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LG Patent Hints At A 16-Lens Smartphone Camera

Phone cameras are an arms race of sorts, and LG might be looking to escalate things dramatically with a future phone that could feature a whopping 16 lenses, via LetsGoDigital.


Multiple lenses on cameras isn’t exactly new — over the last year, we’ve seen phones with two and three rear lenses break into the mass marketplace, along with rumors of a larger five-lens device from Nokia, and even a potential nine-camera smartphone prototype from the multi-lens startup Light. But LG’s patent would look to go far beyond even that, with a full 16-camera array.

Unlike most multiple-camera systems, though — including ones like LG’s V40 ThinQ, which offered different types of camera lenses for different effects on the same shot — the goal of the multiple cameras seems to be to offer different angles on a scene using the perspective of the different lenses.

LG’s patent also describes combining the different camera angles to create a miniature film, sort of like a superpowered version of things like Apple’s Live Photos or Lytro’s adjustable light field images. The patent also claims that it’d be able to use the different datasets from the different lenses to cut out things from the image (say, for things like portrait mode or even replacing a background entirely).

Of course, for now this is just a patent, with no indication that LG is actually planning to put this into a phone. But with the ever-escalating battle to push phone cameras to the limit, it may only be a matter of time until the hexadecimal camera is a reality.

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