Let’s say you have an iPhone. You take photos and videos. You even use Apple’s built-in camera app, but you want something more. Grab $1.99, head to the App Store, and tap to buy Spectre Camera.
Wait. What? Wouldn’t it help to know something about the app and what it does before spending a few bucks on it? Nope. Spectre is that good, dirt cheap at a few bucks, and it gives iPhone’s camera exactly what it does not have.
Google’s new Pixel 3 cameras have a built-in feature called Night Sight. It does what you think it does. Night Sight takes a shot of whatever night you’re looking at and– thanks to computational photography– turns it into a photo you’re proud of. Spectre Camera is that good but has a different set of features. Think loooong expoooosure. First, a few accolades on the new iPhone app.
Vlad Savov on Night Sight:
Night Sight is not merely a long-exposure mode for your phone. What Google has built is a vastly more intelligent sibling to the brutish long exposure. In the past, you’d have needed a tripod to stabilize your camera to obtain multiple seconds’ worth of light information and thus get a brighter image at night than the human eye can see. Google is achieving similar results with a handheld Pixel by segmenting the exposure into a burst of consecutively taken frames, which are then reassembled into a single image using the company’s algorithmic magic.
That kind of computational photography is not so easily accomplished on an iPhone, but long exposures are.
Jeremy Horwitz on Spectre Camera:
Make people disappear from backgrounds, capture light trails, and blur motions such as the movement of waterfalls. In each case, you simply set a multi-second exposure time and hold the phone steady; the phone captures tons of images and uses computations to either remove or add the elements you select.
Featuring a design similar to Halide, and especially easy to use with just one hand, you can select shots of 3, 5, or 9 seconds long… Using AI, the app can do things like making crowds disappear, create beautiful light trails, and turn water like waves or fountains into a work of art.
OK, enough accolades. What does computational photography look like in the Spectre app? Behold:
Is that not worth a few dollars?
Spectre Camera is more than meets the eye, of course. The long exposure can be used to take a photo of a crowded place but remove all the people. Yep. Erase the people. While it isn’t Night Sight, it creates instantly beautiful night photos, yet the app itself is easy to use with a single hand.
The basic technologies are exactly what you want without having to think about what you need because it’s fully buzzword compliant:
- DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut
- Live Photos
- HEIC Capture and Pipeline
- Metal Graphics Acceleration
- Tripod Detection
- Machine Learning
- Computer Vision
I still want Google’s Night Sight on my iPhone, and Spectre Camera is one step closer.