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Microsoft Pix aims to capture better people pictures

Microsoft has released a new camera app that puts its focus on taking better pictures of people. The Pix app is now available for iPhone and iPad, and Microsoft says an Android version is in the works. When active the app is constantly recording and saves 10 frames before and after its shutter button is pressed. A series of algorithms then analyzes the recorded images, evaluating technical quality characteristics, such as sharpness or exposure, but also looking at facial expressions of human subjects.

Based on those characteristics among others, the app then selects three best shots and presents them to the user. The filtered shots are discarded to save space, but not before the image information contained in them is used to enhance the selected shots. For example, the app can brighten app images that have been captured in very dark conditions. 

Additionally, Pix converts a bunch of similar images into a moving Live Image, but only if it thinks the motion in the scene is interesting. The app also integrates Microsoft's Hyperlapse feature. In addition to recording stabilized time-lapses, in its latest incarnation it also allows you to turn existing images into time-lapses or simply stabilize previously recorded video footage. 

One of the most interesting aspects of Pix is that we can expect the app to get better with time. Anonymized settings data and information on what pictures users delete or favorite is sent back to Microsoft where developers look at the data and fine-tune the app's algorithms accordingly. Microsoft Pix for iOS can now be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

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DuarteGouveia

See my Photo & Video Review https://youtu.be/fJabpNFkR-A

Aug 3, 2016
Mike FL

So Microsoft developed this APP for Apple and Apple only, but NOT for Windows' Phone.

It seems Microsoft thought Microsoft's Phone is hopeless, and should be dead.

BTW, all camera makers make remote APP for smartphone. but NOT for windows' phone.

Jul 28, 2016
raindance

Microsoft is trying to stay relative by creating mobile apps for the leading platforms: Apple and Google. Microsoft is smart to see the writing on the wall, the traditional desktop is dead in most modern households and this trend will continue to grow. There only foothold is in the workplace and with gamers but as more and more apps move to the web and more gaming moves to mobile and console devices, there dominance starts to erode.

Jul 28, 2016
MikeDPR

Windows phone users have been enjoying this for almost two years with Nokia and now MS Lumia phones. It's called Rich/HDR capture, Living images, and Blink. Rich capture is my favorite. It works wonders on keeper rate and just generally reduces need to mess with your exposure and shadow lifting in PP. Really cool innovation in "computational photography". I don't know if iPhone has a similar feature in any of its apps.

One nice feature I think is missing in the new iphone app is "dynamic flash", which basically let you adjust flash exposure compensation in post processing. Check out this demo:
https://youtu.be/EEp2VYZI7XE?t=37s

Jul 29, 2016*
Tonio Loewald

That's a really clever feature and another example of how camera companies need to turn over the software-side of their cameras to Google/Microsoft/Apple — anyone but them (the camera companies). (Apple's introduction of flashes that automatically adjust for lighting is another one in the eye of camera companies, as is the camera app that uses time lapse techniques to filter people out of landscape/architecture shots. The camera makers haven't a hope of keeping up with this and need to open up their systems.

To be fair, Sony is pretty good at software, but lousy as UIs.

Jul 29, 2016*
Guy Swarbrick
Guy Swarbrick

Wow! Apple invented balanced fill flash!? I hope Nikon is ready to pay the retrospective licensing fees...

Jul 30, 2016
Tonio Loewald

Nikon flashes adjust their color temperature automatically? News to me.

Aug 11, 2016
skanter
skanter

Before all the whining and kvetching, has anyone actually DL the app and tried it?

Perhaps there are other apps that do the same thing, but I was quite impressed.

Jul 28, 2016
mlewan

There are loads of photo and camera apps out there. I'm afraid I do not see why this one would be more interesting than the other ones. Are the features really that amazing? Or is it mentioned just because Microsoft is a big company?

Jul 28, 2016
DuarteGouveia

Great app, My first hyperlapse test video on ipad mini 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZfKq3sM23Y

Jul 28, 2016
keeponkeepingon

Looks nice but your slicing was like "Don't do what john don't does" (simpson reference), it had me cringing the entire time. Do you cut your fingers often?

