5.0 Megapixel Camera

5.0 Megapixel Camera

5.0 Megapixel Camera (5.0 MPX)
Version 1.0

Bottom Line: Good especially if you plan on printing images at larger than recommended sizes.

Sometimes you just need more megapixels in your images. 5.0 Megapixel Camera by CrowdCafé is a camera app that produces 5.0 MP images from your iPhone’s 2 MP or 3 MP camera.

The hardware of the iPhone’s camera is limited to capturing 2 or 3 megapixel images. Neither 5.0 Megapixel Camera or Camera XL (another resolution enhancing app) update the hardware or the software of the camera to shoot the image with more pixels. Both apps use interpolation to create the additional pixels — basically using software to insert a new pixel between two existing pixels and giving the new pixel a value that’s the average of the two existing pixels. The result is a larger image with greater detail than if you’d simply printed the original, smaller image at a larger size.

Sample Image from Camera App. 2 MP resolution (click to enlarge)

Sample Image from Camera App. 2 MP resolution (click to enlarge)

5.0 MPX resamples your images up to 5.0 MPs, just like it says and produces results that are acceptable for in-camera enhancement. The results are comparable to Camera XL’s, although I think I prefer how 5.0 MPX handles details in high contrast areas better. 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, although not quite as smooth as resampling in Photoshop. The advantage to doing this in-camera is being able to do this completely on your iPhone and not having to lug around a laptop. While there are some resampling artifacts — mainly some chunky curves, overall the results are smooth and the details fairly sharp, even on images taken with my 2G.

5.0 Megapixel Camera image detail

5.0 MPX image detail compared (Click to enlarge)

5.0 MPX has a good set of additional features. The interface is simple. There are two buttons to toggle between Standard resolution and 5.0 MP resolution. The app defaults to Standard resolution on startup, so you’ll need to change this setting every time you open the app.  Although it takes extra time to process and save the hi-res images, images are stored in a cache and write in the background so you can take more photos while the app saves to the camera roll. There’s the ubiquitous Big Button which turns the entire screen into a shutter release — always a welcome feature. 5.0 MPX also has a countdown timer and time lapse settings of 15 sec., 30 sec., 1, 5 and 15 minute intervals.

Why use resolution enhancement at all? With your iPhone photographs, you may want more flexibility in later cropping down an image or you may want to print a particular image larger than the recommended print size — typically 5″ x 7″ or 8″ x 10″ for “Better Quality” photos.

Click here for a chart of recommended print sizes for various image resolutions

In future updates, I’d like to see the camera start up in hi-res 5 MP mode — that’s really why I bought the app. I’d also like to be able to resample images already in my photo library — something neither 5.0 MPX or Camera XL currently does. Currently, the app only resamples images it shoots, which means you there’s no resizing an image you later decide to print larger.

Image upsampling isn’t a replacement for having a better camera, but if the algorithm is good, it can yield acceptable, sometimes surprisingly good results. 5.0 Megapixel Camera doesn’t produce results that are as good as an image shot with a true 5 MP camera, but it’s definitely an improvement in size and sharpness over a smaller image and certainly adds to the usefulness of the iPhone’s camera. For a dollar, it’s worth it to have on your iPhone for those times when 2 megapixels simply isn’t enough.

5.0 Megapixel Camera is $0.99 USD in the App Store