How Does a Depth Sensor Camera Work? (2023 Updated)

how does a depth sensor camera work

As a photographer, you might wanna know what the bokeh effect is and how does a depth sensor camera work? Or also does the depth sensor even really work or not? Here in this post, I am going to clear all your confusion, so go through the whole post.

How Does a Depth Sensor Camera Work?

The Depth Sensor in a camera renders a busy background into a soft spread of blur, turning background light points into softer circle points. This creates a shallow depth of field (blur) separating the background from the subject.

As provided by the name, the depth sensor in a camera sense depth. These depth sensors blur the background with stylish effects and augmented reality, distinguishing the subject from the background.

The typical depth sensors are nowadays getting replaced by modern ultra-wide and telephoto lenses. These new lenses can capture portraits more effectively and you won’t need an extra camera. If a telephoto camera can do the job, the other camera can be used as a wide-angle, etc.

Also Visit: Depth Sensor vs Telephoto Lens

TOF Depth Sensors

TOF stands for Time of Flight. It measures the distance between the camera and objects depending upon the flight time of light. With this sensor, the camera can capture not just a portrait but also a 3D photo which can be 3D printed too. The camera can also find the distance of the subject. Most cellphone brands are replacing their old depth sensors with the TOF.

The TOF depth sensing is genuine and plays a vital role in depth sensing and 3D image capturing. Modern-day phones like Galaxy S20 Ultra and S20+ come with TOF sensors. These cameras can sense the depth and distance of the subject and its background and take your photography skills to a whole new level.

Do Depth Sensors in Smartphones Actually Work?

Frankly speaking, the depth sensors in most Chinese phones these days are kind of fake. You can test them by blocking them with your finger when taking a portrait.

The photo taken with a depth sensor is just the same as the one taken without the sensor (covered). So, the work is all done by a single lens. The aperture is kept larger which renders the concentration in the background and turns the light points in the background softer creating a bokeh effect.

How to Get the Blurred Background with Any Camera?

If your smartphone camera doesn’t have a dedicated depth sensor, don’t worry it was for no use already. Here I am going to show you, how to create an amazing bokeh or depth of field in very easy steps.

Aperture Priority Mode

To get a Bokeh effect is to switch to aperture priority mode and set the aperture to the maximum value as provided in your camera’s specs. You need to keep the shutter speed in auto mode. Keep in mind is the shutter speed feels slower than 1/125th of a sec, you might need a tripod.

Focal Length Adjustment

You can also adjust the focal length to make the background blurry. Adjusting the focal length is a fancy way of zooming in or out, so don’t be confused.

Close up Shots

The third method is easier. All you need to do is to bring the camera closer to the subject. It will make a natural zoom and will create a shallow depth of field or simply saying, it will blur the background.


Now while ending my detailed informational post, I hope now you will be having a clear idea of how a depth sensor works or how a depth sensor camera works. If you still have some questions to ask, you can do so in the comments below.

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