Try NightCap

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by ToddH, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. ToddH macrumors 6502a

    ToddH

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    #1
    This is a cool low light app, it works well. Check out these samples:

    iPhone's standard camera in HDR mode.

    [​IMG]

    Now with NightCap app:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty cool! Price is $1

    T
     
  2. Blue Ivy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #2
    Are they paying you to promote that app? I sure hope so, because I bought NightCap did not get results that were anything like the pics you posted!
     
  3. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #3
    Someone else post their results. I wouldn't mind having a camera app to use in extreme low light.
     
  4. ToddH thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ToddH

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    #4
    No, not paid to post or to tell. I just thought it was cool. That shot was on auto, it works great with my phone. I'm sure you used it correctly, can I help you in any way? I'm using the 4s. Is that what you used?

    Todd

    ----------

    Here is another set. App is in auto mode, standard iPhone camera is in HDR mode.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Todd
     
  5. DankNugz, Jan 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012

    DankNugz macrumors regular

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  6. andymac2210 macrumors regular

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    Jul 18, 2011
    #6
    Rarely do I ever buy an app based on a forum post but after looking at this (and its only 69p in the UK) I decided to give it a throw.

    Pretty damn good.
    Low light photo's have always been crappy on the iPhone and the lack of exposure control always bugged me.
     
  7. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040

    SpaceKitty

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    Fort Collins Colorado
    #7
    I used a promo code to get this app a few weeks back but have not tried it. I may mess with it soon. I don't take many pictures but I'll eventually try it out.
     
  8. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #8
    Cool! I wrote this app, it's great to see people getting good use out of it :D

    (And no, I didn't pay the OP to post this. I have a real hatred of dodgy marketing practices, especially paid reviews - which is frustrating when most of the app review sites want money for a review, or the excellent "we don't do paid reviews, but if you advertise on our site we're more likely to review your app" ploy!)

    Which phone are you using, and what happens? The 3GS is pretty limited by its camera, but you should see significant improvements on the 4/4S.
     
  9. ToddH thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ToddH

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    #9
    It's a great app! Is there any way you can add up to a 10 second timer to avoid camera shake? Is there a way to control the ISO of the phone? If you get that on there, you will see many more purchases of this app, there are a lot of us who are looking for an app to where the ISO can be controlled. That option would put this app at the top of the list for a long time! Would also like to see up to 2 seconds of exposure times. I'm asking a lot I know, but I just wanted to give you a feel for what many of us want in a low light app. I'll get lots of use out of it the way it is, but the extra options in the next update would be sweet! Thanks,

    Todd
     
  10. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #10
    Yep! Coming in the next update (with selection of 1/3/5/10s timer).

    Nope :( Actually apple don't give us any way to manually control the camera at all - there's no access to shutter speed or ISO at all. It's probably possible to control both using 'private APIs' but that would just get the app rejected by Apple. I figured out a way to get a moderate amount of control over the shutter speed which makes NightCap possible and doesn't get it rejected, but I've not seen any way to get access to the ISO dial.

    I'm adding separate exposure / focus locks to the next update, that will probably help. Also on-screen exposure + ISO so you at least know what it's doing.

    2 seconds is currently impossible too unfortunately. If I try to push it past 1 second it simply fails. I'll keep investigating though - a few months back I would have said NightCap was impossible, so maybe I'll discover something else that opens things up even more.

    Yeah, I know exactly where you're coming from - when I use my regular camera I put it on fully manual so I'd like the same on the iPhone. Unfortunately apple seem to like the fully automatic 1-button approach better. Hopefully they'll open things up for us - it would make sense for the built-in camera to be fully automatic and simple to use but have more high-end options available on the store.
     
  11. lokerd macrumors 6502a

    lokerd

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    #11
    Wow! Neat to hear from the developer on these issues.

    Like Todd, I desire even MORE from my new favorite camera. I have been taking a tremendous number of pictures with ProHDR, TruHDR, and the iPhone in general, also TimeLapse.

    Todd and I were discussing last night (while he was sending me samples from your app) that we wished ONE app would it all!!! Having app for this, app for that is driving me crazy.

    Thanks for the self timer! Sounds like a great addition!

    BTW, I teach photography at a high school and an active member in the local camera club. Anything you add to this to make this THE app, I will happily recommend spread the word.

    Here is a gallery of selected iPhone shots...although I have recently decided to not segregate from my other shots:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/110942387986527021652/IPhonePhotosSelected?noredirect=1
     
  12. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I've thought the same thing before, but I reckon it'll never happen. Or, if it does.. you would probably hate the app. Think what you'd need in the app: night mode, HDR, manual controls, all the various exposure etc. locks, photo + video recording, editing, all the various filters... The list goes on almost endlessly. Now imagine how many buttons you'd end up with on screen ;)

    Then again, how about an iPad as a camera? The current one is low res, but if the iPad 3 has the rumoured 4S camera plus a super-high-res screen it could be interesting. You'd have a massive viewfinder which would be good, plenty of space for all those controls - but it's a bit awkward to handle. I've written a camera / video app for the iPad, and I do kind of like it.. you can put lots of controls in the corners near where your hands go, and you still get a clear view of your shot. And having a huge viewfinder works well too - although I'd say 5-6" would be more practical.

    I'm certainly aiming to make this THE app for night photography. I think for NightCap it should be focused on just that though, so I won't take it further. Sometimes a tightly-focused app works out best. I'm also working on other things though, one of which might end up as a pretty complete camera app. :) It won't be particularly "traditional" though - I'm very interested in trying out some "next gen" camera formats, dropping some of the concepts we have from the old button-based cameras and bringing in some new ones.

