Today, Toshiba announced that it has begun commercial production of its new T4K82 CMOS image sensor for smartphones and tablets. The sensor packs in high-end features which could give a boost to next-generation products.
The T4K82 is a 13 megapixel BSI (back-illuminated) CMOS image sensor, which is a match for most modern high-end smartphones. However, the big talking point is that Toshiba’s new chip is capable of 240fps interlaced slow-motion video capture with a full 1080p resolution, which, on paper, is the highest frame rate available in the industry. It can also scale down its resolution to QVGA (320×240) for 900fps equivalent video capture.
To accomplish this, Toshiba makes use of its own “Bright Mode” technology to boost frame brightness by up to four times. This is achieved through “charge binning”, which adds the charges of two pixels and outputs the sum as one pixel with double brightness. Typically, high speed frame capture suffers from underexposure due to the shortness of time available to capture light. Toshiba provides an interlaced video output when using Bright Mode, effectively doubling the perceived frame rate of the video.
However, you won’t be able to view interlaced playback on a typical smartphone display. Instead, Toshiba provides its own interlacing-progressive conversion program to output high-speed capture to a progressive format. Depending on the quality of the conversion and how well charge binning works, the motion may or may not be quite as polished as a normal progressive capture could be at this frame rate and resolution. Even so, this technology should still offer additional smoothness and clarity over existing slow-motion implementations in the mobile space.
Slow motion video capture has become an increasingly popular feature in high-end smartphones. The new Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, Xperia Z3, and OnePlus One, among others, all support 120fps slow-motion video capture at resolutions of 720p. Toshiba’s sensor will double the equivalent frame rate and increase image clarity over current smartphones capable of slow-motion recordings.
While no products fitted with the T4K82 sensor have been announced yet, entering mass production means that we could well see 240fps, full HD video capable smartphones available later in the year.
With the ever expanding capabilities of camera sensors on our favorite smartphones, sample photos and comparisons are becoming more and more relevant to your purchasing decisions. Players like Apple with their line of iPhones and Android players like Samsung and Sony have been making waves, bringing the general casual smartphone photography to the next level.
We’ve got a few photo shootouts coming for you, but for now, let’s take a look at of few sample photos from the Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge out of Denmark. In the below sets, the top image is the iPhone, the bottom image belongs to Samsung.
For those familiar with Apple vs Android phone shootouts, I hope you are pleased with the results you see here. Usually Apple comes out the victor, but we’re not so sure that is true today. Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus clocks in with 8MP, 18mm squared sensor shooting at a 4:3 aspect ratio, f/2.2 with image stabilization. HD video recording is complemented by 240fps slow-motion capture at 720p.
Samsung’s equipped sensor on the Galaxy S6 Edge looks slightly better on paper, 16MP, 19.9mm squared sensor shoots at 16:9 aspect ratio, f/1.9 with image stabilization. 4K video recording is on board, but only 120fps slow motion at 720p.
If the devil is in the details, you just witnessed all the evil there is to see in the camera samples. 100% zoom reveals all the grain, or lack thereof.
OK, these phones perform quite well in the bright of day. Perhaps there is a touch of yellow in the iPhone photos. Now, how do they handle night images? Our cameraman didn’t wait for night, instead headed into an enclosed parking garage.
What is this you see, yes, it is strengths and weaknesses from both camps. To my untrained eye, the iPhone 6 Plus loses a ton of clarity vs the Galaxy S6 Edge. There is also a huge discrepancy in the white balance of the photos, perhaps your translation of the original site can identify which phone managed to capture the coloring more accurately.
Last, what you all may have been waiting for, video capture. Here is the Apple iPhone 6 Plus shooting those cars in the dark of the parking garage at its best 1080p resolution.
Last, but certainly not least, is the 4K video capture from the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, taken in the same dimly lit parking garage.
Once again, the videos give off that huge difference in white balance, but the resulting imagery may leave you debating realistic colors against almost HDR-like image brightness balancing.
