Toshiba is planning a new camera module for smartphones and tablets for 2013 that will not only bring defocused backgrounds thanks to shallow depth of field, but allows users to also retroactively change their focusing after an image has been captured. Reportedly, the feature, which is similar to what we’ve seen on Lytro’s camera module, would be able to work on video capture as well, allowing users to decide where to focus later.
The way that Toshiba’s implementation works is that there are some nearly 500,000 mini lenses on the 1-inch thick module that are placed just in front of the sensor, giving your smartphone a bug’s eye view of the world.
According to Engadget, each mini lens captures an image, estimates distances for focal points, and through the magic of post-production allows mobile photographers to change and choose their focus after a shot has been captured. This allows users to not only have images with bokeh from DSLR cameras or systems with bulkier interchangeable lenses, but allows users to manipulate their shots without having to decide on the focus or de-focused areas at the point of image capture.
This would definitely add more creative and artistic spins on images so hopefully we’ll see creamy bokeh on more Instagram shots captured with Toshiba’s new imaging module come 2013. It’s unclear what smartphone- and tablet-makers have signed on to use Toshiba’s technology at this time. Toshiba will have to compete against Sony’s much talked about 13-megapixel Exmor mobile camera sensor in 2013.
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