The Librem 5 camera could really use better autofocus (among other camera issues)

My Librem 5 can capture some really awesome raw files to edit from. However, practically every single picture I take will be less in focus than photos from OpenCamera on my OnePlus One as the autofocus is not reliable, there seems to be no way to tap to focus on a specific area, and it’s hard to tell how in-focus the camera is from the preview to set it manually with such a low resolution screen and no way to zoom in.

OnePlus One picture:

Librem 5 picture in same scene, with vibrant colour grading in Darktable:

If zooming in on the tree to the right, for example, everything on the Librem 5 is noticeably blurrier. Same with the address label on the curb, and the farther solar panel.

Edit: Downsizing of the focus comparison when uploading to these forums is a bit low-res so these are the same images as uploaded on 𝕏:

Edit 2: …Which it then proceeds to re-upload to the forums in full resolution instead of linking. Guess I should have just uploaded the images in full quality to my website and linked that instead. Note for the future I guess.

Edit 3: And then making that edit removed the self-hosting again but I can replace the link with the self-hosted link.

If this were just a little bit better, along with the issues of seemingly too low bit depth in shadows and too easily clipped highlights like in these images where the same sorts of scenes do not seem to have problems on my other phones (assuming this is not just a problem with how I set the exposure – which now that I post pictures with opposite issues side-by-side I think might be the case):

Then I think it could finally be a totally superior camera to my OnePlus One for any picture I want to be very good. Better ability to take long exposures could let it outpace my OnePlus Nord N100 for night photos as well.

…While I’m at it listing problems with the camera, the automatic white balance, and the way it only goes through set presets, is also really, really, really bad. Half the time it will not know which one to settle on and rapidly flash between two different settings, and practically all the time the white balance will be off enough that I have to correct it in Darktable for literally every single picture to get something decent. This is totally non-essential since most of the time it’s easy enough to correct after the fact, but if everything else is improved I think that could be a useful thing to improve as well.

Example of original → white balanced → continued color grading:

Also, every single one of the Librem 5 images here had to be rotated after the fact too since the camera will record them as if they are recorded vertically, but most of my good photos, the ones I use my Librem 5 for instead of another phone, I will record in landscape, so that’s another thing that’s even less essential to fix but would make things a bit easier. It’s annoying to always need to rotate them, and on that note my “original” here is not actually totally original, rather a rotated export of the RAW with no further editing (well, other than Darktables default Base Curve that makes things look a bit overexposed). This is what the JPGs look like – more flat, without the overexposure from the default Base Curve, and very very not in the right orientation:

If the Librem 5’s camera could be even close to as functional as OpenCamera on Android (and composition grids and exposure bracketing would be amazing too!), while maintaining the excellent RAW and manual setting capabilities, that would be absolutely amazing. But of all the issues, I think focus is the most important, since that’s the hardest to get right with manual controls and can’t be corrected after the fact like most other aspects of a photo.


Let me think how to geolocate this. Hmmm…


The orientation issue is probably because auto-rotate is enabled.
Or not. :slight_smile:

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In answer to my own question, I guess Southern Calif, Lancaster area, taken from a northward facing slope. Mainly due to palms, laurel, and well watered scrub. Buildings of a shopping center in the distance.

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There are two separate complications here:

  • Whether auto-rotate is enabled and how this particular application handles rotation.
  • Whether it correctly tags a JPEG with the orientation that the phone was in at the time the image was captured.

If a JPEG is correctly tagged with the orientation then you can use
mogrify -auto-orient xyz.JPG
to canonicalise the rotation i.e. if the phone was rotated then the image is rotated and the orientation tag is reset (while if the phone was not rotated then this command is a no-op).

Of course there’s nothing stopping the software on the Librem 5 doing that automatically in the future, at least as an option. Some people may prefer to preserve the orientation. (Should snap faster.) Some people may prefer to canonicalise it. (I prefer the latter because I have some software that does not correctly respect the orientation tag. But the image is going to get canonicalised on the server even if that did not occur on the image capture device.)

However all of this is dependent on bullet point 2 above actually happening - which I don’t think I have ever tested.

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I have auto-rotate disabled 100% of the time, so it’s not from having it enabled. If it is enabled even the camera preview will be sideways (as in, vertical camera preview while in horizontal mode), which is worse, since otherwise the camera preview at least matches what I see.

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The first one from the driveway-type road, or all of them? Why Lancaster and not some other place in Southern California?

Given the large mountains to the north (hard to see with the haze, but definitely there), and all the green, is there any slope around Lancaster that has views like this?

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Higher-res (but still blurry) version of final image from the white balance example, as uploaded to 𝕏:

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That is my vague recollection i.e. the needed code simply hasn’t been written yet.


Did I NOT say it was a guess?

There are above average homes at Rancho Vista, they get a Northward facing slope. (The slope doesn’t have to be very high, just above the rest of the flatlanders.


As one of the desert folk this is extra hilarious