As mentioned, don’t let this be the end of your research if you are comparing these two devices for purchase. We have our own Samsung Galaxy S6 (Edge) vs Apple iPhone 6 (Plus) camera shootouts in the works. Stay tuned.
In the end, the choice is yours, obviously – from what you see so far, do you think the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has overthrown the Apple iPhone 6 Plus in this camera comparison?
Due to the popularity of smartphones, camera manufacturers have had to scramble trying to find ways to keep their products relevant. And Olympus is no stranger to this. Now, the company has announced its Stylus SH-2, a point-and-shoot camera that’s using retro looks to, hopefully, appeal to the masses. Like they say, however, looks aren’t everything. As such, Olympus is making this compact cam beautiful on the inside too, featuring a RAW capture mode, 5-axis image stabilization, WiFi and the ability to shoot 1080p video at 60 fps. Just as important, the Stylus SH-2 comes with a 16-megapixel sensor and 24x optical zoom lens (24-600mm wide-angle equivalent) — similar to what we saw on the Stylus SH-1, which was introduced last March. It’ll be available in black and silver next month for $400, while the companion carrying cases will be sold separately.
Filed under: Cameras
Remember the good old days when phones came with a powerful xenon flash instead of just LEDs? Well, thanks to ASUS, you’ll soon have the option to add one to an Android phone — or at least to an ASUS one, anyway. The ZenFlash came to us as a surprise announcement at today’s ZenFone 2 launch in Taiwan: It’s a xenon flash dongle that connects via USB OTG, and you can stick it onto the back of your phone for that “400 times” stronger flash. Alas, it’s still early days so there’s no further detail on this device. No price, no date and no confirmation on whether the ZenFlash will work on non-ASUS Android phones.
The second surprise of the day was the circular LolliFlash, which is essentially a basic dual-tone LED torch (with its own battery) that can be secured onto the headphone jack of any phone. Unlike Lenovo’s version, there’s no communication between the LolliFlash and its host; you simply leave the light or lights on before you take a shot — especially a selfie. It’ll even come with a set of three color filters — red, yellow and blue — that double as protective covers, but we imagine most users will just leave them at home. Again, ASUS has yet to announce commercial availability, but we can’t imagine this simple device can cause much damage to one’s wallet.
Adobe delivered the ability to copy and paste edits to multiple images in Lightroom for iOS last month, and now you can do the same with VSCO Cam. With version 4.1 for iOS and 3.2 for Android, the preset-driven app adds a tool that will allow you place edits on multiple shots in your library with a few simple taps. If you’re looking to give a dozen images from last weekend the same treatment, this is sure to make the task much easier. And if you mess up, there’s a handy undo button to avoid any permanent blunders. Of course, VSCO Cam is free to use (unless you want to buy more presets, natch), while the aforementioned Adobe option requires a Creative Cloud subscription. Both the iOS and Android updates are available in iTunes and Google Play now, if you’re feelin’ the itch to take ‘em a spin.
Amongst the images of the HTC One M9 Plus that have started to float around, showing both the back of the device and the front with a physical home button, Twitter leakster @upleaks has updated the purported specs for the smartphone.
The change that was recently made is with the front camera. Previously, it was thought the device would have a 4MP Ultra Pixel camera. HTC has been moving away from that technology and it appears they have dropped it completely from the HTC One M9 Plus. The front camera is now believed to be a standard 13MP sensor, which is quite impressive itself for a front-facing camera.
Come comment on this article: New specs indicate HTC may change front camera on HTC One M9 Plus
Although Samsung really put a lot into improving the hardware present in their new flagship devices revealed at MWC 2015 today, like many other manufacturers did with their own devices, smartphones are pushing on the limits of the law of diminishing returns. One area where potential still exists though is the cameras and the ability of the devices to capture brilliant images. Samsung took advantage of that with some significant improvements to the cameras in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.
