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Computational approach to iPhone photography with long-term exposure – MacStories



Spectre is a new dedicated camera application from the team that created Halide, one of our favorite iOS camera applications. The Halide team describes Spectre as an iPhone computing jam that allows the app to do things like removing people from a crowded scene, creating artistic images of fast water, and producing light paths at night. The same images can be created with the help of traditional cameras, but getting the right exposure, keeping the camera completely motionless, and taking other factors into account makes them difficult. Spectre uses Artificial Intelligence to simplify the process and make long-lasting photography accessible to anyone with an iPhone.

If you've used Halide, you'll be home in Spectre, which has a similar interface. Overall, however, Spectre is easier than Halide if it is not otherwise, except that it is tailored for a very specific kind of photography.

There are a number of buttons around the viewfinder to turn the camera around, stabilize the camera, and access settings. When stabilization is on, the button becomes an indicator that helps you stabilize the image. Spectre can make 3, 5 and 9-second images. It's a long time to open the camera shutter, so you can keep your iPhone more stable, the better your end results will be. The Stabilizer button helps by displaying an iPhone icon in the center of a square with square brackets. As you move your hand, the icon moves, giving you an idea of ​​how much camera flicker you are entering in the image. When the app determines that you still hold the iPhone to take a photo, the word "STABLE" appears below the button and you can start taking pictures.

Instead of keeping the shutter open all the time during exposure, what Spectre is doing makes hundreds of separate images and then comparing them to do things like removing objects that move through the frame. The same AI also helps to reduce the effects of camera shake, making possible long exposures without a tripod.

The exposure length is controlled by the dial in the lower right corner of the screen. Just above this is the settings button where you can save your photos as Live Photos and enter a shortcut from Siri to trigger the shutter button. The setup screen also includes a handy setup suggestion guide to get the best picture under the various conditions that I found useful when you started.

In the upper left corner of the screen there is also a button for switching light paths off or in auto mode. In my testing, the automatic tuning of the light paths worked well in most photos, but it seemed to have been turned off several times when I was shooting at the headlamps passing over the highway overnight.

Specter has an exposure compensation button in the top right corner that you can adjust with the slider that appears when you slide your finger vertically on the screen or touch the gray exposure button. You can also touch the screen to set the focus point for a photo and view the photos you made with the button in the lower-left corner of the screen. In preview mode, you can tag photos as favorites, share images or movie versions of them, or delete them.

Specter's AI is impressive, but it's best to keep in mind that it's not magic either. Keeping your iPhone as best as possible leads to better images than to stabilization.

The images in this review are taken directly from my XS XS iPhone without editing. I tried "Specter" in a variety of conditions: sitting in a cafe in my chair, my hand standing on a table of stability, leaving no room to prepare for cold and using a mini tripod. The tripod wielded his hands, but sitting on a chair in a cafe was not far behind. My hand shots on the river were not guardians, but they were taken on a cold day after I had come out for a while and my hands became numb and probably a little more unstable than normal. On the other hand, all the photos I made during the night were shot in hand and many of them were doing well. to know what conditions are best for making long exposures. There are not many settings in the app, but their change also contributes to better results.

After just one week of using the app, I do not think I have fully mastered Specter. For example, out of the 10 night shots I took on a highway overpass, six were good and four were terrible messes. There are no images that have fallen between them. I had the same experience with other shots. They were all at one end of the spectrum or the other.

This will definitely thwart some people when they first try Spectre, so I strongly recommend that you read the excellent tips in Settings. Still, when things get in place, the results can be fantastic, and I enjoyed experimenting with the app.

Specter is available in the App Store for $ 1.99 for a limited amount of time, after which the price will be increased. .


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