Almalence makes super resolution available on camera phones

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.”

Huawei Ascend P2 Super Resolution Zoom Test

Huawei Ascend P2 was the first device with super resolution zoom on the market. These comparison photos were taken at MWC 2013 where P2 was presented. (Left: usual zoom; right: super resolution zoom)

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.

Huawei Ascend P6 Super Resolution Zoom test under 150 Lux: Resolution increases 1.9 times

“Spilled coins” (aka “Dead Leaves”) chart taken with Huawei P6 mobile phone (illuminance: 150 lux). Normal 2x zoom vs Super Resolution 2x Zoom. MTF30 measurement with ImaTest shows 1.9x effective resolution increase.

Almalence’s Super Resolution Zoom is a multi-frame technology, which adds benefit of drastic noise reduction in low light conditions.

Super Resolution Zoom under low light (20 Lux). Noise is reduced with no loss of detail. (Test with Huawei Ascend P6)

Images taken with Huawei P6 mobile phone under low light (20 Lux): Normal 2x zoom versus Super Resolution 2x Zoom

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

Almalence Super Resolution vs SONY Clear Image Zoom (single-frame super resolution)

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:

Top: standard zoom, bottom: Clear Image Zoom (SONY RX100)

Top: standard zoom, bottom: Clear Image Zoom (SONY RX100)

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:

SONY Clear Image Zoom vs Almalence Super Resolution

SONY Clear Image Zoom vs Almalence Super Resolution

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.

More examples:

The web address and phone number unreadable in a Clear Image Zoom photo become readable in Super Resolution image:

Letters in the center of the image and “3F” at the bottom-right corner become readable:

Original images and a copy of the application used for processing are available upon request.

PhotoAcute 3.011

New version of PhotoAcute released, featuring new super resolution profiles, including Hasselblad / Leaf Aptus 17:
Release notes on PhotoAcute forum

Test of Panasonic LX7 Intelligent Zoom

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

Panasonic Lumix LX7: 3.8x zoom and 7.5x (intelligent) zoom

Panasonic Lumix LX7: 3.8x zoom and 7.5x (intelligent) zoom

100% Crops. Top: 3.8x zoom, bottom: 7.5x zoom (with Intelligent Resolution)

Comparison of 3.8x zoom with 7.5x Intelligent Zoom (Panasonic Lumix LX7)

Top: 3.8x zoom, bottom: 7.5x Intelligent Zoom

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:

Left: Panasonic Intelligent Resolution, right: generic zoom + bicubic upsize + unsharp mask

Left: Panasonic Intelligent Resolution, right: generic zoom + bicubic upsize + unsharp mask

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

Superb quality zoom with newly available Huawei Ascend P2, first tests at MWC 2013

Camera became one of the things (if not the only one) that really make the difference in modern smartphones. Among the leading OEMs such as HTC, Sony and Intel who emphasize their new advanced camera features, Huawei offers something really unique – SuperZoom feature, allowing to take high quality images when zooming in with a mobile phone camera.

We had a chance to test SuperZoom feature with Huawei Ascend P2 phone at Huawei’s stand at Mobile World Congress. In brief, it works incredibly, see the pictures below.

Comparison: SuperZoom vs normal zoom, Huawei Ascend P2

Left: normal zoom, right: Super Zoom

SuperZoom versus ordinary zoom comparison, Huawei Ascend P2

Left: generic digital zoom, right: SuperZoom

Comparison: Super Zoom versus generic zoom, Huawei P2

Left: ordinary zoom, right: Super Zoom

SuperZoom on Huawei P2, sample image, test against usual zoom

Left: usual zoom, low detail; right: Super Zoom, high resolution and lot of details

Conclusion: SuperZoom is a revolutionary technology providing zoom quality comparable to optical zoom, on mobile devices!

Feb 25, 2013, Barcelona.

Almalence releases an accessible HDR tool for converting RAW into detail-rich vivid images

Your camera captures the details, HDRAW makes them visible

Tone Mapped RAW versus JPEG: JPEG has less details due to squeezing and cutting of dynamic range

The maximal dynamic range – the contrast between the brightest point and the darkest one – of a JPEG image is about 4,000 times lower than the range seen by a human eye. A camera captures several times higher dynamic range than one available with JPEG. This means that the range is either cut or squeezed in JPEG photos, therefore in high contrast scenes the details in highlights and shadows are lost, as well as the details of low-contrast objects. RAW images still contain the full dynamic range captured by the camera.

HDRAW utilizes Tone Mapping technique, allowing to preserve the details while fitting high dynamic range image into the limited dynamic range of JPEG or any other 8-bit format. Exploiting the properties of the human vision, HDRAW makes the picture and color details visible in all areas of the photo from the darkest to the brightest one.

Single-image HDR

HDRAW is a single-image HDR tool that utilizes higher dynamic range available in RAW.

RAW made easy

While usual RAW development process is a sophisticated task that requires adjusting a lot of parameters in a RAW converter, HDRAW is intended to produce rich detail images virtually in one click (ok, three clicks actually). It still allows you to adjust tone mapping parameters, but the standard presets are enough in most cases.

HDRAW.net

Along with HDRAW application we’ve launched HDRAW.net community for photo sharing, discussions, etc.

HDRAW is available at introductory price of $14.99. Registered users of PhotoAcute can use HDRAW for free – HDRAW accepts PhotoAcute 3 registration codes.

RAW converted with HDRAW versus JPEG: JPEG has less vivid colors and less details visible

Smart handling of moving objects in PhotoAcute

In PhotoAcute version 3.005 we have introduced a qualitative improvement of moving objects processing. Even with exposure bracketed images of very complex scenes with moving objects and varying illumination PhotoAcute now produces consistent results.

Improvement of moving objects processing in PhotoAcute version 3.005

PhotoAcute version 3.005 free download

 

Catch the very moment with our new Android application

Unlike the other cameras that take an image after you tap the shutter button, Pix Fix keeps taking the images until you tap the button.

So, the meaning of the Button is now “Stop! That’s a wrap!” instead of “That’s the moment, ooops I’ve missed it”.

After clicking the shutter button you have a series of photos taken before the click. You can then pick the photos where the moment is captured or save the whole series.

Pix Fix is available at introductory price on Google Play. Get it now!

 

Real-time SuperZoom demo on Samsung Galaxy Nexus

We’ve implemented a real-time SuperZoom demo on Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As far as we know, that is the only real-time implementation of super resolution technology in the world

SuperZoom demo. Real time super resolution on a mobile device.Features: imaging
8x, 16x, 32x Zoom
Real time (5-8 fps)
GPU utilization
1.5x – 2x effective resolution increase

Features: user interface
Real-time viewfinder with comparison of standard zoom and SuperZoom
Taking and saving of photos – standard and SuperZoom simultaneously.

Click here to see PowerPoint presentation. Is is also available in pdf format: click here.
Super resolution on mobile device: test of resolution improvement.