It lives! The Nokia N900’s camera, that is – a new open-source photography platform has been released to help you get the most out of photos taken with the handset.
Nokia is working with the clever people over at Stanford University on the Camera 2.0 project, developing a range of apps to improve the images that the N900’s camera takes.
The first three applications in the project have been released today as well; FCamera is an example application to get programmers started on their own apps, so it’s released in source code form and not really for use by Joe Public. It gives access to full manual control of the N900, supports RAW capture (the raw imaging data) and does HDR viewfinding.
Anyone who regularly uses their handset to take photos should find Low-light Assistant handy, though. It’s very difficult to capture an image in low-light using your phone. To combat this, Low-light Assistant captures two images in quick succession then melds them together; one will be a short exposure that should be very crisp but quite dark, the other will be a longer exposure that will be much brighter but probably a little blurry because the shutter is open for longer. The resulting image should take the best bits from each, leaving you an image that is both bright and sharp.
HDR Capture is for the opposite situation – when you have too much light. The app will force the camera to take three images with different exposure settings; so if your background is very bright but your foreground is a little darker it should take shots that bring out the best of each. When automatically combined these three shots become one image that is, theoretically at least, perfectly exposed.
All this is just the beginning; there are other apps already in development by project partners and the platform is now open to all developers so we independent submissions should start trickling in as well.
The Maemo-running N900 is on its way out really, but hopefully we’ll see the fruits of this open-source project ported to the Meego and even other devices like the HD camera-toting Nokia N8.
The platform is available now as a free download for the N900.