Apple buys multi-lens, DSLR-quality camera tech with $20M purchase of LinX Imaging

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2015
Apple on Tuesday confirmed that it has purchased Israel-based camera technology company LinX Imaging, which specializes in "multi-aperture imaging technology" for DSLR-quality images, for a price of about $20 million.




Word of the acquisition was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, and Apple confirmed that the company had in fact been bought. Prior to the deal being closed, the two companies were said to be discussion an acquisition price of around $20 million.

The company's website boasts that LinX cameras are "significantly smaller than any camera on the market today, leading the way to DSLR performance in its slim handsets."

Apple, of course, has placed great emphasis on the picture taking abilities of its iPhone series, and even ran a recent ad campaign spotlighting photographs taken with the flagship iPhone 6.


An image sensor created by Linx Imaging.


LinX cameras use multiple sensors to capture both 2D and 3D images. Applications can tap into the 3D picture to refocus an image after it has been taken, in a fashion similar to capabilities offered by the Lytro camera.

The 3D data can allow applications to measure the true dimensions of objects, create 3D object modeling, and also accomplish real-time background replacement in video.

LinX's site says that its technology "sets new standards for image quality parameters such as low light performance, HDR, refocusing, color fidelity, shutter lag and more."

The technology created by LinX aligns with a rumor that surfaced late last year, suggesting that Apple's 2015 iPhone update could employ a two-lens system for vastly improved photographs. Specifically, Apple pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball claimed that the so-called "iPhone 6 Plus" might boast the largest camera jump ever, to "DSLR quality imagery."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 88
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,131member
    Computational photography is clearly the future.
  • Reply 2 of 88

    Don't forget:

     

    1. This does not mean Apple will manufacture the lenses. Just the design.

    2. Tim was recently in Israel, he probably did the final sign-off on this after his visit.

  • Reply 3 of 88
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,803member
    Interesting! It is amazing how far cell phone camera tech has come.
  • Reply 4 of 88
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    About time to get rid of home DSRL.
  • Reply 5 of 88
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,624member

    It is NOT "DSLR Quality".  Typical tech-hype from people banking on people being too ignorant to know better.  AI should know better than to give this shop headline cred with such bullsh!t claims.



    A 35mm SLR sensor will flat-out always beat some tiny 1/4th of a fingernail-sized sensor.  It's plain physics.  The large surface area will always be better at collecting the maximum amount of light than some tiny peephole.  Couple that with a good lens, again... huge glass to collect light, and it's a no brainer.



    I love my iP6+ and it takes wonderful photos.  Anything to make those little cameras even better is great for me, and great for everyone.  That being said, it is nowhere near the quality I get with my 35mm Canon 5D Mark III on a bad day.  Assuming the 35mm segment stops innovating from this point forward, perhaps in 5 years it could be better, but its not going to happen.  It will just be 35mm mirrorless cameras or even more high-end dSLR sensors, but that market is not standing still at all.



    Next AI headline... "Mini Cooper boasts Lamborghini-like results".  Why not AI?  It's about as nonsense as your headline.

     

  • Reply 6 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,259member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    About time to get rid of home DSRL.

    Well maybe when I can fit this on my iPhone. Nice color match gotta admit ... :D ...

    1000
  • Reply 7 of 88
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,447member
    I'm sure it's great tech and will improve cell phone PQ, but to state that it's DSLR quality is absurd. You cannot achieve in a small sensor and tiny lens what can be achieved with a large sensor and lens. And any advances in sensor tech that reduces noise in small sensors also gets applied to large sensors to further improve their quality.

    The iPhone already makes images good enough for Facebook, etc. But display those images at full size and they usually look like crap. Being able to change focus points after the photo is taken is fun, but that in itself is not going to improve overall picture quality.
  • Reply 8 of 88
    goofy1958goofy1958 Posts: 124member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    It is NOT "DSLR Quality".  Typical tech-hype from people banking on people being too ignorant to know better.  AI should know better than to give this shop headline cred with such bullsh!t claims.



    A 35mm SLR sensor will flat-out always beat some tiny 1/4th of a fingernail-sized sensor.  It's plain physics.  The large surface area will always be better at collecting the maximum amount of light than some tiny peephole.  Couple that with a good lens, again... huge glass to collect light, and it's a no brainer.



