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"The future of mobile photography is in computational and algorithms," interview Zake Zhang, product manager of OnePlus

"The future of mobile photography is in computational and algorithms," interview Zake Zhang, product manager of OnePlus

The photograph has become something fundamental in the mobiles of the present beyond the high range, but with an increasingly important weight in the flagships. OnePlus has made a relative leap in its OnePlus 7 Pro with a triple camera that was placed in that minimum of requirements that the first line seems to have, and to talk about it and the future of photography in the brand and in the industry we have been able to talk to Zake Zhang, product manager of OnePlus.

We had the opportunity to speak with him in a context as favorable as the company's offices in Taipei, which also house one of the photographic laboratories. Thus, among many mobile phones, motivational phrases and corporate colors we sit with him and ask him about this topic that we like so much.

The weight of hardware and software in a good photograph and transparency about artificial intelligence

We were able to do the interview after having been participating in a few sessions of feedback photographic with other media and the people of OnePlus. In addition to Zhang, other engineers working in the Taipei laboratory were present and both the points to improve and what we generally looked for in the mobile photography were discussed, and some of those points are mentioned in the interview.

Speaking of what a part or another brings in a camera in terms of hardware and software, for you what percentage of a good camera is the sensor and how much processing?

ZZ: Regarding image quality, both software and hardware are important, but I think this second one is to a greater extent. Probably more than 80% is based on hardware, something that we see even in professional DSLR cameras: the greater the sensor, the greater the amount of light, especially in the scenes with low illumination (the full frame).

But we cannot go as far in smartphones as in cameras because of the size limitation: there is less space and the sensor size is also limited by this. So since there is a limitation we try to maximize the available space to put the largest possible sensor.

That in relation to hardware. Speaking of software, we have to see how to maximize hardware. I believe that in what we have spoken before you have hit the spot: the mobile photography is completely different from the traditional one with DSLR. Smartphone photography relies heavily on computational photography and algorithms, which is something you cannot do with a DSLR.

So in the near future we will see more change in mobile photography than in the traditional one. That is why I think that 20% of the weight of the software in the mobile photography will go to more, will have a more important role in the image quality, because of those algorithms and computational photography, the rules of the game will change.

We are already seeing scene detection by artificial intelligence, bokeh for portrait mode … And in the near future there will be more algorithms for video. In fact, the video depends more on the hardware because it takes more frames per second (30, 60, etc.) than the photograph (one), and that is why it is more demanding.

Oneplus 7 Pro

Speaking of AI, something that is quite fashionable to highlight for years in mobile cameras, how is OnePlus implementing it? What is your approach with her in photography?

ZZ: In fact, we haven't publicly talked about AI per se, we use the expression "intelligent scene detection", because we don't want to emphasize the use of AI just because everyone is doing it. I think that calling him that right now is fair because it is a limited detection. In the near future we could call it AI or "AI detection", when more scenes are included in the algorithm and when certain settings are automatically offered, automatically detecting them.

Do you agree that the detection of scenes as such is not AI, so that this is used as a kind of claim (without being exactly so)?

ZZ: S. This is done in many brands as something new or flashy and, well, we are all working with AI for years. We prefer to be transparent in this regard.

The use of AI as a claim is made in many brands as something new or flashy and, well, we are all working with AI for years. We prefer to be transparent in this regard.