How does ToF camera work on iPhone 12 Pro/Pro Max?

By March 19, 2020

We are almost certain that the iPhone 12 series are going to be released this fall. And according to the source of 9to5Mac, there is code “d5x” that refers to two of three devices as having a ToF camera. Considering the iPhone 11 series goes by “d4x”, we know that only the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will get the new Time of Flight 3D camera sensor. So how does ToF camera work on them? Is it a feature we could expect?

Before we answer these questions, let’s first learn some basic knowledge about ToF. Its full name is Time of Flight. The easiest way to understand it is to compare it to a sonar system — except it uses light rather than sound to detect things. ToF cameras have been increasingly used on mobile phones, drones, and industrial robots. They can map out the surroundings and create a basic three-dimensional representation of them. In the field of smartphones, this technology is actually not very new. The earliest consumer smartphone to use the tech is Huawei Honor View 20, which dates back to the end of 2018. And we now have Huawei P30 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ4, LG G8 Thin Q, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and much more. In the year 2020, we are bound to see more handsets, especially flagships, to be debuted with ToF camera technology. 

–The ToF camera of the Honor View 20

So what if, as we predict, ToF cameras were added on the upcoming iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max? On the front of the iPhone, the ToF sensor is likely to play a role as the TrueDepth camera, which works as a part of the Face ID system to make an accurate reading of a user’s face. While on the back of the phone, the ToF camera will help to enhance the effects like bokeh. To defocus the background or any other point of the image and to give the bokeh blur, professional portrait photographers will surely find it great fun. Having the ability to acquire three-dimensional information of items, the camera can also boost AR, augmented reality. Since Apple has already had some AR apps like the Measure app, and is reportedly working on more AR-related projects such as a rumored Glasses AR headset, adding a 3D sensor to its phone makes a lot of sense. 

The latest years have witnessed the frequent upgrade of cameras on smartphones. We have more than one camera, not just a selfie camera, but several different lenses on the back each with their own sensors. Some of these are used to offer us different focal lengths, so that we get a truly wide-angle view or a decent telephoto anytime we want. But beyond that, we are glad to see increasingly more and more additional cameras on the smartphones being a ToF sensor. This is good news, because it makes high-end photography more available to us, just with a not very high budget. What’s more, the technology makes it more likely for us to benefit from high-end techs like VR and AR. If you want a flagship with some original and promising technologies, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max is really worth waiting.

Recommendation:

UBeesize 51” Extendable Tripod Stand

Although smartphone cameras do contain internal image stabilization software, there will still be camera shake if you hand-hold your phone, resulting in blurry images. For the best possible results, we recommend using UBeesize’s tripod stand for your smartphone. It is a great combination pack that includes a mount and stand. It can easily be placed on a table as you shoot your images, or twisted around a more elevated object. 

 

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