Smartphones are getting smarter; and one of the surest proofs of that is the way phone cameras are improving to such an extent that today they allow consumers to casually snap a photograph that is virtually indistinguishable from professional photography.
The reason behind this, as is being made clear by Google’s new Pixel 4 and Pixel 44 XL, is A.I., algorithms, special sensors, and better (and cheaper) lens crafting (all of today’s smartphone camera lens are manufactured in China — and so far the tariff wars have not affected their availability at incredibly cheap prices — a comparable smartphone lens crafted in Germany is double the price.
The rise of social media sites like Instagram, Vimeo, and SnapChat, that thrive on photographs and short videos, have driven mobile phone manufacturers to burn the midnight oil to make it possible for consumers without even a rudimentary knowledge of photography to take stunning portraits and snap panoramic scenic views (usually from their latest vacation.) Not to mention the ubiquitous selfie, which has become such a recognized artform that art museums like MOMA and the Whitney have wings now dedicated to nothing but selfie portraits.
Computational photography is now a reality for every new smartphone brand — it not only automatically takes professional grade photographs, but is also a part of the technology that allows for facial recognition to unlock phones.