Mobile photography will soon be elevated to professional levels as Toshiba will start sample shipments of its dual camera module designed for use in smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices this coming January. The Toshiba TCM9518MD is an industry first dual camera module that uses dual ¼ inch optical format 5MP CMOS modules that simultaneously outputs recorded images and depth data.
In a press release made by Toshiba, the company stated that “The TCM9518MD camera module incorporates two 1/4-inch 5M-pixel CMOS image sensors, making it suitable for smartphone and tablet PC applications. The distance between the camera and objects can be calculated by using the TCM9518MD in combination with a dedicated companion LSI. As a result, distance information can be provided as depth data, which allows you to create new features together with application software. For example, it is possible to realize a focus adjustment feature and objects extraction after images are captured. The resolution enhancement feature available with the companion LSI makes it possible to improve the output resolution to approximately the same level as 13M-pixel smartphone cameras. As a result, it is possible to realize smartphones that are thinner than those with a 13M-pixel camera but offer comparable resolution.”
- Simultaneous output of depth data and deep focus image, supporting functions which include focus and defocus, and even to extract and erase objects from the picture, in combination with customer’s applications.
- Output of 13-megapixel image, generated by the dedicated image processing LSI and the twin 5-megapixel cameras of the module.
- Digital focus function, which enables to adjust the point of focus without mechanism to move lenses.
The data collected by the two sensors is then passed to the dedicated image processing LSI (Large-Scale Integration) chip that measures the depth data and appends this to the objects in the captured image.
This technology brings mobile photography a notch higher as users will have better control over focusing and defocusing. With the depth information already available it is now easy for unwanted objects in the image to be extracted. This of course depends on the camera or editing software that is being used.