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New sensor to bring mirrorless camera to next Sony smartphone

Posted by wicked November - 18 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

With mobile camera phones, it’s not always about the pixels, unless you’re just all about the selfies. For serious photo enthusiasts who look for their new smartphone based on its imaging capabilities, you understand that the sensors behind the camera matters very much. Sony announced a new EXMOR RS sensor, the IMX230, that just might revolutionize how the photos you take on your mobile phone look compared to actual DSLR cameras. This would include HDR imaging for photos and better autofocus system, all thanks to the stacked design of the sensor that allows more functionality.

One of the things this sensor could bring to your device is the image plane phase detection AF system that would allow you to quickly follow a moving object while your camera also does high-speed focusing. The IMX230 will be able to use up to 192 AF points which will give your smartphone camera a wider area to trigger the autofocusing. Compare that to the 172 points that Sony has been using on its 4D autofocus technology, and you’ll see this is a vast improvement.

While a lot of phones and cameras now offer High Dynamic Range or HDR imaging, but mostly it is for video. But the IMX230 will be supporting both video and photo in the HDR format. Although, you do have to be careful when using HDR as in the hands of an amateur, the effect on your photos is not really that pretty. In addition, Sony’s new sensor will also be supporting 4K video capture for mobile devices.


This sensor is still a long way off from making it to a new Sony device, as it will be shipping by April 2015 at a price of around $18. Will their next flagship, presumably the Xperia Z4, be equipped with the EXMOR RS IMX320 or will it have to do with an older version to be able to launch on time? Or maybe Sony would rather postpone the launch of the new smartphone so it will have the new sensor? We’re hoping for the latter.

VIA: SlashGear

NVIDIA Tegra 4 ‘always-on HDR’ camera demo

Posted by wicked March - 20 - 2013 - Wednesday Comments Off

Back during CES 2013 in January NVIDIA unveiled their new Tegra 4 quad-core mobile processor. Along with it comes tons of brand new and exciting camera features they’re calling Chimera. Slated as the “World’s first mobile computational photography architecture.” One of the awesome new features we can expect on Tegra smartphones and tablets is their always on HDR (high dynamic range) photography and video option. Check it out below.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 12.04.35 PM

There’s tons of exciting things NVIDIA will be bringing to market along with their Chimera technology. Some of those include always-on HDR as mentioned above, HDR panoramic photos which should be amazing, and persistent tap-to-track capabilities. Tap-to-track will allow live, real-time tracking and autofocus on moving objects in video. Something we can’t wait to try out, and I’m sure a few Soccer Dads or Moms will agree.

Live in San Jose, California for the annual GTC 2013 conference we were able to catch up with a few folks from NVIDIA to get a first-hand demo of this new feature. Their always-on HDR mode will enable users to take awesome photos and video no matter the situation, and even see it live before taking the shot. The video below would look a lot better if it had the Chimera feature available.

As NVIDIA explains, always-on HDR will break through the barrier current smartphones are under when it comes to HDR photography. All using NVIDIA’s new computational photography architecture the quad-core Tegra 4 does all the work – and completely in real time. All the time it took to process and blend the images before will be done for you. And the result should be stunning pictures and video on a whole array of upcoming Android smartphones and tablets powered by the Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i superchip.

We have plenty more coming soon from GTC so stay tuned. Don’t forget to hit our Tegra Portal for all things NVIDIA news.

Video: NVIDIA Tegra 4 HDR Demo at GTC

Posted by Tim-o-tato March - 19 - 2013 - Tuesday Comments Off

While walking around the showroom here at GTC, we ran into a demo of NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 developer reference model showing off the nifty new HDR software. This same software was shown off at CES in January, but since Tegra 4 is still unavailable to consumers, it’s still labeled as “new” and “cool.”  What NVIDIA has done [...]

