Alice Camera

Darmok N Jalad

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You know, the more I look at this device, the more video-centric I think this thing is trying to be. Considering Sony has a $2500 smartphone to sell with the A1, maybe something like this could have some consumer interest after all. If it can handle streaming live 4K, that could go a very long way in the market. 10MP isn’t much for photos, but it’s just about right for video. The BGH1 is 10MP as well.
 

pdk42

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The Alice camera looks intriguing. Personally I think a smartphone is a completely inappropriate way to control a camera, but maybe I’m just an old fart. The computational stuff might be interesting, especially so if it does a decent job of picking the focus point based on AI (like the Oly system but more advanced). The thing that excites me the most though is that the software will be open source. I still think that there is sense in the main manufacturers doing this - OMD Solutions maybe?
 
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Mack

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I kludged my Pen-F to the front of my smartphone using the Olympus Share app.

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Looked like the Alice, but what a bulky mess! No way would I want to carry and link that stuff together as it defeats the purpose of the smartphone's camera and compactness which does work good enough for internet stuff. Even my niece tried it with her phone and I got the "Seriously?!!?" sarcastic comment from her too. Novel, but just not practical, imho.

Simplicity is better. Had a friend snap a bolt changing out the A-frame and ball joint in a car. He's been cussing the thing using an EZ-Out for the past two days and burning up a lot of cobalt drill bits. With my flat phone and using its flash, I could wedge it into the frame to help see the bolt and see the issue with it being wedged against the frame as below.

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I sort of see it like Mack when it comes to this product. Besides the pretty much best as it gets connectivity, a smartphone has two primary strengths: Extremely compact and ease of use. It's an item pretty much everybody carries today, grab it from your pocket, purse, bag or whatever else, grab a quick picture and done.
The Alice Camera takes these strengths away: I have to carry the camera module with me, I have to carry the lens(es) with me. If I see something interesting, I have to get out the camera module, attach it to the phone, start the app and now I can shoot. With just the smartphone I would've already taken the picture. Even just taking out my camera sounds faster and more convenient than having to prepare my phone with Alice first.

I am sure there is a target audience for this product, bit I just fail to see the revolutionary way this product is being hyped. People who take their phones for convenience just won't have such add-ons with them, photographers who prefer dedicated cameras will carry a camera bag or backpack with them anyways, so they already have a fully featured camera with them.
 

RS86

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I sort of see it like Mack when it comes to this product. Besides the pretty much best as it gets connectivity, a smartphone has two primary strengths: Extremely compact and ease of use. It's an item pretty much everybody carries today, grab it from your pocket, purse, bag or whatever else, grab a quick picture and done.
The Alice Camera takes these strengths away: I have to carry the camera module with me, I have to carry the lens(es) with me. If I see something interesting, I have to get out the camera module, attach it to the phone, start the app and now I can shoot. With just the smartphone I would've already taken the picture. Even just taking out my camera sounds faster and more convenient than having to prepare my phone with Alice first.

I am sure there is a target audience for this product, bit I just fail to see the revolutionary way this product is being hyped. People who take their phones for convenience just won't have such add-ons with them, photographers who prefer dedicated cameras will carry a camera bag or backpack with them anyways, so they already have a fully featured camera with them.

I agree, but kinda don't. Anyone can keep using their phone camera for normal shooting. Or when they're out doing art, or videographing friends etc. they can use Alice, keeping the module on for a longer period. Very good compact M43 lenses can be purchased for not much money, especially used.

Smartphones have some problems in low light due to the size of the sensor, especially with movement. If this is the same or very similar sensor as GH5S, it should be pretty good. Is it?

11MP is also enough for the usual web viewing, Instagram etc., even pretty nice prints sizes.

It's interesting to observe how this goes, and know that my lenses fit this if it goes well.

"Why does Alice only have 11 megapixels?

While higher resolution sensors do capture more information, lower-resolution sensors have bigger pixels which produce less noise, particularly in low-light situations. Fewer pixels means less power is required to do computational processing, which means less heat produced and longer battery life and is why the best smartphone cameras often feature similar relatively low resolutions. Our sensor is optimised to produce 4K video without cropping or binning, which provides better quality with lower power requirements, similar to the Sony A7SIII and the Panasonic GH5S. For more about Alice’s sensor keep an eye on our blog."

https://alice.camera/faq/
 

PakkyT

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I agree, but kinda don't. Anyone can keep using their phone camera for normal shooting. Or when they're out doing art, or videographing friends etc. they can use Alice, keeping the module on for a longer period. Very good compact M43 lenses can be purchased for not much money, especially used.

