Images of HTC’s upcoming M8 smartphone have been leaked and it looks as though the handset will feature a dual-lens camera. But what does that mean? Well let’s look at some of the benefits of having one camera with two seperate lenses.
The start-up company Corephotonics has developed its own dual-lens camera and hopes that smartphone companies will adopt the idea for use in new handsets. Looking at the way it works will give us a better idea of what HTC has in mind.
The two lenses have two different focus lengths, one being a wide-angle and the other set at 3x zoom. Practically this means that you can magnify subjects in the distance without having to use digital zoom. When tested next to a traditional smartphone camera, the Corephotonics dual-lens camera outputted a sharp 13-megapixel image at both 1x zoom and 3x zoom.
The Corephotonics system also produces smooth zooms thanks to a mix of digital zoom and len-switching, which is a big plus during video recording.
Another benefit to having two lenses is that images are of good quality even in low-light conditions. The software matches each pixel from one lens with the corresponding pixel from the other lens, all in real time. It is able to detect which of the pixels is likely the most accurate by using scene analysis, resulting in a sharper picture and reduced noise.
Two lenses also allows an amount of depth analysis, which means gaining more control over images. So for example, it is possible to automatically blur out backgrounds in portrait photos and autofocus more quickly.
Corephotonics has admitted that it is not behind the dual-lens camera that HTC are planning to use in the M8, suggesting that the camera is coming either from another source or even from HTC itself. The technology is certainly interesting and will likely add another dimension to the smartphone camera.