Jul 28, 2016
noflashplease

There are inherent limitations to the old 5MP sensor in the iPad Mini, although the same can be said of every tiny 1/4" or 1/3" sensor that's ever been in any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. This Microsoft app can't produce miracles. It looks as if there's been lots of aggressive noise reduction performed by this app and the exposure seems to change from frame to frame.

Jul 28, 2016
FBoneOne

I just wonder what's in it for Microsoft? Get gps coordinates of all pictures to send location relevant advertising in real time? Something does not add up, they must have a way to make money here that is not exactly obvious.

Jul 28, 2016
h2k

" Something does not add up, they must have a way to make money here that is not exactly obvious."
---
Suspicions in that line creep up more often when i see new software advertised. The more enthusiastically it is praised, the more creepy.

Jul 28, 2016
ovatab

data mining is trending, anything from your phone is valuable. photo/art/drawing/augmented reality apps are capable of digitising your subject face features for facial recognition databases.

*yes, I am pаrаnoid

Jul 28, 2016
AndyHWC

You mean finally Microsoft is doing what Google has been doing all these years?

If you are paranoid, turn off location service for Pix app. It is in the privacy setting of your iOS devices.

Jul 28, 2016
zodiacfml

This is pretty mild compared to what Google can do and is doing. Ask yourself, what is the motive of Google when they provided unlimited storage of photos and videos with Google Photos.

They say a photo is worth a.... but Google took it ten times over and many times more in the future.

Jul 28, 2016
Exit10

Interesting but does not seem to support 4K video or 1080p at 60fps which limits its attraction to me

Jul 28, 2016
Chet Burak

Remember, this is a cell phone , not a $3000. video camera.

Jul 28, 2016
Exit10

Have you used an iPhone recently?

Jul 28, 2016
jkokich

Exit10 that was hilarious! Thank you for making me laugh! (I love my iPhone 6sPlus with all that stuff!)

Jul 28, 2016
damian5000

Chet's comment flew about 10 miles over your head. CPU wise analyzing and modifying and compiling each frame in 4k 60p is huge compared to just 20 frames. Modern phones are powerful, but not that powerful. Possible? Sure, if you want to be waiting half an hour for each set to process while blowing 20% of your battery on each go.

Jul 28, 2016*
Exit10

What is 4K 60p?

Jul 28, 2016*
moranjr

4000 shillings and 60 pence = about $220 USD

Jul 28, 2016*
Exit10

Thought so - more than I want to pay

Jul 28, 2016
joyclick
joyclick

is it available for Microsoft's own Lumia phones?

Jul 28, 2016
phill104

It doesn't seem to be available on my work phone. I am guessing M$ are not bothered about them anymore, many apps are now either out of date or not available.

Jul 28, 2016
Alexander Raemer
Alexander Raemer

Are there any real photographers out there anymore?

Jul 28, 2016
knappe duivel
knappe duivel

no, the last one died in 1816

Jul 28, 2016
Bruno E

Does anyone know if the app can operate on its own or if it's another dumb client with some cloud servers doing the actual work?

Jul 28, 2016
Exit10

Seems to work in airplane mode

Jul 28, 2016
WilliamJ
WilliamJ

"Pix converts a bunch of similar images into a moving Live Image, but only if it thinks the motion in the scene is interesting."
It thinks, really ? Isn't it a bit exagerated ? Should not it be "it calculates" ?

I fear nowadays, too many people seem to grant enthousiasmatically cleverness - AI - to a simple software, probably on regard to their own ability to use their brain. I tell you my dear brothers that we are on the verge to know a new humanity: from the ape to the human being first, and soon from the homo sapiens to... the homo push-buttonius.

Jul 28, 2016
h2k

Never heard of that start-up "Microsoft", but i'd certainly not let them select or frame my best photos.

Jul 28, 2016
ovatab

this one must be a successful Кickаsster popup

Jul 28, 2016
noflashplease

Considering that SSDs have a limited number of write cycles, the Microsoft Pix app could really trash the solid state memory in a lot iPhones by constantly writing and deleting photos. It's should be very obvious that this app is constantly taking photos when it is open, in anticipation of the user hitting the shutter button, with each photo overwriting memory and burning through a write cycle. How exactly is that a good idea for SSD longevity in any device?

