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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has partnered with camera startup Light to build interesting multi-lens units for use in smartphones, maybe even those by Sony Mobile.

Light is best known for thinking out of the box when it comes to camera design.

It makes multi-lens cameras, such as this extraordinary L16 camera with 16 lenses. By combining the capture and data from each lens, the L16 creates a much higher-resolution image than from any one sensor. It basically stitches together a bunch of photos to create a single 52-megapixel image.

And, with the multi-lens smartphone camera race hotting up with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10 sporting a triple-lens array, even a penta-lens setup on the forthcoming Nokia 9 PureView, Light wants a slice of the action.

That's why it has teamed with Sony's semiconductor arm, to design and manufacturer camera modules for OEM manufacturers.

Sony imaging units appear in many handsets on the market, so you could see some crazier rear snapper designs in future.

There's a possibility that the two companies will provide multi-camera tech for a future Sony Xperia smartphone too.

"These new reference designs combine Light’s multi-camera technology together with Sony’s image sensors to create new multi-camera applications and solutions beginning with the introduction of smartphones containing four or more cameras," it says on a joint statement.

Considering Sony Mobile is already about to push the boundaries with a 21:9 handset to launch at Mobile World Congress, it's not beyond the pale to imagine a future Sony-branded phone that's like the L16.

Wouldn't that be a thing?

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Writing by Maggie Tillman and Rik Henderson. Originally published on 21 February 2019.