ClearCam Turns your iPhone’s 2-Megapixel Camera into a 4-Megapixel Camera

iPhone 3G

We have already seen jailbreak apps such as Cycorder which brought video recording and Snapture which brought professional features such as Digital zoom, delay timer etc to iPhone's very basic camera app.

ClearCam is the latest iPhone app which is set to add more zing (actually megapixels) to your iPhone's camera. It turns your iPhone's 2-megapixel camera into a 4-megapixel camera.

ClearCam is developed by Occipital, a young startup founded by Jeff Powers and Vikas Reddy.

You might have seen Gigapan's superb 1,474 Megapixel panoramic photo of Obama's Inauguration which consists of over 2GB of photo data and comprised of over 220 images. ClearCam works in a similar manner. It creates the 4 megapixel photo by creating a composite image using 6 photos taken in succession using iPhone's 2 megapixel camera.

Adrian Covert over at Gizmodo explains the how it works:

"Essentially, you choose to snap a photo, then it runs off 6 of them into a directory. Then there's a two step process for enhancement. First you hit the button to align the photos, then you hit the button to enhance photos. It takes about 30-40 seconds in total."

He points out:

"Though the resolution is larger, it's worth noting that the image quality does not appear to increase substantially when viewed normally. Instead, the image—especially text—appears a little sharper and readable when zoomed in, and any obnoxious blur is eliminated for the most part. Files sizes are around 2x bigger than the normal image taken with the iPhone camera. Occipital says there's still room to improve as far as enhancement goes, but they need to work on keeping the file size low, first."

As an example, you can see the difference in the image quality taken using iPhone's camera app and one taken using ClearCam.


iPhone Jailbreak App - ClearCam

ClearCam also has a QuickShot mode like you have in digital cameras where it takes 6 images in 2.5 4 images in 2 seconds, you can select the best and discard the rest and it automatically selects the sharpest (more details about the feature below).

The intriguing thing about ClearCam is that Occipital did not submit their iPhone app to the App Store for Apple's approval, instead they chose the unofficial approach and released it on Cydia for users who have jailbroken their iPhones. They felt that Apple might reject the rapid shot mode and they didn't want to remove the feature from their iPhone App.

ClearCam can be installed via Cydia but costs $9.99 after a 15-days trial period.

ClearCam reminded me of another cool iPhone app called Pano which is available on the App Store. It allows you to create panoramic photos from multiple photos right on the iPhone.

Update:

Jeff Powers, one of the founders of Occipital has commented below to highlight that the QuickShot feature takes 4 images in 2 seconds as Michael, one of our readers had highlighted.

He also has provided some more details about the feature:

"QuickShot
takes 4 images in ~2 seconds. Also important to note that QuickShot
picks the sharpest image by itself and saves immediately. We found that
at least one of four is almost always clear despite normal jitter when
you try to hold still.

Test QuickShot out by rapidly shaking the phone after it takes the
first photo — it should pick the first. Or, rapidly shake it for the
first two and hold still for the last ones — it should pick 3 or 4."

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts about Clearcam in the comments below.

[Occipital via Gizmodo]

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  • Jonny H

    very smart app

  • InSovietRussiaPhoneEyesYou

    Its a neat app but its kinda buggy. Tends to crash a fair bit. Plus the difference between an enhanced shot and a regular shot is a bit too subtle for me.
    Looking forward to seeing what updates bring to it though.

  • booger@yahoo.com

    THIS DAM APP SUCKS ASS BIG TIME!!!!

  • Michael

    Quickcam takes 4 photos, not six ;)

  • http://www.occipital.com jrpowers

    Right — QuickShot takes 4 images in ~2 seconds. Also important to note that QuickShot picks the sharpest image by itself and saves immediately. We found that at least one of four is almost always clear despite normal jitter when you try to hold still.

    Test QuickShot out by rapidly shaking the phone after it takes the first photo — it should pick the first. Or, rapidly shake it for the first two and hold still for the last ones — it should pick 3 or 4.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01053708cd10970b A Black Dude

    ……not worth 10 dollars

  • http://profile.typepad.com/iphonehacks iPhoneHacks

    Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for stopping by and providing more details about the Quickshot feature.

    We have updated the post.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/iphonehacks iPhoneHacks

    Thanks Michael for highlighting the error. We have updated the post.

  • a white dude

    agreed , total waste of 10 dollars

  • seminolejohn

    Outstanding app. It took me about 30 seconds of testing clearcm to decide to delete Snapture. I do wish there was a zoom, but scaling the full pix works well.

  • PRESIDENT OBAMA

    SHITTY ASS APP!!!

  • http://www.chrisdpratt.com Chris Pratt

    Interesting app. I might pay the $9.99 for it from the App Store, but these companies charging for their apps that only work with jailbroken phones are insane. Apple could release an update tomorrow that finally kills the ability to jailbreak and you're just out of luck.

    I've jailbroken my iPhone before and there's alot to be gained from the additional options that gives you. But come on, if you want to be paid for your app, go official. It might even be different if Apple had actually rejected their app, but they didn't even try – most likely because they didn't want to pay the $100 to become a developer. Fork up the front money, get it in the app store, and then you might get my $10. Otherwise, forget it.

