The Alice Camera is Finally Shipping After Three Years in Development

A person holds a smartphone attached to a Lumix camera with their hand, which has rings. The background shows an outdoor setting with blurred trees and buildings, suggesting a sunny day. The person appears to be focusing on capturing an image.

Photogram’s Alice Camera has been a long time coming. Unveiled in early 2021 as an AI-assisted Micro Four Thirds camera, the camera was supposed to finally release in October 2022. That target came and went, but Alice isn’t dead — it is arriving to initial pre-order customers next month.

“After three years of dedicated development, Photogram is thrilled to announce that the Alice Camera, a novel AI-powered Micro Four Thirds camera that attaches to iOS and Android smartphones, will begin shipping to pre-order customers from July 15, 2024,” Photogram explains.

Multiple black cameras neatly arranged in white boxes, filling the entire frame. Each box contains a camera with a lens cap on, protected by plastic wrapping. The overall pattern creates a uniform, grid-like appearance.
After three years of development, the Alice Camera is ready to ship.

The Alice Camera uses a Sony Four-Thirds CMOS image sensor, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and Google’s Edge TPU to handle the deep learning features. These onboard processors help Alice perform the required calculations to drive the camera’s computational photography features, including noise reduction, sharpening, and expanded dynamic range.

A person holding a smartphone attached to a camera lens adapter, with the lens labeled "Lumix." The background is blurred, drawing focus to the camera setup.

Many of these same features are included in smartphones to help achieve better results. However, dedicated mirrorless cameras typically eschew such niceties because they aren’t as necessary thanks to bigger sensors and lenses — image quality is naturally better. These features are also computationally intensive, and these demands only increase as the sensor gets bigger.

A digital camera labeled "Alice Camera" equipped with a LUMIX lens is positioned next to a smartphone featuring three camera lenses on its back. Both devices are set against a plain white background.

Alice is quite interesting in that its image sensor isn’t that small- a Micro Four Thirds sensor is still considerably bigger than an iPhone’s image sensor, for example — but it still employs computational photography features to improve image quality. As real-world samples showed in 2022, the results are pretty impressive. AI is also used for exposure, white balance, and autofocus.

The Alice Camera sports a Micro Four Thirds lens mount to go with its Sony-made Micro Four Thirds sensor. The aluminum body includes a microSD card slot, a USB-C port, and a 3.5mm mic jack. The camera has a 5,000 mAh built-in battery.

A person holds a modern, compact camera with an attached smartphone. The camera has a large lens, and the smartphone part features multiple lenses and a sleek design. The background is blurred with a mix of green and buildings, suggesting an outdoor urban setting.

While the camera is compact and lightweight, it works alongside a separate Android or iOS smartphone. The Alice Camera relies upon a dedicated smartphone app, which includes camera control, file management, and streamlined content-sharing tools. The camera runs on a custom-built Linux-based operating system, which supports open-access development and over-the-air updates.

While Alice can be used without a smartphone, the connected device is required to use all available features, and the smartphone also acts as an electronic viewfinder.

A smartphone screen displays a camera app interface. A woman holding a digital camera is visible on the screen. Settings like exposure, shutter speed, and focus are shown, alongside a red recording indicator and a timer. Urban background with arches is visible.

“We’re incredibly excited to finally bring the Alice Camera to the world,” explains Vishal Kumar, CEO at Photogram.

“We set out to build the Alice Camera because we wanted to offer our customers a new type of mirrorless camera built specifically for a new era of content. We’ve developed a fundamentally new engineering paradigm for mirrorless cameras, with significantly novel implementations on hardware, software and with AI algorithms. Alice Camera represents an innovative step forward in how mirrorless cameras are designed and how our users will process, capture and share their experiences. We can’t wait to see the amazing content created with the Alice Camera.”

Why has it taken so long to get Alice into customers’ hands? Photogram blames manufacturing issues that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Close-up of hands holding a digital camera with a long zoom lens, ready to take a photo. The person's wrist is secured by a camera strap. The background appears to be a blurred outdoor setting with several people in the distance.

“We are deeply grateful for the belief and patience our community has shown throughout this journey,” adds Vishal Kumar. “As a new entrant in the camera industry, we hope to bring fresh perspectives. All the difficult development work over the last three years is now done. Now, we’re ready to deliver and start to scale manufacturing. Our journey begins from today… We’re just getting started.”

The first Alice cameras for the United Kingdom market will begin shipping on July 15. Cameras for the most of Europe, the United States, Japan, and Australia will ship on August 15. Customers in Canada, France, and the rest of the world will get their cameras starting in September. As of now, pre-orders are now on the fourth batch, which are expected to ship in September as well.

The Alice is sold body only for $845, down from the eventual retail price of $1,195.

Image credits: Alice Camera