The Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book’s three new cameras explained

In a recent blog post on the Microsoft Devices Blog, Microsoft’s Surface image-quality team leader, Luke Cui, shone some light on the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book’s new cameras; the 8-megapixel rear-facing 1080p HD auto-focus camera, the 5-megapixel front-facing 1080p HD camera, and the Windows Hello face-authentication front-facing camera.

Unlike the 5-megapixel rear-facing camera on the Surface Pro 3, the new rear-facing camera on the new Surface devices has been enhanced by 3 mega-pixels (to 8) and also features an improved auto-focus and a 16X digital zoom to assist in taking photos of objects both near the user and further away. While the front-facing 1080p HD camera hasn’t received an increase in mega-pixels, it has received a boost in field of view, which has been increased from the Surface Pro 3’s 70 degrees to 80 degrees.

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New to the current generation of Surface devices, the Windows Hello face-authentication front-facing camera features a Microsoft-designed infrared camera with designated infrared light source to increase accuracy of its face recognition. This is actually similar to the infrared capability in Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for the Xbox One which uses infrared reading to better detect users in dim lighting situations and even to detect someone’s heart rate by reading how flushed their face is during gameplay.

In addition to the improved cameras, the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have also been given improved image-processing by integrating the image-signal processor directly onto the Intel Skylake chip. The team behind the Surface cameras also apparently performed thousands of adjustments to improve the white balance, exposure, and focus. Cui explains, “We call some parts of our process as painting with pixels to emphasize the artistic aspect of the engineering work.”

While the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book’s cameras haven’t received too much attention, both of their screens have been generating a lot of buzz recently with the Surface Pro 4’s screen being labelled as one of the most accurate screens on the market.

After more information on Microsoft’s new Surface devices? Make sure to check out our numerous features, reviews, how-tos, and videos relating to both the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

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