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Report: Apple's next iPhone to sport 3.2-megapixel camera

post #1 of 190
Thread Starter 
Apple has placed orders with a local component supplier for new parts that suggest it will upgrade the iPhone's camera to 3.2-megapixels when it introduces new models a bit later this year.

Citing its usual 'market sources,' Taiwanese rumor site DigiTimes claims Apple has tapped Sunnyvale, Calif.-based OmniVision to supply it with 3.2-megapixel CMOS image sensors for the next iPhone, which is expected in the coming months.

The report adds some corroboration to an earlier AppleInsider report, which similarly cited sources as saying the iPhone maker was due to include a higher-resolution camera with its upcoming handsets that would also be capable of capturing video.

Both the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G shipped with a 2-megapixel camera and neither version supports video recording.

There has also been some anecdotal, albeit unintentional, evidence provided by Apple that hints at iPhones with new video features. In particular, a MobileMe control panel that shipped as part of the first beta of iPhone Software 3.0 included a screen labeled "Publish Video," presumably to facilitate uploads of videos captured with the upcoming device to users' MobileMe websites.

Separately, DigiTimes claims that OmniVision "is also said to have secured 5-megapixel CIS orders for another Apple product expected to be launched later in the year." The fabless CMOS image sensor designer reportedly beat out STMicroelectronics and Aptina Imaging for the orders.
post #2 of 190
Need iSight! (please)
post #3 of 190
Oh man, I can't wait. really looking forward to the new iPhone.

Can anyone tell if these have already been used in other applications that capture video? Like other phones or cameras?

edit: Looking at their website, it seems that they have been used in webcams and such. I guess that answers my question.
edit2: it also appears that a few support LED flash and programmable controls. Maybe with a better sensor comes better controls + video.
post #4 of 190
I'm so ready for this new iPhone to come out. I've been waiting to get an iPhone since they were first announced. It seems like this will be worth my 2 year wait!
post #5 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

I'm so ready for this new iPhone to come out. I've been waiting to get an iPhone since they were first announced. It seems like this will be worth my 2 year wait!

I know! I've only really been waiting for a phone that could meet my 5G video iPod in terms of storage ... looks like we're almost there. Of course, I'd rather have 64gb though.
MacBook Pro 15inch, 2.5 Ghz, 2Gb (soon to be 4)
iPod Touch - 16gb
iPod Video 5g 30Gb
Bunch of Apple Accessories
Reply
MacBook Pro 15inch, 2.5 Ghz, 2Gb (soon to be 4)
iPod Touch - 16gb
iPod Video 5g 30Gb
Bunch of Apple Accessories
Reply
post #6 of 190
Was it delayed due to the limitations of the old camera (was it that inferior) or Quicktime, a real power consumer?
post #7 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

I'm so ready for this new iPhone to come out. I've been waiting to get an iPhone since they were first announced. It seems like this will be worth my 2 year wait!

I agree- this may finally be th iPhone version to push us fence sitters over the edge. Video, MMS text and pics - all things I've had on my phone for the last 3-4 years.
post #8 of 190
Omnivision means...... TrueFocus!!

Infinite focus. Quite neat. Everything is in focus at all distances.
post #9 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroneo View Post

Omnivision means...... TrueFocus!!

Infinite focus. Quite neat. Everything is in focus at all distances.

Can you post a link reference for this so we can include it in the story?
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
post #10 of 190
Not not really much an update and still won't make the iPhone camera replacement. It's a shame as I use the camera on the iPhone quite a bit but would also like to to take good shots in all conditions, from skiing, walking about town to party photos in bad lighting.
post #11 of 190
Bring on the new 7" Mega Touch w video iChat!
post #12 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I agree- this may finally be th iPhone version to push us fence sitters over the edge. Video, MMS text and pics - all things I've had on my phone for the last 3-4 years.

Maybe so.

But I would venture to say that the iPhone does, oh, 1 or 2 things that your phone does not do.

Maybe I am stretching it but thats what I think.
post #13 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Can you post a link reference for this so we can include it in the story?

