Change Your Depth of Field With An App

Change Your Depth of Field With An App

Check yourself Lytro, Google's new Lens Blur mode is coming through! Today the Google Research blog introduced a new mode in the Google Camera app that allows Android phone and tablet users to take photos and change the focus after the photo is taken. By changing the depth-of-field slider, you can simulate different aperture sizes, to achieve bokeh effects ranging from subtle to surreal. According to the blog post the new image is rendered instantly, allowing you to see your changes in real time. Click more to see examples of this new mode that could be a serious game-changer for phone photography.

Here's a quick look at image examples, along with a rundown of how it works from information pulled straight from the blog.


Lens Blur replaces the need for a large optical system with algorithms that simulate a larger lens and aperture. Instead of capturing a single photo, you move the camera in an upward sweep to capture a whole series of frames. From these photos, Lens Blur uses computer vision algorithms to create a 3D model of the world, estimating the depth (distance) to every point in the scene. Here’s an example -- on the left is a raw input photo, in the middle is a “depth map” where darker things are close and lighter things are far away, and on the right is the result blurred by distance:
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This is awesome! Hoping an Apple version comes soon.

When are they releasing this? My Nexus 5 doesn't appear to have it yet.

I went directly to this page, and clicked on the "Installed" button, and it re-installed it for me with the new features... Works great on my Nexus 5 :)

Thanks Mike. Just installed it. Pretty kool. Far from perfect. But kool.

The main issue is that it makes your main subject a little soft as well once you crank up that fake bokeh.

The bokeh also looks uneven.

Bottom-line: don't sell that Noctilux just yet...

Anyone who owns a Noctilux won't be using this. This is exclusively for the non-photographer crowd. It's for people who use Iphones and such and think they're photographers. It's like all those people who use the inappropriately named "tilt shift effect" in their phone's editing app, for scenes that don't even require the use of tilt or shift.

The horrible thing about it all, is now it's going to be popular and no one will care anymore about bokeh or shallow DOF when they see a photo, because everyone will be doing this. No longer will my photos from my 85 f1.4 astound anyone for the professional looking DOF. Just like with the tilt shift, people used to be amazed by my photos with how I could throw around the focus like you can. Now, people just think my photos are from a cell phone even though I paid a lot of money for that lens. Frankly, it stinks.

That's why digital sucks sometimes. Everyone thinks they're a photographer now, and no one appreciates good pictures anymore it seems.

Taking shots with a shallow depth of field doesn't seem like much of a professional skill...

Back to the app, I found there's a setting for the lens blur quality. Swipe right to change shooting mode, then click on the gear, then resolution & quality, at the end of the menu is lens blur quality. It seems to do a bit of a better job at isolating the subject. But yes the fake blur is quite poor it just seems to be straight Gaussian blur, maybe we'll get something with better character down the line.

Anyways, right now with just a bit of blur it can help create a bit of subject separation, just enough to loose detail in the background.

It's built in the Galaxy S5 you have to keep it still and make make sure nothing is moving in into background because it take 2 snap shots and combines them. I've tried using it at my daughter's soccer game and it wasn't working for because of the movement

No - this is different. This is the Google Camera by Google, downloadable in the Play Store. Samsung uses a different camera app.

The lytro-like refocusing is very kool.

The fake bokeh is mehhhhh. It's a bit uneven and it also softens the main subject.

Great start Google! This is why I'm on your Nexus. Now when is that long-rumored raw capture coming?

try to record the video with camera in portrait orientation and see what happens :)

What happened to the exposure comp??? Why did Google remove it??? Now the normal camera app the one without blur) is just as poor as the iPhone's...

It's still there, you just have to activate it in the settings once.

I've been playing with it all day and I got it to work, kind of, once. It's awesome when it works but way to much of a pain. Still, this is only version 1.

the tech inside is Lytro

Nope. But this may make people less inclined to but a Lytro...

Apple wanted lytro tech for there new phones, and were in the process of aquisition. But have worked out a different way of doing nearfield photography based on the lytro technique, where as lytro is analog this is more layer stacking and using a z buffer, and inverting for near and far. I use this technique on FX shots. Its a cheat but based on Lytro science. Seems that Google were trying to get a tech in before Apple.

I hate this development...all of the skill is being taken out of photography...there are few photographers left anymore, only retouchers...when you shoot for an hour and retouch for 2, you're a retoucher, not a photographer...

What does DOF have to do with skill? That just means that either your lens is fast, or you sensor is bigger.....skill is skill. Gear is just gear.

Can't you change to focus point after the shot has been taken? Being able to change everything in post takes away the skill. Moving a slider to the left or to the right is not photography.

Good grief. The new fad.
Since the hype of gross HDR images has petered out ... Lo and Behold (!) painfully ugly "OOF" - "bokeh-licious" images are set to wreak havoc on our taste.
... oh wait ... there is no such thing as bokeh instead all you get is a smeared bg that bears not the least semblance to a nice bokeh effect.

Nokia ReFocus. Bitch.

So this free update to the free app is going to do what my 1499 dollar lens does!? Awesome!!
I bet the results will be even better!

It just looks like a result of someone adding gaussian blur to the background

it looks like crap. edges look fake and like sh*t.
another gimmick for the brainless mobile phone junkies.