Nokia on Tuesday officially released its Refocus camera app for PureView devices, bringing the “capture first, focus later” approach to mobile devices. It’s similar in practice to the Lytro, which, if you remember back to last year, was briefly the darling of the tech world. As you can see in the example below, the experience seems to work impressively well—you wouldn’t think this software wizardry was being powered by a smartphone.
Nokia has built a reputation for creating some terrific smartphone camera software, and Refocus further demonstrates the company’s knack for pushing mobile photography forward. Nokia says Refocus works best for scenes “with a great contrast in the depth of field, like macro shots;” the example is a demonstration of what kind of results to expect. The app works by performing a “focus sweep,” creating a full depth map (2 to 8 images) to give users the flexibility to focus and re-focus after the picture is taken. According to Nokia, Refocus only takes a few seconds to snap a picture.
Of course, Nokia is putting a lot of emphasis on sharing Refocus pictures, which can be uploaded to SkyDrive and shared on your Facebook news feed. Unfortunately, Refocus is exclusive to Lumia devices with PureView technology, including the Lumia 920, 925, 1020 with Amber installed, and the upcoming Lumia 1520. With Refocus, Nokia Camera, and a handful of other camera-centric experiences from Nokia, Lumia devices have access to easily some of the strongest mobile photography apps around.