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Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras - Phones - Nairaland

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Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by atheistandproud(m): 5:39pm On Nov 21
Basically the cameras on our phones help us take pictures and videos. They are very very important today. In fact, there's no conversation about Smartphone comparison that doesn't involve cameras.

Brief recap

The camera on your phone works like this

1. Light from the object you are interested in capturing has to enter your camera.

2. The lens on the camera helps to catch the light and focus it on the image sensor.

3. The image sensor has little tiny photo sites called pixels that help to catch this light and convert it from light energy to electrical energy.

4. After this conversion, the captured image is sent to the ISP for demosaicing, interpolation and processing.

So with that out of the way, what is an ISP?

An ISP also known as an Image Processor (IP), Digital Signal Processor (DSP) or Image Processing Unit (IPU) is a type of specialized microprocessor used for image processing.

This process as outlined above is also mostly controlled by the ISP and happens within seconds. It is when you use GCam that image processing can seem to take a little longer but it is never more than a minute. 20 seconds at most.

The ISP or image signal processor is what handles the images that you shoot, processes them in tandem with the software installed on it and then gives out the final product.

At this point it is important to note that all ISPs are not equal. The grade of SoC that you use determines the grade of ISP that comes with it.

If you own a Redmi Go for example with SD425, don't expect a high grade ISP.

The grade of SoC also dictates that amount of camera resolution that your phone can support.

This was why in recent memory, everyone was wondering how Tecno managed to slam a 64MP camera on the Helio P35. When the spec sheet from Mediatek suggested that anything over 25MP is a no no.

That's a topic for another day tho.

A low end SoC can only support low resolution camera sensors because it may lack the processing power needed to handle high resolution photos.

A high end processor should come with an excellent ISP and should have zero problems processing high resolutions and giving out neat photos.

So

low end SoC = weak ISP = low resolution cameras = average or poor photos.

Mid-range SoCs should equal = decent ISP = decent resolution cameras = very good photos.

Flagship SoCs na baba for the boys and girls dem.

Most companies that produce SoCs also produce their own ISPs and the phone manufacturers usually just go on with the ISPs on board the SoCs that they're buying.

HiSilicon Kirin uses the Kirin ISP and this is what you find on Huawei phones. It is no news that Huawei Flagships are beasts when it comes to camera performance.

Qualcomm uses the Qualcomm Spectra for the Snapdragon SoCs.

Samsung uses the Exynos Dual ISP for their Exynos SoCs.

Mediatek uses Imagiq on their Mediatek SoCs.

But it is not all phone makers that accept the ISP on the SoCs that they're buying.

Google for example ditched the Qualcomm Spectra and used the Pixel Visual core before upgrading to the Pixel Neural core.

Sony uses it's own Bionz X and HTC had it's Image Sense.

This would then take us to AI cameras.

You hear about it all the time now.

AI this, AI that.

Some people even advertise it on entry level phones these days and Nigerians hurry to buy AI camera. ����

So how do cameras have AI and what does AI do?

An AI module (either hardware or software) is a trained application that helps your camera perform better.

The AI modules usually comes preloaded and trained with tens of thousands of professional grade photographs.

Anytime you take a shot, as the ISP is processing the image, the AI module is cross-checking that photo with similar ones on it's data base.

It also adjusts the photo by tweaking specifics like white balance, exposure, saturation, highlights, brightness etc.

It does all these in seconds till the photo looks well tuned and then the output is given.

These modules usually have lots of scenes, faces, people, background, modes etc. to compare and contrast.

For every photo that you're going to take, the AI already has a better one to match it with and then tune your image to meet up.

So long as your ISP can handle the resolution.

The process of checking, chopping, changing, adjusting etc being done by this module is generally referred to as an algorithm.

This module in itself also learns from it's experiences on your device so the more photos you take, the better it gets. This is referred to as machine learning

Most SoCs these days come with a dedicated AI module to help their ISP with image and video processing.

One of the best is the Pixel Neural core by Google. The Pixel Neural core is a two in one (ISP + AI) module and this helps it handle image processing very quickly and smoothly.

Another very good one is the Hexagon DSP by Qualcomm which works alongside the Spectra ISP to give beautiful shots.

Apple uses deep fusion

Kirin, Mediatek and Exynos uses the Neural Processing Unit (NPU).

Some companies may add facial adjustment or toning software to their cameras; or include depth sensing (bokeh) software, write AI on the back of the phone and people be rushing to buy "AI camera".

I laugh in Spanish. Jajajaja �

The phones with proper AI module (physical units), not just software do not even bother to write AI near their cameras.

A lion doesn't need to show off.

To know if your SoC has an AI module, when checking the specs you should find Hexagon DSP, Pixel Neural core, Neural Processing Unit etc near the ISP.

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Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by Stanl3y: 9:51pm On Nov 21
Informative... I always love reading your threads..

1 Like

Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by atheistandproud(m): 7:49am On Nov 22
Stanl3y:
Informative... I always love reading your threads..

Thank you and good morning
Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by kennyflames(m): 8:15am On Nov 22
Really Educative

1 Like

Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by Jacku: 10:34am On Nov 22
Very educative. Thanks op

1 Like

Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by chariisGRACE(m): 1:35pm On Nov 22
Informative post.

*clears throat*

Those AI people can be funny sha. You will see them advertising AI like it is the latest tech in town.
They were even advertising Gallery Go as a new feature, and ignorant Nigeians will be rushing to buy a phone with Gallery Go (an Android Go [low budget Android phone]) for the price of a better phone.

1 Like

Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by BenDanor(m): 3:14pm On Nov 22
Nice info bro!

The truth is that those people rushing to buy Smartphones that are written "AI Camera" do not actually care reading about the more technical specifications of a phone.
Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by Cosmicstranger(m): 4:06pm On Nov 22
this is very informative, front page material
Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by atheistandproud(m): 4:44pm On Nov 22
chariisGRACE:
Informative post.

*clears throat*

Those AI people can be funny sha. You will see them advertising AI like it is the latest tech in town.
They were even advertising Gallery Go as a new feature, and ignorant Nigeians will be rushing to buy a phone with Gallery Go (an Android Go [low budget Android phone]) for the price of a better phone.

*Clears throat too"
Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by atheistandproud(m): 4:44pm On Nov 22
chariisGRACE:
Informative post.

*clears throat*

Those AI people can be funny sha. You will see them advertising AI like it is the latest tech in town.
They were even advertising Gallery Go as a new feature, and ignorant Nigeians will be rushing to buy a phone with Gallery Go (an Android Go [low budget Android phone]) for the price of a better phone.

*Clears throat too*
Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by atheistandproud(m): 4:45pm On Nov 22
BenDanor:
Nice info bro!

The truth is that those people rushing to buy Smartphones that are written "AI Camera" do not actually care reading about the more technical specifications of a phone.


Charlatans and gimmicks will forever capture their fancy.

Long time no see bro.
Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by scarycuteface(m): 10:22pm On Nov 22
Nice info
Good to know

1 Like

Re: Image Signal Processor And AI In Smartphone Cameras by BenDanor(m): 6:51pm On Nov 26
atheistandproud:


Charlatans and gimmicks will forever capture their fancy.

Long time no see bro.
Yeah man

1 Like

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