Samsung patents tilting cameras for smartphones
The smartphones from Samsung have been one of the most popular mobile phones in the world. Keeping these cellphones interesting not only for the mainstream but also for innovators, they need to keep developing.
As we from Smartphone Photography agree, the camera is one of the main elements of nowadays phones. The lenses have gone through extensive change over the last decade. What can developers do to get ahead of the crowd and create something new, something that no one has ever done before?
What patent did Samsung apply for?
Samsung has applied for crazy new concepts before, like folding phones. And they might have another smartphone changing idea.
Last year they applied for a patent called ‘Apparatus and method for operating multiple cameras for digital photography.‘ The official document has been published online as of yesterday, the 18th of June. It seems that Samsung is developing five wide-angle lenses, one telephoto lens, and tiltable lenses that can move independently of each other. But what do tiltable lenses mean for smartphone photography with a new Samsung device?
What can you do with these new lenses?
Theoretically, it means you can shoot wider angles. One lens can focus on the left side of the desired frame and the other one on the right sight. Combined, you will have a broader and higher-quality image.
It might also mean that you can take panoramic images with bokeh effect with one simple click, which is not possible with any current smartphones from Samsung. According to the patent paper, the new camera array with five wide-angle lenses and one telephoto-lens will result in better quality images in low-lighting conditions, increased focus range, and high-quality HDR photos. The setup will include one monochrome camera which will significantly enhance the performance of the new camera phones.
Summary of 59 pages of technical input
The patent paper contains 59 pages of technical descriptions and drawings. It states that Hamid R. Sheikh, Youngjun Yoo, Seokjun Lee, and Michael O. Polley are the inventors of this new camera array.
It seems that the tiltable lenses will be placed within the thickness profile of the device. The technical drawings also show that while moving, the lenses will probably be outside the smartphone’s thickness profile.
You can find the full publication on the patentscope. Or download the 59-page document here.
Samsung smartphone with 5 wide-angle and 1 telephoto lens
So it is Samsung that first patents new advanced technology to use a six-fold array camera with tilting image sensors in a smartphone.
The Samsung patent mentions the use of 5 wide-angle cameras with a focal length of 28mm (35mm equivalent) and at least one telephoto lens. The camera array is supplemented with an LED flash. In “normal” mode, each image sensor can point in one direction then optimize the array configuration using image algorithms. The moving sensors can tilt so that a higher focal length can be achieved.
The extensive documentation also goes deeper into reducing the disadvantages that an array camera entails. For example, a pop-out image sensor module can be used to minimize the size of the camera system, which is necessary to implement the camera in the thin housing of a smartphone. With a pop-out image sensor module, the field of view can be changed without using mirrors (such as DSLR cameras).
When will Samsung launch a new phone with movable lenses?
At this time, it is unclear whether or not the tilting lenses technology of Samsung will ever be made. Patents don’t necessarily lead to products. For now, it is an idea. We can only wait and hope for greatness from one of the worlds leading smartphone developers.
For now you can read about their latest smartphone with 108 megapixel camera. We will keep you posted!