Skip to main content

Dual-lens cameras are coming to smartphones, but not until next year, says Sony

dual lens cameras takeoff 2017 iphone camera concept 02
Dual-lens cameras could bring smartphones up another notch when it comes to photography, but they might not come as fast we had hoped. This information comes courtesy of Sony’s most recent earnings call for its third quarter.

During the call, Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed that its dual-lens will be featured in devices from “major smartphone players” over the next year. However, because high-end smartphones are slowing down, Yoshida believes the “real start, the takeoff of smartphones with dual-lens cameras will be in the year of 2017.”

Although only a prediction, Sony is one of the leaders when it comes to providing image sensors to smartphone manufacturers, so the company might know what its talking about.

However, if you read between the lines, there seems to be an opening for some adoption in 2016. Yoshida cleared used the word “takeoff,” which could mean that he believes that the majority of high-end smartphone manufacturers will adopt dual-lens cameras in 2017, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a few manufacturers jumping on board this year.

Dual-lens cameras are nothing new. The most recent rendition was from HTC with the One M8, but that was more of a gimmick than anything else. Future implementations of a dual-lens setup could bring smartphone camera quality closer to a DSLR. By using one lens for color information and the other for brightness, the quality of images could improve dramatically.

Apple’s most recent patent shows yet another advantage: the possibility of capturing video with one lens when zoomed out, while the second lens captures photos while zoomed in.

We have already heard rumors that Apple could offer a “premium” version of the iPhone 7 Plus later this year, which would sport a dual-lens camera. This speculation has been fueled by the fact that Apple recently bought Linx Computational Imaging, a company that specializes in using multiple sensors for capturing both 2D and 3D images. There are even reports that Apple is already testing dual-lens samples from a variety of manufacturers.

Then there is LG, who will launch the G5 later this month. That phone is also rumored to sport two lenses, one for the background and one for the subject.

Samsung has also been the center of many rumors as well, but the Galaxy S7 isn’t likely to sport a dual-lens camera based on leaks up to this point. However, it’s very possibly that Samsung could launch other Galaxy phones with dual-lenses later this year.

And of course, we can’t forget about Sony, which is likely to use its own dual-lens sensor for an Xperia flagship at some point.

So based on Sony’s prediction, 2017 looks to be a breakout year for the dual-lens camera, but we’re still holding out hope that 2016 will get the party started.

Editors' Recommendations

Robert Nazarian
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Robert Nazarian became a technology enthusiast when his parents bought him a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color. Now his biggest…
Sony teases the more approachable FX6 cinema camera
sony fx6 cinema teased announced line teaser

Sony’s upcoming cinema series could potentially lower the bar for entry into the category to more creators. Announced in a teaser on September 2, the new Sony Cinema Line will mix two existing but updated cameras with a new, smaller cinema camera before the end of the year. While cinema cameras are typically reserved for the high-end pros, the company says that the new line is designed for “a broader range of creators.”

The Sony Cinema Line starts with the existing Venice camera, designed for digital movie production, and the FX9, favored by documentary photographers. Both cameras are expected to see updates. The third generation of FX9 will incorporate remote control and additional lens support next year, while the Venice will see new firmware features aimed at broadcast users in November 2020.

Read more
Sony’s A7S III is the ultimate 4K video camera, five years in the making
what is sony a7siii everything you need to know a7s iii announced the iiii 10

After years of speculation with nary a peep out of Sony with regards to the much-loved A7S line (the A7S II launched five years ago), there's finally a new camera. Sony has loaded this latest iteration with some of the most impressive video-focused capabilities we’ve seen in a compact camera body. With a strong emphasis on 4K, Sony is positioning the $3,500 A7S III not just as a low-light powerhouse, but as the most capable video camera in its segment.

“The A7S II is purpose-built to make wonderful video and low light photography,” Mark Weir, the Senior Technology Manager for Sony Digital Imaging, told Digital Trends. “It shows how Sony has taken feedback from end-users to update and improve user experience overall.”

Read more
After years of waiting, Sony A7S III may arrive this summer
best sony a7 series camera a7s ii

The Sony A7S III might be just around the corner. While the name of the camera is not yet official, Sony's Kenji Tanaka confirmed that the "successor to the Alpha 7S II" will arrive this summer, according to an interview with DPReview. That release window will likely see the camera go head-to-head with the Canon EOS R5, another video-centric, full-frame mirrorless camera.

Sony A7S II Image used with permission by copyright holder

Read more