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iPhone 8 Patent Shows Image Stacking Capabilities, Will Signifacntly Improve Portrait Mode

By February 9, 2017 at 6:01 am
iPhone 7 (Photo : David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

This year marks the 10'th anniversary of unveiling of the first iPhone and expect Apple to have big plans for the iPhone 8 which is due for this year. One of the supposed changes for the iPhone 8 comes in the form of a patent with a new feature for the camera.

The patent was first published in December 2016 and it covers "optimizing capture of focus stacks." While that may all sound confusing to anyone with little experience on photography cnet has a good explanation that might shed some light on the patent.

According to the article, the patent implies that iPhone 8's camera will have improvements and more features than the iPhone 7. Among the included changes are a significant improvement over the portrait mode, depth map creation for augmented reality applications, the ability to chose the focus area in photos and the ability to create an infinite depth of field.

Focus stacking in cameras work similarly to HDR as both are a form of computational photography. It involves a camera quickly taking multiple shots and combines them to produce a desired effect. In terms of focus stacking, the camera takes photos while iterating through focus areas at successive distances. It then takes the stack of photos and uses the sharpest pixel from each to create the sharpest image possible.

Moreover, the camera can also do a lot of things with all that image data from the stacked photos. With the data, users can manually select which focus area they like, and merge them to preserve only that focal plane. It can also use the focus distance to subject from each shot to create a depth map.

The iPhone 7 just had a record breaking quarterly sales in the last quarter. The iPhone 8 looks to ride the momentum of its predecessor. And with all these new possible features for the camera the iPhone 8 will have a good chance to surpass it. 

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