Camera: Do lower resolution modes use oversampling?

Hi all,I've been wondering recently about the lower resolution modes for the camera app and whether or not they use oversampling. Do any of you know this?

Camera: Do lower resolution modes use oversampling?

madbilly madbilly
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Hi all,
I've been wondering recently about the lower resolution modes for the camera app and whether or not they use oversampling. Do any of you know this? To me it seems such an obvious thing to implement that I think that these lower resolutions must use oversampling, but then there are lots of seemingly obvious things which HMD haven't implemented (or which they've implemented when unnecessary! Looking at you EIS in 1080p and 720p video modes on the Nokia 8! :neutral:) so I don't want to assume that oversampling is used.
Why would oversampling be good? In short, because it could help reduce noise in images and allow better image quality, even though they are not at the maximum possible resolution.
I tried to check this myself but didn't notice any significant difference between the modes on the Nokia 8.
If I could be sure that oversampling is used at lower resolutions then I would use a lower resolution setting, because I'm not printed a photo larger than 4x6" for years and the highest resolution screen I have is the one on my Nokia 8! I really don't think I need to take 13MP photos, but don't want to take lower res unless there's a benefit other than file size.
I would use 1080p video mode if it weren't for the stupid EIS which is activated, which is unnecessary on the Nokia 8 with its OIS.
Cheers :)

Comments

  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    I don't think our camera software has oversampling stuff baked in. If it was then HMD would have mentioned it everywhere. I mostly shoot in 4:3 full 12MP resolution and crop the image if needed. BTW I am more interested in know if the camera on Nokia 8 captures images from both sensors and combines them like on the Nokia 9 PureView OR are both sensors used for their respective purposes. I know it uses both when in Bokeh mode.
    The major updates will start coming in a few months and we will know what new features did HMD bring to the camera app. I hope they don't leave us, 2nd gen users, behind. :)
  • gaurang patkar gaurang patkar
    ✭✭  /  edited August 5
    Look at this 2 images. One is 13 MP from Nokia 8 and other is 0.9 MP.  According to what I know 0.9MP photo should have been antialised. But not the case here. Hence there is no oversampling
  • madbilly madbilly
    ✭✭✭✭  /  edited August 5
    Thanks for the comparison shot, I think that's a better choice of subject than what I was using. I agree, we can see the difference in quality in what is written in the notebook. I think you're probably right, there is no oversampling involved.
    In which case how do they take a lower resolution image? Do they just skip pixels?
    @Kartik Gada the 8 does use both cameras in normal and pro mode, it's how it achieves such good dynamic range (and why the images always look a little dark) - albeit not as good as the 9PV, obviously. I think that @user389, @mrbelter or @jdan confirmed this. In many ways the 8 was the predecessor to the 9PV in terms of camera tech.
    Cheers :)
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    madbilly said:
    Thanks for the comparison shot, I think that's a better choice of subject than what I was using. I agree, we can see the difference in quality in what is written in the notebook. I think you're probably right, there is no oversampling involved.
    In which case how do they take a lower resolution image? Do they just skip pixels?
    @Kartik Gada the 8 does use both cameras in normal and pro mode, it's how it achieves such good dynamic range (and why the images always look a little dark) - albeit not as good as the 9PV, obviously. I think that @user389, @mrbelter or @jdan confirmed this. In many ways the 8 was the predecessor to the 9PV in terms of camera tech.
    Cheers :)
    Yes, Nokia 8 could be the unsung hero. Now after knowing it uses both cameras, it seems like a lite version of the Nokia 9 PureView. A hidden gem. :)
  • gaurang patkar gaurang patkar
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    madbilly said:
    Thanks for the comparison shot, I think that's a better choice of subject than what I was using. I agree, we can see the difference in quality in what is written in the notebook. I think you're probably right, there is no oversampling involved.
    In which case how do they take a lower resolution image? Do they just skip pixels?
    @Kartik Gada the 8 does use both cameras in normal and pro mode, it's how it achieves such good dynamic range (and why the images always look a little dark) - albeit not as good as the 9PV, obviously. I think that @user389, @mrbelter or @jdan confirmed this. In many ways the 8 was the predecessor to the 9PV in terms of camera tech.
    Cheers :)
    Madbilly very nice question. When capturing in low res mode a large sensor simulates as a small sensor by pixel binning wherein many pixel represent one pixel which may not capture much data but much light 😉. Here are some sets of samples from my NOKIA 8 for you to judge about whats happening here. 
  • gaurang patkar gaurang patkar
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  • madbilly madbilly
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    Thanks, that makes sense now. So I presume that pixel binning is easier for them to implement than oversampling? Pixel binning is part of the camera hardware and oversampling would be in software? In theory then, they could implement oversampling on the high resolution images to get lower resolution... I think. But they chose not to, which is a shame.
    I've probably misunderstood something!
    Cheers :)
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    @madbilly here's an example. You must have seen the diagram of the lens in the Nokia 808 White paper. The circle is the sensor but the usable space is shown as a rectangle. I think while shooting in low resolution mode that rectangle is shrinked and doesn't touch the borders of the circle which would be done only when we are shooting in full resolution mode. 38MP for 4:3 and 34MP in 16:9 format. Something like this 👇🏻. I might be wrong. 

