Cameras are the big focus of smartphones this year, and dual cameras are all the rage. Even Apple has joined the party with the iPhone 7 Plus. But camera sensors don’t do all the work by themselves and usually work in tandem with dedicated image processors. And when it comes to mobile processors, Qualcomm is pretty much the king of the hill. That is why it is now proudly announcing its new dual camera technology called Clear Sight, which works in perfect harmony with the its Spectra image signal processor (ISP) found in none other than its latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and 821 mobile processors.
Qualcomm Clear Sight is advertised to mimic how the human eye works. Our retinas contain two types of cells called “cones” and “rods”. Cones capture detailed colors but work best in well-lit environments. The exact opposite, rods function better in the dark but barely carry any color information.
This duality is reflected in the Clear Sight module, which also contains two types of cameras, each with its own lens and its own sensor. Both have the same focal length and technically both have the same sensor. The difference is that one has its color filter removed. In exchange for the ability to capture color information, that sensor instead offers better contrast information and low-light capabilities.
But Clear Sight is only half of the photography equation. The light data gathered by these two sensors naturally still have to be processed, and that’s where the Qualcomm Spectra comes in. This ISP boasts of the ability to quickly merge and process data coming from both camera sensors into one high-quality image. This all happens in real-time and not in post-processing.
So on the one hand, you have the Qualcomm Clear Sight, a single integrated module with two cameras, one RGB and one Black & White. But that module is only able to work its magic through the Qualcomm Spectra ISP, which is, of course, only available on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and 821.
Availability details of the Clear Sight module will be forthcoming, but with Qualcomm fully in the game, you can expect more dual camera smartphones in the market really soon.