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Qualcomm explains why phones will soon kill off DSLRs – and it has a point

The DSLR’s death knell has been ringing on an almost daily basis for the past couple of years – and now Qualcomm has joined the fray by explaining the specific reasons why it thinks phone cameras will soon kill off the aging camera format.

In an in-depth interview with Android Authority (opens in new tab), Qualcomm’s vice-president of product management for cameras Judd Heape laid out the reasons why smartphones will soon consign DSLRs to history. And the chip maker’s slightly biased vision is pretty compelling, particularly given the recent drop in third-party DSLR lens options.

As you’d expect from one of the world’s biggest chip makers, Qualcomm’s predictions center around image processing. “The processing in Snapdragon is 10 times better than what you can find on the biggest and baddest Nikon and Canon cameras,” claimed Heape. “And that’s why we’re able to really push the barrier on image quality. Because even though we have a small lens and small image sensor, we’re doing many, many times more processing than what’s even capable in a DSLR.”

The Nikon D3500 DSLR on a blue background

(Image credit: Nikon)

This is certainly true, and has been for some time. The question for many photographers is how much processing is acceptable in their photos – after all, we’re reaching a point where interpolation and AI edits are starting to comprise the majority of a smartphone image. And for many traditionalists, even those who happily adjust their snaps in digital post-processing, that’s crossing a line. 

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