Nokia hints that Pelican Imaging’s 16-lens super cameras will be coming to the next generation of Lumia smartphones.
In an interview with Rajat Agrawal, from BGR.in, Jo Harlow, Nokia's executive vice-president for smartphone business, claims that the company is focusing on computational or light-field photography. "If you look at where imaging is going, computational imaging is an area of exploration. Being able to capture even more data -- data you cannot even see with the human eye that you can only see by actually going back to the picture and being able to do things with them,” she says.
The statement is the closest thing yet to a confirmation that Nokia is actively looking to integrate Pelican Imaging’s multi-lens camera technology into its phones.
Pelican’s technology disposes of the normal individual lens and replaces it with 16 mini lenses, arranged in four rows of four. Each lens is responsible for capturing only one of the colours - red, blue or green - that make up an image so that when all of the single-color images are laid on top of each other, the resulting photo has little or no noise (because individual colors can be filtered out) and offers a better-quality image than anything currently attached to or built into a smartphone as standard, especially in low light conditions.
What’s more, like the Lytro Camera, images captured through Pelican’s lens array can be refocused after they have been taken to draw attention to individual details or a single face in a large crowd. Better still, even when a photo has been refocused or adjusted, it can be shared with others who can also continue to refocus and adjust the picture, as the image file contains all of the data needed to keep the photo ‘alive’.
Pelican had been quietly getting on with developing the technology -- it hoped that smartphone manufacturers would integrate it into their next generation devices -- and the company was pretty much under the radar until Nokia announced that it had invested in the company earlier this year. The investment led to Pelican’s lenses' getting widespread coverage in the technology press and to rumors surrounding whether or not the technology would be coming to Nokia phones.
In recent interviews, Pelican spokespeople have revealed that they have signed an agreement to provide the lenses to a smartphone maker but thus far they have refused to name the company. However, the company has stated that its technology will be coming to at least one phone in 2014.