  • gaurang patkar gaurang patkar
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    Hey @madbilly ;
    I haven't read the full article published by Juha, but what I think is by what I read about oversampling is it gives you the topping of details which are obtained from high res photos into the high dynamic range and better colour details of low res photos. In a nutshell details are added in low res shot.
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Yes I think we're thinking about the same things now. I found this explanation, which I think I understand but it was difficult to follow!
    Cheers :)
  • gaurang patkar gaurang patkar
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    At this pace we might find all of us 3 leading the hmd's imaging division soon.
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
    ✭✭✭✭  /  edited August 6
    At this pace we might find all of us 3 leading the hmd's imaging division soon.
    LOL let's join :D First thing I'll try to do is bring back the old imaging team :).
    But, I am also interested in the Feature Phone division.  ;)
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Haha! :D
    I think there's no need to hire us or the old team, just hire the person who makes OpenCamera! The more I look at that the more I realise how much expertise the developer has. They obviously love photography and all of the technical, computational side of it too.
    Cheers :)
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    madbilly said:
    Haha! :D
    I think there's no need to hire us or the old team, just hire the person who makes OpenCamera! The more I look at that the more I realise how much expertise the developer has. They obviously love photography and all of the technical, computational side of it too.
    Cheers :)
    Yes, his app has many features but I don't find it user friendly. It is very difficult to navigate and get used to it. I'll install it once more and try it again. I still prefer the simplicity of the Pro Mode made by our Nokia. 😁
  • madbilly madbilly
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    I agree that the UI is nicer in the Nokia camera, but the maker of OpenCamera clearly knows what they're doing.
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    madbilly said:
    I agree that the UI is nicer in the Nokia camera, but the maker of OpenCamera clearly knows what they're doing.
    I installed it yesterday and was scratching me head to find where is the pro mode then i found the Camera2api toggle in the cameras settings.

    It has some nice features like colour mode, scene mode, etc. Also, there are many types of grids which i don't know how to use but could be beneficial for many who know how to use them. I stick to Rule of Thirds. 😅

