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10-29-2019, 04:58 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Why aren't camera brands using Android?
Because camera processor hardware is built around a custom real time image DSP architecture and there is no compiler provided to compile Android for such specilized DSP target.
In order to be able to use Android, the image processing performed in hard must be ported in a software layer on top of Android, then compile the whole thing to a generic processor (such as the ones used in mobile phone) for which a compiler is provided. Then, using a generic processor involves serious tradeoffs in image processing efficiency, especially in case of bursts of 24Mpixels at 10 frames per second.

10-29-2019, 05:01 PM   #17
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I'd very much like to hear your opinion on the mp3 player I bought in 2006 and am still using to this day (if I have the desire to listen to music when I know I'll be out and about), the Samsung YP-Z5 Q. Still using it with the very headphones it shipped with, and the 2GB size limitation is forcing me to think ahead of time about what kind of music I would be likely to want to listen to...

Another question I have for you would be regarding high quality (but affordable; so more of a price-per-performance question) audio headphones, soundcards and DACs for listening to music on the computer (wirelessly?)


Regarding the idea with Android as a base for cameras, with the idea that app development could improve the feature set for the cameras... I'm not so sure how that could work succesfully... since app development would shift the responsibility to implement features from the manufacturers to the users, and I don't think willingness to code something for free would be that high, and willingness of users to pay for apps would be that high....
10-29-2019, 05:03 PM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Because camera processor hardware is built around a custom real time image DSP architecture and there is no compiler provided to compile Android for such specilized DSP target.
In order to be able to use Android, the image processing performed in hard must be ported in a software layer on top of Android, then compile the whole thing for a hardware processor for which a compiler is provided.
...and after all that, one gets a camera capable of being a tablet, sort of like the Galaxy NX mentioned above. Did that camera outlive its debut year? Edit: The original Galaxy NX was announced June 2013 and the last model of the NX line (NX500) was released in 2015. I don't know how many models featured Android for display support and connectivity. It is hard to find hard data, but some sources indicate a persistent vegetative state for the line sometime in 2016.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-29-2019 at 05:24 PM.
10-29-2019, 05:55 PM - 1 Like   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
Samsung had one: Samsung Galaxy NX: 20.3MP, 4G, HSPA+, WiFi Digital Camera & 18-55mm Kit - Samsung UK

I think the question should be why they are not using phone processors with the computational photography capabilities.
Well yeh basically, that's kinda the point of the thread in that phones are using iOS or Android as it's delivery method for that computing power. It feels like cameras have this awesome high end tech attached to weak innards/delivery that is locked down and restrictive. I mean look at where phones have went, from something that started as txt and call to being a full on computer in the hands, pretty incredible (and relatively affordable for what it can do). But why is this tech so restrictive to the land of phones? My example of the mp3/DAP market is just an example of a market that has been embracing Android also as its delivery method, which made me think why is the camera world not also onboard?

QuoteOriginally posted by mlt Quote
If you want social media apps and screen based editing, including image resizing for those apps the current best interface on a small screen is a touch based phone. Buttons and knobs for editing and app usage would be clunky for anyone used to doing it on a phone. The idea of using a common os (possible) and easily upgraded feature set across an entire camera line would limit the reasons to upgrade. Let alone the time spent on testing every possible add-on app and update with the cameraís hardware and for security issues would just further drive users to give up on cameras and just use their phones.
Ricoh GRIII is touchscreen, the next Pentax dslr will be touch screen, many other brands of camera are touch screen. The dials and buttons are additional choices of interfacing.

I don't claim to have all the answers, it's just it feels like a lot of benefits outweighs the negatives if the idea is adopted properly (which no camera makers seems to have achieved to date...)

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Because camera processor hardware is built around a custom real time image DSP architecture and there is no compiler provided to compile Android for such specilized DSP target.
In order to be able to use Android, the image processing performed in hard must be ported in a software layer on top of Android, then compile the whole thing to a generic processor (such as the ones used in mobile phone) for which a compiler is provided. Then, using a generic processor involves serious tradeoffs in image processing efficiency, especially in case of bursts of 24Mpixels at 10 frames per second.
So yer saying speed is the primary issue. So then... my above example of a dual OS, could that not work you think? Best of both worlds?

QuoteOriginally posted by ehrwien Quote
I'd very much like to hear your opinion on the mp3 player I bought in 2006 and am still using to this day (if I have the desire to listen to music when I know I'll be out and about), the Samsung YP-Z5 Q. Still using it with the very headphones it shipped with, and the 2GB size limitation is forcing me to think ahead of time about what kind of music I would be likely to want to listen to...

