OnQ Blog

Take amazing photos with Qualcomm Clear Sight dual camera tech

Qualcomm Technologies debuts Qualcomm Clear Sight technology, powered by Qualcomm Spectra

14 Sep 2016

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Qualcomm Technologies is no stranger to camera innovation, as our solutions have supported a number of smartphones with dual camera technology. Our latest innovation is called Qualcomm Clear Sight, powered by Qualcomm Spectra ISP (Image Signal Processor), and comes straight out of the engineering labs. The results will astound you, as this technology is designed to mimic the attributes of the human eye. Clear Sight is engineered to give your photos improved dynamic range, sharpness, and less noise in low light.

The human eye is a great analogy because your eyes contain cells called “cones” and “rods.” Cones are great at capturing color, but require well-lit environments, while rods excel in capturing light in low-light conditions, but don’t capture as much color. Clear Sight is designed to mimic cones and rods to give you the best of both worlds, producing an image that has optimal contrast and brightness.

Clear Sight features two cameras, each with its own lens and image sensor. Like your eyes, the lenses have identical focal length (meaning they see the same distance). But each camera has a different image sensor: one color image sensor (to mimic cones), and a separate black and white image sensor (which can absorb more light, to mimic rods).  

Technically the color sensor and black and white sensors are the same, except for one tweak: the black and white sensor has had its top layer’s color filter removed. Without it, the sensor is unable to capture color, but its ability to capture light increases by 3x. This is especially helpful with low-light environments.

Without the color filter, these black and white photos have much better contrast, and in low light have less noise and improved sharpness. When color information from the other photo is merged, you can get a fantastic image. This is Clear Sight.

Clear Sight technology is supported by the premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and 821 processors. Snapdragon processors feature a technology core dedicated to cameras—an Image ISP we call Qualcomm Spectra. The Qualcomm Spectra ISPs inside of these Snapdragon processors are engineered to merge and quickly processes data simultaneously from both cameras to create a high quality photograph, even in very low lighting, by using algorithms to blend the images captured from each of the two cameras intelligently.

Clear Sight consists of a single, fully integrated hardware module that contains two cameras, plus computational low light imaging algorithms that enable Qualcomm Spectra ISPs, designed to take photos at the exact same time and merge the two photos together, instantaneously, with outstanding image quality even in low lighting.

Qualcomm Clear Sight, Qualcomm Spectra, and Qualcomm Snapdragon are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.