Kate Russell’s choice of dress matches A Better Camera brand.
Have you ever noticed that you see much more details when looking at a scene by eye than when seeing a photo of the same scene? If not, it’s just because it’s too common to be noticed. Even having, physically, a lower dynamic range than a camera, human eyes see more.
Almalence 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
DRO can be integrated in ISP, camera drivers or applications.
Some comparison examples are available on our site: DRO_examples_Almalence_site.zip (33 MB)
Demo application is available upon request.
As Nokia made RAW format available in Lumia 1520, we took a chance to test Almalence Super Resolution technology with it.
- Standard image at maximal zoom (pixel-to-pixel crop from the sensor with no resampling) bicubically upsized 2x, and
- 5 Megapixel crop from 19 Megapixel RAW, zoomed 4x with Almalence Super Resolution Zoom
Results in brief
- Noticeable increase of effective resolution
- Simultaneous noise reduction
- Processing time for 5Mpix output at 4x on MSM8974 at 2.3GHz (Lumia 1520 chip set): 0.38 sec
ExamplesSee more examples
Nokia’s approach to improving the quality of zoomed images is using higher-resolution sensors. The results of Super Resolution testing clearly show that Almalence’s Super Resolution Zoom is not just an alternative, but a great addition to that approach, providing not only higher resolution and allowing higher zoom levels, but also drastically reducing the noise.
Almalence, a leader in computational photography and mobile imaging, announces A Better Camera for Android. This application combines multiple camera functions including HDR, night shooting, panorama, unwanted objects removal, easy group portraits and more.
Since digital photography became mobile, a substantial portion of user audience prefers taking shots with phones and tablets rather than with specialized cameras. However, many functions digital cameras provide as standard require additional applications on Android devices.
Almalence, the developer of the top-10 HDR Camera+, blends several camera applications into one to provide a one-stop suite for all camera jobs on Android. A Better Camera makes HDR shots, creates panoramic photos, shoots in the Night Mode for quality photos when there’s lack of light and provides options for manipulations with moving objects. Each function combines smart software algorithms and 100% employment of physical capabilities of the camera. For instance, HDR photos made by A Better Camera look like they were taken on a professional camera with professional post processing, and the Night Mode allows taking shots in insufficient lighting conditions, when the standard camera fails. Overall, ABC draws functionality of the built-in camera and quality of images it produces to the level of conventional digital cameras. In particular it offers such pro functions as group portrait shooting to take the best faces of each individual and combine them into a group photo; expo-bracketing for easy shots of contrast scenes or scenes with a high dynamic range; and the sequence shot option to make burst shots of action scenes and picture all stages of movement in a single image.
The convenient interface of the application allows to vary the amount of information on the screen and provides quick access to all functions. Even better, the interface is fully customizable.
A Better Camera is open source and thus enjoys the power of the entire Android developer community. Eugene Panich, CEO at Almalence, says: “ABC is a replacement for dozens of camera apps. It already includes HDR, panorama, video recording, night photos, and is open for third-party plugins extending its possibilities even more”.
Pricing and availability
A Better Camera is available for Android version 4.0 or higher. The application is free with some of the features provided in trial mode and available from $0.99 for each or for $5.95 as a bundle.
Almalence was founded in 2005 and now is a de-facto leading company in computational photography and mobile imaging. Technologies developed by Almalence are licensed by many major mobile device manufacturers. A Better Camera is a flagship product embedding functions of other software by the company: HDR Camera, HD Panorama, Night Camera and Pix Fix.
Company website: http://almalence.com
Product page: http://abc.almalence.com
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.almalence.opencam
For years we’ve been providing you with the most advanced imaging applications for Android. Now we have fused all our applications into a single multi-purpose camera app.
Moreover, we have made this application open source so that it should be backed with the power of Android developers community!
We are excited to invite you to become an tester of a very early alpha version of the application.
See the details on A Better Camera site
Almalence, the developer of world’s first super resolution technology commercially available on desktop computers, announces that its solution becomes available in the most advanced smartphones in 2013.
