While we’ve questioned whether the Lytro itself has lost its appeal, Toshiba has given us an update on its dual-lens camera module, which takes the Lytro effect to the next stage. The drearily named TCM9518MD module was announced earlier this year, but without many details. Now, Toshiba has confirmed it’ll be sending out samples to manufacturers at the end of January 2014.
What makes this one different to the rest? Used with specially created apps, the two camera lenses let you shift focus on images after you’ve taken them, just like other Lytro-style cameras. However, the Toshiba setup will also let you highlight objects and remove them from the photo. Yes, this is the camera lens which could put an end to photos ruined by an annoying photobomb.
The two lenses shoot at 5-megapixels, but Toshiba will upscale the final image to 13-megapixels, meaning it can match the current crop of range-topping cameras. The twin, 0.25-inch camera module is capable of snapping what it calls a, “Deep Focus Image” so all points end up in focus, making it an industry first according to Toshiba.
The ability to refocus pictures taken using your smartphone, just like the Lytro digital camera, has hit the headlines several times this year. We got the chance to play with DigitalOptics’ MemsCam lens during Mobile World Congress – tech which will be finding its way into an Oppo smartphone soon – and had fun with it, plus Nokia announced the Refocus app for Windows Phone, and Apple has been awarded a patent for light field technology of its own.
When Toshiba talked about is dual lens camera module in September, it estimated mass production would begin in April 2014, but hasn’t named any potential partners at this stage.