Next-gen iPhone rumored to sport dual-lenses, DSLR quality in 'biggest camera jump ever'

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2014
For its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus follow-up expected to debut in 2015, Apple may introduce a handset with dual lenses in what one well-connected Apple pundit calls the "biggest camera jump ever."




On the most recent episode of The Talk Show podcast, Daring Fireball's John Gruber revealed that "a birdie of a birdie" told him Apple is working on a two-lens system for incorporation in the next-generation iPhone.

"The specific thing I heard is that next year's camera might be the biggest camera jump ever," Gruber said. "I don't even know what sense this makes, but I've heard that it's some kind of weird two-lens system where the back camera uses two lenses and it somehow takes it up into DSLR quality imagery."

The notion of using multi-lens imaging systems to make up for a smartphone's small form factor is a relatively recent development. In March, HTC unveiled the One M8 with a so-called "Duo camera" setup, which uses a secondary imaging sensor for depth data.

An interesting startup called Corephotonics, which was profiled by Engadget earlier this year, proposes a different approach. Corephotonics developed a dual-lens module with two distinct focal lengths, effectively negating resolution drops associated with digital zooming. One camera is used for wide shots, while the other is used for close-ups. As an added bonus, the system provides spatial data for 3D imagery due to its lens offset.

While speculation, Apple could employ a similar system, or even stitch together image data from both camera modules, to achieve DSLR-quality high-resolution photos. The company has no shortage of patents covering smartphone camera technology, including Lytro-like refocusing, interchangeable modules and interchangeable external lenses.

Perhaps most similar to today's rumor is an invention for a multi-sensor system that gathers luminance and chrominance values separately, processes the data and outputs photos at exceptionally high resolutions with equally high color accuracy.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    Take my money. Phones are the future of cameras for most people most of the time. DSL-like will seal the deal. Can't wait.
  • Reply 2 of 74

    i am enjoying more and more the capable camera system (hardware and software) that are in phones, especially the iPhone. my dslr is certainly better, but i am not above taking pics with the iPhone.

    i hope that a two camera system, if it is indeed real, is not another $100 extra or just on the iPhone 6 plus s.

  • Reply 3 of 74
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,495member
    Well, didn't he say he wanted to revolutionize photography?
  • Reply 4 of 74

    That image looks wretched.

  • Reply 5 of 74
    Boo Yaa. The rumors start.
  • Reply 6 of 74

    I sometimes wonder if rumours like this come out just to mess with the heads of the competition 

  • Reply 7 of 74
    wow... give me liquid metal and get rid of that hideous iPhone 6 design and I'm sold! (The 5s is the most beautiful device ever created)
  • Reply 8 of 74
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,976member

    John Gruber needs to quit taking so many drugs. Using a stereo camera system based on tiny CMOS sensors and only using the best results from each then calling it DSLR quality is uneducated, uninformed, and just plain crazy. Add to this the extremely small size of the camera lens and the combination doesn't come close to a DSLR. The iPhone does take nice photos but comparing them to a DSLR with high-quality lens is grossly unfair to to real cameras. 

     

     

    iPhone6: Fabricated by Sony, the iSight camera chip is a stacked (Exmor RS), back-illuminated CMOS image sensor (CIS) featuring 1.5 µm generation pixels (introduced for the iPhone 5s). The die size is 4.8 mm x 6.1 mm (29.3 mm²).

     

     

    Canon EOS 60D, CMOS APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm), Pixel size 18.5 µm² (full size DSLR sensors have larger pixel sizes)

  • Reply 9 of 74
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,399member

    As a very happy, and heavy-user of a dSLR camera (Canon 5DM3), Apple will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands before I ever give it up.  The only way an iPhone camera will rival full-frame dSLR cameras is if the camera makers stop all advancements from this point forward.



    That being said, anything that improves the quality of iPhone cameras, I'm all for it.  It's just too convenient.



