Sony Alpha Rumours just spotted a patent (although they didn’t link to it so we can all have a read) showing a new “light field” lens for the Sony E Mount. Sony teamed up with the folks at Light (of Light L16 fame) just over a year ago with a deal that, at the time, appeared to primarily focus on Light’s multi-camera technology in smartphones.
It seems that this technology might be also coming to Sony mirrorless bodies, though, thanks to a new lens design.
The patent images that SAR posted show a potential E mount light field lens design mounted to what appears to be an A7 series body. The lens projects several views of the scene onto the sensor which would then allow you to adjust the focus distance in post using probably some proprietary Sony software, after you’ve taken the shot.
Light field photography has a couple of major drawbacks, though.
For a start, you’re not using the entire resolution of the sensor. As the sensor has to “see” multiple views of the scene, no single view fills the entire sensor. Each view is limited to a small section, so you lose a lot of resolution. Such technology could be why we’re seeing the megapixel race back on after a relatively stagnant 24-megapixel break.
It also requires a lot of computational power in order to do its digital magic and let you focus your shot in post. At least, it does if you want it to be more realistic than the fake bokeh photos we’re able to shoot with our smartphones. So, as the sensor resolutions increase to let you capture higher resolution final images, so will the demands on our computers to process them.
As with all patents, though, there’s no guarantee we’ll ever actually see a real product – as is often the case with camera-related patents. At least, not any time soon, anyway. But the fact that this technology is even being explored is quite exciting.
[via Sony Alpha Rumours]