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The future of photography is a camera made of code

The future of photography is a camera made of code
From CBC - September 13, 2017

Back in 2010, a team from Stanford University's computer graphics lab got their hands on a Nokia N900. It had a pretty good camera by smartphone standards at the time, but the researchers thought they could make it better with a little bit of code.

The Stanford team, led by professor Mark Levoy, was working on the cutting edge of a nascent field known as computational photography. The theory was that software algorithms could do more than dutifully process photos, but actually make photos better in the process.

"The output of these techniques is an ordinary photograph, but one that could not have been taken by a traditional camera," is how the group described its efforts at the time.

Fast forward to today, and many of the techniques that Levoy and his team worked onyielding featureslike HDR and better photos in low lightare now commonplace. And in Cupertino, Calif,. on Tuesday, Apple's iPhone event was another reminder of just how far smartphone technology hascome.

What we think of as a camera is largely acollection of software algorithms that expands with each passing year.

Take Portrait Lighting, a feature new to the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. Apple says it brings "brings dramatic studio lighting effects to iPhone." And it's all done in software, of course. Here's how an Apple press release describes it:

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