Apple’s LinX acquisition: The Israeli startup that will give iPhones SLR-quality photos

“For its third acquisition in Israel, Apple has bought digital photography tech firm LinX Imaging, a small company with a big idea – improving the quality of smartphone cameras to the point where, instead of producing ‘instamatic’ photos, they can create SLR-quality pictures,” David Shamah reports for ZDNet.

“With its combination of hardware and software, LinX offers thin, multi-aperture cameras for devices, which extract depth information for each pixel in order to create a depth map,” Shamah reports. “Using 3D reconstruction algorithms, the result, according to the company, is a high-quality image ‘which allows us to capture stunning images at very low light levels and keep exposure times short at normal indoor light levels. Our array cameras capture SLR like images in normal lighting conditions with very low noise levels,’ regardless of pixel size.”

“Apple wouldn’t specifically say why it was interested in LinX, but industry sources in Israel said that it was likely to use the company’s tech in future iterations of its iPhones and iPads,” Shamah reports. “With photography often the bane of digital device users, a better quality photo – and an SLR-quality one, to boot – could be an important selling point.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Already, the also-rans cannot compete with iPhones’ camera results – wait until this technology gets incorporated!

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Apple buys Israeli 3D/multi-image camera company LinX Computational Imaging – April 14, 2015
Apple’s focus in Israel: Chip design – February 26, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin – February 25, 2015
Tim Cook meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel – February 25, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Apple CEO Tim Cook in Cupertino – March 6, 2014
Apple confirms acquisition of Israel’s PrimeSense, company behind Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, for $350 million – November 25, 2013
Apple confirms purchase of Israel-based Flash-memory part maker Anobit – January 10, 2012
Apple chooses Israel for first R&D center outside Cupertino – December 18, 2011

18 Comments

    1. Totally agree, but to achieve near SLR image quality with the constraints of a smart phone, is quite amazing. I imagine when the technology is applied to a full size SLR, the results are truly astounding.

      I just built my dream editing Mac system for photography. I also got a 28″ 4K monitor. You can count the hairs on a persons head, it’s so sharp. The ability to finely focus become even more essential. Though not really needed, people will clamor for 4K, just because. As American’s, we like better, bigger, and faster, it’s our nature.

      1. HD in 720i wasn’t needed, but once people saw it, they wanted it. Same goes for 4K, the difference is the delivery system for 4K is not there. No physical media for movies, and 4K over most internet connections just isn’t feasible yet. Unfortunately, 4K will have to wait until broadband can deliver Gigabit or better speeds reliably.

    1. I agree with BlackWolf. Forget diplomacy. Let’s just start a war with all the countries we don’t trust. What could go wrong?

      (I won’t type out all the names of those countries. There isn’t room.)

  1. It’s debatable whether a camera with as tiny a sensor as an iPhone will be able to replicate the quality of a camera with a sensor as large as a DSLR’s. What people will get out of this, however, is much better pictures when they do use their iPhone. Nothing wrong with that.

    1. You made the point much better than I did. They’re not the same, but there are a whole heck of a lot more iPhotos on flickr, many of them amazing and beautiful, than there are photos taken by Samsung cameras. The best photo is one that is taken and enjoyed. I have my iPhone with me ALL the time, my “serious” camera just on certain occasions.

    2. The current iPhone cameras are pretty darn good, particularly for video. I think the really important feature mentioned but not highlighted in the above article is the ability to capture great images in very low light levels. That is the downfall of all smartphone cameras, and just about any non-professional SLR type setup (with specific adjustments). If this technology could seriously improve low light photography/videography without needing to add light sources, it would be a major camera upgrade and must-have feature for the iPhone.

    3. The iPhone still does great pics, and there is always room to improve it of course. The one thing that frustrates me is that I’m fine with the quality overall, but not having an optical zoom kills the practical utility of the iPhone at times. I know why you can’t have the optical zoom, but still it’s an issue that SLRs will obviously always dominate. I heard a good 5-10 years ago that “they” (some researchers somewhere) were looking to see if they could create a lens system that allowed you to have optical zoom qualities by suspending some type of oil or fluid that would act as a lens and then it could be distorted the way you want it by electrical current to create variable lenses which would give you a pseudo-optical zoom that would fit in the small enclosure/focal length of those phone sensors. I haven’t heard anything about it since, so maybe it was a bust.

  2. It would be great if they could use the depth information to make 3D models more accurately than current photometric solutions such as Autodesk’s 123D Catch.

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