updated 08:38 am EDT, Mon May 27, 2013
Computational photography said to be next challenge for smartphone images
Nokia may be looking towards adding a 16-lens camera and 'computational photography' to its Lumia devices in the future, The light field photography, notably demonstrated in the Lytro camera, has been hinted to make an appearance in a future Lumia by Nokia executive vice president for smartphones Jo Harlow.
"If you look at where imaging is going, computational imaging is an area of exploration," said Harlow in an interview with BGR about the future challenges of smartphone photography, continuing "Being able to capture even more data - data you cannot even see with the human eye that you can only see by going back to the picture and being able to do things with them."
Last month, it was revealed that Nokia would be investing in Pelican Imaging, a startup aiming to create a Lytro-style camera that uses 16 lenses in an array, with the 'plenoptic' cameras being able to take multiple shots from multiple focal points, and in turn allowing the user to select where to focus the image after it has been taken.
While the technology exists to create such a camera module, the issue is that it is computationally intensive to perform, and previously only allowing for images to be adjusted on a dedicated device or through a computer. "That was one of the limitations in bringing that kind of experience on a smartphone. Changes in the processing capabilities of smartphones opens it up as an area of exploration," said Harlow.
Pelican Imaging is not the only company working on the post-shot focusing problem. Toshiba revealed late last year that it was working on a similar technology, with a camera module that reportedly used an array of 500,000 lenses in front of an image sensor, with a view to creating shots that not only could be focused differently afterwards, but also keeping everything in the photograph in focus, regardless of distance from the sensor.