Another question I have for you would be regarding high quality (but affordable; so more of a price-per-performance question) audio headphones, soundcards and DACs for listening to music on the computer (wirelessly?)


Regarding the idea with Android as a base for cameras, with the idea that app development could improve the feature set for the cameras... I'm not so sure how that could work succesfully... since app development would shift the responsibility to implement features from the manufacturers to the users, and I don't think willingness to code something for free would be that high, and willingness of users to pay for apps would be that high....
Oof! Samsung YP-Z5! Old skool! Woot!

Here is my little DAP drawer



I actually use a lot of screenless DAPs myself today and also 'think about what I want to listen to that day' before hand and copy said tunes across. If I have learned anything over the years about music is that we can all interact with DAPs differently, one omitted feature can be a deal breaker to some and others not an issue at all. If you're happy with the YP then keep rocking it my man!

Headphones for computing I am less equipped to handle. What I would say from my own experience is that I do not like the volume limitation of Windows 10 and its applications. I have needed desktop amps to properly drive a good pair of cans to their full potential.

I do most of my listening portable, hardly ever in front of a computer, and if I do it's usually externally to a 5.1 system capable of adequate power and volume. For headphones I used to use the Fiio E9/E3 combo;



This at least navigated around the volume limitations of the OS. I don't know so much about wireless and if they too are limited in terms of bluetooth volume caps. I have a sneaky suspicion that I would be saddened with bluetooth cans, even if they were going through a specialised desktop bt amp, I just distrust some kinds of technology sometimes and some EU sound restriction law embedded within etc... <shrugs>. For portable music I am still wired with my PFE232's...

But yes, I could see some app developers charging for upgrades (which I think is fair, no one likes to work/code for free), as long as it's a choice then I don't see the issue. Pentax should still do provide updates (as they currently do), but really they can't go much lower than where they currently are in terms of updates for features...


QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...and after all that, one gets a camera capable of being a tablet, sort of like the Galaxy NX mentioned above. Did that camera outlive its debut year? Edit: The original Galaxy NX was announced June 2013 and the last model of the NX line (NX500) was released in 2015. I don't know how many models featured Android for display support and connectivity. It is hard to find hard data, but some sources indicate a persistent vegetative state for the line sometime in 2016.


Steve
As I said before, I don't think one iteration of Android has been implemented well. I think 95% of users will shudder if they see a camera missing familiar dials and knobs at the expense of a touch screen. Talking of touch screens... people are already worried about the next Pentax having one, but as we can see from the prototype images there are no missing buttons and dials. GRIII has a touch screen and by all accounts has been a welcome addition. Other camera brands have touch screens, so for me it's about having Android as an addition to the experience, not a replacement, not at the expense of anything. It's about having a UI experience that could be 100% the same to what we have now, except we will get better updates, bug fixes, feature request support as well as improving remote control, direct uploading to sites etc etc. I mean... Wifi/Image Sync is actually about getting the images from the camera to the phone in the first place... for various reasons but one of which is definitely to share an image promptly through social channels. Time and money and a poor user experience has already taken place for this feature. Having Android in the camera potentially completely streamlines that one specific hurdle. I'm not suggesting everyone here use social media or wants to email a picture direct from their camera etc, I'm simply saying Wifi was added to the Pentax camera already with this purpose in mind (as well as remote control etc), R&D may be somewhat less strained on Pentax by adopting Android somehow period, just because it already is massively supported externally already.

10-29-2019, 07:28 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Many of you might not be aware but before I got into photography seriously I was a quite well known little 'mp3 player' reviewer. I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile but I did put out some reviews of DAPs (Digital Audio Players) that saw hits (views) reaching into the high tens of thousands. I never liked getting into reviewing sound quality per se (as I feel that is quite a subjective talking point) but instead stuck to a lot of the facts about a player such as fully exploring its features and whether there were any little hidden quirks to the player that the menu forgot to mention (the brand Cowon were infamous for this).

I was there from the start, I saw the rise of mp3 players and ultimately the demise (or semi demise.. they do still exist but the smartphone has done a lot to kill that market... making a similar dent that the point 'n shoot market has experienced). At the beginning these mp3 players ran their own software, their own in house operating system, many times the player missed out on some crucial features that were deal breakers for many buyers. It could have the best sound quality in the world for example, but if it did not support on the fly playlist building then many users passed on the device.
For awhile there was a fantastic initiative called 'Rockbox', a free customisable community UI/Firmware that had a rich feature list that many players could adopt, in essence the audio community were able to fill the gap on what the player natively could not do by offering a new OS for the player to run on.
Eventually this died out, and nowadays you will see a lot of the mp3 player market running on Android. We saw with our own phones how paid for App developers were themselves being competitive and releasing updated versions of their App with continuing feature requests being completed to stay competitive in the market. Eventually the mp3/DAP market took noticed and started making their own players Android, a wise move say many.

