Portray the future

Portrait mode for Iphone 7 plus - the mode where the phone uses both cameras to generate an image with blur applied to the background - has been available in beta form a little while now. I enjoy playing with it, enjoy many of the results and have also ran into a bunch of cases where it fails. People compare the result to that of expensive lenses on large, serious cameras, discussing how the phone succeeds or fails in comparison. Mainly fails, really. The final result is different, things do not blur or stay in focus like on a "real" camera, and the depth detection simply fails in some cases.

Portrait mode is no replacement for a more expensive camera and lens, and what got me excited today was where it might go when we shake off comparing it to those optics of old. They are, after all, just a different set of constraints and side effects photographers have learned to work with. And we have all learned to appreciate the results. Trying to imitate the same limitations and results is merely one direction portrait mode (and image capture devices) could go in. I have a hard time even imagining what the space of possibilities could be, but a super-obvious one would be doing other types of blur. What types of effects could we achieve with other blur options?

Or, to pick something even more immediate, what new ides will people get once they have shot a few thousand pictures in portrait mode? There are, after all, plenty of limits to work with there too.

Let us play more!