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How to use HDR on your Android device

Posted by wicked March - 19 - 2013 - Tuesday Comments Off


Of the many ordinary and extraordinary things that I can do on my Android device, mobile photography is one of my well-loved activities. Taking panoramic images is a walk in the park on my Android phone. I can even create 360-degree photos of my surroundings with the Photo Sphere mode of the Android 4.2 Camera. Yet, there’s a very nifty camera mode that’s not much talked about — High Dynamic Range mode, better known as HDR.

Used appropriately, HDR Mode can produce really awesome photos.  On the Web I have seen stunning HDR images that were taken using a DSLR camera and merged through an HDR photo editing tool. Can the HDR feature on Android devices provide the same or comparable quality?  What is HDR anyway? And, how does it work? How can you effectively use HDR?

In this guide, you’ll learn how to use HDR on your Android device.  You may also watch the video tutorial towards the end of this post.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It usually refers to the method of capturing images having “greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods” (Wikipedia).

HDR images are frequently described as saturated, high in contrast, and rich in colors. Looking at an HDR image might make you think that it’s a complicated and time-consuming image to create. But, the truth is that creating HDR images is quite simple.

The process involves capturing multiple shots of the same subject but in varying exposures (underexposed, normally exposed, and overexposed). The multiple images are then combined into one photo, resulting in a greatly detailed image. Some photographers use HDR software to merge and edit the images, oftentimes resulting in surreal images.

HDR Mode on Android also follows the same principles but is simpler compared to how it is usually achieved on a DSLR camera. HDR on Android handsets usually correct exposure imbalances and enhance details on both the subject’s background and foreground.

To better understand how HDR works, let me show you some sample images taken by the Galaxy Camera. The photo below was taken without HDR:

And, this one’s a photo with HDR enabled. Do you see some difference?

The tree in the first picture is underexposed because of the bright background (i.e., the bright sky). HDR tries to correct this imbalance by equalizing the exposure on both background and foreground so details are enhanced in both areas. This is basically how HDR works.

Do you have HDR?

Not all Android devices support HDR Mode. The best way to check for HDR capability is by looking for the HDR option in your device’s Camera app.

The HDR option on some high-end Samsung devices can be found under the Shooting Mode menu.

Some custom Camera apps (e.g., on the HTC One X and Desire X) place the HDR option under the Camera Scenes section.

If you can’t find HDR under Shooting Mode or Camera Scenes, try looking for it under the camera’s Settings menu. Some Sony devices (e.g., the Xperia T and Xperia V), for example, place HDR under the camera’s Settings menu.

On the Nexus 4, which runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, you can easily turn HDR Mode on by long-tapping the viewfinder and tapping the HDR icon. Interestingly, the Android 4.2 Camera on the other Nexuses (i.e., Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10) doesn’t have HDR Mode.

On other Android devices, HDR may be found under certain labels such as Backlight HDR or Backlight Correction HDR. On the Galaxy Camera, HDR is not labeled as such; instead, Samsung calls it Rich Tone and it can be found under the Smart Modes menu.

Using HDR on your Android device

Using HDR on your Android device is easy. All you need to do is enable HDR Mode and snap photos as you normally would: launch camera app, point and focus at subject, and hit camera shutter.

Also, you might want to use a tripod if it’s available, or at least hold the camera with stable hands; HDR doesn’t take too kindly to movement when capturing photos.  Also, the camera shutter speed may vary depending on the amount of light.

If you use a Samsung Android device, you will notice that the camera will produce two pictures. One is the HDR image and the other is the one with normal exposure. Check the file name to distinguish the two images. HDR images have “HDR” in their file names.

When to use HDR

HDR is a handy feature on your Android camera. But, when is the proper time to use HDR? Here are some situations where HDR may be advantageous:

  • Landscape shots. Activating HDR for capturing landscape photos is usually beneficial, especially when the sky is too bright and the subject has a dark foreground. In such circumstances, HDR ought to help in capturing rich details from both background and foreground.

  • Portrait shots under sunlight or with bright background. Taking portrait shots with a bright background leaves the subject underexposed. To fix this problem, enable HDR so the background and foreground are evenly exposed.