And so it has made me think recently, about such things as Face/Eye Detection and 'Animal Face Detection' as being requests that many photographers would like, I wondered how the phone market is doing in this regard, has their Face/Eye recognition systems been significantly better than well known camera brands for a long time now? Would our camera experience be better if it was running on Android and we could choose certain applications to handle our shooting experience? Would it become more open source, and you could get a Pentax App from the store that was even more customisable, and those hear within our community who have coding and app developing skills could also assist in feature requests? Would that be better?

And then comes the social media side of things. The WiFi option on the K-1/KP I find truly abysmal, I now carry a small usb C>usb 3 cable and a SD Card reader for when I am in a hurry and want a picture off from my camera and onto social media. I don't even have to transfer the picture to the camera, I just need to connect things up and I can navigate to where the image is on the SD card and share, I guarantee I can do all of this far quicker than using any wireless app transfer/Image Sync

So then if the cameras had Android installed, a choice of Apps to use for the shooting experience as well as access to common social platforms (flickr, fb, insta etc), would this not make more sense? What then also about certain photography apps like Golden Hour and star tracking apps? I dunno... to me it just seems like an obvious direction to take the dslr cameras (in the same way high end mp3 players have demonstrated), but obviously there are issues here because no well known brand is really embracing the idea. We're still stuck with our in house menus where feature requests are ignored and firmware releases are only pushed out for new lens support...
Would we not have a huge pocket of Android App developers able to improve the shooting experience vs looking for specific fewer people that know their way around the Pentax OS?

I think people will be reading this and worry that I am suggesting that to go Android would make the shooting experience wildly different to what we have now, somehow like a phone app stuck on the back of our LCD screens and have to do everything by touch No no no no! This is not what I mean at all. You could have exactly the same kind of menu system that we have all come to know and love, exactly the same kind of shooting experience, all the dials and such do what you expect, its just that it's sitting on Android instead, which means more app development support and all the other things mentioned above. We'd still need Pentax to give us an official App that already mimics what we have, it's just I think it would open up the entire app development market to giving us more, or if Pentax made the source code open so we could improve upon what they give (instead of relying on them for feature requests we do it ourselves).

Thoughts? Do we think this is the direction all brands will finally head down eventually? Is it just a case of proper implementation or is there another reasons why you think this will never happen?

Cheers,

BB
Android ? No thanks .
10-29-2019, 09:22 PM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
What's yuck? Imagine you're holding your Pentax camera right now, it has all the same buttons and dials that you're used to, the menu looks the same, you even navigate the same way. But now... thanks to the community you can choose to upgrade to the next firmware and that has an added a feature of allowing you to hide certain menu items that you feel you never use and are just additional annoyances to scroll by/over. Or... that now... thanks to the community you can upgrade to the newest firmware where they have added the 'Aperture Bracketing Shooting Mode' that currently exists only on the KP. Now you can use it on a K-1 or K3 etc etc.

The point is you don't have to make the leap of Android>Phone/Social Media/pure touch screen interface, that's now how this works at all (or shouldn't work). It's about bringing in more app development, more choices, greater community development, more features, less features, basically taking the power away from a couple of firmware guys at Pentax HQ and passing that stuff back onto us. At least that is very much how I have seen it done and implemented within the portable audiophile industry. I'm not making this stuff up, so I am now curious as to what the hurdles have been for camera manufacturers, they must have been having these conversations in their meetings...

Please don't mistake what I am suggesting as a kind of user experience as the Zeiss zx-1 suggests below, that indeed does look yuck
Adam and stevebrot have pretty much stated my rationale on the matter. Also, I simply have a visceral reaction to Android in my camera: yuck At least some of that is based on the fact that adding a general-purpose OS - even if tuned for a specific device - is a slippery slope and the things that seem to get you juiced make me cringe. I have absolutely zero enthusiasm for "greater community development" wrt my camera.
10-29-2019, 09:46 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Adam and stevebrot have pretty much stated my rationale on the matter. Also, I simply have a visceral reaction to Android in my camera: yuck At least some of that is based on the fact that adding a general-purpose OS - even if tuned for a specific device - is a slippery slope and the things that seem to get you juiced make me cringe. I have absolutely zero enthusiasm for "greater community development" wrt my camera.
Well it's interesting, we all want different things from our camera gear. People might cringe at the idea of quick social media shots but as a professional wedding tog I can tell you that its a frequent request from the bride "can you get some cool shots out there on the day, as its happening?" etc, it's not 'gimmicky' always, sometimes it's work.

