Qualcomm Technologies revealed the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 stating that it introduces a collection of premium features and technologies that transform your phone into a DSLR-quality camera.
Smartphone photography is evolving at a pace that moves it closer to conventional cameras. What it lacks in sensor size and optics quality, it tries to compensate with the use of AI. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 may not be a rival to a DSLR or Mirrorless for many situations, but it has some tricks up its sleeve that make both photography and video easier to capture. Among the new things it offers is a world’s first for any camera: the Snapdragon Sight technology additions include new Cognitive ISP to power real time semantic segmentation for photo and video capture, delivering breakthrough customized professional quality enhancements.
Puzzled by the term and its meaning? Well, Qualcomm Technologies says that Cognitive ISP, now added to its Snapdragon Sight technology, the part of the processor that deals with image capture, automatically enhances photos and videos in real time with semantic segmentation, which uses an AI neural network to make the camera contextually aware of faces, facial features, hair, clothes, skies and more – and optimize them individually so every detail receives customized professional image tuning. It sounds better than any retouching tool you used decades ago for passport photos. And easier to use too!
AV1 codec with support for 8K HDR at 60 fps
So, we’ve a new term to add to the glossary of photography terms: Cognitive ISP. Qualcomm says it contributes to make Snapdragon Sight technology able to open a new era of professional quality camera experiences, delivering breakthrough customized professional quality enhancements.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also tuned to support new image sensors. Sony Semiconductor Solutions is the first to develop quad digital overlap HDR technology, and which is fine-tuned for Snapdragon. The Samsung ISOCELL HP3, the first 200-megapixel image sensor optimized for Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, will deliver professional quality photos and videos. This is also the first Snapdragon to include an AV1 codec with support for video playback up to 8K HDR at 60 frames per second.
During the Snapdragon Summit 2022, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc in which the company introduced its latest premium mobile platform, it was said that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform will define a new standard for connected computing, intelligently engineered with groundbreaking AI across the board to enable extraordinary experiences. This new mobile platform will be adopted by global OEMs and brands including ASUS Republic of Gamers, HONOR, iQOO, Motorola, nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, REDMAGIC, Redmi, SHARP, Sony Corporation, vivo, Xiaomi, XINGJI/MEIZU, and ZTE, with the first commercial devices expected by the end of 2022.
Smartphones are more than a camera
The camera is a key element for modern smartphones and premium smartphones will receive the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform, so users can expect to have the best mobile image capture devices technology can offer. But because smartphones are more than a camera, Qualcomm also announced other features of the new platform. Here are some of the highlights:
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform to revolutionize flagship smartphones for truly extraordinary experiences
- Snapdragon Smart enables groundbreaking AI experiences like faster natural language processing with multi-language translation and revolutionary INT4 support
- Snapdragon Sight technology additions include new Cognitive ISP to power real time semantic segmentation for photo and video capture, delivering breakthrough customized professional quality enhancements
- Snapdragon Elite Gaming features fuel champion-level gameplay with the industry standard for real time hardware-accelerated ray tracing
- Snapdragon Connect enhancements include unparalleled connectivity featuring the world’s first 5G AI processor in a mobile platform, and the only commercial Wi-Fi 7 SoC with High Band Simultaneous Multi-Link
- Snapdragon Sound technology supports spatial audio with dynamic head tracking for ultra-immersive gaming and multimedia experiences
- Expected to be launched in commercial devices by the end of 2022
AI cinematic video capture
“We are passionate about enabling people to do more, so we design Snapdragon with the user at the center. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, will revolutionize the landscape of flagship smartphones in 2023,” said Chris Patrick, senior vice president and general manager of mobile handsets, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 delivers groundbreaking AI, unparalleled connectivity, and champion-level gameplay, enabling consumers to enhance every experience on their most trusted device.”
According to the company, “the Qualcomm AI Engine is our fastest, most advanced yet. Enjoy super intuitive experiences like faster natural language processing with multi-language translation and transcription, AI cinematic video capture, direct voice command of your apps, AI bots for next-level gaming, and more.”
In terms of photography and video, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 introduces, according to Qualcomm, “a collection of premium features and technologies that transform your phone into a DSLR-quality camera” and bring “professional imagery to mobile devices”, claims that should be taken with a grain of salt. One thing is true, though: the Snapdragon Mobile Platform features advanced camera technologies that capture stunning photos and videos while delivering an incredibly smart camera experience. Plus, the always-sensing camera provides zero-touch access to your device—no need to lift a finger.
Here are some of the features Qualcomm highlights when showing its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform:
- Professional-quality images
The 18-bit Triple ISP can capture from three cameras simultaneously and can capture 4,096x more color and light data compared to our previous generation.
- Staggering capture speeds
The 18-bit ISP can capture 3.2 gigapixels per second—enough speed to capture 240 12 MP photos in just a second.
- Eye-popping night photos
The Mega Multi-Frame Engine dramatically enhances night shooting, combining the best parts of up to 30 images into a single image—a 5x improvement over our previous generation—for mega low-light photos.
- Improved accuracy and security
The AI powered Face Detection powers 300% faster auto-focus than our previous generation that delivers better contrast and color in almost any lighting condition.
- DXOMARK Camera Champion
Powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform, the HONOR Magic4 Ultimate currently has the highest DXOMARK Camera score in the world.
If you follow DxO’s camera scores, then this should be something to check, as some of the upcoming smartphones may well establish a new score, revealing that, slowly, smartphones are getting better at being cameras. There is still a gap and I believe that there will always be, but don’t just say “it’s a smartphone”, because some of the most exciting technologies in terms of image capture are being developed for… the camera you always have with you.