For keen photographers, DSLR cameras have long been the gold-standard. The best DSLR cameras offer fantastic value-for-money and exceptional picture quality.
But as camera technology in smart phones has improved, they became the DSLR's biggest rival.
Now, with AI assistance that can select optimal settings or remove unwanted blurriness, phone photography is easier to use than ever.
And, according to Qualcomm's vice president of product management for cameras, Judd Heape, AI-powered smart phones will overtake DSLRs within three to five years.
In an interview with androidauthority.com (opens in new tab) , Heape said, "In terms of getting towards the image quality of a DSLR, yes. I think the image sensor is there.
"I think the amount of innovation that’s going into mobile image sensors is probably faster and more advanced than what’s happening in the rest of the industry.”
Those are bold claims, but Heape can back it up. He claims that Snapdragon processors are ten times better than those found in Nikon and Canon cameras. This processing prowess is what makes the smart phone camera so capable, despite having smaller sensors.
How AI is changing the smartphone camera
The use of AI to improve camera quality is not new. The Google Pixel 6 saw the introduction of Magic Eraser, a feature where unwanted parts of an images' background can be removed.
More commonly, brands use AI to adjust the image composition settings automatically. Users can elect to adjust this – in some cases even after an image is captured. But in my experience, the AI does a solid job of getting the details just right.
More and more smart phones are capable of shooting RAW image files, too. This is a massive plus for smart phone photography, which enables it to be truly useful in the same space as a DSLR.
Casual DSLR users will likely already find themselves asking serious questions. If I have a device in my pocket that can shoot as well as a bulkier camera in most situations, why should I use the camera?