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Apple reportedly has big upgrades in the works for the next iPhone camera

Is it time to say goodbye to interchangeable lens cameras?

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Photo (c) Paul Souders - Getty Images
We’re coming up on Big Tech’s new release season, and the gadget swamis are already predicting big changes. At the top of the list is Apple, which is reportedly taking a big step forward in the photography department on its upcoming iPhone 13. 

The new tech offering will sport a big camera if leaked photos of the device are any indication. Among the predicted bells and whistles are a new six-element ultrawide lens with autofocus and a video Portrait mode. As part of its investigation, Bloomberg News found out about a new feature called Cinematic Video that will allow users to record video with portrait blurring effects. That feature may be new to Apple fans, but Samsung phone owners have had it for several years.

Google lovers aren’t being left out in the cold on the phone camera upgrade battle. The new Google 6 has a 50-megapixel camera sensor that gives users nearly five times the performance power as the Google Pixel 5.

How much camera power do we need?

One ConsumerAffairs reviewer -- Prakash from Richmond, Texas -- said their iPhone camera’s quality was “as good as it can be.” Nonetheless, the pixel war rages on. In fact, the camera technology being used on phones today is getting so good that it may soon make interchangeable lens cameras a thing of the past.

“Over the past few years, smartphone cameras in general have improved significantly. So much so in fact, that many people no longer see the need to carry or buy a dedicated camera,” contends Statista data journalist Felix Richter.

“While professionals and photo enthusiasts will (probably) always get better results using high-end cameras and lenses, modern smartphones take pictures that are easily sufficient for the demands of the average consumer.”

The impact on the camera companies of the world has to be concerning. According to CIPA -- a Japan-based industry group that includes Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Panasonic, Canon, and Nikon -- worldwide camera shipments dropped by 93% between 2010 and 2020 and are on another downward trajectory in 2021, wiping out more than four decades of growth. Richter says the cause of that slide could come from only one place -- smartphones. 

“The steep decline was mainly driven by a drop-off in shipments of digital cameras with built-in lenses, the type that casual photographers used to rely on prior to the rise of smartphone photography,” he wrote.

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