A Better Camera

Started Sep 24, 2014 | Discussions
Almalence
Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
A Better Camera

Hi!

Hope this is correct forum to write.

I'd like to present for discussion our application. Want to believe it's not an advertisement, but a presentation and an answer for those who is searching for a mobile camera which can do a bit more than just a camera. For those who believe in Computational Photography

Almalence develops computational photography methods and imaging technologies that improve imaging quality without physical change of camera sensor and lens. Our solutions enable improvement of basic image quality parameters such as resolution, low light performance and dynamic range beyond the camera's physical limits.

So - we're developing "A Better Camera" application for Android. No links - as it seems to be not allowed by rules (if it's allowed - please inform me and I'll add a link). "A Better Camera" is a multi purpose camera with many different modes. Currently available - HDR, Panorama, Night (for low light scenes), Serial, Best shot, Smart multishot (provides photo sequence, moving objects removal and group shot), DRO (dynamic range optimization), Video (regular and time lapse), preshot (negative shutter lag capture - captures before you press shutter). In new version we'll add HDR Video - no one has it yet! + we provide access to all camera parameters your camera supports! Will write a bit more about them later.

Also we have no ads in app + provide additional free apps like widget and editor (coming soon).

And important note - it's open source project, available on GitHub. We're also open for developers and companies who have ideas and features to implement in ABC or Editor. It's possible to implement plugin/feature (paid or free) and add it into ABC release. With new release it will be available to all our users.

If anyone interested - I'll make short explanation with examples for some modes.

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

Overview of main modes of ABC. ABC has 10 modes currently, but some of them are complex modes, which contain few interesting options.

One of them is singleshot. It produces a standard image, as is. But if you switch to "DRO On" it will give much better results.

Almalence’s new technology makes cameras see like human eye.
Almalence Technology presented on MWC 2013 - Dynamic Range Optimizer optimizes the usage of dynamic range of 8-bit images to make the most of image details visible. DRO uses a technique similar to tone mapping, exploiting the peculiarities of human vision. DRO can be used either for optimal conversion of RAW images into 8-bit RGB/YUV images or for improvement of existing 8-bit images.
DRO is easy-to-integrate, extremely fast solution that automatically improves the images in 100% cases and can substitute HDR in most of cases.
Comparing to existing solutions aiming to provide similar improvements of digital imaging, Almalence DRO:
- is faster by the order of magnitude, which allows to use it in mobile devices, for both still images and video
- provides better quality, mainly due to absence of noise amplification in shadows
- improves both shadows and highlights

Here are few examples (left – standard, right - DRO)

Doug Pardee
Doug Pardee Veteran Member • Posts: 9,440
Re: A Better Camera

I tried a much earlier version of ABC, a number of months ago (more than 6 months ago, I think). I found it had lots of cool options and a nice interface, but one killer problem: whenever I tried to take a picture with it, it didn't take a picture — it froze. Worse, after I'd force-close ABC, no other apps could use the phone's camera module until I restarted the phone.

I realize that there's a huge variation in Android hardware and software, so it's darned hard to make an app that works smoothly on all devices. Still, this level of crash is (in my experience) unheard-of. It left me with zero confidence in the product and its maker.

I note that the current reviews for ABC on Google Play mostly fall into three categories: great product, video doesn't work, or hopelessly buggy. Obviously, my own experience was in that last category. I strongly recommend to the creator that they embark on a concerted effort to make the product stable and reliable.

With solid, reliable products like FV-5 and Snap out there, ABC needs to step it up.

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Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

Thanks for your review.

Yes, Android fragmentation is a big problem, but we're solving it with each release. We're now almost ready to release new version which is much more stable, we passed 2 phases of full tests on different devices with pro testers, so it should be on other level.

About FV5 camera and Snap - ABC includes almost all functionality from this apps + gives much more. We always reviewing our app and other popular, looking on speed, features etc. But there is no such application which can give true HDR, HDR video and other features available in ABC.

So I hope new release will solve problems you mentioned We're also working on new features, which will make complex multishot capture faster than currently single shot.

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

BTW which device did you use?

Doug Pardee
Doug Pardee Veteran Member • Posts: 9,440
Re: A Better Camera

That would have been my LG G2. For some reason, ABC wasn't compatible with my old LG Lucid (that's a low-end Android phone). Chances are it would've struggled on that hardware anyway — a lot of sophisticated apps found it too limiting.

I re-installed ABC, and the current version takes pictures without causing any grief. I didn't run through the options, but at least the deal-breaker problem is gone.

Google Play was being weird, though. Their web site claimed that I had ABC installed, but it wasn't installed. ABC also didn't show up in the "All" list of my apps on the G2. But I clicked the "Installed" button on the web site and normal download/installation began, and everything is normal now. [shrug]

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Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

Great to hear that! We're now working on new release and it will bring more new features and many changes, it should be much more stable.

