Author Topic: "Open Camera" - A Focus Bracketing (Stacking) App for Android Phone Cameras  (Read 290 times)

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robert3985

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Yesterday, I finally took some time to look for focus stacking apps that will work on my Google Pixel 2 XL - an Android OS phone (Google invented Android OS).

I was looking for an app that generally did what Nikon's full-frame D850 does with its focus stacking feature.  I wasn't looking for an app that would combine the photos in-camera, but just produce photos that are focused at progressive distances between manually selectable "near" and "far" points like the big Nikon DSLR.

I was also looking for an app that would allow me to select the number of focus points between "near" and "far" instead of just giving me a "near" and "far" focus option like my old Samsung Galaxy S5 did...which often left the middle of a scene or subject out of focus.

My Samsung had a feature that allowed me to just say "SHOOT!" instead of having to press an icon on the screen to take a photo.  This really helped me to steady the phone when I was using its "select focus" feature.  It would be nice if the app allowed voice shutter control on my Pixel 2 XL.

Another problem with producing multiple photos in a model railroading environment is having to lug either a tripod around or having to make a phone holder like Pelle Soeborg shows in his MR article about using his iPhone 5 to take multiple photos to combine with your focus stacking software of choice.  He also has to manually select each focus point by touching the screen for each shot, and each touch has the potential to move the phone enough that any focus stacking software wouldn't be able to compensate for the differences in composition in that stack.  PLUS, it takes a long time to take 10 or 20 shots.

Seeing as how smartphone cameras have electronic shutters, it should be feasible for the phone to take a series of progressively focused photos between two points very quickly.  It's all about software, because the hardware (computer) is already there in the phone.

So, I wanted this ideally:
(1) - Manual control of both far and near focus points
(2) - User selectable number of photos between the far and near focus points
(3) - Voice or sound activated shutter so that I don't need to touch the phone when it's in place
(4) - Burst mode so that the phone takes the stack very quickly so I can hand hold the phone in odd positions negating an absolute "need" for a holding device

I don't remember my search parameters (it was the middle of the night) but I came upon a blog where someone was asking an app developer to add focus stacking to his Android camera app...and the developer was actually listening! 

The name of the app is "Open Camera" and it's free...and has a highly developed focus "bracketing" feature in addition to many other useful features.

In Open Camera, all of my requirements were met! And...it added several others that I am finding are very useful for regulating photo quality and composition.

One of the neatest is a feature that will automatically level the photo, so that it isn't tilted.  This problem drives me crazy because in many of my model railroad compositions, I don't have any horizon to help me get the phone level...just scenery, tracks diverging into the distance and 3/4 views of the trains on the tracks. A slight negative is that this feature reduces the resolution of the photos slightly.

It also will generate several different screen grids, which help me compose my shots.

And, it takes up to 20 ( you choose the amount) shots between your far and near focus points...and does it in about half a second...maybe less.  Using the voice command, you say "CHEESE!" and the camera takes the photos after a wait.  I think I've activated the app's timer function, which is causing the wait...but I'll delve into that after I'm done with this post.

I set up a simple test with some track I'd laid on a board years ago.  I put it on top of my old computer which is sitting on my drawing table, and lit the whole thing with a 500W halogen Torchiere lamp I use to light up my drawing studio...then I dug through some boxes and found my superdetailed LifeLike SW-9/1200. 

I set the Open Camera app to take 20 photos between my two focus point, which are determined by two sliders on the phone's screen, superimposed over the image...I had to fiddle around with that for a while to figure it out.  Then I touched the microphone icon in the app's controls and said "CHEESE!"...and waited...and waited...then it took the 20 shots in about half a second...maybe less.  COOL!  But, I messed up my composition while waiting so I did it again and got a better composition...all hand-held, just bracing my arms on the top of my old computer case.

Photo (1) - Near Focus Point, Test 1:



Photo (2) - Far Focus Point, Test 1:


Photo (3) - Finished Test 1 stack rendered in HF Pro Unlimited - 20 total photos and converted to jpg in Photoshop:


DAY-UHM!!  I was IMPRESSED!  I can't see any HF artifacts in the shot, and the model is so razor sharp that I could tell I needed to brush it off before I took another shot.

I decided I needed a longer subject, so I put three cars on, and a CA-4 caboose I'm working on the rear...set my near and far focus points, this time focusing past the subject to include the wood grain on the board closest to the phone's lens and back past the end of the rails in the distance.   

Total number of shots was set at 20, but after taking them, it was evident that I'd set my far focus point too far back...so I only used 17 photos in the stack.

Photo (4) - Near Focus Point, Test 2:


Photo (5) - Far Focus Point, Test 2:



Photo (6) - Finished Test 2 stack rendered in HF Pro Unlimited - 17 total photos and converted to jpg in Photoshop...HAND HELD!:


I noticed some HF artifacting near the stacks and in the border between the background and the top of the cab, so I rendered the stack again using option C with no additional compensations, and it minimized the artifacting, but didn't eliminate it. 

However, I am extremely happy with these simple tests! So I thought I'd pass my discovery along to any of ya who may have an Android smartphone!

Please note that some features require the latest Android phones and OS's, and all features don't work on all Android phones.  However, for my Pixel 2 XL, the focus stacking features are exactly what I was looking for and might work as well for you on another brand.