    There's some really good shots in your gallery by the way. Have you tried any lenses with the iPhone? I use the olloclip which is plenty of fun, but I could do with a decent low-cost telephoto of come sort.
     
  13. sebastian... macrumors regular

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    Sep 11, 2011
    #13
    Also don't forget to enable the Volume + button for taking the pictures and also the + button from the remote headphones. Especially for this app with its long shutter that option seem vital.
    How did you forget that one ? :)

    You said this app has a true long exposure time not faked like other apps. That's great, but maybe if you wanna make this the ultimate low light photography app, maybe you should add also the "frame averaging" solution in options somewhere, so we can choose one or the other or both at the same time.

    The pseudo anti-shake option would be also nice.
     
  14. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #14
    Volume + is on the list for the next update too. Anti-blur: this is a tricky one. I'd like a real anti-blur solution, not just a shake-avoiding one. But, it's a very hard challenge. We'll see :)

    Frame-averaging, not In the next update, but maybe after that.
     
  15. leras macrumors newbie

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    Feb 6, 2012
    #15
    images are great

    i soon buy that app because i like photography even at night
     
  16. braddick macrumors 68040

    braddick

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    #16
    What is the difference between this camera app and the other one called, "TrueNight Vision" (sold by the same developer)?
     
  17. The General, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012

    The General macrumors 601

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    #17
    Hmm, I just sent you a long PM about frame-averaging. Wish I'd read your recent posts first. Oh well.

    I'll post the example I sent you of my NightCam + frame averaging result.

    This is straight out of the Camera app:
    [​IMG]

    This is one exposure straight out of NightCap:
    [​IMG]

    And this is 32 NightCap exposures blended and color corrected:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the difference in noise:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #18
    Thanks for that - it's a pretty perfect illustration of what frame averaging will get you (although you can also push brightness a little more too, depending on how you handle it - not that you'd want to in that particular shot!)

    I've been thinking about this a bit recently. It's pretty trivial to do in low quality, but I definitely don't want to use anything lower than full res, and I don't want any hit on performance/battery life either from slow processing. That makes it a bit tricky - which is probably why the majority of apps that do this drop the resolution.

    A quick back-of-the-envolope calculation says it's possible with both high speed, full res and reasonable quality though so I'll give it a shot at some point. It's one of those things that's definitely possible on paper, but the implementation isn't going to be straightforward at all. If it does work I'll throw in high quality RAW (well, 16bit TIFF/PNG) as a bonus ;)
     
  19. DodgeV83 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    #19
    I love your app, but sometimes come across situations where the flash makes the picture too bright, forcing the iOS to compensate by making everything darker, leaving the background completely underexposed.

    Based on your description, iOS will automatically increase the shutterspeed if it detects things are overexposed.* Unfortunately, this completely negates the use of the flash in your app, since the camera sees the flash output and your shutterspeed settings are lost right before the picture is taken.* Is it possible to work around this?

    I would love an option for a "torch flash" that always stays on instead of the normal flash that comes on very bright at the last second. This option should mitigate that effect, or at the very least give me accurate feedback of what my output photo will look like.

    I'm looking for a solution that allows me to use the flash to illuminate the foreground (typically a person), while a long shutterspeed illuminates the background.* Your app is the best at illuminating the background, due to the long shutterspeed, so if you could get this last piece working it would be perfect!

    Thanks!
    ~Rob
     
  20. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #20
    Sorry for the slow replies, been busy moving house this week.

    They overlap a bit, but roughly: NightCap is for photography, True NightVision is more of a 'fun app'.

    NightCap: Full res photos, tap-to-focus, flash control, exposure up to 1 second, manual exposure mode.

    True NightVision: Low res photos (1280x720 on 4/4S, 640x480 on 3GS), up to 1s exposure (not automatic though, instead there are 'modes' going from 'action' (25fps for speed) to 'max' (1s exposure for stationary use), 8x zoom. It also has realtime image enhancement that works as an intensifier (somewhat similar to curves adjustment in photoshop) so it can 'see' in much darker conditions than NightCap. And there's a bunch of live filters like thermal vision (fake of course - people have assumed otherwise before!).

    Basically, if you want it for photography you'd want NightCap from the two. There are odd occasions where you might want both. I've done some astrophotography with the iPhone, and I found TNV made a perfect "preview" of what the final image would be like, while NightCap was the obvious choice for the actual photos. NightCap in that situation could barely see the object I was trying to capture, TNV could see it quite easily after cranking up the enhancement.

    Hmm... flash is actually a real pain to deal with! You're right, it is impossible to judge because as soon as it tries to take a photo with the flash enabled it also adjusts the exposure. A "flash preview" button that temporarily turns on the torch could help. The other option is to deal with flash manually, monitoring the camera so I can trigger the flash during exposure. Problem there is that the exposure is going to be a bit unpredictable as a result.

    I'm going to have to experiment with this quite a bit to see what can be done.
     
  21. DodgeV83 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #21
    Thanks for considering this, it would be a real improvement!

    Based on my experience, the "torch" mode isn't as bright as the normal flash. "Torch" keeps the flash at the same illumination as the first phase of the normal flash (when it's focusing). When the photo is taken with a normal flash, it gets significantly brighter than the "torch" mode.

    Can't wait to see what you come up with :)
     
  22. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816

    Dhelsdon

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    #22
    What did you use for blending and colour correction?
     
  23. The General macrumors 601

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    Jul 7, 2006
    #23
    Image Blender and Photoforge 2. Both are iPhone apps.
     
  24. lokerd macrumors 6502a

    lokerd

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    #24
  25. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Wow, that's great! Bet that was a fun session too :)
     

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