    People saying that phone cameras will rival full-frame SLR photos is just smoking too much ganja.  

  • Reply 10 of 74
    Is this the same little birdie that told him about ApplePay?
  • Reply 11 of 74
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
  • Reply 12 of 74

    "In related news, the Wall Street Journal reported today that introduction of the new iPhone 7 was being delayed because of "production problems' with the sapphire lenses."  :)

  • Reply 13 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    John Gruber needs to quit taking so many drugs. Using a stereo camera system based on tiny CMOS sensors and only using the best results from each then calling it DSLR quality is uneducated, uninformed, and just plain crazy. Add to this the extremely small size of the camera lens and the combination doesn't come close to a DSLR. The iPhone does take nice photos but comparing them to a DSLR with high-quality lens is grossly unfair to to real cameras. 

     

     

    iPhone6: Fabricated by Sony, the iSight camera chip is a stacked (Exmor RS), back-illuminated CMOS image sensor (CIS) featuring 1.5 µm generation pixels (introduced for the iPhone 5s). The die size is 4.8 mm x 6.1 mm (29.3 mm²).

     

     

    Canon EOS 60D, CMOS APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm), Pixel size 18.5 µm² (full size DSLR sensors have larger pixel sizes)




    I think John, while full of himself, is also one that doesn't push crazy rumors... A Birdie of a Birdie is his way of saying , a 'trusted source who has links into Apple."   Now, it's a rumor, and John said so, and he said he didn't know how it could work, so he's not hallucinating a vaunted camera. And he's also a bit of a camera snob (as is his podcast mate), so he's at least aware of the technology limitations.

     

    but... with enough software and hardware speed, my guess is the science is there to stitch together a picture way nicer than a single lens.   It's just taking the fuzzy logic to the next level of analysis (here are two/four images from distinct sources... what am I seeing here?).

    It won't be DSLR 2015 but it maybe DSLR 2008.   And that's pretty good, especially if it's PnC easy.

  • Reply 14 of 74
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    As a very happy, and heavy-user of a dSLR camera (Canon 5DM3), Apple will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands before I ever give it up.  The only way an iPhone camera will rival full-frame dSLR cameras is if the camera makers stop all advancements from this point forward.



    That being said, anything that improves the quality of iPhone cameras, I'm all for it.  It's just too convenient.



    People saying that phone cameras will rival full-frame SLR photos is just smoking too much ganja.  


    And technological advances seem to be exploding on the scene. Anything is possible.

     

    http://corephotonics.com/technologies/computational-photography/

  • Reply 15 of 74

    I don't care how much better the camera is over the iPhone 6.

     

    Just get rid of the abomination that is the protruding lens.

  • Reply 16 of 74
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,399member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pfisher View Post

     

    And technological advances seem to be exploding on the scene. Anything is possible.

     

    http://corephotonics.com/technologies/computational-photography/




    And I would think that similar advancements in the full-frame arena are ongoing as well.  No matter how good phone cameras get, there will always be a market for high-end professional-level cameras, and the consumers prepared to pay for it.

     

    Either way, I'm looking forward to what the next 5 years brings in this area!

  • Reply 17 of 74
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    I'd expect them to make just one hole and hopefully get rid of either the upper band or the lower one and narrow the band like so:

    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/52541/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]

    Taking out the lower band leaves the back a little plain, the horizontal split is ok.
  • Reply 18 of 74
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    That image looks wretched.

    Bear in mind that it's just a render.
  • Reply 19 of 74
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,495member
    Does anyone know where in the podcast the camera discussion happens? I played the whole thing the other day, but as usual, I fell asleep for some of it. It's long.
  • Reply 20 of 74

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    I'd expect them to make just one hole and hopefully get rid of either the upper band or the lower one and narrow the band like so:







    Taking out the lower band leaves the back a little plain, the horizontal split is ok.

     

    If i could put up a picture of bender from futurama i would, lol. I don't know how to do that yet.

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