Sony sees dual-lens cameras on major smartphones by 2017

iPhone 6S Plus
Apple's next phablet could be the first phone to sport a dual-lens

There's only so much you can do with a single camera lens, particularly when it needs to be compact enough to fit comfortably into a smartphone. So how can manufacturers continue improving smartphone photography?

One answer is to use dual-lens cameras – and Sony reckons that's something we'll start seeing over the next year.

In a recent earnings call, as reported by Xperia Blog, Kenichiro Yoshida, CFO of Sony, claimed the company's dual-camera platform would be adopted by "major smartphone players" in 2016.

However, he went on to say that because the high-end smartphone market is thought to be slowing down "we believe the real start, the take-off of smartphone with dual lens camera will be in the year of 2017".

Apple and LG could be the first

So don't expect to see dual-lens cameras becoming a standard feature for at least a year yet. But it's already been rumoured that the iPhone 7 Plus and LG G5 could have one, so these may be among those major players Sony is talking about.

Adding a second lens to the mix could have a couple of significant benefits. For one thing it could improve low-light performance, as there would be two separate sensors to take in light – something we've already seen on the HTC One M8 and Honor 6 Plus.

A dual-lens camera would also likely improve zoom capability, as by having a different focal length on each lens you could switch to the one with a longer focal length when you want a zoom shot.

These are both major issues with smartphone photography, so overcoming them would be a big deal.

Hopefully Sony is right, and we'll see the beginnings of the dual-lens revolution this year – 2017 still feels an awfully long way away.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.