Next iPhone’s camera may get a pixel boost, but there’s a trade-off

An industry observer says Apple’s upcoming iPhones will increase the pixel count from 8 pixels to 12. The pixels would be smaller, though, which could affect picture quality.

Will Apple bump up the pixel count on the iPhone’s camera this year? One person in the know says so.

This year’s iPhones, most likely to be dubbed the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, will raise the pixel count of the rear camera to 12 megapixels from the current 8, said Kevin Wong, chief executive at market intelligence firm IHS China. Wong made the claim Thursday via a post to Chinese social network Sina Weibo. If what he said is true, this would be the first time Apple has boosted the pixel count on its flagship phone’s camera since it increased it from 5MP to 8MP with the debut of the iPhone 4S in 2011.

But that jump in pixel count could come at a price, according to Wong. To achieve the higher count, Apple would reduce the actual size of each pixel. And why might that be bad? Smaller pixels are less sensitive to light, which can lead to poorer-quality photos with more noise, especially those taken in low-light conditions. So there’s a trade-off with a higher pixel count and a smaller pixel size.

The whole subject of pixel count has inspired much debate.
Certain Lumia smartphones have received kudos for their high-quality photos. The Lumia 808 and 1020 both come with a 41-megapixel camera. But does the pixel count account for the high quality, or are there other factors involved?

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus use 8-megapixel cameras, but both of those phones have been cited for their high-quality photo-taking skills. Apple has in the past avoided the popular trend of constantly increasing the pixel count and has instead worked on other features to enhance the camera, such as improved autofocus and optical image stabilization on the 6 Plus. So even if Apple lowers the size of the pixels to achieve a greater pixel count, the company is likely to enhance the camera in other ways that would still ensure high-quality photos.

Wong’s prediction echoes that of KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In an investors note released earlier this week, Kuo said the iPhone 6S camera would see an upgrade to 12 megapixels.

(Source: Cnet)

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