Nexus 5 to Be First With MEMS Camera; Offering Faster Shutter Speeds and Refocusing After The Shot


The leaked logs from an errant Nexus 5 just seem to be the gift that keeps on giving. Now, have uncovered more information on the device's hardware. This time around, things are focused on the device's camera. Which just so happens to be much more than just another 8MP sensor. When sifting through more and more logs, the enterprising Italians came across some information about the Nexus 5's camera. Specifically the model number: "imx179". Which, with a quick Google brings you to this pdf.

So, just what on earth is special about this MEMS camera module? Well, from a sensor point of view not much at all. You're looking at an 8MP BSI sensor at 1/3.2", which isn't very impressive at all. Where DigitalOptics' MEMS module comes into its own is through the use of micro-mechanics that drastically improves shutter speeds and reduces blur. It's also designed to focus and refocus incredibly quickly before you hit the shutter button. Basically, this isn't going to be the best shooter out there, but it's certainly one of, if not the fastest shooter to be used in a smartphone to date.

Those that have heard of the Lytro camera will be familiar with the near-magic that allows you to refocus after the fact. With a Lytro camera, you can refocus your shot after you've taken it. This MEMS module can essentially do the same thanks to the ability to take multiple shots while moving lens elements as it shoots several images. With the different shots, you can simply "refocus" the image by clicking on a new part.

This sort of technology would fit in nicely with what Google have been doing with Google+ photos since I/O last year. After all, why invest in all this new technology online and then not create a smartphone to take advantage of it? With refocusing after the fact, Google would have a great opportunity to get more people to join Google+ as a photo sharing community. We've heard before that Google is looking to improve imaging in their devices and the Nexus 5 might be the first device to be a sign of that. Maybe with the Nexus 5 packing these new optics, other OEMs will follow.

You can take a look at DigitalOptics' MEMS module in an older video from Engadget below:

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About the Author

Tom Dawson

Former Editor-in-Chief
For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.
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