Camera XL — Megapixel Doubler
Version 1.0

Bottom Line: Recommend!

Camera XL – Megapixel Doubler by George Talusan is a new app for iPhone that promises to double the number of pixels in your iPhone images. Even among high end smart phones, the iPhone’s camera lags behind other smartphone cameras in its class. This app offers a workaround for one limitation of the iPhone. Using image upsampling or “rezzing up”, it doubles the resolution of your iPhone images. On the original iPhone and iPhone 3G, it takes the 2MP images and doubles them to 4MP; on the iPhone 3GS, it doubles the 3MP images to 6MP.

This is a good app to have and I recommend it. After kicking the tires for a couple of days, there are a lot of things I like about this app. Camera XL is yet another camera. You need to use its own built in camera to take advantage of the pixel doubling. Camera XL does NOT double the resolution of images that are either in your camera roll or in your iPhone image library. In fact, the app won’t even see any images in your photo albums — you can only open images from your camera roll.

It really does double the number of pixels in your image, although you’ll have to sync your iPhone to iPhoto or other desktop application to see the full-sized image. The upsampling algorithm is surprisingly good. The images I’ve shot don’t have any really glaring flaws. The images are comparable in image quality as resampling the image in Photoshop using Bicubic Smoother interpolation. The advantage to doing this in camera, though, is being able to do this on the fly and not having to lug around a laptop with Photoshop. Saving images takes quite a bit of time, so taking rapid fire shots isn’t an option with this app.

I like that there’s a setting to use the entire screen as a shutter release button. You can also email images from within the app. The resolution of the emailed images is greater than those emailed directly from the iPhone Photos app, but they’re not the full, upsampled resolution.

While Camera XL offers a bare-bones camera replacement, there are better camera replacements with many more features that I prefer to use. In future updates, I’d like to see the ability to rez up images that are already on my phone — including those in my iPhone photo albums — allowing me to use better camera apps and to apply filters or other image manipulation (like adjusting the color in the excellent apps Photogene or Photoforge for iPhone) before sizing the image up. While I realize that there’s a bit of image processing going on under the hood here, I’d still like to see image save times go a little faster. I’d like to be able to email the full-resolution images.

Image upsampling isn’t a replacement for having a better camera, but if the algorithm is good, it can sometimes yield acceptable results — I’ve used Genuine Fractals for Mac for years, often times with decent results. I was pleasantly surprised at the results I got from Camera XL. Hopefully, future updates will make Camera XL an indispensable tool for iPhone photographers. In a crowded field of iPhone apps, it is definitely a part of my iPhone camera bag.

Camera XL – Megapixel Doubler is available in the Apple App Store for $0.99. There is also a Camera XL Jr. version with ads (and a faint watermark) which you can try for free.