Well here is the link:
http://www.ovt.com/products/truefocus.php

But I would not assume that this means it will end up on the new iphone.
post #14 of 190
Can we also get flash please with the new camera?
post #15 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

Maybe so.

But I would venture to say that the iPhone does, oh, 1 or 2 things that your phone does not do.

Maybe I am stretching it but thats what I think.

Of course it does and does them very well- that's why I'm a proud owner of a 16g 2gen Touch.
post #16 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayeplussjr View Post

Can we also get flash please with the new camera?

Now you're pushing it.
Is flash coming to Safari with 3.0?
I forgot.
post #17 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stashman View Post

It's a shame as I use the camera on the iPhone quite a bit but would also like to to take good shots in all conditions, from skiing, walking about town to party photos in bad lighting.

Adding more pixels will only make it worse, not better. More pixel means smaller pixels. And smaller pixels mean worse noise to signal ratio.
Also, more pixels mean more processing power and RAM to handle the photos. Which means more latency and slower framerate.
If everything remains the same, you will have worse results from the 3mp sensor than you had from the 2mp sensor.

Going at or above 5mp on a sensor of the size used in camera phone is total nonsense. The sensor is so small, that it can barely collect enough photon to generate some signal. Moreover, the area per pixel becomes so small that diffraction hits at any practical aperture, meaning that no matter how good the lens is it will only be able to produce bad result.

If you want to improve the quality on a camera phone, you need to :
- keep the pixel count to a reasonnable value (3mp is a maximum)
- use a bigger sensor. Bigger sensor means that the focal needs to increase to keep the same view angle. And this means that the phone must becomes thicker. Look at all the decent camera phone, all of the are either thick or have the lens on the width of the phone rather than the depth.
- use a real lens, not a plastic doublet. This also means more bulk.
- use a real autofocus rather than a fix focus set to the hyperfocal. Again, more bulk.
- improve the architecture (ADC, pathways from the CMOS, CPU, RAM) to allow for faster processing (better framerate, less latency).

For practical purpose, this means that you can't have good quality on a camera phone. You need a real camera for that. But with enough engineering and compromise (bulk), you can have a half-decent one.
post #18 of 190
Maybe the 5-megapixel camera is the new iSight for Macs.

I wonder if anything will come of those patents they had to embed the camera inside the screen instead of just putting it on top.
post #19 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stashman View Post

Not not really much an update and still won't make the iPhone camera replacement. It's a shame as I use the camera on the iPhone quite a bit but would also like to to take good shots in all conditions, from skiing, walking about town to party photos in bad lighting.

Good enough for a phone. I've seen pics from phones with 5 MP sensors, and the prints are quite crappy.

Only if they use a larger sensor, which requires a larger lens, will it make sense. Then they need a cpu designed to do the processing. 3.2 MP is good enough for an acceptable 8 x10 for most people. More importantly, it will resolve a bar code, allowing programs that read them, and even pay for products.
post #20 of 190
[QUOTE=ltcommander.data;1397616]
Quote:
Maybe the 5-megapixel camera is the new iSight for Macs.

I sure hope so- that is one of the main reasons why I keep delaying to buy a new one.

Quote:
I wonder if anything will come of those patents they had to embed the camera inside the screen instead of just putting it on top.

Do you know what kind of screen those patents reference? LED or LCD?
post #21 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stashman View Post

Not not really much an update and still won't make the iPhone camera replacement. It's a shame as I use the camera on the iPhone quite a bit but would also like to to take good shots in all conditions, from skiing, walking about town to party photos in bad lighting.

HDTV is 2 Megapixels. The "megapixel number" is not an indication of image quality.

A better image quality needs a better lens, a larger sensor, better low-light performance and some variable focus.

And if you want to shoot video, you need to pull images off the chip faster. The current iPhone has a rolling shutter which gives jello-like movement.

All of these things would be desirable to the I-can't-be-arsed-to-carry-a-camera brigade. Of which I am a part-time member.

But if any of these changes causes the phone to become 1mm thicker, I'd prefer to pass.

