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Android camera focus stacker

Posted: 25.06.2017 08:14
by richardhc
Would you be so kind as to create a focus bracket app for Android phones that would rapidly take a photo stack using the built in camera and save the results in the gallery so they can be exported to my Windows Helicon processor?
I have been using the Olympus Tough 4G that does excellent in-camera focus bracketing and was thinking that the same principle would be excellent in the newer android phones. There actually is an App right now called Touch Focus and it sort of works but is very slow and does not save to the camera's gallery and has lots of other problems.

Re: Android camera focus stacker

Posted: 26.06.2017 13:41
by Stas Yatsenko
What you want has very little in common with what Helicon Remote currently does. In other words, we'd have to write a separate new application for this.
At this moment I cannot say whether or not we're interested in this. We'll think about it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Re: Android camera focus stacker

Posted: 26.06.2017 22:01
by richardhc
Yes, I realize it is a whole new app - but it would be fun and useful. I've spent a couple of days reviewing photo apps for Android and nobody has developed an app with this feature - or at least not one that works. But it is clear phone cameras have excellent interface control with Android and are more and more capable. Unlike other cameras, Phone cameras are designed to be controlled by a multi-function computer. The API is here

My new Hwawei phone has a twin lens Leica camera that takes terrific images (and I just have to say Cheese :D) It also has a wide range of controls, including aperture bracketing and RAW image format.

The one attempt at making a stacking app feature for Android works by progressively moving the focus zone from one part of the screen to another. This takes too long (up to 15 seconds) and is unreliable.

Instead the camera needs to focus close (perhaps using a touch point as the prime focus depth) and then switch to manual focus, and run through a depth bracket series from closer to the camera out a set number of steps (or to infinity).

My little Olympus Tough 4 does focus bracketing with 20 to 40 steps in about 2 seconds (!) and I can adjust the number of steps and the depth of focus in the focus bracket menu.

This is essentially limited by the burst capability of the camera and that will differ from one phone to the next but the camera does not have to "find" the focus again and again - just scroll through the mechanical focus steps. This is much easier to accomplish and a fairly simple progression to program.

The benefit to you, of course, is that the phone would save the images and the user would need to download them to their PC or Mac and use Helicon to process them. :idea:

Re: Android camera focus stacker

Posted: 27.06.2017 14:44
by Stas Yatsenko
There could be a technical reason why you couldn't find an app that does exactly what you want. It may not be doable the way you envision it. Any way, I can't give any concrete reply just yet.

Re: Android camera focus stacker

Posted: 27.06.2017 22:05
by richardhc
The Olympus Tough is the only camera I've ever found with built in focus stacking. Do you think all the other cameras can't be designed to do it? Of course not. Even my ancient Canon Powershot S95 can be programmed with a few short lines of code to do it. The phone app does not exist yet because there are not very many developers with a serious interest in photo stacking. Like you.
Maybe you could team up with one of the other developers at to add the feature to their app

Re: Android camera focus stacker

Posted: 25.12.2018 02:26
by knog17
Greetings and merry christmas!
I found this thread on my search for smartphone focus-stacking options...

Is there any news about it?

For some objects the camera on my phone would just be good enough.
Why carry my heavy fullframe DSLR to places, where my phone could get the job done?

Where do you think lies a technical barrier that prevents this idea?
The phone has autofocus and LiveView - what else is missing?

It would be awesome to use my phone for landscape images for example.
Put it on a tiny tripod, set a start- and finish point for autofocus, exactly like Helicon Remote! :)
There you go, focus-stacking panorama with super lightweight equipment.

Re: Android camera focus stacker

Posted: 26.12.2018 12:10
by Stas Yatsenko
Right now I don't see a technical barrier, but there may be one that only becomes evident once you start actually implementing the function. We don't have any news on this subject yet; I think it can be done, but we have many other things to spend our development time on and those things just seem more worthwhile at the moment.