A team of engineers, data scientists and content creators have come together to produce a camera that it says marries the quality of Micro Four Thirds with the artificial intelligence of a smartphone to ‘change and challenge the concept of the digital camera for the next decade’. Alice is a camera that uses a MFT sensor and lens mount, and which is controlled by a smartphone app.
Similar to Sony’s QX10 camera announced back in 2013, Alice has no screen of its own, but uses a clamp on the rear to allow users to attach their phone for adjusting settings, previewing and reviewing images. The camera and phone will communicate using a 5GHz wireless connection while its creators say AI and computational drivers will offer ‘new capabilities and techniques for autofocusing, autoexposure, colour science and more.’
The idea was born out of an experience where a smartphone took a much better picture of a campfire scene on the beach than a professional photographer using a professional camera could manage. The project intends to combine the sort of image processing we see in smartphones with the technical quality achievable with the Micro Four Thirds system. The team behind the Alice Camera says the main camera manufacturers are losing ground to smartphones because they have failed to innovate and to introduce significant changes to their technology over the last ten years. This has left ‘content creators’ in an endless search for the perfect camera. The team conducted interviews will 1000 photographers and videographers to hear their gripes so that they could ensure the Alice Camera addresses them.
The app that controls the camera will allow your phone to be mounted with its screen facing the rear for normal control, or facing towards the back of the camera with a portion of the screen showing for selfies and vlogging. A Micro SD card will be used for storage and images can be transferred immediately for editing on the phone before posting online. The camera will be able to record 4K video at 30p or FHD at 60p, and will be able to stream live using the phone’s network connection.
|Obviously a render of how the camera is expected to look in selfie/vlogging mode|
The sensor chosen has only 11 million pixels, but those 4.63um pixels are claimed to offer better low light performance as well as an extended dynamic range.
The camera is still at the prototype stage at the moment, but pre-orders are being taken before an Indiegogo campaign begins next month. The full price of the Alice Camera will be £750 body only, but early birds and Indiegogo users will be able to pre-order at £450 and £550 with a deposit of £50. The finished camera is expected to be delivered in March 2021. For more information see the Alice Camera website.
|And of course, with adapters, most full-frame and APS-C lenses will fit the MFT mount|
Alice Camera™ is an AI-accelerated computational camera being built in Britain from the ground up for content creators. An interchangeable lens camera with a dedicated AI-chip that elevates machine learning and pushes the boundaries of what a camera can do. Alice is in concept prototype stage and will be available on Indiegogo in Autumn 2020.
Alice is a compact and low-profile camera which can be mounted onto the back of almost any standard smartphone. An ergonomic handle enables better hand placement and stability whilst capturing your scenes.
Alice uses the Micro Four Thirds lens mount, the most flexible and compact interchangeable lens system around, with over 50 professional-quality lenses available. Attach an adapter to use lenses with different mounts too!
Alice’s Micro Four Thirds sensor excels in low light conditions and allows you to capture high-quality 4K video with no crop. Large pixel sizes and an innovative Quad Bayer structure enable exceptionally low noise and high dynamic range.
Artificial Intelligence is transforming photography in the 2020s like digital technology did back in the 1990s. Alice has been designed from the ground up to harness AI and computational photography for modern content creators, offering you new capabilities and techniques for autofocusing, autoexposure, colour science and more.
The Alice Camera native app will provide you with a familiar smartphone user interface and experience. It will be easy to use and navigate with touchscreen interface and customisation. The camera system and firmware will improve with future software updates through our app.
We want to give creatives as much control as possible. We will be providing open-source software access to Alice allowing you to deeply customise your creative process, encouraging collaboration and software development. Regular software updates means Alice will stay up-to-date with the latest computational photography technology and features.
Fast wireless data transfer between camera and phone gives you a seamless real-time viewfinder on your smartphone. Instantly share your content to social media and live stream directly to your favourite platform. A selfie screen will appear when you turn your phone around so that you can view yourself at all times. Alice will even work when your phone is not attached. You can set up across the room and have your phone in your hand and content will still stream. Double whammy!
Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there’s always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.