C.
post #22 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

Maybe the 5-megapixel camera is the new iSight for Macs.

I wonder if anything will come of those patents they had to embed the camera inside the screen instead of just putting it on top.

That's easy to conceptualize, difficult to do.
post #23 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

maybe the 5-megapixel camera is the new isight for macs.

I wonder if anything will come of those patents they had to embed the camera inside the screen instead of just putting it on top.

1 + 1 = 2?
post #24 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

HDTV is 2 Megapixels. The "megapixel number" is not an indication of image quality.

It is an indicator of image detail.
There is no denying that a 5 and 3 MP takes more detail than 2 or 1.3.
Quality is a different issue.
post #25 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

HDTV is 2 Megapixels. The "megapixel number" is not an indication of image quality.

I agree. With enough light and a stationary subject, the current iPhone takes some pretty nice pics.
post #26 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

HDTV is 2 Megapixels.
C.

What does that mean?
post #27 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTL215 View Post

I agree. With enough light and a stationary subject, the current iPhone takes some pretty nice pics.

Can't capture video though, so it's antiquated.
The camera, not the phone.
post #28 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

It is an indicator of image detail.
There is no denying that a 5 and 3 MP takes more detail that 2 or 1.3.
Quality is a different issue.

Detail is just as much dependent on the lens as it is the sensor.

As the sensor gets as small as they are in phones, where they are much smaller than they are even in compact cameras, the pixels are so small that the lens can't resolve them. That's assuming a very good lens, not the junk you see on phones.

Even for my Canon 5D mkII, with a FF 35mm size sensor with 21 MP, my "L" lenses are often not sharp enough to resolve all the detail the sensor can deliver. It's even more true for Nikon and Sony with their 24.5 MP sensors.

5 MP on these phone cameras would be like over 30 MP on mine, but the processing is crap, at best, and the $5 lenses are also crap.

The problem is that they have so much noise reduction that there is little detail in the higher MP phones that isn't in lower MP phones. Right now, 3 to 4 MP is about the best you can do as a balance.
post #29 of 190
3.2MP is poor but so is 5MP & 7MP, i rather have 3.2MP and have the phone stay the same size and not have a useless 5MP on it and have the unit look like a freggin Taco, I already have a 12MP Camera so i think it will be a big mistake for them to sacrifice size and still throw a bullshit camera.
post #30 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

What does that mean?

If he's talking about 1080p, then that's 1920 x 1080p. That's 2,073,600 pixels.
post #31 of 190
As has been said and proven numerous times. more MP does not automatically equate more image detail. Electronics companies would like you to believe such simple measurements. But in real life imaging is far more complicated. In many ways the lens is more important than the sensor, the crap lens on phones are....crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

It is an indicator of image detail.
There is no denying that a 5 and 3 MP takes more detail that 2 or 1.3.
Quality is a different issue.
post #32 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

HDTV is 2 Megapixels. The "megapixel number" is not an indication of image quality.

A better image quality needs a better lens, a larger sensor, better low-light performance and some variable focus.

Incorrect. You're confusing megapixel size vs. megapixel quality. Sure, 2MPs roughly equal the size of an HD picture, but definitely not quality. The reason a 2MP image looks good (on an iPhone screen for example) is because that image is being "squished" into an area of 480x320. The image's relative lack of MPs is compensated by the small size in which it is viewed. In actuality, a 2MP image viewed at 100% looks pretty terrible. Higher MP counts will always net you better image qualty, because there are more pixels created per square cm, that thus raises the resolution.
post #33 of 190
Perhaps through the eyes of a 12 year old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Can't capture video though, so it's antiquated.
The camera, not the phone.
post #34 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If he's talking about 1080p, then that's 1920 x 1080p. That's 2,073,600 pixels.

Right- a 2 MP camera takes pics that look as good as an HDTV image.
post #35 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

It is an indicator of image detail.
There is no denying that a 5 and 3 MP takes more detail that 2 or 1.3.

