How future smartphones could use dual lenses for optical zoom, better noise


posted Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM EST


Putting two lenses on a smartphone is not a new idea, and for a while they were popular for taking 3D photos from your phone. But a company called Corephotonics is planning to use that same form factor of two lenses at once, but for a very different purpose. Rather than two identical lens, the company's module involves two separate focal lengths, which would mean effectively mean optical zoom, and potentially better images than what we've seen before.

Engadget talked to Corephotonics at MWC 2014, and explained the basis of the technology. By having one standard lens, and one with considerably more zoom (like a 3x), the system could switch between the two and would be able to increase magnification without the accompanying drop in image quality associated with digital zooming. It seems the system would digitally interpolate between the two focal lengths, and then switch when able, to create a smooth zoom continuum.

The manufacturers also talk about comparing data from between the two lenses to help better reduce noise levels, as well as using the two lenses for 3D imaging.

Whether or not the Corephotonics lens module will make its way into any smartphones remains to be seen. But in the world of fixed prime smartphone lenses, something with a bit more zoom would be a welcome break.