before taking a picture. The focus is expected to provide for a better picture as it brings light and color “forward” or “backwards” in the picture.

LinX’s tech aims to provide better auto-focus not only before a photo has been taken, but also after!

This is possible because of the parallax between the images – the difference in perspectives between the many lenses. This is similar to how light-field cameras like the Lytro Lytro Light Field Camera: Snap Happy Or Photo Gimmick? Lytro Light Field Camera: Snap Happy Or Photo Gimmick? Described by an employee as "the first major change in photography since photography was invented", the Lytro light-field camera is certainly a revolutionary device. The camera shakes things up by replacing much of the heavy... Read More work.

Imagine taking a photo, not liking the resolution on a certain area, and then refocusing on where you want to the image to be improved. It’ll be that easy.

Better Facial Recognition

This technology will also enable better facial recognition. The parallax between the cameras gives a lot of information about depth. This info can then be used to determine much more accurately which feature is which, and where it’s located. It also allows the background to be dropped, to reduce error rates.

For the Digital Camera Lovers

While camera phones are doing their best to catch up with digital cameras, DSLRs are doing their best to keep their distance. And in fact, digital cameras have come a long way. 5 Things You Didn't Know About The First Digital Cameras 5 Things You Didn't Know About The First Digital Cameras The digital camera has taken more than 35 years of technological advancement to reach its current stage of development. The journey from original concept to the all-singing devices we have access to today has been... Read More

Qualcomm Imaging Recognition

Imaging recognition is also getting better for DSLRs. Instead of waiting for your photo to be uploaded to Google or Facebook for automated recognition tags Moments: Facebook's Beautiful New Way To Share Photos With Friends Moments: Facebook's Beautiful New Way To Share Photos With Friends Give, get and collect photos with Facebook's new app — Moments. Facebook's new separate app makes it easier to share and view those captured moments among friends and family. Read More , Qualcomm is developing tech that will tag images in real-time.

Even better, the tagging software will learn and adapt when more pictures are taken.

Canon’s 250 Megapixel Camera

Once every five years, Canon holds an expo that provides a glimpse into the camera future. The Japanese photo manufacturing company did so once again and showed why the world of camera tech is something to be excited about.
Megapixels are a big deal What Is A Megapixel? What Is A Megapixel? Megapixels are one of the most common ways of advertising the quality of cameras, especially relatively low-end cameras aimed at the mass market likes the ones in typical smartphones. Read More , although not the only key factor in camera quality. And while 8, 16, and the industry leading 50.6MP are nice, 250 is a whole lot nicer. The big upshot is the ability to take photographs from far away (up to eleven miles), and still zoom in far enough to see fine details.

Recommendation: don’t take a selfie.

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Taking Color Videos in the Dark

According to Canon, their new full-frame 35mm camera can practically see in the dark. Their site says,

“the ME20F-SH camera achieves impressive high-sensitivity performance enabling the capture of color Full HD video with reduced noise in low-light conditions without the need for infrared illumination.”

Prior technology, which required infrared illumination, produced mostly black and white images. But with this tech, a whole new, colorful world might become available to our cameras.

What Will the Future Look Like?

It’s impossible to know the future for certain, but we can certainly make some enlightened guesses. These technologies depict a future that will look much more clear, colorful, and life-like with the help of future camera tech. I’m excited. How about you?

Are you excited about camera tech in the future? Do you see yourself using future gear for better results?

Image Credit: gadget with zoom by Ociacia via Shutterstock, 1000 Words via Shutterstock.com, Maksim Ladauski via Shutterstock.com

  1. George Schwarz
    September 26, 2015 at 3:17 am

    This completely overlooks the capabilities of the DSLR and its role in, especially, professional photography. There was a time when the journalism world thought it could adopt the iPhone and eschew the DSLR. That didn't happen because a lot of this hype about the iPhone is just that: hype. SLRs have far more capability.

    Second, the biggest gift an investor could give digital photography is to develop an adapter for older film cameras. All those wonderful 35mm cameras and lenses going to waste. What a shame.

    • Shay Meinecke
      September 28, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks for your comment.

      In one sense, I completely agree. DSLRs have more capability and are also getting better and better each year.

      But for the amateur photographer, camera phones can handle most of what people want in a camera, and the journalism world has benefited from it. There are plenty of videos and photos on major networks taken from (amateur) journalists using camera phones. While the quality is sometimes shaky, the opportunity to experience an important moment has been greatly enhanced because so many more people own a camera phone.

      I just wish people would stop taking portrait images when it isn't needed :p

  2. Shay Meinecke
    September 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    As far as I know, the tech will only be available on the iPhone, as Apple recently made a deal with LinX. You might have to switch to the iPhone!

    • Caleb Uran
      September 26, 2015 at 12:15 am

      HTC One already has a camera with the ability to re-focus after the shot.

      • Shay Meinecke
        September 28, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        Thanks for letting me know. I don't own an HTC One and was unaware of the camera tech.

  3. Cally X
    September 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Is the LinX technology only going to be available on iPhones? I'm pretty excited about being about to refocus a picture after-the-fact (people don't seem to know how to focus when they're taking pictures with my phone!) but I'm not planning on switching to an iPhone :)

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