Here's the link: https://opencamera.sourceforge.io/

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 11:39:03 PM by robert3985 »

Chris333

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Love that I didn't need the Play Store to download. :)

Where do you find bracketing?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 07:29:54 PM by Chris333 »

peteski

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Bob, I only see 3 of the photos in your post.  Rest are blank spaces with a gray "do not enter" signs. Who loves ya? Google!  :facepalm:
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon

Chris333

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I found exposure bracketing. Now how do you select how many photos it takes? And then how do you combine them?

MK

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Some of the photos are not showing like Peteski said.

Chris333

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There is another thing called infinitely focus. Is that what were talking about.

wcfn100

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There is another thing called infinitely focus. Is that what were talking about.

@Chris333,  go to the app's settings and scroll down to "Use Camera2 API".  That will give you manual focus along with the focus bracketing.

If that doesn't work, your camera may not work for this.  My S7 works after I turned that on..

Jason

Chris333

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Ah well. I have no use camer2 settings.

Using an S5

wcfn100

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Ah well. I have no use camer2 settings.

Using an S5

There's an app to check for Camera2 API.

I think you also need your OS at Lollipop (8.x.x).

Jason

Chris333

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5.1.1, but I thought a S5 had a better camera.

wcfn100

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Re: "Open Camera" - A Focus Bracketing (Stacking) App for Android Phone Cameras
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2018, 10:44:45 PM »
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I just tried my old S5 and it doesn't have it either.

Jason

Chris333

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Re: "Open Camera" - A Focus Bracketing (Stacking) App for Android Phone Cameras
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2018, 10:50:30 PM »
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I just checked.

Model:SM-G900T
Manufacturer:samsung
Build:5.1.1
SDK:22
------------------------------------------
Camera ID: 0
Camera Facing: Back
SupportLevel:LEGACY
Hardware Support Level:LEGACY
Manual exposure:0
Auto exposure:1
Auto exposure, always flash:1
Auto exposure, auto flash:1
Auto exposure, auto flash, red eye reduction:0
AE Lock:0
Manual focus:1
Auto focus:1
Auto focus macro:1
Auto focus continuous picture:1
Auto focus continuous video:1
Auto focus EDOF:0
White balance off:0
Automatic white balance:1
WB: cloudy day:1
WB: day:1
WB: fluorescent:1
WB: incandescent:1
WB: shade:0
WB: twilight:0
WB: warm fluorescent:0
AWB Lock:0
RawCapture:1
BurstCapture:1
------------------------------------------
Camera ID: 1
Camera Facing: Front
SupportLevel:LEGACY
Hardware Support Level:LEGACY
Manual exposure:0
Auto exposure:1
Auto exposure, always flash:0
Auto exposure, auto flash:0
Auto exposure, auto flash, red eye reduction:0
AE Lock:0
Manual focus:1
Auto focus:0
Auto focus macro:0
Auto focus continuous picture:0
Auto focus continuous video:0
Auto focus EDOF:0
White balance off:0
Automatic white balance:1
WB: cloudy day:1
WB: day:1
WB: fluorescent:1
WB: incandescent:1
WB: shade:0
WB: twilight:0
WB: warm fluorescent:0
AWB Lock:0
RawCapture:1
BurstCapture:1
Model:SM-G900T
Manufacturer:samsung
Build:5.1.1
SDK:22
------------------------------------------
Camera ID: 0
Camera Facing: Back
SupportLevel:LEGACY
Hardware Support Level:LEGACY
Manual exposure:0
Auto exposure:1
Auto exposure, always flash:1
Auto exposure, auto flash:1
Auto exposure, auto flash, red eye reduction:0
AE Lock:0
Manual focus:1
Auto focus:1
Auto focus macro:1
Auto focus continuous picture:1
Auto focus continuous video:1
Auto focus EDOF:0
White balance off:0
Automatic white balance:1
WB: cloudy day:1
WB: day:1
WB: fluorescent:1
WB: incandescent:1
WB: shade:0
WB: twilight:0
WB: warm fluorescent:0
AWB Lock:0
RawCapture:1
BurstCapture:1
------------------------------------------
Camera ID: 1
Camera Facing: Front
SupportLevel:LEGACY
Hardware Support Level:LEGACY
Manual exposure:0
Auto exposure:1
Auto exposure, always flash:0
Auto exposure, auto flash:0
Auto exposure, auto flash, red eye reduction:0
AE Lock:0
Manual focus:1
Auto focus:0
Auto focus macro:0
Auto focus continuous picture:0
Auto focus continuous video:0
Auto focus EDOF:0
White balance off:0
Automatic white balance:1
WB: cloudy day:1
WB: day:1
WB: fluorescent:1
WB: incandescent:1
WB: shade:0
WB: twilight:0
WB: warm fluorescent:0
AWB Lock:0
RawCapture:1
BurstCapture:1

Chris333

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Re: "Open Camera" - A Focus Bracketing (Stacking) App for Android Phone Cameras
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2018, 10:51:31 PM »
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But I am rooted with a custom rom so I may be able to add it.

wcfn100

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Re: "Open Camera" - A Focus Bracketing (Stacking) App for Android Phone Cameras
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2018, 11:03:47 PM »
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So Lollipop was back at version 5, I thought it was newer. 

My S5 is running this but I don't get the option to turn on Camera2 API in the app.  IDK.

I think the issue is the Support Level - Legacy.

Jason