Innovation and technological advancement are catalysts in the global camera lens market. The unprecedented growth of the smartphone sector and the mere idea of striving for a picture-perfect finish have become influential, prompting camera lens suppliers to inject funds into research and innovation. While most professionals prefer mirrorless and DSLR cameras, smartphone cameras are bringing in new lens technologies such as advanced zooming, weight loss and space to fill a larger retail consumer base.
Consistent efforts are being made to improve camera capabilities for mobile devices. For example, a team of researchers from Utah developed a lens that was 100 times lighter than the lens of the iPhone 11. They believe that lens technology will enter the landscape of smartphones within 5 years. Similar developments to enhance product quality while adapting to the trend of minimization can stimulate the perspective of the camera lens industry.
Over the years, zoom lenses and prime lenses have underscored focal length optimization. The former is versatile and flexible with multiple focal lengths in a single lens. Zoom has become an effective choice when traveling or taking pictures of parties and events. Meanwhile, prime lenses are smaller and lighter. Lenses are preferred for low light and shallow depth field effects.
The global camera lens market size is expected to exceed USD 15 billion by 2027, a significant traction across consumer electronics applications. The automotive sector also holds a strong potential in the demand for camera lenses, especially from the surrounding view camera system and self-drive cars. Advanced driver assistance technologies can rely heavily on miniature cameras with collision sensors.
Extending the reach of the smartphone camera lens
The use of more lenses enables manufacturers to compensate for irregularities such as distortion and discoloration. Companies are advancing camera lenses to match the big camera sensors, ready to become industry trendsetters. For example, smartphone giant Samsung Xiaomi has developed and launched the 108MP rear camera. The smartphone lens offers creative solutions with Fishei and ultra-wide-angle lenses. Niche optics like telephoto, zoom, fishy lens can run for money on built-in camera phone hardware.
For example, Scope Photonics, a Canadian-based company, is creating a harmless zoom for all types of photos to enable photographers to capture a zoom-in close-up image that will be consistently sharp. While the technology is being prototyped for medical devices, they are looking to bring advanced lenses to the smartphone system within three years, promising significant value addition in the camera lens industry. With sinking prices and smaller sizes, fishy lenses have gained widespread attention over the past few years. They provide a huge round 180-degree field of view, light weight and easy to use. Lenses provide a high-quality landscape and enable capture of a large area of the surrounding space.
Value-based solution with AI on camera
The use of artificial intelligence in smartphone cameras has encouraged price proposals to identify landmarks, extract details, improve image processing and de-nize images. AI blurred the boundaries between image manipulation, image capture, and image enhancement. Companies are trying to develop solutions to achieve image quality like a DSLR
Although some cameras come with a fixed lens, professional camera brands such as Sony, Nikon, and Canon are focusing on ultra-wide-angle lenses. Ultra-wide-angle lenses have become the mainstay of landscape shooting. Nevertheless, smartphone camera lenses have been around for ages with ultra-wide and telephoto lenses for recording detailed, wide picture and video in 4K resolution.
The digital camera segment witnessed disruption
The rise of smartphone photography has had a telling impact on the digital camera industry. The wave of innovation led by mobile brands has influenced the demand for entry-level point and shoot cameras among retail customers and amateurs. Although digital camera technology has not made much progress in 2020, the next time will be no less than innovation, especially in mirrorless cameras.
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) – a relatively new technology in cameras – has taken the camera lens market by storm with its goal of stabilizing sensors to deliver shake-free and stable video footage and sharp still images. Some manufacturers such as Canon, Sony and Olympus have incorporated the technology into their models. Telephoto lenses are popular for capturing images of wildlife and nature. They enable photographers to produce closer crops and take better pictures at a distance. Significantly, super telephoto lenses have gained traction for sports and wildlife photography.
Mirrorless cameras are on the verge of revolutionizing high-speed burst modes, making the global camera lens market strong enough. Camera bodies can be made lighter and smaller than DSLRs. Sports photographers are the main buyers of mirrorless cameras because they guarantee high quality zoom lenses. Not to mention that fashion experts, architects and commercial photographers rely on superior color science, dynamic range and extra resolution.
Sophisticated mirrorless cameras provide state-of-the-art subject and scene detection, AF point coverage, face and eye detection for both humans and animals. Sophisticated cameras offer improved video features, pixel-shift and better optics. Future camera innovations will likely be complemented by the use of AI and software, underscoring digital camera market trends.
Observing recent camera launches, one can conclude that mirrorless cameras are slowly gaining a significant share of the DSLR segment. During February 2020, the Canon ESO R5 confirmed the development of the next-gen full-frame mirrorless camera and the new RF series of camera lenses. The product promises CMOS sensors, optical and image processing as well as 8K video recording.
Is DSLR a thing of the past?
DSLRs may be at a saturation point, which has already hit the wall of innovation for decades. In October 2020, Nikon discontinued its F6, D5 and other Nikkor Ai-S and AF-S DX lenses, while Canon discontinued production of the film camera: EOS-1v— in 2018. That said, DSLR camera outlook may not be everything. For that dark example, Nikon launched the full FX-format D780 DSLR in January 2020 with features similar to the autofocus (AF) system. It has high AF accuracy and easy to use view finder in low light conditions. It can help videographers and photographers with higher focus, better accuracy and optimization.
Vlogging Cameras: A Boost for the Camera Lens Market
The trend of vlogging cameras is growing at a snail’s pace. These cameras are proving to be effective in the long run because they belong to YouTube and other video-based platforms such as TikTok. The rise of vlogging culture has prompted vlogging brands to seize the opportunity in a growing market like India. For example, Sony introduced the ZV-1 compact vlogging camera in India in July 2020. They’ve introduced features like background defocus, product showcase settings for review videos, and directional three-capsule microphones.
Vloggers with walk-and-talk shots are also showing clarity for IBIS technology. Companies are introducing mirrorless cameras for vlogging with IBIS and larger sensors. Innovations in the camera lens industry will emerge from the trend of smartphones and mirrorless cameras. Photo enthusiasts and professionals alike can be zero in on the shock of any new technology in lenses and sensors. Automotive and healthcare applications will largely drive the development of the camera lens industry.