Nokia planning 16-lens array camera for Lumia phones, Lytro-style photography coming

Nokia's big talking point with Lumia has always been its camera technology and it looks as though Lytro-style, focus-after-shooting technology is on the horizon. Jo Harlow, Nokia's executive vice-president for smartphone business, has yet again hinted at a 16-lens camera for new Lumia phones.

We first heard about the complex 16-lens smartphone cameras when we learned Nokia was planning to invest in Pelican Imaging, the company behind the technology. It works by placing 16 lenses in a 4 x 4 grid, each of which has its own small sensor dedicated to one of the red, green and blue colours that make up a digital colour image. Once an image is captured, those 16 lens layers then re-assemble everything into one piece of information. The ability to compare similar colour layers of information means image noise can be reduce by offsetting one layer against another, and thus you have a picture with much less noise than the smartphone competition.

But that's not all. On top of this, it's also possible to re-focus the picture selectively, just like a Lytro camera. The technology isn't planned for release until 2014, with Pelican Imaging stating it should be coming to at least one phone next year.

Rajat Agrawall, of BGR, says Nokia's Harlow continues to push the "computational photography" concept behind the Pelican imaging technology and explained: "If you look at where imaging is going, computational imaging is an area of exploration. Being able to capture even more data - data you cannot even see with the human eye that you can only see by actually going back to the picture and being able to do things with them.

"I think that is a key challenge to bring to a smartphone because computational imaging or computational photography requires computational power. That was one of the limitations in bringing that kind of experiences on a smartphone. Changes in the processing capabilities of smartphones opens it up as an area of exploration."

As of yet, the only Nokia phone said to contain this kind of class-leading technology is the rumoured EOS. While no release date or further details about the device have been made official, it sounds like Nokia has even bigger things planned with its smartphone cameras.

In other news, Harlow also mentioned the need for dual SIM slots in its Lumia phones, so expect them to make an appearance soon enough.