There’s a famous quote in the photography crowd: the best camera is the one that’s with you. Based on statistics from Flickr, the “best camera” is the one packed in the iPhone—photos from the iPhone 4, 4s, and 5 dominate the site. But as anyone who has had to sift through endless Facebook albums of awful, blurry, fuzzy photos will know, just because the camera is your friend’s best camera doesn’t mean their photos are going to be any good.
Fortunately for the budding iPhoneographers out there—and by extension all of our eyeballs—a new patent awarded to Apple hints at a technology that could do as much as Instagram’s filters to mask bad photography.
According to Apple Insider (via PetaPixel), Apple has been awarded a patent for a light field camera, a different style of light-capturing device that records not just an image, but a scene. It lets you re-adjust the focus, and even tweak the perspective, after you’ve already taken the photo. Light field cameras burst on the scene two years ago when a commercial device was released by Lytro, but having the technology on hand at all times would do wonders at eliminating blurry, out-of-focus photos for good. Let no one ever miss the opportunities for a selfie ever again.
Scientific American has a great explanation of how light field cameras work.
As VentureBeat says, just because Apple has a patent for a light field camera doesn’t necessarily mean the technology will be showing up any time soon. Light field cameras are expensive, and getting them into the iPhone without breaking the bank could be tricky. But, with more and more people eschewing point-and-click cameras in favor of their phones, maybe this is the “one more thing…” Apple needs to bat off their competitors.
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