  • Capturing dim scenes. You can also use HDR when you want to capture dim scenes such as a picture of a candle flame or the lights on the street.

  • Remedying low-light scenes. — HDR can help brighten up images taken in low-light conditions.

When not to use HDR

HDR may be advantageous in several situations, but there are times when you don’t want to use HDR. Here are some of those instances:

  • Photographing moving subjects. HDR takes three or more photos in a row and combines them into one composite picture. So, make sure that the subject doesn’t move, or minimize movement while taking a photo.
  • Capturing realistic colors. Since HDR attempts to enhance a photo’s details, it may alter the photo’s original color in the process. Turn off HDR if you want to capture the realistic color of the blue sky or a beautiful red rose.
  • When flash is needed. Some Android devices disable flash when HDR is enabled. Some Android devices, though, allow simultaneous use of both flash and HDR.

Using an HDR camera app

If your Android device doesn’t have HDR, don’t fret. You can still enjoy HDR photography with the help of Android apps. There are several HDR-capable camera apps on the Google Play Store.

A personal favorite of mine is HDR Camera+, a paid app that allows you to take HDR photos and instantly edit your photos after capturing them.

Or, if you just want the HDR feature without the ability to edit your photos, there’s the plain ol’ HDR Camera app, which is free.

Here’s a quick guide to capturing your first HDR image using HDR Camera+:

  1. Install the HDR Camera+ from the Google Play Store and launch it after installation.
  2. Tap the cog-wheel Settings icon, tap Advanced, and mark the Edit After Taking option.
  3. The HDR camera app interface looks like the Android camera’s interface. It has a viewfinder taking up most of the device’s screen. Below the viewfinder is a bar holding the Settings button, Shutter button, and a thumbnail preview of the last taken photo. Below the bar is the zoom slider.
  4. Point your camera towards the subject and tap the Shutter button to take a picture. Make sure to keep your hands still.
  5. After taking a picture, the photo editor page will appear. If you want, select one of the preset filters or manually adjust your photo’s exposure, color vividness, contrast, and micro contrast.
  6. Tap the floppy disk icon to save your work.
  7. Tap the thumbnail to view your image. From the image view page, you can also share your HDR photo to various apps and services.

Video Guide

Know more about how to use HDR on your Android device by watching our video tutorial on YouTube:


HDR is one of the many features on an Android camera that make mobile photography interesting and fun. It certainly makes photos look better because of the wider range of light and dark intensities. And, although not all Android devices have HDR out of the box, you can always try installing an HDR camera app.

Do you use HDR on your Android device? How often do you use it? Do you find it useful? What tips and tricks can you share to us regarding HDR use on Android? Let us know in the comments.

(with contributions from Elmer Montejo)

The post How to use HDR on your Android device appeared first on Android Authority.

Sony highlights Exmor RS camera tech in Xperia Z through video

Posted by wicked March - 12 - 2013 - Tuesday Comments Off

In a video uploaded recently to online video streaming Web site YouTube, Sony asks viewers a very simple question: “Who are you?” It then goes on to explain that some people see their identity as the sum of all of their life experiences. Which is normal, and incidentally is also the reason why most people feel the need to capture and preserve as many moments in their lives as possible.

The term “moment” here of course refers to any sort of activity — or lack thereof — that can be documented with the use of a camera. And this is where Sony comes in, with its latest Exmor RS sensor-equipped cameraphones, such as the Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZL. The new video uploaded to YouTube by Sony highlights a few of the things that the Exmor RS mobile camera sensor lets its newest batch of smartphones do.

The Sony Xperia Z’s camera-related capabilities have already been discussed and showcased in the past. In fact, the world had already seen sample photos taken with the Xperia Z itself before it even became available in the market. In any case, Sony’s new video is here to simply make a point, and that is this: the Xperia Z is the tool that you need to capture those special moments in any light condition “if you believe you are the sum of your experiences.”

Head on down to watch the full one and a half minute video for yourself and get a glimpse of what the Exmor RS camera sensor has to offer.

