3. TRUE DEPTH WITH APPLE’S PORTRAIT MODE
Depth of Field or the bokeh effect as photographers call it, has always been a bit of a holy grail because it’s generally more pronounced when you use lenses with wider apertures. As you can imagine, these lenses also tend to be larger and more expensive, so bokeh has never been something you’d associate with mobile phone cameras until now.
Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus introduced a dual-camera system which leverages two sets of images of the same object collected from slightly different angles to create a disparity map which gave the camera depth information for everything in the frame. With the iPhone X, Apple added a TrueDepth camera, which uses infrared light to calculate depth.
The iPhone XR uses a single camera to do depth capture with a single camera by leveraging the Dual Pixel technique described earlier and tapping into neural net software to create a highly detailed mask around the subject. This mask analyzes what part of the picture is a person and what isn’t, and preserves individual hairs and eyeglasses, so when the blurring effect is applied, it doesn’t affect your subject, making for a nice approximation of the bokeh effect.
Apple has also improved Portrait Mode so you can “change” the aperture used, by using computational photography to adjust the amount of bokeh to match what you would get if you varied the aperture setting on a physical lens.
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