Phones with three rear cameras are becoming common. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Fold has six cameras including three on the back, two on the front, and one on the… umm, other front. And HMD is probably going to introduce the first smartphone with five rear cameras next week.
So what’s next?
Last year we learned that camera company Light was working on designs that would let phone makers cram as many as nine cameras onto the back of a phone. Now Light has announced that it’s working with Sony on new reference designs that could pave the way for “smartphones containing four or more cameras.”
There aren’t many details in the announcement, but the move makes it a lot more likely that we’ll see phone makers adopt Light’s technology. While Sony’s smartphones haven’t been wildly popular in recent years, the company’s image sensors are widely used by other smartphone makers.
Now those phone makers will be able to simplify the process or putting additional cameras in their devices by opting for a design that combines Sony’s image sensors with Light’s multi-camera technology.
Using multiple cameras in a single device is one way to add features to a smartphone camera that would normally require an SLR camera with interchangeable lenses. For example, one camera can handle wide-angle image capture. Another can be used for depth-sensing. And another can add support for optical zoom.
Light says its technology can help smartphone users capture higher resolution images, allow you to take better shots in low-light conditions, offer more options for adjusting aperture, bokeh effects, or other features, or enable virtual reality and augmented reality applications, among other thing.
Somebody is going to make a Pokemon Registeel/Regigas skin for these, I’ll bet.
For a second I got really excited. I misread it as “Lytro”, the company that pioneered the light-field (ie, ray tracing) camera technology. Because combine that with a standard (large sensor) CMOS camera, a ToF sensor, and IR Camera… then you have the holy quad-trinity. And throw some serious processing power and algorithms, and you can really push photography further.
But after re-reading, I realise it’s that stupid company that made the phone with 16-tiny cameras, which doesn’t even take good shots. My excitement and hope had greatly diminished 🙁
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