I wonder if it is possible to estimate location of a static source of the light using single camera? If possible how does it work in a nutshell? If not possible any work around like using multiple cameras?

  • $\begingroup$ Possible? Yes. Your brain can do this with one eye open from context clues. With two eyes open it's just stereo vision via triangulation which is a lot more straightforward. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    May 9, 2022 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ "Camera" could be anything from a single pixel to a 10x15 inch film plate. And don't get me started on the lenses and bokeh possible. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2022 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft I mean "camera" as in most common usage. To be more specified lets answer for a typical mobile camera (i.e. iPhone X) $\endgroup$ May 10, 2022 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ Sure i do this all the time with scene tracking and photogrametry software. You need multiple pictures from different locations and a scale reference though $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    May 10, 2022 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ Well, if you can manipulate the lightsource then yes. This is essentially how infrared rangefinders that based on reflectivity work. If you have structured light you can use same idea as light based scanners. Likewise if your tracker object moves then its essentially same as moving camera. A similar reversal happens if you know camera fov and know 3-4 nonplanar points in the space, or if you know 6-7 then you can calculate fov with ransac algorithms. $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    May 11, 2022 at 6:11

1 Answer 1


Yes, as discussed on

it is indeed possible. However, which method suits your needs the best is dependent on the particulars of your setup and application. As far as triangulation using two (or more) cameras goes, there are plenty of information and explanations to be found, e.g., from Wikipedia, Carnegie Mellon University and many others.

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    $\begingroup$ For that matter, the "split-prism" optic in the viewfinder leg of old-fashioned SLR cameras can be used indirectly to measure distance vs focal setting of the lens $\endgroup$ May 10, 2022 at 12:31

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