Is the Nexus 5 Really Going to Feature a MEMS, Lytro-Like Camera With Incredibly Fast Autofocus? Eh, We’re Not so Sure.

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The Nexus 5 from Google has yet to see an official announcement, but a recent barrage of leaks has started to paint the picture that we could see in an announcement later this month. Thanks to a 10MB log file that the folks at Myce and Android World continue to dig deep into, a new wild rumor has surfaced suggesting that the camera in the Nexus 5 could be brand new technology, with a camera that functions a lot like a Lytro camera only at a reasonable 8MP resolution. The camera module was discovered to have an included sensor under the model numer IMX179, which with a simple Google search returns a .PDF document that we have included below for the mems|cam.

What is the mems|cam? Let’s talk about it. 

Actually, before we dive into the mems|cam, we should point out that Sony makes an 8MP sensor under model number IMX179, which is featured in China’s Meizu MX3 that recently launched in early September. The 8MP shooter in the new MX3 is no slouch by any means, but it’s also not the mems|cam. If you want to see a bunch of samples taken with the MX3 in all sorts of lighting situations, hit up GizmoChina’s extensive camera test post. It’s not a bad camera by any means, but it’s also not some wild new camera tech.

So not that I’m trying to spoil today’s “Nexus 5 has a Lytro-style camera!” party, but the only thing tying the Nexus 5 to the mems|cam is a model number for a sensor which is produced by Sony. From what I can tell after reading through both Myce’s and Android World’s report, this is the only number they are going off of to decide that this could be a mems|cam. IMX179 is not even a model number for one of DigitalOptics mems|cam modules (DOC8324C and DOC8324F are) it’s simply the Sony sensor they are using in the module. That all make sense? Camera sensor and camera module are not the same thing.

But let’s assume for a moment that the camera module in the new Nexus is indeed this magical new mems|cam by DigitalOptics, and not just another Sony 8MP sensor. What would it bring to the table? Well, a whole bunch of awesome.

As you’ll see in the demo video below, a mems|cam captures 6 consecutive images in a matter of seconds from different focus zones and then stores them as a single file. This allows you to later refocus the photo as you see fit, similar to what you can do with a Lytro camera. Granted, the technology used is completely different, but the end result produces a similar experience. To test out how the technology works, we’ve included a Lytro shot at the top of the post. All you have to do is tap around on objects, and the picture will refocus on the fly. Try tapping the Nexus 4 in the background first.

Outside of refocusing after the fact, the mems|cam also features an insanely fast autofocus. I would try to explain how fast, but the video from Engadget at the bottom of this post shows exactly how fast.

We also still have Vic Gundotra on the record as saying that Google is “committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras.” And as some have pointed out, the housing for the camera on the Nexus 5 does look like something new. Maybe Vic and the pictures are hinting at a mems|cam. One can hope.

So, is the Nexus 5 going to feature a mems|cam and give us all something cool to brag to our fellow tech friends about? It could, but I don’t think we have any real evidence at this point to clearly suggest that it will. What we know for sure is that it has a Sony 8MP sensor inside as model number IMX179. That’s sort of it.

Via:  Android World



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