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Apple patent aims to improve iPhone camera without bumping megapixel count

By Shawn Knight ยท 31 replies
May 8, 2014
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  1. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published a patent application from Apple for a new "super-resolution" imaging engine. Such a system could be implemented in future versions of the iPhone as a method to avoid entering the megapixel...

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  2. I JUST had a room full of iPhone users glaring over my S4 (Not even the S5, mind you) looking at a photo I took whilst inside my car (With the window up, mind you) and talking about how the photo looks so "real". They can't seem to figure out why the phones they paid $200+ for look horrible in comparison to the phone that I paid $20 for (Verizon - Radio Shack).

    One guy yells "Yea but my phones twice as good"...that is all.
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,478   +3,036

    I'm guessing there was a nude girl on the picture, then you can discount any credit your phone seemed to receive, and just buy an iPhone, one with the real camera! ;)
    Jad Chaar likes this.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,547   +432

    You are posting that under a Guest account. I call BS. Didn't happen.
  5. OK, I will patent tomorrow the light and everybody need livining in the dark who not pay.
    Patent the SR, lol, *****s.

    Yes I Diots

    Mod note: Merged 2 guest posts in a row because they are from the same guest.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2014
    p51d007 likes this.
  6. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    Check out some camera comparisons online like this one: http://goo.gl/DsYeGJ. IMO the iPhone looks the best. The S5 makes the photos look too bright and the iPhone makes them look just right (not too saturated). Yes, the S5 has almost, if not, twice as many megapixels. Go figure.
  7. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,634   +98

    +1 SNGX
    All Galaxy S line cameras are average+ in best lighting, and in low light they are not even decent. But this is my personal opinion only from experience.
  8. I'm not a fan of either Samsung or Apple products, but with regards to this, I must agree. Samsung always pushes out "innovative" products that are so crammed full of crappy gimmicky tech that it would be really funny if it wasn't true. Their, "Bigger is always better" approach is forcing other tech companies to follow suit, even apple is being funnelled in that direction. One day, besides my 20" display on my Samsung Galaxy S8 (which should be released in about 7 months, give or take a few days), I will have access to my portable mini refrigerator, defibrillators in case I need to jump start my heart (to compliment their heart rate monitors), and full 7.1 immersive surround sound experience, complete with 7 speakers and a detachable 10" down firing subwoofer (key ring straps included free)...

    Normally that would all be funny, but this is Samsung we are talking about here, the master of, "throw as much at the wall, and lets see what sticks".
  9. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,694   +438

    The S4 does take better pictures in daylight though.
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,547   +432

    @H3llion - I have an S4. Here is an outdoor photo taken with good lighting. I know its on imgur and I think they downgrade the quality some, but it should be evident it still takes piss poor photos.
  11. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,694   +438

    That's pretty vast difference between my S4. I assume its the back facing camera. I know the front facing is piss poor but my S4 has golden pictures compared to many of the 5's and 5's my friends have.

    I guess it's matter of getting the right focus and amount of light. Some of the pictures I have taken (looking through the Album) are indeed piss poor and the front facing as well as low light photos are just atrocious.

    But so far, most of the pictures that I take more than 5 seconds to take tend to come out pretty clearly.

    But of course, nothing beats Nokia (srly though, go Android Mr.Nokia and add the S4 LED buttons on the phone not in the display)

  12. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,965   +1,230

    So basically, Apple is going to use IS, taking multiple shots and stitch them together, to produce an HDR photo, which is available on a LOT of android devices? What's new about that? Oh yeah, it's Apple, that makes it NEWSWORTHY. The apple fanbois will be standin' in line for that!
  13. Runt1me

    Runt1me TS Rookie Posts: 30

    So true, image stacking and panoramic stitching has been around for decades in digital photography and astronomy, and single image superresolution algorithms are not new. Consumer devices and solftware already exist.

    The patent is mearly the idea of using mechanical image stabilisation in the mix which is absurd. You don't need image stabilisation for this, in fact its inherent in the techniques themselves.

