Twin camera technology has bounced in and out of style in the Android universe for the past few years, but it has seen a bit of a rebirth in 2016, with a number of Android flagships deciding for twin cameras. Most particularly, the LG G5 claims one regular and one wide angle camera, while the Huawei P9 has elected for a motivating monochrome combination and color. Apple is also now whispered to be jumping onto the trend, with the latest news and reports telling that LG Innotek and Sony are challenging over image sensor orders for the iPhone 7.
If you’re interested in the particulars, Citi Research and Nomura Securities have confidence that the 5.5 inches flagship iPhone 7 device will roll out with a twin-camera structure, but Sony may not be able to satisfy demand, therefore the hardware contract may be replaced by LG. Apple also have picked up Israeli camera company LinX back in April 2015 for $20 million. This company had been developing a twin image sensor hardware and software that assured to enhance the image quality.
If twin cameras are going to be the next drift for mobile, here’s a list of the type of features that you will be seeing in the coming years.
All Shapes And Dimensions
The fascinating thing about twin image sensor module is that they can come in various different specifications. Some features up two high-quality image sensors coupled with different lenses to capture wide angle shots or to allow for a higher apertures. Switching between what is essentially two different cameras can give users with extra shooting choices, or sensors and lenses more appropriate to capturing images in low light environments. Coupling data from slightly different camera structures can help improve contrast and decrease noise in a not too different way to many present smartphone devices HDR implementations, which clicks various pictures at bit different brightness levels to capture deep blacks while conserving whites.
The extra color spectrometer the in the G4 and wide angled lens in the G5 are good illustrations of two quite dissimilar types of extra image seniors.
Another popular way of designing this is to use a lower quality, and secondary sensor for processing different kind of data for image processing algorithms. Dedicated color sensors or monochrome can be applied to enhance the dynamic range, color palette, or contrast of an image by feeding the additional information about the scene to be captured to the image processor chip. In a different approach a lower resolution sensor can focus of dissimilar points and give basic depth information data for more complex 3D imaging.
It’s very implausible that we will see a wide range of OEMs opt for indistinguishable camera structures in the coming years, as great solutions don’t necessarily necessitate two indistinguishable image sensors that work as a pair of eyes. Really, twin image sensors are welcoming an effective and new software solutions, and there are still a lot of experimentation has to be done before a prime solution is established.
The option to refocus the image after capturing and saving it is a significant development in smartphone camera development. This can be done by picking sub-pixel disparities between two images. This works in a similar way our human eyes perceives distance by looking at an object and this data is then applied to a synthetic blurring algorithm to imitate a depth of field effect.
Discriminating focus post-processing has been around a couple of years now, and it is also available in single camera smartphones, but dual-camera can make it even batter.
This kind of technology is not limited to twin-camera structures, though as software applications such as the Google Camera can reproduce the results. However, smartphone cameras with different apertures could transport focusing results and background softening that are considerably closer to DSLR cameras than today’s exclusively software centered ideas.
3D Capture And Depth Mapping
Another approach apart from refocusing is to use this information for calculation and storage of depth data. This in turn, can be applied to recreate 3D models of a room, object, or a landscape. By gathering this kind of data on a per pixel basis, RGB information from one or more frames can be applied to completely recreate an image in 3 dimensions.
Multiple camera configurations inside Intel’s RealSense and Google’s Project Tango have already established quite encouraging results, and they should features up cost operative products for the proficient 3D modeling. This kind of technology and information could also permit for highly advanced photo editing, where one or more objects can be removed or added from a scene as the camera has information about where background and foreground objects are.
Additionally, with mobile products and virtual reality superficially moving forward together, extremely precise depth sensing technology could be beneficial above and beyond just clicking pictures. Being capable to detect the position of your hands in the real world or to tell the distance would be very valuable when submerged in a virtual space. Of course, this technology requires more storage space, therefore images of this kind would start taking a lot more space on your device then the regular images we have today.
Excellent Digital Zoom
One of the more remarkable features advertised by some of these multi-sensor developers, including Apple’s LinX, is the capability to increase zoom picture quality and to harvest more detailed looking images from lower resolution sensor combinations. The precise details about how this mechanism works are a carefully protected secret, but my doubt is that smart noise detection algorithms are capable to deduct general noise that appears in two or more pictures.
CorePhotonics has demonstrated a related idea that uses one telephoto lens and one wide angle lens to bend light to harvest a five times “optical” zoom. From here, some exclusive software fuses the two images into one, and this extra resolution allows users to pick out greater details when zooming into a picture. The company is developing two sensors, one 13 and 8 megapixel, and one twin 13 megapixel structure with a 5x zoom, mixture that countenances for a 3x zoom. This technique can also be used in reducing noise factor in low light environment along with batter zooming quality in digital imaging.
Corephotonics “optical” zoom on the right against CNET Old-style digital smartphone device zoom on the left.
But the prime importance should be given to get the basics right and to offer a solid photographic experience that even non-professionals can also take benefit from. If twin-image sensor structures are to be popular outside of niche markets, they have to harvest superior output while still being user friendly and affordable.