Sony has used Background Defocus in a number of the company’s Cyber-shot camera range for a while and it now plans to bring this feature to the Xperia smartphone range. The T-Mobile bound Xperia Z1s will have exclusivity on this feature, at least initially, but we would expect to hit other handsets including the global Xperia Z1 model in due course.
Background Defocus is part of Sony’s Smart Social Camera in select Xperia devices, allowing developers to bring their own apps as part of Sony’s camera experience. Background Defocus allows you to create a ‘bokeh’ effect, commonly seen in much more expensive Digital SLRs. This blurs out the background allowing the photographer to focus on a particular part of the image.
Background Defocus works by taking two consecutive photos with different focus positions. The software then works out the relative distance between the foreground subject (in-focus) and other parts. It then blends these two frames to create a single image with the foreground subject in sharp focus against a blurred background.
This app allows you to adjust the level of blurring in the background, it will also allow you to use motion blur (upwards and downwards) for a more artistic effect.
The Next Web reported problems in trying to use this mode outside of the demo set up, with errors reported most times. Sony says that to get the best out of the app you should stand around two feet away from the subject against a background that is at least three feet behind it. Despite these teething issues, Background Defocus looks like a great camera app from Sony and we can’t wait until it becomes more widely available to the Sony Xperia range.