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Samples of the TCM9518MD are available now in the U.S. only for $50 a pop

Toshiba is showing off a new mobile camera at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014, which is capable of outputting recorded images and depth data at the same time.

According to PR Newswire, Toshiba calls the new dual camera module the TCM9518MD, and it was made specifically for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Toshiba says its the first of its kind. 

The TCM9518MD uses two 1/4-inch optical format 5MP CMOS camera modules, which are coupled with a dedicated LSI chip that is capable of measuring and adding depth data to the objects in the image. The LSI also creates 13MP images by scaling up those taken by both of the 5MP cameras (which lowers module height).

Toshiba's TCM9518MD [SOURCE:]

What this technology does is ultimately allow the user to refocus and defocus an image after it is taken because the twin modules and LSI chip output deep focus images not only the background and foreground, but all points in between in focus. 

Want a taste of the new mobile camera? Samples of the TCM9518MD are available now in the U.S. only for $50 a pop. However, there's currently no set date when smartphones and tablets will start using the camera.

Source: PR Newswire

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RE: Nokia App does this already
By Solandri on 1/8/2014 12:57:01 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I had this idea 10 years ago when digital point and shoots were becoming common. If you have some way to capture depth information (which this does by using two lenses and capturing stereoscopic images), you don't need a light field camera.

Because of the small sensor size, practically everything is already in focus. The "out of focus" blur effect is completely artificial and added by computer processing afterward. Pick a focal plane (even tilted like a tilt/shift lens), and the further an object in the photo is from that plane, the more it gets blurred.

Long-term, something like this is going to replace the huge f/1.8 and f/2.0 portrait lenses which have a wide aperture (and thus cost $xxxx) solely to blur the background.

RE: Nokia App does this already
By bug77 on 1/8/2014 8:57:16 AM , Rating: 2
Correct, but fast lens are also useful because they are fast. As in, they can shoot in low-light and freeze the subject at the same time.
For portraits in particular, it would look rather weird if you changed the plane of focus. Just imagine a blurred version of me standing in front of a perfectly focused white wall ;-)

RE: Nokia App does this already
By nafhan on 2/5/2014 1:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
f/1.8 and f/2.0 lenses gather a lot of light, that's why photographers want them. Bokeh is a sometimes undesirable side effect of having a very wide lens putting light onto a large sensor.

Still, you have a point, I think that eventually arrays of low noise sensors may replace lenses, period. Not just the low f stop ones. It'd be similar in concept to interferometry.

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