Camera Evolution

On the eve of the iPhone 14 announcement, I thought it would be good to pause and look back on this fantastic comparison the folks at Simple Ghar mocked up. The team over there went through and compared photos from Samsung, Apple, and other smartphones going back to 2000.

To compare the capabilities of camera phones over the years, SimpleGhar’s experts gathered data on the tech specs of the best-selling devices and those that made a significant leap in image quality. Then, we created mock-up images of the effect each camera phone would have on a consistent set of sample photos. We can now present these as a series of timelines and an interactive comparison tool.

Simple Ghar

Their methodology is interesting because instead of using the actual devices, they created comparable mockups using the same image. I don't know if this creates a 1-to-1 comparison from the original hardware, but this is still super cool to see.

What strikes me as the most impressive is the monumental leaps in the first 4-6 iterations of a device, and then how things level off. Today, it isn't that the best camera is the one in your pocket if it's an iPhone. It is squarely the phone you have in your pocket as long as it was built in the last five years. There will always be improvements to mobile photography, but for me, it'll be less about pixels and lenses and more about computational tweaks that do all the heavy lifting in software instead.

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