Mobile photography could get a shot in the arm thanks to the combined efforts of Stanford University researchers and Nokia Research, who have pushed a new open-source digital photography platform out the door. FCam – or “Frankencamera” – is initially available for the Nokia N900, and unlocks high-end functionality like RAW image capture, full manual controls and low-light imagery through combining multiple shots of varying ISO and exposure settings.
FCamera is an example camera application that uses FCam libraries and drivers. It is released in source code to serve as a starting point for programmers to create their own camera applications.
Low-light Assistant helps in situations where there is not enough light to avoid the choice between a quick exposure that will look sharp, but dark and noisy, and a long exposure that will have enough light, but likely be blurry. Instead, the app captures two images in rapid succession and then automatically combines them, resulting in a photo that is both bright and sharp.
HDR Capture helps in situations where there is too much light, such as a portrait of a person with a bright sky behind her. The camera takes up to three images with different exposure settings and combines them to an image that shows the details of both the foreground and background objects, without under or over-exposing any of them.
Meanwhile there are various ongoing projects yet to spit out a working program as yet, including one looking at capturing the movement of playing cards tossed into the air, using two independently controlled flashes. Thanks to the open API the FCam team expect other photography-minded developers to jump on board, and hope to extend the platform beyond just the N900.
The end result could be a higher standard of images coming out of mobile devices, and when you consider the sort of optics available in upcoming models like the Nokia N8, that can only be a good thing. The FCam project picked the N900 because “it runs a version of Linux almost as complete as that installed on personal computers,” says Nokia’s Kari Pulli, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that versions get ported across to other Linux-based devices such as Android phones.
[via Nokia Conversations]