  • se23

    crash crash crash, ive seen less crashes at banger racing

  • http://occipital.com jrpowers

    Just to clarify, this has nothing to do with forking up money to Apple. We are presently in the Apple program and are trying to get this on the App Store. We, like Cycorder and Snapture, are bringing you features that aren't allowed due to SDK restrictions.

    We have a choice: don't offer the technology to anybody, or offer it to jailbroken users and grandfather in everyone when the app store allows us to post this technology.

    I just wanted you to be aware of our situation, and not think we're somehow cheapskates.

  • http://occipital.com jrpowers

    Can you give me some detail on the crashes you are experiencing so that we can try to rectify them in an update? We've already released an update that fixes some problems users experienced.

  • Mr

    all I'm getting are full screen green photos no image. Tried to install 3 times. Please advice. Thanks.

  • PRESIDENT OBAMA

    OMG!!I GET THE SAME THING everytime!!!!

  • TJ

    To jrpowers:

    The app crashes mostly when I leave a wifi hotspot or enter one, and also if I (for whatever reason) switch between silent and normal modes with the switch on the side of the phone. Also, not that anyone would do this, but it crashed once when I rotated the phone 90 degrees between pictures on the normal mode. It hasn't repeated that crash though, so it may have been unrelated.

    Other than that, it's a great app! I think you guys might be approached by some camera companies for coming up with the idea of using multiple shots to create a higher resolution composite image in the way you are, since optical sensors are reaching their upper limits and people will always want sharper pictures than what digital can provide.

    One thing though…. PLEASE offer a stripped down version for less, like one that doesn't have the quickshot, or one that ONLY has quickshot… just something for those of us living paycheck to paycheck. And yes, even though I live paycheck to paycheck, I refuse to ever let go of my iPhone… it'd be like giving up my dick. :( I couldn't live without it.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0105371507c3970b www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmVFSKSw1BW1U0Cc6KkkY_bw23oJtO8vHc

    Love to try it, but "Begin a free trial" button results in "Server Trouble" error. Naturally, there is no way to manually sign up on Occipital's Web site, nor is there any way of contacting them to resolve this issue. I would've thought TechStars might've taught these guys at least SOME basics about running a business! My assessment so far? Don't bother wasting space with this. Even if YOU get it to work, these guys don't know enough about managing a business to be around for very long!

  • http://occipital.com jrpowers

    Wait a second! There is absolutely a way to contact us — an email listed plainly on the About page — and we're very responsive.

    We've also been scouring posts and forums to try to assist directly.

    And here is some help:
    - Make sure you have 1.0.2. We rectified most of the "server trouble" errors with that build. If you still have problems, it may be due to a permissions problem on your Library folder. ClearCam is not running as root and can't fix permissions.

    Please contact us if you still want to try ClearCam but can't.

  • http://occipital.com jrpowers

    One other general tip — many Cydia apps also provide a link to support from within Cydia. that's another way to contact us.

  • http://occipital.com jrpowers

    If you are getting a green photo, this means there was a crash mid-capture that left the camera in an unstable condition. Unfortunately, the best solution is to simply reboot the phone in this case.

    If this does not work, please contact support and we'll try to diagnose.

  • http://occipital.com jrpowers

    Good idea with a stripped down version. We have other things to address first, but that might be a good strategy to open it up to more people.

    The crashes you got are odd because we don't respond to any network events (like WiFi enter/leave) nor anything to do with the silent flip.

    Crashes *during* capture are generally rare unless several background processes are using up most of the phone's memory.

  • Mr

    I understand the camera crashes, it disables it for other cam apps as well.
    I've restarted several times with no succes.

    After reboot on the 1st try Clearcam will take the 4 shots of the quick mode then freeze on a black and white frame in shot #1.
    If you start in enhanced mode it would do the same but freeze on a b&w frame on shot #2.
    After you restart the App it would complete the shot procces but all resaults are a green frame.

    Please advise. Thanks :)

  • Mr

    Yes the cam is crashing and this makes it unavailable to other cam apps as well. I've rebooted several times with same result.

    On first launch the app will start the shooting process and then freeze on a b&w frame on the last shot. From that point anytime you restart the app it will not freeze but produce only green frames.

    I have removed this app until a solution is found. Thanks :)

  • Mr

    Hi,

    Yes, the cam crashes and becomes unavailable to all cam apps.

    After a reboot on the 1st launch of your app it would start the shooting procces and FREEZE on the last frame (#1) showing a B&W frame.

    After this freeze once the app is restarted -It would not freeze any more, but only green frames are produced.

    Good luck troubleshooting this.

  • Mr

    Sorry – double post.

  • Douglas Dolbeer

    Overall I would say I'm satisfied with this application. However I'm not willing to fork over $10.00 for an application that essentially takes multiple photos at once. If you would incorporate date and time stamp to go along with this application, along with being able to tweak the photos, as well as zoom, I might change my mind. As of now, I don't see this application being worth the money!

  • B'Ryan

    give it for free..damn it

  • B'Ryan

    give it for free..damn it