A major part of the improvement that Samsung made focused on the front camera which is now a wide-angle capable 5 MP camera. The sensor itself is 1.4 times larger than the Galaxy S 5. Samsung also added in full, real-time automatic HDR to both the front and rear cameras. The addition of this feature is partially thanks to the hardware in the rest of the phones as the processors can now keep up with the computing demands needed to stitch the images together. Besides adding this capability, normally reserved for rear-facing cameras, to the front-camera, Samsung has also made HDR video available to users.
Samsung put F1.9 lenses in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge along with Optical Image Stabilization and IR White Balance. Combined, these enhancements will let users capture clear images with no blurring despite shaking or low light conditions. An advanced Auto-Focus function has also been implemented to help users correctly focus on both moving and stationary objects. The auto-focus is also very fast, taking only 0.3 seconds to focus.
To help users tap into all the power of the hardware available in the devices, Samsung added a new Quick Launch feature. According to Samsung, users will be able to launch the camera application in only 0.7 seconds, even if they are using another application. Once opened, users will find an improved user interface for the camera app that provides access to a variety of tools with a minimum of taps and no scrolling. Samsung also added a preview mode that shows the impact of filters in real-time while looking at the screen. In case a user wants to assert more control, Samsung also added a professional camera mode with full control over camera settings.
With all of these improvements, owners of the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge should be able to capture some truly incredible images whether it is what they are looking at or a selfie.
Be sure to check back for more coverage of MWC 2015 to see what Samsung and other manufacturers are doing with their mobile device products.
Come comment on this article: Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge get some snappy cameras
While we wait for Samsung to make their 2015 flagship official on March 1st, we can still snoop around to try to figure out what’s going to be inside the Galaxy S 6 ahead of time. Originally, rumors pointed at the device using a 20 megapixel camera, but now it’s looking like Samsung will go with a 16 megapixel Sony IMX240 sensor.
This is actually the same sensor that Samsung used in the Galaxy Note 4, but they’ve reportedly tweaked a few things for better performance. The Note 4 takes fantastic pictures, so any improvement on that will be great news for photo-enthusiasts.
Come comment on this article: Samsung’s Galaxy S 6 will use a 16 megapixel camera with Sony IMX240 sensor
While they might not be the hippest looking things on the market, you can’t deny the effectiveness of a selfie stick. This one, from Mpow, features a Bluetooth controlled shutter button so you can easily snap that wide-angle shot of you and your friends for Instagram. At only $19.99 (Prime), this makes a perfect gift!
Also worth checking out:
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We’ve been on a photography kick here on our Android customization series, we’ve been using Android devices as cameras, as remotes for other cameras and more. We’d like to do a photography project once again today, but our purpose is to learn how to use the For loop tool in Tasker, coding 101.
One of the most memorable lessons my college programming instructor gave was an intro to the IF statement and For loops. It involved gaming, robotics and a hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Since I’ve already talked about IF statements in this series, I will have to deny you games and robotics, but you are welcome to enjoy a hot chocolate as you read forward, learning about the For loop in Tasker.
Before we begin
You will require Tasker installed on your Android device today. It is probably best to install and perform this project on your device with the best camera. Tasker is $2.99 in the Google Play Store, and is going to have to eventually start giving us a kickback, for all the times we’ve promoted the app around here.
Tasker For loop
In the coding world, the For loop is a coding method in which a section of code is performed over and over again, in a loop, until a predefined criteria is met. This may sound odd, until you see it at work. Examples of For loops can be found all over the place in every day life. Think of all of the repetitive actions you make that have a pre-set count to them.
Before I leave the house, I reach down, pull on a shoe, then sit back up, then I reach down, pull on a shoe and sit back up, again. There is but one variable in the action, left side or right side, but the action remains the same and I know exactly how many times I need to do it. If I were coding putting on my shoes, I would most certainly use a For loop to do it. (Special note: that is not my shoe, I’m not that cool!)
Although the For loop is designed to rapidly punch through code, we will use it on a somewhat battery draining project today, a photo time lapse.
Before we start this, let me remind you that Tasker has a method within the Profiles that allows you to trigger a Task over and over again based on time, which would be a little gentler on your battery, but we’re learning here, so let’s use the For loop.
