Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Entropy512 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,861

OpticsEngineer wrote:

Time of flight sensing is somewhat new coming into the consumer market although the military and aerospace fields have been using it for decades. The wikipedia article on it is a good introduction for people who are unfamiilair with it. And a web search on "iphone time of flight" would probably we worthwhile for a lot of people.

But to your question, to put TOF through the lens, with a bumpout on the side of a camera like you described, the conventional solution would be to put a beam splitter in between the sensor and the lens. Like the beam splitter in a Sony DSLT camera such as a Sony A99. That beam splitter takes space and that goes against the trend to make lenses and short and light as possible. That is one of the reasons mirrorless cameras are taking over from DSLRs (and DSLTs.)

Yup. You could technically replace the AF system with a TOF sensor and an illuminator in the hotshoe - but honestly that would probably not perform as well as a legacy PDAF system.

TOF sensors are great for initial hinting in the absence of PDAF, and may be beneficial for initial hinting in a case where current lens focus position is so far off that PDAF can only return an "out of range" result, but they're not going to be suitable to replace any final through-the-lens focusing system merely due to issues of lens/sensor assembly tolerances.

Most 3D TOF sensors on the market also have issues with mutual interference when multiple systems are looking at the same area.  Upcoming products from IFM make advances in mitigating that, but who knows how well they'll actually perform.  Scanning LiDARs are bulky but at least perform better with respect to mutual interference, since they'll only interfere when the scan pattern has them pointing at each other at the exact same time.

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