Samsung recently filed a patent for an idea to improve the modern camera phone. Many smart phones on the market are smaller than the average digital camera, and contain many more features than just the ability to capture and store images.
The more features a smart phone has, such as internet capability, texting, calling, and numerous applications, the less room is available for the camera. Fortunately, the general trend of technology seems to be cramming as many features and functions as possible into the smallest devices.
Cell phone technology has rapidly advanced over the last ten years. More advanced models are even referred to as smart phones, as they have basically become mini-computers. One of the first features to be included as standard on a cell phone was the camera. Back then, the images were of a much lesser quality than what is available with today's smart phones, and there doesn't seem to be an end to the improvements being made. Samsung has patented what may be the latest breakthrough in camera-phone technology.
One very powerful feature of digital cameras, such as SLRs and Micro Four Thirds, is the ability to adjust the depth-of-field in photos. Camera phones have come a long way, but their tiny frames don't allow the flexibility of adjusting apertures. Samsung has theoretically found a way around this problem. Although the technology has yet to be developed, Samsung has figured out a way to adjust the depth-of-field for camera phones.
Depth-of-field describes how sharp the images are in the foreground and background of the photograph. Currently, cell phone cameras can create very clear images, but the sharpness of the foreground is the same as the background. A shallow depth-of-field means that only the focus of the image is sharp, while the rest of it is a bit blurry, allowing the focus of the image to pop, creating a powerful effect.
No Aperture, No Problem
Typically, the depth-of-field is determined by how wide the aperture is opened during the shot. A wide aperture means a shallow depth-of-field. Cell phones are too small to be able to use an aperture, so Samsung came up with the idea to use two cameras to create a similar effect. A primary camera will take the photo like any other smart phone camera, while a low-resolution camera will simultaneously capture the same image. The data from the two images are then processed and a blur from the low-resolution image is cast on the background, allowing the foreground to pop.
The Digital Swiss Army Knife
It is no surprise that companies like Samsung are working towards improving the camera phone. Cell phone technology is steadily and rapidly advancing, adding more and more functions to these hand-held devices.
Most current cell phones eliminate the need for a separate GPS, notebook for internet access, watch, calculator, and many other devices. Many people use their cell phones as cameras, but for people who take their photography more seriously, the cell phone camera doesn't quite make the cut. If this latest Samsung patent is any indication, perhaps one day soon, cell phones will eliminate the need for separate digital cameras as well.