Recently there was a youtube video floating around stating whether we think us (the consumers) have too much emphasis on owning the 'new thing' just because it's new (feature war etc). A lot said yes that is true (much like smartphones where people upgrade constantly) and others are were agreeing that features are overrated.

My personal opinion is I like features, it doesn't mean I use all of them all the time but its nice to have them. I've had conversations with other professional photographers and when I mention I shoot Pentax I have seen their face contort in pain. But as the shoot continues and the questions keep coming I can see them visibly regretting their initial reaction when they realise I have pixelshift, Focus Peaking and Astrotracer (to name a few). I've used and needed all of these features at one time or another. I've also used the KP's Aperture Bracketing Shooting mode to great effect, it confuses me to no end why they can't pass that trick onto the K-1 and it's predecessors, why can't we have 4:3 mode, instead of just Full Frame, Crop or 1:1. The list goes on and on yet I know that nothing will come of it. It's exactly why Rockbox was developed by the audio community, they too were sick of lack of firmware support and took things into their own hands. That's how I see Android, not a phone in a camera but rather a means to let the community give back something or appease the masses, and if done well it could also be a massive selling point for the camera brand that implements it successfully.

So I do like features, the more the better, but where I differ is I also think there is room in the market for a different breed of camera bodies as well, a more stripped back to basics body as well. I have a KP and K-1, I don't really need Focus peaking twice, astro tracing twice and pixelshifting twice. What I wouldn't mind is a Pentax digital camera body geared towards manual focus, a superior OVF/Focus screen akin to the old days, and due to the simplistic nature of the camera we might have fantastic low entry priced bodies. It's purpose is not to be a flagship but perhaps give a more satisfying user experience to those of us who love our legacy glass. Maybe that's not the direction we need to take exactly, but I am simply saying that whilst features are important I'm not sure we need it on every camera body ever released. We have a lot of lenses to choose from, but few bodies...

Food for thought.
10-29-2019, 09:54 PM   #23
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There are definitely desirable features that you see in a phone camera that you don't get on a K-1. I don't know that the DSP code/chips would be a particular issue; does a K-1 today use DSP code for the whole thing, including the UI? I would think that there are multiple chips being used for the various camera functions.

I think that the biggest issue would be the power consumption of a more complex processor and operating system compared to what cameras run today. But power consumption in a camera could be lower than a phone, if the screen is not on all the time.

10-29-2019, 10:51 PM   #24
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I do not think that android on cameras is the right way to go. What we need instead is better integration between cameras and smartphones/tablets.

I do not want a camera that takes like a minute to start, and with an OS that need a 5-6 inch screen for best operation.
The 3-3.5 inch screen that most cameras use is just too small for android.

I do not think it works well with ILC as you often have a large lens attached, so it is not going to make much sense to use apps on your camera.
It will make much more sense to have the apps on a smartphone or tablet that communicate with the camera.

On small P&S cameras android may work better, but they would need a camera optimized OS that can start within a few seconds.
10-30-2019, 12:00 AM   #25
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Looooooong thread. To be honest Iíve speed-read it and probably missed a ton. But yes, immediate reaction to ĎAndroid on a Cameraí for me was YUCK when I saw the Zeiss articles and announcement.

Then Monday night I was in the pub with a mate showing me his 3-lens 40MP camera (Huawei) and what it was able to do on a recent trip to Scotland and was grudgingly impressed.

I canít quite see how Lightroom CC works on it, at that size and interface, but thatís what they are intending so... weíll see. I wonder if itíll come with a CC subscription?
10-30-2019, 12:34 AM - 1 Like   #26
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There was a closed forum on DPR for the development of phone software to do what the OP described and they’d got to a testable app before the trouble started. One tester plugged in his 5Dii to be greeted with the following message at startup:- “Duude, like, that camera is so old!! You should be shootin’ mirrorless. Get real, dude! No IBIS? Crummmmy!

The forum got buried after a 4-day flamefest.


(I made that all up, never happened, no sirree, couldn’t possibly... .)
10-30-2019, 12:56 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
There are definitely desirable features that you see in a phone camera that you don't get on a K-1. I don't know that the DSP code/chips would be a particular issue; does a K-1 today use DSP code for the whole thing, including the UI? I would think that there are multiple chips being used for the various camera functions.

