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iPhone 14 Pro models feature a telephoto camera lens with 3x optical zoom, allowing users to take close-up photos of far-away objects without compromising quality.

1halide-virtual-telephoto.jpeg

Such telephoto features are limited to Apple's Pro models, but thanks the latest update to popular third-party camera app Halide, users with non-Pro iPhones can now also get in on the action.

Halide 2.11 comes with a new feature called Neural Telephoto, which adds virtual lenses to the app's interface that enhance details in shots by applying the same machine-learning that powers Halide's macro mode.

Normally, when you use digital zoom to enlarge an image area, the number of megapixels decrease, which lowers the quality of the image, resulting in blurry, jagged shots with visible pixels.

Neural Telephoto takes these shots and enhances them with its machine-learning system, providing much better results at a virtual 2x zoom, according to the app's developers.

2halide-virtual-telephoto.jpeg

Neural Telephoto shots are zoomed and enhanced using machine learning in HEIC and JPEG, but the feature also captures unedited, non-zoomed full RAW files. By default, Halide shoots in RAW and JPEG mode, which provides users with an unaltered RAW file along with a zoomed and enhanced JPEG file.

The feature is available now as a free update for all existing users. For new users, the Halide app is priced at $2.99 per month or $11.99 per year, or $49.99 as a one-time purchase.

Article Link: Halide's New Feature Lets You Take Virtual Telephoto Shots on Non-Pro iPhones
 

videosoul

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2018
171
391
London, UK
I wonder if this is actually simply just good quality noise reduction, sharpening, and summing of neighbouring pixels?

Neural/Machine-learning implies it is (for example) scanning the photo, working out what’s in the scene, perhaps comparing that to a reference data pool, then using that to decide the best way to process things for that particular image, even maybe redrawing elements of the image using elements from reference data, and using this process to inform future tasks.
 
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alpi123

macrumors 68020
Jun 18, 2014
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I wonder if this is actually simply just good quality noise reduction, sharpening, and summing of neighbouring pixels?

Neural/Machine-learning implies it is (for example) scanning the photo, working out what’s in the scene, perhaps comparing that to a reference data pool, then using that to decide the best way to process things for that particular image, even maybe redrawing elements of the image using elements from reference data, and using this process to inform future tasks.
It's exactly just noise reduction and sharpening. Nothing magical, I don't know why they even claim it's machine learning (if it it's, then it's one of the lowest quality ones)
 

7149041

Cancelled
Sep 3, 2019
506
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No matter how you rename “digital zoom”, it won't give you real details
Phone photography is no longer photography. At best it's an AI assisted image generation based on camera input. The amount of magic that now goes into it sets it light year sapart from a good DSLR / mirrorless, and not in terms of quality. It's just physics, there's only so much they can squeeze from these tiny optics.
 

R2FX

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2010
234
391
Phone photography is no longer photography. At best it's an AI assisted image generation based on camera input. The amount of magic that now goes into it sets it light year sapart from a good DSLR / mirrorless, and not in terms of quality. It's just physics, there's only so much they can squeeze from these tiny optics.
100% agreed! I used Halide since the beginning but reached out to the app less and less after glitches in portrait shooting (post iPhone X era) and after they issued update which changed the icon into ‘pride’ colors I was done with them. This is yet another gimmick without real value to the snapping folks
 

Kabeyun

macrumors 68040
Mar 27, 2004
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Eastern USA
Clever, but anything other than gathering light through an aperture and magnifying it with lenses is simply a form of cropping and zooming.
 
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rembert

macrumors regular
Feb 10, 2009
155
226
Amsterdam area, Netherlands
Just tried taking two pics on an iPhone 13 mini, one with Halide, the other with the iPhone camera app. Halide result is greener while the iPhone result is more red. Regarding the processing, the iphone camera seems to be using noise reduction and sharpening while Halide seems to try to interprete what's on the image and tries to smoothen lines. For some reason round holes in a fence became squares on Halide. My first impression is the AI is too strong with Halide and I cannot find how to regulate this.
 

PeteBurgh

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2014
281
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Remember when apps were $1 and you own it? Now its a $2.99 monthly subscription
You can still own it - there is a one-time purchase option as well as monthly and annual subscriptions. But if you want to pay pennies for permanent use of great software, sorry, you're out of luck. That business model proved to be clearly unsustainable years ago.

No one likes spending money, but I think on balance it's good for software pricing to revert back historical norms (no one expected to buy applications - games or productivity - for $1-5 in the 90s or 2000s). Software development costs money, and as with everything else in life, you get what you pay for.

I often wonder if the people who expect to pay $0.79 for a thousand years usage of a complex, fully featured, regularly updated apps are also the same people wondering why there is a dearth of complex productivity apps on iPad. Or wondering why important software sectors are dominated by 'free' services paid for by harvesting of personal data.
 
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PeteBurgh

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2014
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Anyone else waiting for Cupertino to yank it from the App Store b/c it 'duplicates' Apple features on some devices? Good or bad results, you know how thin-skinned they are about even the whiff of competition.
I am not. Third party camera apps have been around since the beginning of the App Store, and Apple has frequently highlighted Halide in Design Awards, in App Store features, on stage in keynotes, etc.

Sure, the App Store rules can be capricious and lack transparency, but let's not be silly and paranoid about this. I can't think of a precedent for the removal of a camera app like this.
 
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cnnyy20p

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2021
211
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No matter how you rename “digital zoom”, it won't give you real details.

There is actually a technique call “median stacking” which combines multiple exposures to give the final image more details. Since the photons vary every time you take a photo. It can take those informations to make new details. It’s basically a foundation of all night mode in smartphone camera to filter out the noises. This technique is quite known for being used in astrophotography.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68030
Sep 21, 2009
2,722
5,262
Tennessee
There is actually a technique call “median stacking” which combines multiple exposures to give the final image more details. Since the photons vary every time you take a photo. It can take those informations to make new details. It’s basically a foundation of all night mode in smartphone camera to filter out the noises. This technique is quite known for being used in astrophotography.
It’s not about more details. It’s about noise control. The separation of signal to noise is why you do stacking of images. It won’t distinguish any more detail than was already there. Now if they are doing 30+ images (unlikely) then doing a bayer drizzle will allow for more sharpness due to less interpolation impacts from using a debayering algorithm but with the penalty of increased high frequency noise.

The various AI tools that do resizing will introduce pixels not previously existing based on what it thinks should be there from the images it was trained on. So it is possible Halide is doing this to increase the apparent details in the image even if they are inventing pixels along the way. The majority of users wouldn’t notice or care.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
I'm curious how this would work.
The thing is there are too many software that claimed magical things due to ML, but in reality they just do conventional stuff (ie noise reduction, extra sharpening). No real ML stuff. Hopefully someone would do a deep dive on this.
 
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