    HMD can definitely add some of these features in their camera app 😁
  • madbilly madbilly
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    If OpenCamera could access all the capabilities of the cameras in the Nokias, e.g. the monochrome camera in the Nokia 8, use both at the same time, etc, then all OpenCamera would really be missing is the Pro UI (and more efficient battery use!).
    Cheers :)
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    madbilly said:
    If OpenCamera could access all the capabilities of the cameras in the Nokias, e.g. the monochrome camera in the Nokia 8, use both at the same time, etc, then all OpenCamera would really be missing is the Pro UI (and more efficient battery use!).
    Cheers :)
    Same for many other camera apps like gcam. If gcam could access the telephoto lens of the Nokia 7 plus. 😁
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Exactly. I really wish that the Android rules required that manufacturers publish their proprietary APIs. It's crazy that they have all these features and they don't let 3rd parties know how to use them, because if they did then we would see some real innovation in apps which use the hardware of these smartphones.
    Cheers :)
  • gaurang patkar gaurang patkar
    ✭✭  /  edited August 9
    Open Camera is one of the best camera software. It is not like hmd doesn't know about how to implement the features of open Camera, but they don't to keep camera app sophisticated. Generally changing one setting sometimes needs other settings to be changed too otherwise the photo may look disastrous. People with incomplete knowledge may blame company for this disastrous effect. So big companies don't allow fine tuning. Sometimes they may just want to keep things simple for users. On other hand cheap Chinese companies may allow such tuning in their products.
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Presumably the API for the additional cameras on the FIH-made HMD phones is similar, so if someone can work out how it works on one phone then maybe it could extended to work with all of them.
  • user389 user389
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    @madbilly ,
    Thanks for tagging long ago. On vacation, silly editor on the mobile etc.
    Just want to add that the .jpg's from HMD's camera app on Nokia 8 are on average ~2.5 times larger file size than needed. The high quality free unlimited storage in Google Photos takes care of that by reducing the file size of photos when backed up.
    I reckon it's preferable to keep taking photos 4096 pixels wide to match an upcoming 4K-UHD flat panel TV set ;-)
    @Kartik Gada ,
    Nokia 8 can use the colour and B/W sensor simultaneously and may also stack and blend several frames, not just for light and HDR but also for focus. It cannot be controlled manually when it does what, sadly!
    Try turn off HDR and check the difference, both for outdoors and indoors shots, and try burst-shot as a quick way to avoid the extra processing when taking pictures of people, animals and moving objects.
    The Nokia 8 camera still surprises me both good and bad sometimes, after a year of everyday use. Take more pictures and sort it out later works for me.
    --
    Hans
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    user389 said:
    @madbilly ,
    Thanks for tagging long ago. On vacation, silly editor on the mobile etc.
    Just want to add that the .jpg's from HMD's camera app on Nokia 8 are on average ~2.5 times larger file size than needed. The high quality free unlimited storage in Google Photos takes care of that by reducing the file size of photos when backed up.
    I reckon it's preferable to keep taking photos 4096 pixels wide to match an upcoming 4K-UHD flat panel TV set ;-)
    @Kartik Gada ,
    Nokia 8 can use the colour and B/W sensor simultaneously and may also stack and blend several frames, not just for light and HDR but also for focus. It cannot be controlled manually when it does what, sadly!
    Try turn off HDR and check the difference, both for outdoors and indoors shots, and try burst-shot as a quick way to avoid the extra processing when taking pictures of people, animals and moving objects.
    The Nokia 8 camera still surprises me both good and bad sometimes, after a year of everyday use. Take more pictures and sort it out later works for me.
    --
    Hans
    I don't own a Nokia 8 so can't test. 😅 But thanks for explaining and clarifying.

    HMD produced one of the best all around flagship in the form of Nokia 8 and the best mid range was 7 plus. 😁
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Hi Hans @user389, nice to see you again, hope you had a nice holiday :smiley:
    I agree that the mobile forum editor is annoying, still got that annoying popup for attaching a photo bug.
    Do you think that the Google storage maintains the same quality level as the output direct from the camera? If you do, then that's very interesting, how do they do that?
    And I feel like you agree that no oversampling/pixel-binning is used at lower resolutions, otherwise you'd have corrected us?
    Yes the Nokia 8 camera setup does do clever things, sometimes so clever that I think it makes a few mistakes :unamused: and I haven't fully got to grips with which settings I should have set to what in which situations yet. Still, after almost 18 months! :D
  • user389 user389
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    I'm not sure about anything regarding the processing in HMD's camera app :smile:
    It's supposed to use Qualcomm's SoC magic and the expertize from Zeiss but it's impossible to determine what is marketing hype and what is technical facts. HMD's camera app changed a lot a year ago so the original descriptions and test results are no longer valid.
    The file size after processing in Google's cloud match the output from my Nokia N8-00 phone, and from Open Camera with its default quality setting.
    I reckon it is 'good enough', I can't determine which is which in direct comparison on a calibrated high-res monitor - and it is surely a better option than saving the pictures in lower resolution?
    I still keep a local backup of the original pictures and videos, because I'm old and because USB hard drives with TB capacity are affordable.
    JPEG is always lossy. Colour grading and compression is not an exact science but also a work of art. Back in the Symbian days not everybody was happy with the result from the N8-00 and 808 phones so we had lengthy debates about the colour of grass and sky, or what trees and branches in a forest looks like!
    One of the goals for the camera team back then was to have the camera produce images that looks the same on the screen as the human eye and mind remembers the scene. That Nokia/Zeiss approach is different than most other camera phone manufacturers (and some customers) who prefer a glossy picture postcard reproduction of reality.
    --
    Hans
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
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    user389 said:

    JPEG is always lossy. Colour grading and compression is not an exact science but also a work of art. Back in the Symbian days not everybody was happy with the result from the N8-00 and 808 phones so we had lengthy debates about the colour of grass and sky, or what trees and branches in a forest looks like!
    One of the goals for the camera team back then was to have the camera produce images that looks the same on the screen as the human eye and mind remembers the scene. That Nokia/Zeiss approach is different than most other camera phone manufacturers (and some customers) who prefer a glossy picture postcard reproduction of reality.
    --
    Hans
    So, you worked at Nokia in the imaging team? If yes, how do you see the current multi-camera array setups like on the Nokia 9 PureView? Is that really an upward trend as Nokia focussed on making bigger sensors which are capable of capturing more light that helped in improving the image quality. The current trend is fusing so many images together to make one good image but in image comparisons I see at AAWP the old Nokia hardware still destroys flagships of today. Current phones do a lot of oversharpening compared to old Nokia PureViews but maybe they do it because people prefer it. 

    What if HMD went the old PureView way by making a phone with a larger main sensor and a secondary sensor that is any one of the B&W, Wide-angle or Telephoto?  Wouldn't it be a true PureView successor or at least starting again from the point where it stopped (Nokia Lumia 1020)? They could have utilised the SD845 and image processing times would have been fast as well. As the Nokia 9 PureView was launched as a camera phone for enthusiasts they would not have any problem with a big sensor at the back as well. :)
  • user389 user389
    ✭✭✭✭  /  edited August 26
    No, I never worked for Nokia.
    Some of the camera developers participated in both the original Nokia Support Discussions forum and in Microsoft Mobile Devices user forum.
    It's different now that everything and everybody are outsourced (and replaced with somebody else next month).
    EDIT:
    AAWP and Steve Litchfield has his own opinions :smile:
    Lumia 1020 had its share of serious issues, let it rest in peace.
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Hi Hans,
    You're right, the app now is not the same as the Nougat app and probably does many things differently. I'm not sure what the ZEISS magic in the 8 is because when I spoke to the gentleman from ZEISS he was reluctant to talk too much about the 8, seemed a bit embarassed about it! :D
    I was wondering about the SoC and the sensor and thinking that it is probably these that may restrict any ability to do pixel binning. The Sony IMX28 sensor supports pixel-binning (https://www.sony-semicon.co.jp/products_en/IS/sensor1/img/products/ProductBrief_IMX258_20151015.pdf), which means that the SoC wouldn't need to know about it, would it? I can't find any info about what the Spectra 180 ISP supports except for marketing blahblah. I imagine that even if the ISP needed to be involved all it would need to do is tell the sensor what resolution to output in, and the sensor would take care of the pixel-binning. That's what I imagine anyway, I'm sure that the reality is far more complex.
    If for some reason pixel-binning couldn't be used (maybe it won't work well in dual-camera mode, for example), then any oversampling would need either the ISP to support it or for it to be written bespoke. Even if the ISP does support it, I'm not convinced the HMD/FIH/Evenwell would go to the effort of implementing it, never mind writing their own implementation!
    Thanks for your thoughts on the comparison between Google's Hi-Q images and what somes from the camera. I use that unlimited storage too and although I rarely browse itI find it very helpful when my phone doesn't correctly save the photos to the SD card, because they usually appear in Google Photos without any problems!
    I pulled up some of my N8 photos last night and they still look great, although I'm sure that someone could point out differences compared to the 8 and other phones. One thing it was always great at were party photos, due to the xenon flash. No phone I've had since can achieve the same quality of photo (I'm sure the 808 can though).
    @kartik gada unfortunately the trend seems to be to avoid camera bumps, so the chances of seeing a 808 or 1020-like camera again are unlikely. However, I don't see why they can't take one of these modern 48MP sensors and replace the quad bayer filter with a standard bayer filter and use pixel-binning / oversampling like PureView to achieve something very similar to the 808 or 1020 without needing such a large bump.
    Cheers :)
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