    I love my iP6+ and it takes wonderful photos.  Anything to make those little cameras even better is great for me, and great for everyone.  That being said, it is nowhere near the quality I get with my 35mm Canon 5D Mark III on a bad day.  Assuming the 35mm segment stops innovating from this point forward, perhaps in 5 years it could be better, but its not going to happen.  It will just be 35mm mirrorless cameras or even more high-end dSLR sensors, but that market is not standing still at all.



    Next AI headline... "Mini Cooper boasts Lamborghini-like results".  Why not AI?  It's about as nonsense as your headline.

     


    I have to completely agree.  My iP6+ definitely takes the best phone camera pictures, but is nothing compared to my Nikon D7100, especially when paired with an awesome lens.  It will be years and years before they can even come close, and the DSLR will still be miles ahead, as they are constantly upgrading those as well.

  • Reply 9 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,259member
    Don't forget:

    1. This does not mean Apple will manufacture the lenses. Just the design.
    2. Tim was recently in Israel, he probably did the final sign-off on this after his visit.

    It would be a shame if they don't plan to use this technology down the road. Remember it could be for gesture recognition and / or multiple POV / DOF and HDR imaging
  • Reply 10 of 88
    tknulltknull Posts: 33member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    It is NOT "DSLR Quality".  Typical tech-hype from people banking on people being too ignorant to know better.  AI should know better than to give this shop headline cred with such bullsh!t claims.



    A 35mm SLR sensor will flat-out always beat some tiny 1/4th of a fingernail-sized sensor.  It's plain physics.  The large surface area will always be better at collecting the maximum amount of light than some tiny peephole.  Couple that with a good lens, again... huge glass to collect light, and it's a no brainer.

     


     

    How about:  Apple buys multi-lens firm to improve image quality, and lessen the gap between DSLR quality cameras.

     

    At any rate.... relax man.  Deep breaths.  :D 

     

     

    edit:  changed "bridge" to "lessen"

  • Reply 11 of 88
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Well maybe when I can fit this on my iPhone. Nice color match gotta admit ... :D ...

    1000

    Or a Sigma DP2/DP3 Merrill with phone capability.

    Imagine an iPhone with a Foveon sensor...

    :D
  • Reply 12 of 88
    amoradalaamoradala Posts: 146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    It is NOT "DSLR Quality".  Typical tech-hype from people banking on people being too ignorant to know better.  AI should know better than to give this shop headline cred with such bullsh!t claims.



    A 35mm SLR sensor will flat-out always beat some tiny 1/4th of a fingernail-sized sensor.  It's plain physics.  The large surface area will always be better at collecting the maximum amount of light than some tiny peephole.  Couple that with a good lens, again... huge glass to collect light, and it's a no brainer.

     


    this may be true of past and maybe current technology, but when you consider the size of an eagle or any bird of prey's eye and the precision and performance there, it seems smaller may prove better in future.

  • Reply 13 of 88
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,221member
    Nice for HDR, 2 lens means you could take 2 exposures (under and over) at the same time, which eliminate alignement problems and ghosting.
  • Reply 14 of 88
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Computational photography is clearly the future.



    It's already here.  If you've ever looked at what has to happen to the pixels captured by a sensor these days, it's quite clear that a lot of computational power has to be behind every photo that is taken.

  • Reply 15 of 88
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member

    Twenty _million_?

     

    It's almost kind of funny - this is like Apple at the 5 and dime, no?

  • Reply 16 of 88
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,221member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    About time to get rid of home DSRL.

    This is nice but it will never replace a DSLR with high quality lens and a fullframe sensor.
  • Reply 17 of 88
    rp2011rp2011 Posts: 159member

  • Reply 18 of 88
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post





    This is nice but it will never replace a DSLR with high quality lens and a fullframe sensor.



    Right.

     

    What happens when most people are pleased enough with their phone pics they don't bother calling a "professional" anymore?

  • Reply 19 of 88
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,624member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Well maybe when I can fit this on my iPhone. Nice color match gotta admit ... image ...






    That is pure, unadulterated camera lens porn.  'nuff said. :)



    Would be funny if someone could create a Canon EF-lens to iPhone mount.  I'd certainly buy it just for kicks and play with my L lenses on it. :)

  • Reply 20 of 88
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,314member

    Might also come in handy for building 3D imagery for "Street View" style mode in Apple Maps.

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