Will the Nexus 5 have a state-of-the-art camera that will let you refocus the photos you take?

It’s October, and all the rumors on the internet say this is the month that Google will unveil the next Nexus smartphone to the world. We know it’ll be made by LG, we know it’ll use a Snapdragon 800, and we know it’ll have a 5.0 inch 1080p display, but what about the camera? According to one of the Nexus 5 log files that have leaked, the phone is said to have a camera called the IMX179 from a company known as Digital Optics. Here’s why you should be excited about that.

The IMX179 is the “world’s first” MEMS camera. MEMS stands for microelectromechanical systems. You’ve probably heard of optical image stabilization and how it moves the camera sensor around as your hand’s shake. This new camera doesn’t do that, but it uses the same concept of moving the sensor back and forth to pull off some neat tricks.

One thing you’ll (allegedly) be able to do with the Nexus 5 is snap a photo and then refocus on a different target after the fact. So say you’re trying really hard to take a picture of a bunch of people standing in front of a birthday cake. Sometimes your camera will focus on the cake, sometimes it’ll focus on the people. With the IMX179, you can focus on either, and I’m going to assume that through the power of software, you’ll be able to render a composite image that has both the cake and the people in focus.

Are there any cons? Of course there are. The camera has an f/2.4 aperture, which means low light performance will suck, and it doesn’t even use a backside illuminated sensor, so low light performance will really suck.

As always when it comes to these rumors, wait until the device is in the hands of capable professionals who know what they’re doing and can accurately asses Google’s wild marketing claims.

Remember, folks, there has never been a Nexus with a good camera; doesn’t bode well.

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