The post Sony highlights Exmor RS camera tech in Xperia Z through video appeared first on Android Authority.

CyanogenMod (CM 10.1) now features HDR camera functionality

Posted by wicked February - 20 - 2013 - Wednesday Comments Off

cyanogenmod 10

One of the biggest disadvantages of owning a non-Nexus device is the fact that OEMs have been having a difficult time keeping with Google’s OS updates for Android. As always, the vast Android developer community had stepped up to the plate, releasing custom ROMs based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, one of the most popular of which is CyanogenMod 10.1.

Already boasting an amazing set of features, CyanogenMod developers have now added an HDR mode to the stock CM camera app, which (to some extent) mimics the HDR camera functionality of the Nexus 4. HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode allows for higher quality images by following the process of taking three pictures with different exposures (minimum, neutral, maximum) and rendering them together to form the “perfect” image.

Since a lot of devices are supported by CM 10.1, some users may find some issues with the functionality of HDR mode, depending on the quality of the camera you’re phone has. Here’s a list of guidelines you should be aware of before jumping in to using this mode:

  • The images are extremely sensitive to movement or vibration, and so the use of a tripod or stand whenever possible is recommended. 
  • Action shots and moving objects will render poorly on lesser camera hardware, especially those with slow shutters.
  • Since three images and rendered into one, the longer it takes to take those three pictures, the worse the render will be.

Of course, if you’re worried about wasting space taking three images at a time, the three “intermediate” pictures are deleted, with only the final render being saved. HDR mode is ideal for anyone with a mid-range to high-end device, and is particularly suited for smartphone cameras which feature zero shutter lag.

If you run CyanogenMod 10.1 on your device, and have tried out the latest HDR camera functionality, do share your experiences in the comments section below!

CyanogenMod adds HDR mode to camera app for all devices

Posted by wicked February - 20 - 2013 - Wednesday Comments Off


The crew with CyanogenMod announced the merging of HDR functionality into the CM 10.1 camera app today. HDR, or High Dynamic Range, mode is a process that takes multiple images of a shot and then merges them together to produce a single photo. The technique is useful when a scene contains both bright and dark areas, though it can also be used effectively to add some “pop” to an image.

For their version of HDR, the CyanogenMod team uses three images, one at minimum exposure, one neutral, and one maximum exposure. As you might imagine, if the camera is trying to capture three images, a really fast shutter is needed or the image and camera need to remain as still as possible while the shots are taken. Some newer cameras with zero lag shutters are well suited for this chore. If you have lesser hardware, a tripod might be in order to capture a good image.

Processing the three images to stitch them together into one image is processor intensive as well, so newer, faster cpus will work better. To help save some storage space, CyanogenMod will let you enable an option to automatically delete the initial three images that are captured and only save the single, processed image. The CyanogenMod team reports the new HDR function is not working on Aries based devices, but they are working on a solution.

source: CyanogenMod Google+

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NVIDIA announces Tegra 4 processor with 4G LTE

Posted by wicked January - 7 - 2013 - Monday Comments Off

Android phones and tablets news:

Android Central

Android Central @ CES

Today at CES 2013, NVIDIA announces the Tegra 4 processor, which features 72 GPU cores, 4 A15 CPU cores, and a 4G LTE processor. What does that mean in practical terms? 27 seconds to load 25 unique web pages (versus 50 seconds on a Nexus 10). NVIDIA claims browsing is even faster at browsing the web than the iPad 4, Droid DNA, and Kindle Fire HD.

Another utility is in photography. NVIDIA showed off the Tegra 4 processor handling HDR photography better than the iPhone 5, which takes two seconds to process (compared to the Tegra 4's 0.2 seconds). They demoed on stage a prototype Windows tablet being able to process a live view of HDR photography, complete with a comparison slider. The overall idea here is that every shot is an HDR shot, but Tegra 4 will also enable strobe motion, 3D reconstruction, and object tracking. Here's how they're architecting photography and a full press release.

