If you’ve always fancied yourself as a bit of a David Bailey or Phil Stern but your shots always end up looking out-of-focus and blurry, then new camera technology could hold the answer.
While our smartphones are a convenient tool for taking quick snaps, as we always have them with us, the results aren’t always perfect.
But, 2013 could be the year when blurry smartphone photographs are consigned to history because of new technology which allows you to alter the focus – after you have taken the shot.
Japanese electronics innovator Toshiba is busy working on a camera module for both smartphones and tablets. While auto focus usually does the trick, there are times it concentrates on the wrong subject. But Toshiba’s new gizmo will mean you can correct that.
It works through the use of half a million tiny lenses which each capture a slightly different image, with a different focal length.
The camera will be able to measure the distance between objects, in a similar way to the method used to capture 3D images, and the photographer will then be able to move the focus between details in the foreground and background, to create the “perfect” image.
Compared to the way an insect’s eye works, Toshiba is busy pitching its new invention to mobile manufacturers. The manufacturer says the camera sensor will also work with videos, which will certainly broaden its appeal.
It should certainly be feasible to include the new technology in smartphones as it currently measures just one cubic centimetre.
The new innovation comes after the Lytro Light Field Camera which caused a bit of a storm when it was released in 2012.
The Lytro camera also lets you create pictures that you can refocus after you’ve taken them. You can even share them online, letting your friends refocus them too if they spot a subject of interest in the frame.
As the developers behind the Lytro say: “The Lytro camera lets you capture and share what you see in a whole new way.
It’s the first consumer camera that records the entire light field – all the rays of light traveling in every direction through a scene – instead of a flat 2D image. And that changes everything.”
Others, including micro-optics firm Heptagon and Pelican Imaging have also announced similar smartphone sensors.
But while Lytro may have had a head start, it seems other technology firms are now hot on its heels. And, while Lytro was hoping it would, long-term, be able to take advantage of the smartphone market, it just may be that Toshiba wins the race.
While, the Toshiba sensor is still very much a work in progress, the Japanese multinational, has plans to commercialise its new module before the end of the year. The innovation could change the way we think about taking photos on our smartphones and tablets. We’ll just have to wait and see which mobile manufacturers take on the new technology.