Tag Archives: Camera

The N8’s Active Hyper-focal Distance Video Focus System Explained In Detail

The spec sheet on the Nokia N8 mentions ‘Active Hyper-focal Distance’ as the method used by it during video capture and unless you did some research on your own, I’m sure all of you are wondering how exactly does it work (I was). In part 2 of the making of the N8’s camera (part 1 was about photography), Damian Dinning explains exactly how that works, and why Nokia chose it over continuous auto focus and focus at the beginning of the exposure.

So instead of I saying the same thing in my own words, I thought it’d be better for you to read what the man had to say himself. It might seem long, but I assure you its more than worth a read.

‘The N8 uses a system we refer to as ‘Active Hyper-focal Distance’. Hyper-focal distance is a specific lens focus position which by using depth of field allows the greatest range from near to infinity for objects to appear in focus. The Nokia N8 uses a 28mm (35mm film equivalent) focal length Carl Zeiss lens. This provides us with huge depth of field. But by using the hyper focal distance means objects placed between roughly 60cm and infinity will appear sharply focused.

The N8's Active Hyper-focal Distance Video Focus System Explained  In Detail

The reference to ‘Active’ relates to the nature of how we maintain this hyper-focal distance lens position. Most autofocus camera modules in camera phones rely to some degree on friction. The problem with this is that the lens which moves for focus adjustment can slip after being driven to the correct intended lens position. This isn’t normally a problem in the case of still photography, but in the case of video can create problems especially when recording with HD resolution. To combat this problem, for the first time we actively monitor the lens position and then adjust it if required. The result is simply, video that’s always in focus.

The alternatives today are as follows: 1. Focus at the beginning of the exposure and then lock it or 2. continuously focus during the video. Unfortunately both have disadvantages. The first means if your subject moves or you alter the composition it will be out of focus. The second means the image in screen needs to be always be in focus. However, maintaining this without seeing focus hunting is very difficult. Add to this, when your subject moves from it’s original position, or there is insufficient contrast or illumination it simply won’t be able to focus and unless you’re lucky, your video will be out of focus. Before I continue, yes our system does have the disadvantage of only being effective for subjects which are beyond 60cm. We felt however, this was a worthwhile trade-off given the benefit you get in return, always in focus video, regardless of where your subject is, how fast it moves, how much contrast there is or how much available light there is. And you’ll never see it focusing or hunting during filming either’.

So there you have it, film anything farther than about 60 cms and you’ll have great video. I personally don’t mind the trade-off but find myself wishing for continuous focus or even the ability to manually focus at the start, it would be great for filming all those unboxing videos. But Damain goes on to say something that gives me reason to be excited.

‘Of course the ultimate solution would be to combine both of these in some way. Earlier in development we trialled a continuous autofocus system for video, but concluded for the time being that the performance didn’t warrant its inclusion in the product at sales start. Having said that, we are continuing investigations to find a way to get the best of both worlds in the future. Let’s see…’

So if I interpret correctly, it is possible that continuous auto focus comes to the N8 via a firmware update later, the keywords being “didn’t warrant its inclusion in the product at sales start“. It is clear that Nokia’s really working hard to make the N8 the best camera phone on the market and if you take the time to go through the entire piece, you find a lot of insight into how the digital zoom works and how it is quite close to optical zoom when it comes to performance. The N8’s auto capture ability, with its dual microphones is also talked about.

If you are interested in the N8, both part 1 on photography and part 2 on video are a must read. Oh, and there are a ton of pretty impressive photo samples as well.

The Nokia N86 To Get Face Detection Via Firmware Upgrade

In what should come as great news for those of you who already own the N86 and even greater motivation for those of you thinking of pulling the trigger on Nokia’s imaging flagship, AAS reveals that the next firmware of the N86 will bring ‘Face Detection’ to the device. This mode allows the camera to automatically scan and focus on human faces and should help the N86 notch up even better results.

Nokia N86 Face Detection

The new firmware is also expected to brings a bucketload of bug fixes and even greater improvements to the camera such as less artefacts and better colours. I’ve always believed that the N86 was a great device, but all of this makes me wonder why doesn’t Nokia promote the N86 more, infact it should, much more. Remember the video zoom?

How To Disable Camera Sound On Your Nokia

I am sure all of you at some point or the other have wanted to turn of the camera/shutter sound while taking pictures or videos for a variety of reasons. While on a handful of product codes you can simply turn of the ‘Warning Tones’ from the profiles menu to silence the camera tone, on most handsets that tip doesn’t work.

How To Disable Camera Sound On Your Nokia

Enter this exceedingly small patch (under 1KB) that you can install to get rid of the annoying sound. There is no need to ‘hack’ your phone for this to work.

  • Install it and turn off the ‘Warning tones’ from the profiles menu. (If the warning tones are already set to off, then turn them on and then off).
  • If the camera sound is still not off, restart the phone once.

I have tested it on my N97 and E75, but the patch should work on other devices too. Enjoy.

Loads Of New Image & Video Samples From The Nokia N97’s Camera

I have started to count the days to June, the month that will see the N97 go on sale. But as we wait, here are even more image and video samples from the Nokia N97’s camera. Most of these shots and videos are less than a month old and some are even as new as being just a week old,  so they should give us some indication of what the N97 will be capable off.

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

Nokia N97 Camera Samples

After the pictures its the turn of videos. These videos have been taken in a concert and if you’ve ever tried to film one with a mobile camera before, you’d have noticed that it is virtually impossible to get the sound because of the loudness and the video takes a beating because off the lights that keep going off. The N97 has not astonished by its capture quality, but still has done a fairly good job of getting the sound and keeping up with the flashing lights and the panning camera. See for yourself.

Image Samples From The N97’s Camera

A few days ago we brought you video samples from the N97’s camera, today its time for some photo samples. These pictures have been taken by James Nash from the Symbian Foundation while visiting the Banksy’s Cans Festivals in London. As you can see, despite the N97 still running proto firmware the pictures have come out quite well. If fact some of the low light shots look especially good.

Check them out for yourself!

Images From The N97's Camera
Images From The N97's Camera
Images From The N97's Camera
Images From The N97's Camera
Images From The N97's Camera

via: SymbianWorld

Video Samples From The N97’s Camera

Today seems to be all about the N97. After news about it being available on Forum Nokia’s RDA, come two video samples taken in the scenic Monte Carlo. The videos are from a pre production N97 and are shot by Bill Perry, Sr. Services Marketing Manager for Forum Nokia.

This short video showing a very nice sailboat in the Monte Carlo marina was shot using a pre-production Nokia N97. Notice you can hear the ropes creaking as the sailboat moves with the tide.

In this 30 second clip I’m panning the camera from the shoreline to the Mediterranean Sea. Also notice that it’s been recorded in a wide screen aspect ratio.

Considering this is still proto firmware, the video seem pretty good. I loved the fact that the N97 was able to pick the sound of the ropes so nicely. Panning is always a bit of a worry for most handhelds, the N97 being no exception. What do you think?

Thanks MickyFin!