A new patent filed by Samsung for a shallow depth of field camera would utilize two separate lenses to give the depth of field effect obtained from a more expensive DSLR camera. Essentially, the patent application can be implemented on regular digital point and shoot equipment or those found on smartphones, such as Samsung’s Galaxy series Android phones, and would allow users, for example, to maintain focus on one particular subject in the frame while blurring out the background.
In order to achieve the shallow depth of field effect that’s been a popular feature of DSLR, Samsung will make use of one camera lens to capture the full resolution image and a secondary lens to evaluate the distances between various other objects.
Information from both lenses would be combined, and software would be used to extrapolate what gets blurred and what will remain in focus.
It’s still unclear if Samsung intends on commercializing the technology. With smartphones implementing ‘tap-to-focus’ focusing mechanisms, like those found on HTC smartphones, iPhones, Samsung Android phones, and select newer Motorola handsets, similar shallow depth of field effects are achievable, though results will vary and won’t be nearly as good as those promised by Samsung’s new patent application nor the quality found on high-end and costlier DSLR equipment. An example of a single-lens smartphone camera–and not the dual-lens implementation per Samsung’s new patent–is found below in Engadget’s Myrium Joire’s photograph posted on Facebook, titled Insect Overlord, which focuses on the insect subject and blurs out the background. Joire says that the image was captured with an HTC myTouch 4G Slide from T-Mobile, and the image is re- posted below:
The effect of Samsung’s patent application can give 3D cameras a boost. As 3D cameras require 2 lenses to capture the 3D effect, those cameras that make use of Samsung’s shallow depth of field focusing mechanism can potentially also be used to shoot 3D images. Perhaps, in the future, better Samsung Android smartphone cameras with 3D image and video capture can be seen as a result.