That is well and good but I agree with @Ghostbuggy in that I too do not get the point of this device and as he said the "revolutionary way this product is being hyped".

As best I can tell this a somewhat crippled camera that you need a mobile device running an app to get all of its features. So it is somewhere in between a good camera and a good mobile phone. It appears you do not need to physically attach your phone to Alice. What they show in the pictures is simply a holder for convenience (like the one that was sold for the Oly Air) but otherwise the connection between the two is simply radio signals (WiFi and perhaps Bluetooth). So they are selling a limited use camera that can be linked to your mobile phone. As I have mentioned in other threads where Alice was brought up, how is this any different than my E-M1.1 and Oi.Share on my Andoid phone? With my Olympus I have a full function camera that I can do everything without needing the app where as Alice the camera module is limited unless you use the app. If you are going to use a camera module anyway, why not use a much better camera?

At its basic level it seems like they are doing nothing more than making software to edit photos are simply providing a basic camera to allow more options than whatever is baked into your mobile device. But at the end of the day, isn't this just a overhyped phone app? Is there anything the actual Alice hardware can do when linked to the app that you can not do with a stand alone camera? Their website is very vague as to what their advantage is going to be, so maybe there is something special in the hardware module?
 

RS86

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That is well and good but I agree with @Ghostbuggy in that I too do not get the point of this device and as he said the "revolutionary way this product is being hyped".

As best I can tell this a somewhat crippled camera that you need a mobile device running an app to get all of its features. So it is somewhere in between a good camera and a good mobile phone. It appears you do not need to physically attach your phone to Alice. What they show in the pictures is simply a holder for convenience (like the one that was sold for the Oly Air) but otherwise the connection between the two is simply radio signals (WiFi and perhaps Bluetooth). So they are selling a limited use camera that can be linked to your mobile phone. As I have mentioned in other threads where Alice was brought up, how is this any different than my E-M1.1 and Oi.Share on my Andoid phone? With my Olympus I have a full function camera that I can do everything without needing the app where as Alice the camera module is limited unless you use the app. If you are going to use a camera module anyway, why not use a much better camera?

At its basic level it seems like they are doing nothing more than making software to edit photos are simply providing a basic camera to allow more options than whatever is baked into your mobile device. But at the end of the day, isn't this just a overhyped phone app? Is there anything the actual Alice hardware can do when linked to the app that you can not do with a stand alone camera? Their website is very vague as to what their advantage is going to be, so maybe there is something special in the hardware module?

Well I said I agree with him, but kinda don't, and same to your points.

But for example it could be easier to operate. Last time I checked, my PEN-F couldn't even connect to my phone. I need to try again. Even with E-M10ii it seemed that sometimes it worked, and sometimes didn't.

The Alice camera might bring some much better computational advances than M43 manufacturers have been able to, especially with the better hardware for computational photography that phones have.

Without something like Alice camera, I have a very hard time seeing phone cameras ever being popular among enthusiasts or professionals, as phone cameras are very clumsy like I have said. And that low-light ability with phones is something that is not easily overcome for movement. I'm not sure how fast the photos would need to be taken for bracketing to overcome it?

So I'm happy to know that my lenses fit this kind of development system, if it will succeed. Like others have said, I'm very happy with my M43 gear, and will just observe the camera market and Alice for some time.
 

PakkyT

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But for example it could be easier to operate. Last time I checked, my PEN-F couldn't even connect to my phone. I need to try again. Even with E-M10ii it seemed that sometimes it worked, and sometimes didn't.

Which may be more of an issue with the phone itself and how it treats WiFi (or other radio) connections and I suspect the Alice device may suffer from the same issue when you are trying to write an app that works on a wide variety of phone models to which you have no control over.
 

RS86

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Which may be more of an issue with the phone itself and how it treats WiFi (or other radio) connections and I suspect the Alice device may suffer from the same issue when you are trying to write an app that works on a wide variety of phone models to which you have no control over.

Could be, but those problems with E-M10 ii were with my earlier phone. I think my VPN also had to do with it sometimes, but even when I turned it off, it didn't work.

But I tested PEN-F now and it worked! Awesome. I don't need this function often though.
 
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