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100MP selfie cameras could be coming, but you might want to give them a skip

Would you buy a phone with a 100MP+ camera on the front?

Published onFebruary 15, 2021

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 108MP macro
  • A frequent leaker says that 100MP selfie cameras are on the way.
  • There are several reasons why this might not be the best idea.

We first saw 100MP+ cameras on phones from Xiaomi and Samsung, with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, Mi 10 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra offering 108MP main cameras on the rear. It looks like the tech is here to stay, as numerous phones have offered 108MP rear cameras since then.

However, frequent tipster Digital Chat Station has now claimed on Weibo that 100MP+ selfie cameras are actually on the way. Check out the machine-translated version of the post below.

The leaker doesn’t dish out any more details such as specific brands or models that will have the feature, or a timeline for release. But there are a number of reasons why 100MP+ selfie cameras might not be the wisest decision for OEMs and customers alike.

One of the biggest challenges is simply fitting a 100MP+ camera on the front, as these sensors are much larger than the 8MP, 13MP, 20MP, and 32MP cameras typically seen on the front of phones. That means the manufacturer might be forced to offer a large punch-hole cutout, notch, or a bezel to ensure that the camera fits.

Samsung Semiconductor has tried to shrink the size of 100MP+ sensors, recently launching a 108MP sensor that’s slightly smaller than previous models. But this shrinkage comes at the expense of smaller pixels/photo sites, which introduces another challenge. Smaller pixels/photo sites aren’t able to gather as much light, which affects low-light image quality even when snapping pixel-binned images.

Meanwhile, we’ve seen the likes of Google, LG, and Samsung deliver top-notch selfies in low-light with cameras ranging from 8MP to 16MP (and offering larger pixels).

Would you buy a smartphone with a 100MP+ selfie camera?

357 votes

One possibility is that any future phone that takes 100MP+ selfies offers a flipping camera mechanism akin to the ASUS Zenfone range. This way, you’ve still got a full-sized 108MP camera sensor and you don’t need to worry about finding space for it. We’ve also recently seen the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra prematurely appear online, and it offers a tiny rear screen that’s seemingly used for selfies with the main camera. So this is another approach that a manufacturer could take.

As for the actual benefits of 100MP+ selfie cameras, one upside is that you’ve theoretically got plenty of pixels to zoom in on. But how many people actually want to zoom in that closely on their selfies? Another potential upside is that a 100MP+ camera could technically support 8K video recording, although you only need a 33MP+ camera to deliver 8K video in the first place.

Would you buy a phone with a 100MP+ selfie camera? Take our poll further up the page!

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