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Best HDR camera apps for Android

Posted by wicked May - 30 - 2012 - Wednesday Comments Off

Most Android smartphones these days feature a 5- to 12-megapixel camera, bundled into one neat package with advanced camera features. Compared to Apple’s iPhone, Android is opensource and allows users to tweak the basic camera settings to satisfy any user.

When it comes to HDR-quality photos, the secret lies in the software itself because it is the one responsible for making your shots crystal clear with HD characteristics. As we explore the Google Play Store, we’ve managed to stumble upon loads of apps that cater primarily to enhancing images. Here are some of the best apps that will turn your shots into HDR quality photos.

HDR Camera

HDR Camera by Almalence is one of the best HDR cameras on the Google Play Store. HDR Camera features a wide range of options that allows users to capture dynamic photos between the lightest and darkest area in an image. Daylight photos will have deep dark shadows and crisp details in more lighted areas.

HDR Camera can look cartoonish if you are not familiar with tweaking the app’s settings. Luckily for us, the app uses “fusion algorithms” that automatically adjust to shaky and wobbly hands. The software can also detect moving objects on the scene, so if you tend to shoot fast moving cars or people doing outdoor activities, then this is the application for you.  Not only that, it can also minimize blurring or ghosting effects. HDR Camera is custom-made to transform any Android phone into the ultimate camera.


Make photography a work of art with Camera360 for Android. Camera360 has earned worldwide recognition for being the popular camera app for any mobile phone. It is even listed as one of the Top 100 Technology Products by PC World.

Camera360 is a heavy-duty camera app that requires a bit of learning before you can take epic shots. Once you get the hang of Camera360, everything will be a walk in the park.

Users can add frames and extra scenery to photos, as well as apply filters with Lomo, Retro or HDR. You can also find some neat features such as tapping to focus on an object, as well as setting the color to let you adjust the depth field and color of a picture. The only downside of the app is that it eats your phone’s battery fast. Make sure you are fully charged when you are planning on a shooting fest.

Retro Camera

Also hailed as one of the kings of photography apps in the Google Play Store is the Retro Camera app from developer Urbian. Transform your Android phone into one vintage, high-definition camera that takes you back to the 70’s. Take delicious retro camera snapshots with Retro Camera’s advance camera techniques.

Choose from 5 cameras with 5 sets of vintage effects from film scratch, black and white, and cross processing just to name a few. The app took its inspiration from Polaroid, Diana, and Toy Cameras in the past and has adjusted to suit any Android phone. Post all of your best shots on your favorite social networking site like Facebook for your friends to see. Instant nostalgia is now free of charge and you will never have to find another application ever again.

Photaf Panorama Pro

If you are fond of creating panoramic shots then Photaf Panorama Pro is definitely the app suited for you. Create amazing HD panoramas just by using your phone’s camera. Photaf Panorama Pro will greatly help users create seamless 360-degree panoramic photos with amazing clarity. The secret behind the app’s success lies in the orientation sensor that manages to know the exact angle each shot was taken, making your shots professional-looking with amazing quality and details.

Shoot panoramas like a pro and add special effects to each shot you take. The app’s easy-to-use interface will greatly appeal to users as navigation is a breeze. All you need to do is point to the object you want to take a panorama of and let the app guide you with all the details. Other features include HD mode, setting your shots as a live wallpaper, and using the camera in portrait mode.

Pro HDR Camera

Here’s another HDR camera that will turn your Android phone into a real DSLR camera. Introducing the Pro HDR Camera, one of the world’s first real HDR camera apps for Android users. Create stunning full-resolution HDR images with just a quick tap on your Android phone. Say goodbye to traditional bulky DSLR cameras as Pro HDR Camera will automatically create HD shots for you.

Pro HDR Camera features an image quality software that will bring high dynamic range photography. Pro HDR works by capturing exposed images for the highlights and another set for the exposed shadows. To get that HDR look, the app will automatically merge the images, giving you the impression of a true-to-life HDR image. The app supports up to 8 megapixels of true clarity photos that you have never seen before.