LG Lucid had Android version < 4, probably you were trying then... now it should be 4.0.2 and ABC has to install without any problems.

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

We released new version with one more great feature - HDR Video! It's available for Android 4.3+ and requires some processing resources, so will be better on modern devices (for example: S3 has very low fps because can't process fast)

HDR Video example

adymitruk
adymitruk Contributing Member • Posts: 500
Re: A Better Camera

How is it on the oneplus one?

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Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

adymitruk wrote:

How is it on the oneplus one?

ABC works fine on it )

But note that currently your device has problem when taking with flash. Image will look as divided in two parts - one darker and one brighter.

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

Today is the best day to get A Better Camera! 90% sale!!! Who can give more
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.almalence.opencam

Best motivation if you're still not sure!

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Innovative digital imaging technologies

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

We released new demo application. Currently it's available only for Nexus 5 users with Android 5. Later we'll add few more devices with Android 5 full camera2 API support.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.almalence.supersensordemo

What is Super Sensor? It's our all-in-one solution to improve camera!

Can be used:
- in low light - resolution improvement, noise reduction, shadow recovery
- when bright back-light causes object of interest to be lost in shadows. Super Sensor recover automatically and noise-free
- scenes with beach and snow - automatic adjustment of typical auto-exposure failures (no user interaction!). What should be white is white now. Low-contrast details are not lost but enhanced. Miniature details revealed.
- Due to DR enhancement by up to 18db, high dynamic range scenes are handled well by Super Sensor.
- Super zoom - presenting a zoomed-in image from mobile device can be a frustrating experience. Not with Super Sensor.
- Perfect for documents: superior resolution and contrast maximisation. Always.

Super mode will be available in A Better Camera new release

All provided examples are UNALTERED and taken on stock Nexus 5 with SuperSensor!

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Innovative digital imaging technologies

jacosta Regular Member • Posts: 218
Re: A Better Camera

I was going to ask about camera2 API support in ABC, so I was glad to read about it.

I am a Nexus5 user and I did some quick SuperSensor Demo testing indoors, and then went out to the street (it's night here).

Indoors I was initially disappointed by the results, perhaps because of poor focusing, not sure. But outdoors testing in a park under the street lights, I have been pleasantly surprised. Better results than stock HDR+, even with shadow recovering in snapseed, and better than my low ISO long exposure DNGs, processed in PSexpress (these were handheld, with a tripod they probably could have been better, I believe that handshake killed the fine grain detail)

Thanks

Update: further testing

The digital Super Zoom is really good, much better than stock

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

Thanks for feedback. We're working on further improvements. Currently main idea to get perfect results automatically. But it's rather hard to take into account all scene types. Hope you'll enjoy using it Feel free to share with your needs and ideas

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jacosta Regular Member • Posts: 218
Re: A Better Camera

Almalence wrote:

Thanks for feedback. We're working on further improvements. Currently main idea to get perfect results automatically. But it's rather hard to take into account all scene types. Hope you'll enjoy using it Feel free to share with your needs and ideas

After some further testing on my Nexus5, my impressions are:

SuperResolution is an improvement on contrasty detail, but not so much on low contrast detail.

In dark low light situations SuperSensor is clearly better than stock HDR+

Otherwise whenever there is sufficient light I prefer to use stock HDR+ or even capture RAW(DNG) and process in PSexpress for further detail and DR.

I have one question, will your ABC Night Mode support the new camera2 API and allow low ISO long exposures at full resolution? (and preferably with internal raw processing)

Thanks

mentos77 Contributing Member • Posts: 988
Re: A Better Camera

Can the app record 4k video on Oppo 7a? I was told by FV 5 support that this won't be possible until Android Lollipop is released.

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera
1

jacosta wrote:

I have one question, will your ABC Night Mode support the new camera2 API and allow low ISO long exposures at full resolution? (and preferably with internal raw processing)

We're working on it. Will be available later.

4k support - it's a bit tricky now... almost all devices do not provide this to 3rd party apps.

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Innovative digital imaging technologies

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

It's possible to take RAW images with Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 devices with A Better Camera.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.almalence.opencam

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Enrico Ng New Member • Posts: 18
Re: A Better Camera

Your app looks interesting.  However when I try to use panorama, it doesnt work.  I click the shutter once and try to sweep but I dont see the red frames.  Then I press the shutter again and the app crashes.  not even a force close message.

Perhaps its running out of memory? but even if thats the case, it should give an error message and not crash.

Almalence
OP Almalence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A Better Camera

Enrico Ng wrote:

Your app looks interesting. However when I try to use panorama, it doesnt work. I click the shutter once and try to sweep but I dont see the red frames. Then I press the shutter again and the app crashes. not even a force close message.

Perhaps its running out of memory? but even if thats the case, it should give an error message and not crash.

What is your device and android version?

It's not always possible to catch an error. Also different devices works in a different way and it's a big problem for android developers.

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