How Good Is The Nexus One Camera?

One of the things that Motorola Droid claimed to be better than the iPhone was in its camera. With a 5 megapixel camera, the Droid tried to out-do the iPhone in this category.

Now, we also know that the Nexus One has a 5 megapixel camera. But looking into a few patents filed by Google throws a few more interesting points that we may expect in the Nexus One.

One of the patent filed is titled “Reducing Flare in a Lens Having a Dichroic Filter“. In this patent, Google writes

“In order to obtain an image with high color fidelity, in an environment with a bright source in a field of view, flare must be minimized. In an embodiment of the present invention, an apparatus for reducing flare in an image device may include an absorptive UV cut filter positioned in an integrated optical system and a dichroic IR cut filter disposed on a lens in the optical system. The dichroic IR cut filter receives light reflected from one or more surfaces in the optical system at an angle of incidence larger than an angle of incidence of image light (e.g., a chief ray) entering the dichroic IR cut filter. The absorptive UV cut filter may be used to reduce a reflection of UV-wavelength light from reaching an image sensor of the image device. Further, the dichroic IR cut filter may be used to reduce a reflection of IR-wavelength light as an angle of incidence of the reflection of the IR-wavelength light striking the dichroic IR cut filter increases with respect to the angle of incidence of image light striking the dichroic cut filter.

A couple of other patents filed by Google have revealed that the company is working on newer technologies that will offer wide-angled and panoramic images using the camera. Here are some quotes from the patents that will give you an idea of what Google is actually up to

Panoramic Camera With Multiple Image Sensors Using Timed Shutters (Patent link)

The present invention relates to the field of panoramic still and motion photography. In a first embodiment, a camera apparatus for panoramic photography includes a first image sensor positioned to capture a first image. The first image sensor has a rolling-shutter readout arranged in portrait orientation. The camera apparatus also includes second image sensor positioned to capture a second image. The second image sensor has a rolling-shutter readout arranged in portrait orientation. Finally, the camera apparatus includes a controller configured to signal the second image sensor to start capturing the second image before the first image sensor finishes capturing the first image. At least a portion of the first image is in front of the second image relative to a forward direction of the camera apparatus.

Using Image Content to Facilitate Navigation in Panoramic Image Data (Patent link)

The present invention relates to using image content to facilitate navigation in panoramic image data. In an embodiment, a computer-implemented method for navigating in panoramic image data includes: (1) determining an intersection of a ray and a virtual model, wherein the ray extends from a camera viewport of an image and the virtual model comprises a plurality of facade planes; (2) retrieving a panoramic image; (3) orienting the panoramic image to the intersection; and (4) displaying the oriented panoramic image.

Ok, these technologies do not look exactly revolutionary. But they help to look deeper into how good the Nexus One camera can be. From the look of it, it does seem like it’s going to be a good deal.