As you can see, this web page is rather old and is no longer being maintained. Also, the web site has been converted to the new Google Sites, and doesn't look as nice as the old web site. More importantly, as of iOS 11, the Synthcam app no longer runs, on either iPhones or iPads. But if you have a Google Pixel phone, Night Sight provides similar low-light capabilities. For a description of Night Sight's technology, see this article in the Google AI blog, or this paper in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019.

But maybe you came here by accident, and you're looking for my lectures on digital photography? Try this link.

SynthCam is an app for the iPhone 4, 3GS, iPod Touch 4G, and iPad2

(requires iOS 4.2 or higher)

Price: FREE Current version: 2.0

Click on button to view app in iTunes

Version 2.0 is now available!

Version 2.0 offers multi-point and tilt-shift focusing. If you you had trouble getting sharp images using Version 1, try the new version. Multi-point focusing takes some practice, but it helps a lot! It also lets you make real scenes look like miniature models.


Cell phones have a small aperture, hence a large depth of field. In other words, most of the scene is in focus at once. However, if you record video while moving the phone slightly, and you add the frames of the video together, you can simulate the large aperture of an SLR. This app lets you do that.

Adding together many frames has a side benefit; it gathers more light. Thus, pictures you take with this app will be less noisy than pictures taken with the iPhone's native Camera app. The app allows you to do many other things, like see through bushes, remove moving people or cars, blur flowing water, and simulate a tilt-shift lens, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Try the app!

You can also look at some Screenshots, Example photographs, a special section on Version 2.0's Multi-point and tilt-shift focusing effects, and a Tutorial on how to use the app. For a more visual tutorial, check out these two Videos. For release notes on each version, and a list of known issues (i.e. bugs), click on Support & version notes. If you want to quickly leaf through the images from this web site with minimal captions, I've loaded them into this Google Photos album. Oh yes, and here's some publicity about the app.

About the author

Photo by Robert Scoble

Marc Levoy lives in Palo Alto, California. When he's not writing iPhone apps, he is a professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, where he teaches computer graphics, digital photography, and the science of art. His research interests include computer animation, volume rendering, 3D scanning, light field sensing and display, computational photography, and computational microscopy. His professional web page is

For email related to SynthCam, please use the emailing address