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vader
post Nov 23 2019, 03:55 AM
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I have been playing with the camera on the cosmo, and you know what? It isn't bad. I'm not comparing it against a phone twice to three times the price. Against the gemini, it is a wonder smile.gif

I installed OpenCamera, which allows you to tweak a few settings and tried to push the limits. I took some night photos of stars and was surprised. These are hand held, no editing of any sort. I haven"t taken any daytime ones (that I can share) yet. the built in camera isn"t bad, but OpenCamera allows you to use API2, and a host of extra features. I am sure I could get better shots if I steadied the cosmo, but it is an example of what you can do.

Uploaded in full quality so you can have a look.
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NormMonkey
post Nov 23 2019, 06:48 AM
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QUOTE(vader @ Nov 23 2019, 06:55 AM) *
I installed OpenCamera, which allows you to tweak a few settings and tried to push the limits. I took some night photos of stars and was surprised. These are hand held, no editing of any sort. I haven"t taken any daytime ones (that I can share) yet. the built in camera isn"t bad, but OpenCamera allows you to use API2, and a host of extra features. I am sure I could get better shots if I steadied the cosmo, but it is an example of what you can do.


Did you have any luck saving RAW photos? I tried but it pops up "Failed to save RAW" and the DNG files are 0B.
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vader
post Nov 23 2019, 02:01 PM
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QUOTE(NormMonkey @ Nov 24 2019, 12:48 AM) *
Did you have any luck saving RAW photos? I tried but it pops up "Failed to save RAW" and the DNG files are 0B.


Same here - no go with raw. The best you can do is save 100% jpg or png from the jpg.
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Daniel W
post Nov 23 2019, 02:27 PM
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QUOTE(vader @ Nov 23 2019, 12:55 PM) *
I am sure I could get better shots if I steadied the cosmo, but it is an example of what you can do. Uploaded in full quality so you can have a look.

Thank you. At ISO 6400, appearing to be the max supported, I'd say these are not too noisy for a mid-range phone camera. For a 0.4s no-OIS handheld exposure at night, this is about as good as I think one could realistically expect, especially at a resolution as high as 5632x4224 pixels, which, lacking other telephoto means, should leave a healthy cropping margin. While this is by no means any conclusive camera test, it makes me a bit more confident that the Cosmo will be able to become my only everyday camera.
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fluffypony
post Dec 10 2019, 02:34 AM
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The camera is passable, but it is quite mediocre compared to high-end smartphone cameras. I ran a quick comparison between it and my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the difference is quite striking. Despite the Cosmo having double the resolution of the iPhone, the iPhone pics are brighter and a LOT crisper. I plan on experimenting a little with some other camera apps to see if I can eek a bit more out of the camera, but this is reasonable for now.

Full size iPhone shot is here, and the full size Cosmo shot is here, and I've attached them as well. To give you a better idea of the clarity difference, here is a close-up of the same area on the iPhone and Cosmo shots:

iPhone



Cosmo


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Daniel W
post Dec 10 2019, 05:18 AM
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QUOTE(fluffypony @ Dec 10 2019, 11:34 AM) *
The camera is passable, but it is quite mediocre compared to high-end smartphone cameras.

Thank you. This is very useful. It's kind of interesting how certain diagonals in the Cosmo photo gets a pronounced two-pixel stair-step effect. I've blown up a small fragment to 1000% percent here:
Attached Image
It's almost as if the Cosmo is shooting at half resolution and then stretches the image, which, roughly, might be akin to what's going on here...

Each photosite (sensing element) in a camera sensor usually sits behind a red, green OR blue filter in a 2x2 (Bayer) pattern (with two green, as human eyes are more green-sensitive). The raw image gets full spatial (detail) resolution, but about half the color resolution, so the camera demosaics it, by cleverly sharing color between neighboring pixels. Done right, it can preserve almost all the detail while just smearing the color a tad (and human eyes has much lower color resolution anyway, which is why JPEG often saves color at half resolution). Less clever (but fast) is to just clump pixels together 2x2, which might work with, say, a 60Mpixel "raw" resolution, giving 15Mpixel final images (such a camera could do a "2x zoom" by "properly" demosaicing 15Mpixel from the center of the sensor), but starting with 24Mpixel, that gives 6Mpixel final images, unless stretched back to 24Mpixel...

While the Cosmo might do something a tad more sophisticated, I scaled down the full image to 50% in Windows MS-Paint, because it's primitive scaling just throws away half the pixels, both ways, and got (to me) NO visible loss of detail, which, to me, suggests the 24Mpixel image only had 6Mpixes worth of details. To me, this suggests the Cosmo could, technically, create more detailed images, with better software, but as long as the firmware won't let us save raw images, basically straight from the sensor, we might be stuck with this demosaicing, especially if it's done in hardware. When the dust settles a bit, I think we should urge Planet Computers to, if at all possible, support saving raw images. If not possible, it might be better to, if that's supported (is it?), shoot 6Mpixel images, which, usually, is enough, saves a bit of storage and makes on-device editing more feasible.
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fluffypony
post Dec 10 2019, 06:00 AM
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Great info Daniel, and good spot on that. You also taught me a lot about how raw camera sensors work, thanks for that! Will definitely see how things play out, I'm certain that this can be improved vastly to produce a much better 12mp or lower image.
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maki.jouni
post Dec 10 2019, 06:44 AM
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Thank you vader and fluffypony for these samples and Daniel W for digging this more precisely with good explanations.
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NormMonkey
post Dec 10 2019, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE(fluffypony @ Dec 10 2019, 05:34 AM) *
The camera is passable, but it is quite mediocre compared to high-end smartphone cameras. I ran a quick comparison between it and my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the difference is quite striking. Despite the Cosmo having double the resolution of the iPhone, the iPhone pics are brighter and a LOT crisper.