Super resolution is now used to provide high quality pictures at high zoom levels in Huawei’s flagship models Ascend P2 and Ascend P6, SHARP’s new devices and emerging devices of several Korean and Taiwanese mobile phone makers.
Nowadays, the resolution of modern mobile phones is quite enough for amateur photography, unless it comes to zooming. With no optical zoom lens, the zoomed images are nothing more than upsized and sharpened low resolution crops. For example, 4x zoom on a 8 Megapixel mobile phone has 0.5 Megapixel effective resolution at best, not taking lens blur into account.
That’s where Almalence’s super resolution can be effectively used to enhance the quality of the images. While further improvement of sensor and lens seems either impossible or very expensive, software solutions allow going beyond the camera’s physical limits.
“Almalence’s Super Resolution Zoom is a pure software solution that does not require change of sensor or lens. This allows an extremely quick and cost-effective integration” – says Eugene Panich, CEO Almalence, Inc., – “in the beginning of 2013 we have integrated Super Resolution Zoom in quite different devices developed by several OEMs in very short timeframes and with almost no efforts required from OEMs.”
Unlike edge enhancement and noise filtering techniques, super resolution provides real increase of effective resolution, making visible the details that are indistinguishable in normal shots. It virtually doubles the megapixel count of the camera. Capturing more details in zoomed area, it replaces optical zoom lens, for a trifling fraction of cost of such lens, and adding no single atom of weight and size to the device.
Almalence’s Super Resolution Zoom is a multi-frame technology, which adds benefit of drastic noise reduction in low light conditions.
Super resolution zoom by Almalence can be used in quite different modes of operation. In some devices it is a background processing while in others it works real time in viewfinder.
Comparing to the technologies that imply physical improvement of the camera, such as using BSI sensors or 41 Megapixel sensors, Super Resolution Zoom is not just a competitor, but also a good addition that is compatible with almost any kind of sensor and lens and improves the image quality no matter how good the camera is.
Almalence’s nearest plan is to implement a hardware super resolution zoom using Tensilica IVP32 image processor, which will result in a solution capable of real time video processing and processing of high resolution still images in tens of milliseconds.
More information: http://almalence.com/embedded-imaging#superzoom
From time to time we are being asked to compare Almalence Super Resolution with other super resolution technologies available on the market, most of them single-frame super resolution. Our previous test was Panasonic Intelligent Zoom.
Today we will test SONY Clear Zoom Image technology, which is used in some SONY cameras for better quality of digital zoom.
We use SONY RX100 camera with Clear Zoom function.
First of all, let’s compare zoomed images taken with Clear Zoom disabled and enabled:
We see that Clear Image Zoom produces somewhat sharper image, and somewhere it adds a bit more details (for example, see the second hieroglyph in the center).
Now let’s compare to Almalence Super Resolution. We’ve taken a series of RAW images at the same zoom level and processed with PhotoAcute:
It’s easy to see that Almalence Super Resolution adds more details and is far superior to Clear Image Zoom. This is an expected result when comparing a single-frame resolution enhancement technology to a multi-frame super resolution.
Original images and a copy of the application used for processing are available upon request.
Panasonic features so-called Intelligent Zoom mode in Panasonic Lumix LX7 camera, claiming that with their “Intelligent Resolution” technology 3.8x optical zoom virtually extends to a 7.5x equivalent.
It sounds as single-frame super resolution, so we decided to take some test images to see how good is it.
Below: 3.8x versus 7.5x zoom
100% Crops. Top: 3.8x zoom, bottom: 7.5x zoom (with Intelligent Resolution)
As we can see, Intelligent Resolution does not add more details (so the resolution is not increased). The same result can be achieved with extra sharpening. See below a comparison between “Intelligent” zoom and bicubic upsize + unsharp mask filter in Photoshop:
Conclusion: Panasonic Intelligent Zoom (or Intelligent Resolution) delivers sharper images but does not provide higher resolution and in no way can compete with optical zoom.
Full original images available upon request