Begin a new Tasker Task, name it appropriately, I’ll call mine “ForLoopse“.
Tap the “+” to add your first action.
We must now decide how we want to handle this project, specifically, how many photos do you want to take in your time lapse. I shall start with 10, just for learning purposes – in the real world, you may end up taking hundreds, even thousands of images to get a quality time lapse of any length. Don’t worry about that too much though, I will show you a better option next week.
So, under Variable, enter a new local variable name, for ease I’ll call mine “%items“.
Now, in the Items section, fill in the parameters for which your For loop should run. I have entered “1:10” meaning that my loop will run ten times, each time it will add 1 to the value of %items, beginning at 1 and running through to 10. I’ll explain more later.
Hit the system Back button to save and exit the For configuration.
Now we take the picture. Tap the “+” button to add another action.
I’ll make this quick, since we’ve seen it a few times already: Media -> Take Photo. Set all the settings just the way you like them, except Filename, I’ll cover that next. Also, keep in mind that you will be taking ten, or hundreds of images here, and that if you plan to compile them into an animated GIF, you probably won’t need them at full resolution. Consider your desired output size and set the Resolution appropriate for that. I’m staying fairly large at 1280×720, which I will crop down for the final animation.
Now, under Filename, I want to use the %item variable to keep track of the photos. This also shows how the variable works. So, my Filename is as follows: “TimeLapse_photo%items“. Remember that the For loop will change the value of %items each time it runs, so this will properly number my photos for me for organizing later.
Tap the system Back button to save and exit.
If we do nothing more than just finish off the loop at this time, it would run as fast as it can through the ten iterations, instead, we want to introduce a delay.
Tap the “+” button to add another action.
Enter an appropriate time between image captures. I will be watching the clouds, so a one minute interval should be more than enough. Keep in mind that your device will require 2-3 seconds to actually take each photo through Tasker, so I recommend going no less than 5 seconds here.
Also, the length of time your device will now be busy can be determined by simply multiplying your number of times looping by the time in between each loop. Mine is ten loops, at one minute each, for a total of ten minutes of device usage. Obviously I am not using my main device for this project.
Tap the system Back button to save and exit.
Finally, we must assign a termination for the For loop.
Tap the “+” button to add your next action.
Choose End For.
All finished, you can hit the system Back button to save and exit all the way out of Tasker.
There you have it, your device is ready to start taking a succession of photos that you can compile into an animated GIF, or whatever you have in mind for it.
Let’s remind ourselves some of the intricacies of animated images. First, you will need a good amount of images to make a smooth animation. That movie you watched the other day likely ran at about 24 or 29 frames per second. Of course, when recording, it would have had to capture at least 24 images each second to make this work.
We are capturing one image every 5+ seconds, thus, real time action is not entirely possible with today’s project. Don’t fret, I will show you a better option next week, oh, and I thought you just came here to learn the For loop anyway. Back to the animation, you can see that I put mine together at five frames per second, giving you a decent 2 second look out my front deck. You are seeing Mt. Hood there, if you were interested.
If you are unsure how to compile your images into an animation, you can try uploading them to Google+, if the AutoAwesome tools do not do it for you automatically, you should be able to force it on your Android device. From there, I used the free and open source image editor GIMP. Simply drop the individual files into GIMP as layers, first image at the bottom, last image at the top, and save as a gif. Super simple.
Finally, I did not at all cover how to trigger your time lapse capturing For loop today. Can I leave it to you to create a Tasker Task widget on your homescreen, or create a Profile using Pushbullet to trigger the capture remotely? Or, maybe you want a Profile that triggers at a certain time of the day? I think you can handle this.
Coding 101 was fun in today’s Android customization post. I hope you get that a time lapse is not a great use for the For loop tool, instead, I suspect you’ll likely use it for variable manipulation within a larger project. If you are still interested in creating a time lapse, and really want to step it up, I invite you to join me next week as I show off one of the best time lapse tools I have ever experienced on an Android device. No hints, sorry.
What is the best use of Tasker’s For loop that you can think of?