A recently discovered patent by Apple discusses new functionality for the iPhone camera that would allow users to adjust the point of focus after taking a picture.
Similar to what Panasonic already offers in some of its cameras, the Apple patent produces a ‘stack’ of images with the focus points in different areas of the frame.
As Digital Trends states, the Apple patent describes a method where the iPhone camera calculates what position the lens needs to be in to record all of the focus data for a scene.
The iPhone’s software would then calculate the ‘target depths’ needed to get all of these points of focus sharp. The lens would then move with each image, capturing a photo at each focus point, until all the data is recorded.
The users would then be able to touch a different point in the frame and watch the image re-focus accordingly.
Post-focusing isn’t new, of course. Lytro introduced the concept a few years ago with its light field cameras, and more recently Panasonic introduced its Post Focus feature.
Panasonic’s version sounds a bit more straightforward in practice. Your Panasonic camera, in Post Focus mode, will record a short burst of 4K video, switching the AF area to all the points of contrast within the frame. Users can then touch the LCD to re-focus images and save as a new file.
It’s unclear when the Apple patent – filed in 2015 – will, if ever, come to fruition.