I think that the biggest issue would be the power consumption of a more complex processor and operating system compared to what cameras run today. But power consumption in a camera could be lower than a phone, if the screen is not on all the time.
I use a cheapy Samsung A20 phone, A days usage sees me go from 100% to 60%, but I am a fairly light user. Screen brightness I think is the biggest killer. In terms of power I think it depends on the version of Android and kinda tasks it would be doing. I wouldn't imagine a phone in a camera experience, it would be horrid that way anyway, so I have no idea how it would perform under those conditions but the MP3/DAP market seems to do ok I think in this regard...

QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
I do not think that android on cameras is the right way to go. What we need instead is better integration between cameras and smartphones/tablets.

I do not want a camera that takes like a minute to start, and with an OS that need a 5-6 inch screen for best operation.
The 3-3.5 inch screen that most cameras use is just too small for android.

I do not think it works well with ILC as you often have a large lens attached, so it is not going to make much sense to use apps on your camera.
It will make much more sense to have the apps on a smartphone or tablet that communicate with the camera.

On small P&S cameras android may work better, but they would need a camera optimized OS that can start within a few seconds.
Nor do I, which is why I stated that proper implementation would be paramount. A Quick Shooting Mode (which gives us all that we currently experience) as well as perhaps a button or menu option to take us to the Android experience. I couldn't really see it working any other way because any camera that takes 5-10secs before you can take a shot is pretty much a deal breaker right there. It's about how it's done imo.

3.5 inch is too small? Tell that to PALM;

The issue is not Android per se, it's purely about implementation. That seems to be the part that most manufacturers have an issue with. I don't think many here can argue against the benefits of what Android can bring, but I can totally understand the resentment and hesitation of Android or a 'phone' experience placed inside a camera, that to me is also a huge turn off (and I'm the OP!).

QuoteOriginally posted by Beepaitch Quote
Looooooong thread. To be honest Iíve speed-read it and probably missed a ton. But yes, immediate reaction to ĎAndroid on a Cameraí for me was YUCK when I saw the Zeiss articles and announcement.

Then Monday night I was in the pub with a mate showing me his 3-lens 40MP camera (Huawei) and what it was able to do on a recent trip to Scotland and was grudgingly impressed.

I canít quite see how Lightroom CC works on it, at that size and interface, but thatís what they are intending so... weíll see. I wonder if itíll come with a CC subscription?
I hadn't even thought about Lightroom CC and all that stuff. My initial thoughts of Android was purely to do with features and updates and higher levels of customisation. I literally have this belief that UI/Firmware is down to a team of 1-2 employed at Ricoh/Pentax, this is why things are as they are with limited updates and features/bug fixes.

It's been a long time since I have been near a phone capable of good pictures, but I have no doubt that certain apps are doing a really good job of providing the user with the necessary tools to get a good shot. I can totally see certain things like Face Detection (or our native Pentax) being significantly behind what phones are capable of achieving, and if that's the case does the same ring true for spot focus and other CDAF etc. I don't know... I'm just putting it out there...
I just thought that perhaps if the cameras ran Android then Pentax would see a lot of the work 'done for them'. I don't mean in terms of not providing us with a similar UI to what we currently experience, but in terms of all the points I have listed previously before.
10-30-2019, 04:02 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
my above example of a dual OS, could that not work you think?
That's more costly given that camera UI is idle most of the time, camera architecture prioritize image processing speed over UI features. Smartphone architecture prioritize UI and software flexibility for open UI apps. What happens is the processing efficiency of smartphone processors still increasing so we could imagine that smartphone processors could reach the requirements of ILC cameras, but ILC camera sensors resolutions are also on the rise, which is why cameras are still designed around image processors (even Sony). Try have a smartphone process the 61Mpixel of the A7RIV at 10 frames per second, with predictive AF tracking computation between frames, lens AF motor servo control, sensor data parsing pinpelined into compressed RAW and JPEG files including lens corrections and color styles. It's just that smartphones don't have the same mission profile as ILC cameras. I don't want to sound in denial, a dual processing with separate image processing core and Android UI could be great, battery life would be less, with an increased cost for the camera.
10-30-2019, 04:30 AM   #29
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The idea is not bad per se. I think folks are getting caught up, as Bruce said, with "Android" as a given implementation and not "blanket word for open OS for the camera".
On the other hand, just get a couple good developers for the app so that we can send the JPEGs to the phone more or less automatically and without a huge fuss.
10-30-2019, 05:02 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Serkevan Quote
The idea is not bad per se. I think folks are getting caught up, as Bruce said, with "Android" as a given implementation and not "blanket word for open OS for the camera".
On the other hand, just get a couple good developers for the app so that we can send the JPEGs to the phone more or less automatically and without a huge fuss.
Concur. And there's probably a fair amount of people who use an iPhone and reflexively dislike the word Android because it's not on their team.

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