AfterFocus combines the best of having a point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR camera bundled into one fantastic application. Bring a DSLR-like camera wherever you go as AfterFocus will use everything in its arsenal to transform your Android smartphone into a DSLR camera.

With AfterFocus, users can create DSLR-style high resolution backgrounds by simply selecting the area you wish to be edited. You can also apply various filter effects to create a more natural, realistic-looking photo.

AfterFocus relies heavily on the user’s selection, in which the app automatically recognizes the shaded part and applies the corresponding effect with the corresponding complex shades and colors. The app also allows a Double Photo feature that takes a picture of one object and slightly takes another shot of the same picture, after which it will analyze the images and recognize the nearest object. You can also share your photos via email or social networking sites easily, straight from the app itself.


Cymera from SK Communications is a fabulous way to take portraits or photos of yourself as the application is solely dedicated to this purpose. Cymera is one of the best camera applications that shoots portraits, most especially HD quality photos. Cymera is a free application for download that helps users take a photo and be a professional photographer in just a matter of seconds.

Users can choose any of the 7 kinds of lenses that Cymera offers. Aside from that, there are 4 types of shooting modes to choose from. In these modes, users can take full advantage of Cymera’s advanced camera shooting techniques. Various shooting modes like timer, image stabilization, and touch shot are great for taking portrait shots. Users can also mix and match the different lenses and shooting modes the app offers. Other features include the ability to add beauty effects and fun decorations just by using face recognition.

Camera ZOOM FX

Still retaining its top spot among photography apps is Camera ZOOM FX. Featuring a wide range of control and image enhancement tools, Camera ZOOM FX is considered to be a fan favorite by many professional and casual photographers alike. With a professional-looking user-interface, first-time users will be impressed by how the app certainly means business.

Camera ZOOM FX is a powerful camera that features various shooting modes that include Stable Shot, Timer, Voice-Activated Mode, Burst Mode, Collage, or even Time Lapse. The post-processing features together with various shooting modes make Camera ZOOM FX a feature-rich camera experience, worthy for the casual photographer. If you love taking pictures on the field then don’t leave home without Camera ZOOm FX, as it is one of the best applications available on the market today.


If you love taking photos and converting them into vignette style shots, then why don’t you try Vignette. With over 76 customizable photo effects and 57 frames in the app’s arsenal, users can create retro feel vintage shots with just a simple touch of a button. Vignette is a fully featured camera app that takes advantage of your phone’s camera. Vignette packs a lot of features that includes digital zoom up to 10x, a self timer, remote shutter used for Sony Ericsson’s LiveView, rule of thirds golden ratio guide, and the ability to take pictures in full resolution.

Pudding Camera

The secret in getting HDR quality photos lies in your phone’s camera and the software that gives the photos hues. Pudding Camera developed by KTH is considered by many as the ultimate camera application that enhances all of your shots and turns them into one gorgeous memorable photo. While Pudding Camera lacks the extensive features found in paid camera apps, it does however make up for its shortcomings.

The app is sleek and simple to use, featuring a lot of filters and camera styles to spice up your shots. If you are sick and tired of photo enhancing applications, then this could likely turn out to become your favorite application. Pudding Camera has 8 filters and effects to choose that range from Basic to Triplex set ups. Users can also apply beautiful effects like Vintage, Noir, or Vivid. Pudding Camera also lets users change exposure levels, making shots more realistic with the vibrant colors and crisp hues.

Say goodbye to your bulky cameras and head outside with just your Android device. Enjoy taking all your gorgeous HDR shots with these HDR Android apps.

This article, Best HDR camera apps for Android , was originally published at – Your Android News Source.

HDR Camera+ get Professional Results from Photos with this Camera Replacement App

Posted by wicked October - 27 - 2011 - Thursday Comments Off

HDR Camera+ is a camera replacement app that takes cool HDR photographs. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, this refers to the creation of greater detail in your pictures, instead of bland-looking light areas and simply black dark areas. It adds detail and realism to shots and has been an adopted technique by professional photographers. [...]

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