A Phone With At Least Five Rear Cameras Coming This Year

Light Camera Front Illustration July 2018

Palo Alto, California-based startup Light is presently working on a mobile camera array featuring between five to nine lenses, depending on the implementation, and says its technology will be commercialized before the end of the year. The company told The Washington Post one smartphone equipped with its solution will be announced in the coming months and while it didn’t elaborate on the matter, one of the main implications of its comment is that the device in question will be running Android, the world’s only relevant mobile operating system outside of Apple’s entirely closed iOS.

Light says its technology can deliver 64-megapixel photographs, thus offering an even higher resolution than the 40-megapixel sensor that’s part of the triple-camera setup found on the back of the Huawei P20 Pro, what’s currently believed to be the best mobile imaging tool ever created. The addition of extra lenses to traditional dual-camera setups allows original equipment manufacturers to make more versatile handset systems that can perform well in low-light conditions, deliver a natural bokeh effect, and still be sharp enough to generate optimal results in other scenarios. While a single sensor akin to the modules found inside modern DSLR cameras would also be capable of accomplishing the same, setups with multiple smaller sensors allow OEMs to achieve comparable results in terms of image quality without compromising on the form factor of their devices, i.e. without having to make them thicker.

It’s still unclear which manufacturer partnered with Light to deliver such a unique mobile device later this year but the smartphone in question will likely be a niche offering that will break the $1,000 mark, as evidenced by the fact that even the startup’s standalone cameras start at close to $2,000 and use largely the same sensors as the ones meant to be the backbone of its mobile solutions. Light is expected to be just the first of many technology firms that will help phone makers move past dual-camera setups to systems with three, four, and more lenses, French image benchmarking company DxOMark told AndroidHeadlines earlier this year. The upcoming LG V40 and at least one member of the Samsung Galaxy S10 series are also rumored to be featuring three cameras on their rear panels.