Jul 28, 2016
Bruno E

I hope that constantly saving means keeping frames in RAM, not writing them to the actual storage on the phone.

Jul 28, 2016
nand
nand

Obviously, the frames are kept in the phone's fast dynamic ram that does not suffer the life cycle limitation that flash memory has. Only the final selected image is stored on flash memory as it is with all other (phone) cameras.

Jul 28, 2016
JordanAT
JordanAT

Most SSDs used in devices these days have a write endurance on the order of 6-10 years when writing at their rated speed for 8+ hours every single day. Unless you have a base model where most of the OS data is static and it severely limits your active write area, the phone battery will be dead far sooner than you can ever hope to out-write even TLC cells. Unless your retention of devices is long enough that you are still using an original iPhone today, you probably will never have to worry about it.

Jul 28, 2016
arqomx
arqomx

"Anonymized settings data and information on what pictures users delete or favorite is sent back to Microsoft where developers look at the data and fine-tune the app's algorithms accordingly"...
Just watch "Jason Bourne" last night.. You'll know what I mean..

Jul 27, 2016
Androole

Wow, nothing but bitterness already for what seems like a pretty impressively sophisticated app. At least the premise sounds very good, we'll have to see about the execution.

Jul 27, 2016
Garp2000

Yeah. And you know why? Because Smartphone users are no longer so stupid that they chase after every shining glass perl. They know the implications of Apps running on their phones having access to GPS position, photo library and internet. Maybe it is time for companies like Microsoft to win the users trust back.

Jul 29, 2016*
G G

One more clue that Microsoft don't know where they are nor where they are going.

Jul 27, 2016
Cameracist

What about your own Windows Mobile 10, Microsoft?

Jul 27, 2016
JordanAT
JordanAT

This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about MS - instead of leveraging their software to promote and maximize the utility of their hardware, they routinely ignore their own devices, and then wonder why nobody buys them.

Jul 27, 2016
Lars Rehm
Lars Rehm

no word on making this available for Windows 10 devices

Jul 27, 2016
Osa25

People, the real purpose of this app is data mining....and no one is on Windows Phone platform. I like to play around with different OS, so I have a used one and it's sad how badly Microsoft ignores it's own....

Jul 27, 2016
LEGACYMOMENTSPHOTOGRAPHY
Jul 27, 2016
MikeDPR

Windows 10 Mobile users have this spread out in the default camera app (HDR/Rich, Living images) and Blink (takes multi shots and let you pick afterwards).

950/950XL and MS's image processing are the best combo I've seen on a phone. Seriously. I wouldn't discount them.

Jul 28, 2016
Michael - Visual Pursuit

I'd be more impressed if Microsoft would roll out an option to uninstall
all those apps that they enjoy to cram down our throats in Windows 10.

TANSTAAFL again, the "free" system comes at a high price.

Jul 27, 2016
Cameracist

what cant be uninstalled?

Jul 27, 2016
Alex Efimoff

Windows 10

Jul 28, 2016
Cameracist

if you upgraded to it, you can downgrade back.

Jul 28, 2016
JordanAT
JordanAT

You're welcome:

get-appxpackage *messaging* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *sway* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *commsphone* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *windowsphone* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *phone* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *communicationsapps* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *people* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *zunemusic* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *zunevideo* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *zune* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *bingfinance* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *bingnews* | remove-appxpackage:
get-appxpackage *bingsports* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *bingweather* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *bing* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *onenote* | remove-appxpackage

Jul 28, 2016
JordanAT
JordanAT

get-appxpackage *alarms* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *calculator* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *camera* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *photos* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *maps* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *soundrecorder* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *xbox* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *solitaire* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *officehub* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *skypeapp* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *getstarted* | remove-appxpackage
get-appxpackage *3dbuilder* | remove-appxpackage)
get-appxpackage *windowsstore* | remove-appxpackage

Source: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=powershell+uninstall+windows+10+apps

Jul 28, 2016*
Jersey Shore

Nice job, JordanAT. It is a shame about Windows Phone. My wife has a Nokia Lumia 820 and loves it. When it's finally time to replace it, I'm not sure where she'll go.

Jul 28, 2016
Michael - Visual Pursuit

I did that already, but with every update they creep in another shameless plug.

Jul 29, 2016