    No innovation here, its nothing more than attempting to handicap apples competition by prohibiting 2 existing technologies from existing side-by-side, they should be shot down for these tactics and have all their patents re reviewed.
  14. OliTheG

    OliTheG TS Member Posts: 61   +27

    Aaah, classic Apple :D

    Don't go out of your way to make a better specced product, just make a useless software feature, patent it and stick a name on it (also patented).

    Who wants better technology when you can pay a premium for a word! HOORAY!
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,547   +432

    It was the back camera. Yours are indeed better, I don't have many outdoor pics with mine, some of the indoor ones look pretty good.

    I have a Canon S3 IS that came out in 2006. It is 6MP and takes better pics than your examples (which was way better than my example). The difference isn't incredibly large, but the S4 came out in 2013, 7 years later. I understand its lens and sensor quality that make the image better, but still 7 years.

    They already do software based IS, this is hardware based. Now weather or not they should be able to patent it is something else...
  16. ralph058

    ralph058 TS Rookie

    The author didn't say what made this patent unique. Super resolution is part of the OpenCV library. It can be done in near real time on Android or iPhone now. Super resolution works well for cell phone cameras because the pixel size exceeds the lens' blur circle and when that case, the blur can be removed. It is being used on every targeting pod in the country.

    BTW. I'm amused by the camera comments. All the manufacturers use the same half dozen camera chips with the same freeking firmware and the same tiny lenses.
  17. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,694   +438

    True the lenses are often poor and the software behind them is horrid as well. I think HTC-One is great (that isn't Nokia) for photo quality, both during daylight and nighttime without flash on.
  18. Railman

    Railman TS Booster Posts: 708   +101

    I have a 4Mp camera and that takes much better pictures than my 8Mp smart phone. There is no way a smartphone can compete with a camera with 10 x optical zoom lens.
  19. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,694   +438

    Well of course, the size of the lens, higher zoom, better technlogy within the camera and afterall, the camera is designed for sole purpose of that. I know this.
  20. Railman

    Railman TS Booster Posts: 708   +101

    Clearly you do know that. I was only giving other folks a more extreme example.
  21. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Apple at it again patenting stuff made by other companies and claiming it their own...

    Seriously now are you telling me that the stuff apple has in their patent is unheard of or hasnt happened already... They also patented the menu...

    Whats next "Apple patent aims to provide cheap oxygen for 9.8Billion people around the world for super cheap prices"
  22. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,965   +1,230

    I just wish the device manufacturers would allow the OPTION of shooting cell phone photos in RAW mode, not overly compressed, over processed JPEG photos.
    I shoot RAW because I WANT THE CONTROL on how the photo is processed when I take photos with
    my dSLR. You really can't easily control white balance, shadows, contrast levels etc after a photo has
    been sampled to a JPEG file. PLEASE give us the option for shooting in RAW mode.
  23. An iPhone? A real camera? You're quite the comedian! That's got to be one of the funnier things I've heard all week.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,951   +3,995

    Oddly, I own 4 DSLRs, but not even a flip phone.

    I guess it's true what they say about me, I'm out of touch.....:D
    I'm sure all the phone makers are willing to jump on the opportunity to design, write and install RAW capture firmware on their phones to humor the one person that thinks it's a good idea, you.

    Not to mention that Adobe would have to change the name of their raw plug in files from, "Camera_RAW", to, "Phone_RAW".

    How significant would the loss of status to Adobe's product be, by having to pander to the sheer volume of fools that confuse mobile phones with actual cameras? Or would the increased sales of "Lightroom", be enough to offset the shame?

    Now really @SNGX1275, a cultured gentleman with your background and education, should know the difference between a conjunction and a thunderstorm....:D
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  25. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,634   +98

    Lucky *censored*.

    One BIG (sorry for caps) downside of having an smartphone (in fact any mobile phone) is that people can call you at the most unwanted of hours (reason I now keep my work and personal numbers separate).

    Although my Lumia 1520 does support RAW/DNG, I haven't had the chance to try it out yet. But considering the superior imaging quality (compared to competition), I'd not be surprised if it does alright in that area as well.

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