Thanks @fluffypony! I hope more people will share their photos here as you and @vader have, to help get an idea of what this thing can do. I'm inspired to share now.

When you took those, was it with the built-in Camera app or did you use something else like OpenCamera? My impression is that the built-in Camera app is using a pretty harsh compression.
I wanted to add that iPhone and Samsung and other high-enders do a fair bit of un-commanded post-processing on their pictures, boosting the contrast, popping the colors, etc. The manufactures have (probably rightly) assumed that people don't want to spend their time tweaking on their own and would rather have their camera do these things by default.

That said, there is clearly more detail in the iPhone pic. I'm just unsure if that's on the camera or the default Camera app.
I'll take a couple of pics and post shortly.
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NormMonkey
post Dec 10 2019, 12:25 PM
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Took a couple of pics to compare the built-in Camera app to OpenCamera:
Built-in Camera app (6.32MB):
Attached Image

OpenCamera (6.12MB):
Attached Image

I take back my earlier impression about the built-in app. While it doesn't have much in the way of functionality, it doesn't seem any worse than OpenCamera at 100% JPEG.
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shuntcap
post Dec 10 2019, 01:06 PM
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QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 10 2019, 09:18 AM) *
It's almost as if the Cosmo is shooting at half resolution and then stretches the image, which, roughly, might be akin to what's going on here..

It's called interpolation, which is merely digitally scaling an image to a larger size without adding real detail. It's also a game shady manufacturers play to make their camera specs sound better. Trail cameras (for hunting) are notorious for this. I bought a Moultrie "14MP" trail camera which is actually just 2MP scaled up.

Most cell phone camera sensors are 1/2.3" in size (although the Gemini's rear camera sensor is even smaller). If you look at real point-and-shoot cameras, you won't find a single 1/2.3" sensor in 24MP. They max out at 20MP. Even more advanced cameras with 1" and 4/3" image sensors still only go up to 20MP. It isn't until you get to the much larger APS-C sensor size that you'll find 24MP of resolution. In general, the larger the sensor, the more detail and less noise you have in an image.

It's quite possible that Planet's suppliers pulled yet another fast one. "Sure, it's 24MP, really! Honest!" Given the Gemini's joke of a camera, I'd say it's safe to assume that Planet knows very, very little about cameras.

I was half expecting this, which is why my Cosmo still sits unopened in a drawer. I won't know what camera sensor is used until I get my hands on the kernel source... if I don't just sell the Cosmo first.
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vader
post Dec 10 2019, 05:39 PM
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I think that the camera app isn't optimised for the cosmo module. The apple camera app will do all kinds of funky stuff (median filtering of multiple images) to get better photos. A good example is the google pixel - really just an average module, however the software makes it look far better than average. Computational photography is becoming more mainstream. I had a play (and will upload images later), and you can get a lot better quality by tweaking the settings in the open camera app. Now I don't want to do this every time I take a photo, however it illustrates the point that software can have a large effect on quality.

Even on default settings, the photos are quite usable, and infinitely better than the gemini.
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ianisthewalrus
post Dec 10 2019, 08:02 PM
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i am curious what all the tweaks (if any) people are using for open camera? i too am not seeing a noticeable improvement from the stock app without tweaking some stuff. so far, the best pictures for general use i am seeing is from NR mode, but it also looks like it is putting an ass ton of edge enhancement on it.
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shinkamui
post Dec 10 2019, 09:16 PM
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Personally, the benefit imo for using OpenCamera is mainly for the rudimentary EIS. The Noise reduction and HDR modes in API2 also tend to produce better looking photos to my eye, but where you see a day and night difference is in video. We really need a working GCam port TBH. OpenCamera has some great options, but I'd trade it all in for google image processing.
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shuntcap
post Dec 10 2019, 10:47 PM
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QUOTE(shinkamui @ Dec 11 2019, 01:16 AM) *
Personally, the benefit imo for using OpenCamera is mainly for the rudimentary EIS. The Noise reduction and HDR modes in API2 also tend to produce better looking photos to my eye, but where you see a day and night difference is in video. We really need a working GCam port TBH. OpenCamera has some great options, but I'd trade it all in for google image processing.

The potential problem here is that the Cosmo might have gotten stuck with a 6-ish MP sensor, not a 24MP sensor. All the image processing in the world will not add detail to an image if the detail wasn't captured by the sensor in the first place. Sure, it is just fine for social media posts, but we were promised a "fantastic 24MP camera" (Planet's own adjective and resolution specification from the Cosmo's Indiegogo story page). It doesn't matter too much to me at this point because, after the Gemini camera disaster, I started carrying a real camera again like I did before smartphones! But it could spell the difference between my selling or keeping the Cosmo. I simply don't need another PDA with decade-old (or worse) camera technology.

Thanks for those pictures, fluffypony and NormMonkey, and I hope Daniel W's and vader's optimism wins.
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