Not even that... At best, it is an indicator of the maximum level of image detail the camera can achieve.

But the laws of physics remain. For instance, diffraction is a function of the individual pixel size and the aperture. It is pretty common for these high pixel count tiny sensors to be diffraction limited at *any* aperture, no matter how good the lens is (and usually, it's bad). Then, adding more pixels cannot increase image detail, since the detail is not there at the source. But, adding more pixels will still have negative side-effects (noise). So, once you are diffraction limited, adding megapixels decreases the image detail.

Noise is another parameter. Increasing the pixel count increases the noise level. And noise destroys image details.

Building a digital camera is a balance... If you focus on a single parameter for marketing purposes, you just build worse and worse cameras...
post #36 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Of course it does and does them very well- that's why I'm a proud owner of a 16g 2gen Touch.


Good man!

My brother has one. He loves it.
post #37 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Can't capture video though, so it's antiquated.
The camera, not the phone.

Actually, the current iPhone camera is capable of capturing video, as has been proven with jailbroken phones.. Not the best quality, but it can do it..
post #38 of 190
There is no such thing as megpixel size and megapixel quality. He's right 1920x1080 frames are 2 megapixels. What makes the difference is that HD cameras are using better lens, better sensors, and better processing.

I've printed some pictures taken on my iPhone. The ones taken in bright light look OK for point and shoot snap shots.

Higher MP do not always net better images. That's a marketing trick that has no basis in reality.


Quote:
Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post

Incorrect. You're confusing megapixel size vs. megapixel quality. Sure, 2MPs roughly equal the size of an HD picture, but definitely not quality. The reason a 2MP image looks good (on an iPhone screen for example) is because that image is being "squished" into an area of 480x320. The image's relative lack of MPs is compensated by the small size in which it is viewed. In actuality, a 2MP image viewed at 100% looks pretty terrible. Higher MP images will always net you better image qualty, because there are more pixels per square cm, that thus raises the resolution.
post #39 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Right- a 2 MP camera takes pics that look as good as an HDTV image.

My trusty old Coolpix 990 with its mere 3MP can certainly do that...
And I don't see what you mean. Per definition, a HDTV image is taken by a 2mp sensor! The resolution of 1080i/p HTDV *is* 2mp. Give me a 24x26 camera with a 2mp sensor and a decent lens, and I will get you *amazing* HDTV images, even in awful light conditions... Just look at what a camera like the Nikon D2h could achieve with "only" 4mp over a decent size sensor...
post #40 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post

Incorrect. You're confusing megapixel size vs. megapixel quality. Sure, 2MPs roughly equal the size of an HD picture, but definitely not quality. The reason a 2MP image looks good (on an iPhone screen for example) is because that image is being "squished" into an area of 480x320. The image's relative lack of MPs is compensated by the small size in which it is viewed. In actuality, a 2MP image viewed at 100% looks pretty terrible. Higher MP images will always net you better image qualty, because there are more pixels per square cm, that thus raises the resolution.

Actually, he's correct.

The only time when you would be correct is if both images have about the same pixel quality, and the lenses and processing of those images is about equal. Then, and only then, will the higher pixel image be better.

Obviously, it's more complex than that. But, we're starting out with a pretty low quality file to begin with. In real cameras, the images are so much better, and that's true even for the $99 8 MP 3x optical zoom models we see.

If people only want to see the image on the phone, and aren't interested in zooming in and out, then for the iPhone, an image with 153,600 pixels would be enough. If they want to make a usable 8 x 10, which I can assure you is rare for most people, then a 3.2 MP image is enough. It's more than good enough for a 6 x 8.

Noise and dynamic range is more important for these really cheap "cameras", because it's so poor even in the best models. It trumps sensor resolution.

EDIT:

I wanted to add that there is no such thing as viewing an image designated in number of pixels, at 100%, or any other percentage. A pixel is a pixel, it doesn't indicate image size.

If you wanted to view these images at 100%, the only way you could do so is at the size of the sensor, which is very tiny, and too small for you to really see the image without a magnifying lens, which would make the image larger.
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