By , the Tardis  recorder was in prototype and being used by the government. Bureau Of Technical Services advanced further by the patent No. Their patent application was filed with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office in May 19th, , followed by several filings around the world making it a global family of patent applications. The patent application specifically described the combination as either a separate digital camera connected to a cell phone or as an integrated system with both sub-systems combined together in a single unit.
Their patent application design included all of the basic functions camera phones implemented for many years: the capture, storage, and display of digital images and the means to transmit the images over the radio frequency channel. On June 11, , Philippe Kahn instantly shared the first pictures from the maternity ward where his daughter Sophie was born. He wirelessly transmitted his cell phone pictures to more than 2, family, friends and associates around the world.
Kahn's wireless sharing software and camera integrated into his cell phone augured the birth of instant visual communications. However, it could not send the resulting image over the telephone function, but required a computer connection to access photos. Cameras on cell phones proved popular right from the start, as indicated by the J-Phone in Japan having had more than half of its subscribers using cell phone cameras in two years.
The world soon followed. In , more camera phones were sold worldwide than stand-alone digital cameras largely due to growth in Japan and Korea.
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In , half of the world's mobile phones had a built-in camera. In , Nokia sold more camera phones than Kodak sold film-based simple cameras, thus becoming the biggest manufacturer of any kind of camera. High-end camera phones usually had a relatively good lens and high resolution. Higher resolution camera phones started to appear in the s. The seven-minute film was shot entirely on the phone's p camera.
Originally, dual rear cameras were implemented as a way to capture 3D content, which was something that electronics manufacturers were pushing back then. Several years later, the release of the iPhone 7 would popularize this concept, but instead using the second lens as a wide angle lens.
It also features Nokia's PureView Pro technology, a pixel oversampling technique that reduces an image taken at full resolution into a lower resolution picture, thus achieving higher definition and light sensitivity, and enables lossless zoom. In mid, Nokia announced the Nokia Lumia In , the HTC one M8 introduced the concept of having a camera as a depth sensor. In late , Apple introduced the iPhone 7 Plus , one of the phones to popularize a dual camera setup. The iPhone 7 Plus included a main 12 MP camera along with a 12 MP telephoto camera which allowed for 2x optical zoom and Portrait Mode for the first time in a smartphone.
In early Huawei released a new flagship phone, the Huawei P20 Pro , with one of the first triple camera lens setup. Making up its three sensors co-engineered with Leica are a 40 megapixel RGB lens, a 20 megapixel monochrome lens, and an 8 megapixel telephoto lens. Some features on the Huawei P20 Pro include 3x optical zoom, and fps slow motion. In late , Samsung released a new mid-range smartphone, the Galaxy A9 with the world's first quad camera setup.
Nokia 9 PureView was released in featuring penta-lens camera system. In , Samsung announced the Galaxy A80, which has only rear cameras. When the user wants to take a selfie, the cameras automatically slide out of the back and rotate towards the user. The MP sensor was developed in cooperation with Chinese electronics company Xiaomi and both sensors are capable of pixel binning, which combines the signals of 4 pixels, and makes the 4 pixels act as a single, larger pixel. A larger pixel can capture more light resulting in a higher ISO rating and lower image noise.
Personal photography allows people to capture and construct personal and group memory, maintain social relationships as well as expressing their identity. As mobile phones are constantly carried, camera phones allow for capturing moments at any time.
Mobile communication also allows for immediate transmission of content for example via Multimedia Messaging Services , which cannot be reversed or regulated. Brooke Knight observes that "the carrying of an external, non-integrated camera like a DSLR always changes the role of the wearer at an event, from participant to photographer". Photos taken on a camera phone serve to prove the physical presence of the photographer.
The immediacy of sharing and the liveness that comes with it allows the photographs shared through camera phones to emphasize their indexing of the photographer. While phones have been found useful by tourists and for other common civilian purposes, as they are cheap, convenient, and portable; they have also posed controversy, as they enable secret photography. A user may pretend to be simply talking on the phone or browsing the internet, drawing no suspicion while photographing a person or place in non-public areas where photography is restricted, or perform photography against that person's wishes.
At the same time, camera phones have enabled every citizen to exercise her or his freedom of speech by being able to quickly communicate to others what she or he has seen with their own eyes. In most democratic free countries, there are no restrictions against photography in public and thus camera phones enable new forms of citizen journalism , fine art photography , and recording one's life experiences for facebooking or blogging. As a network-connected device, megapixel camera phones are playing significant roles in crime prevention, journalism and business applications as well as individual uses.
They can also be used for activities such as voyeurism , invasion of privacy , and copyright infringement. Because they can be used to share media almost immediately, they are a potent personal content creation tool. Camera phone is limiting "Right to be let alone", since recording tool is always with us. Security bug can allow attackers to spy on users through phone camera. However, as sharing can be instantaneous, even if the action is discovered, it is too late, as the image is already out of reach, unlike a photo taken by a digital camera that only stores images locally for later transfer however, as the newer digital cameras support Wi-Fi, a photographer can perform photography with a DSLR and instantly post the photo on the internet through the mobile phone's Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities.
Apart from street photographers and social documentary photographers or cinematographers, camera phones have also been used successfully by war photographers. The film is a reenactment of an actual case and they changed the names to protect those involved.
Some modern camera phones in have big sensors, thus allowing a street photographer or any other kind of photographer to take photos of similar quality to a semi-pro camera. The cameras of smartphones are used as input devices in numerous research projects and commercial applications.
A commercially successful example is the use of QR Codes attached to physical objects. QR Codes can be sensed by the phone using its camera and provide an according link to related digital content, usually a URL. Another approach is using camera images to recognize objects. Content-based image analysis is used to recognize physical objects such as advertisement posters  to provide information about the object.
Hybrid approaches use a combination of un-obtrusive visual markers and image analysis. An example is to estimate the pose of the camera phone to create a real-time overlay for a 3D paper globe. Some smartphones can provide an augmented reality overlay for 2D objects  and to recognize multiple objects on the phone using a stripped down object recognition algorithm  as well as using GPS and compass. A few can translate text from a foreign language. Smartphones can use their front camera of lesser performance as compared to rear camera facing the user for purposes like self-portraiture selfie and videoconferencing.
Smartphones can usually not fixed on a tripod, which can make problems at filming or at taking pictures with long exposure times. Camera phones, or more specifically, widespread use of such phones as cameras by the general public, has increased exposure to laws relating to public and private photography.
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The laws that relate to other types of cameras also apply to camera phones. There are no special laws for camera phones. Enforcing bans on camera phones has proven nearly impossible. They are small and numerous and their use is easy to hide or disguise, making it hard for law enforcement and security personnel to detect or stop use.
Total bans on camera phones would also raise questions about freedom of speech and the freedom of the press , since camera phone ban would prevent a citizen or a journalist or a citizen journalist from communicating to others a newsworthy event that could be captured with a camera phone. From time to time, organizations and places have prohibited or restricted the use of camera phones and other cameras because of the privacy, security, and copyright issues they pose.
Such places include the Pentagon , federal and state courts,  museums, schools, theaters, and local fitness clubs. Saudi Arabia , in April , banned the sale of camera phones nationwide for a time before reallowing their sale in December although pilgrims on the Hajj were allowed to bring in camera phones.
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There is the occasional anecdote of camera phones linked to industrial espionage and the activities of paparazzi which are legal but often controversial , as well as some hacking into wireless operators' network.