The Samsung Galaxy S8 will feature a front-facing camera with autofocus functionality, according to sources, a relatively rare feature aimed at improving the quality of user selfies. Front-facing smartphone cameras are largely fixed-focus modules, with few exceptions, due to their limited use. However, the increased popularity of selfies, as well as broadcasting one’s self using a phone, has spurred maker’s to use higher-quality camera modules.
The information comes from Korean news publication etnews, which reports from a source that Samsung is utilizing AF actuators for the Galaxy S8’s front-facing camera, a bit of hardware that adjusts the lenses automatically to keep the picture in focus. The means a group selfie taken with a selfie stick, for example, will be in crisp focus whereas other cameras may produce a somewhat ‘soft’ photo.
Smartphone makers have largely gone with fixed-focus front cameras due to their limited use, but also out of a desire to keep phone size minimal. Fixed-focus camera modules require less room and have lower costs. It’s easy to see the appeal of an autofocus ‘selfie’ camera, though, particularly for a high-end handset like the Galaxy S8.
The report claims Samsung decided to introduce the feature so that the front-facing camera can be used with subjects at a distance greater than arm’s length. The use of AF actuators will lend this functionality without greatly increasing the front camera’s width, meaning the camera won’t protrude the same way the rear camera does. However, it is suggested the use of this camera technology may increase the phone’s average selling price.
The Galaxy S8 won’t be the only smartphone with front camera autofocus, though, assuming the source is correct. Some phones already offer this feature, including the Sony Xperia M5, which boasts a 13-megapixel Exmor RS autofocus sensor. The HTC Desire EYE is another model with front camera autofocus and a 13-megapixel sensor.