Samsung phones are some of the most popular devices on the planet, but just because it sells phones that appeal to mainstream consumers doesn't mean its averse to trying out crazy new concepts. It was one of the first companies to place bets on foldables with the Galaxy Fold and its upcoming sequel. Now, a newly-published patent filed by Samsung reveals it is thinking about a fascinating new vision for smartphone cameras.
Last year, Samsung applied for a patent called 'Apparatus and method for operating multiple cameras for digital photography', and the 55-page document has now been published online. It appears to show that the company is experimenting with a camera array featuring five wide-angle lenses and one telephoto lens, as well as other variations. But what's really interesting here is that the cameras are tiltable, with each lens being able to tilt independently of the others. Theoretically, a device could optimize the camera array configuration using special image processing algorithms that achieve greater quality than if the sensors were immovable.
One great example of a way this could work is when photographing a panoramic landscape. With the outside camera lens tilting toward the edges and the center ones remaining straight, a device could capture a wider, higher-quality image by taking data from all six lenses and combining them into one awesome snapshot.
It could also enable capturing a panoramic image with bokeh effects, which is not yet available on any current Samsung device. According to the patent paper, this kind of camera array can result in better quality images in poor lighting conditions, too, as well as increased focus range and higher-quality HDR when properly optimized.
As the mobile cameras in our smartphones continue to evolve, companies keep trying new things to differentiate themselves from the competition. Whether it's a crazy megapixel count or just a 2MP macro sensor, phones these days have to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market. Google tries to do more with less on its Pixel line, and while Samsung may have fallen behind on the computational photography game in recent years, it looks like the company might be tilting in some interesting directions for future products.
- WIPO IP Portal