Foundation

The Association serves the creation and dissemination of a standard for objectively assessing the image quality of cameras and mobile devices such as smart-phones, tablet computers, notebooks, etc. The objective is to provide independent and credible information for consumers.

The VCX-Forum seeks the most objective assessment and the ideal mediator between consumers and companies.

Purpose

VCX scoring system was born out of the need to create a transparent and objective image quality assessment system from the perspective of the consumer.

The VCX score aims to enable the comparison of camera accuracy and performance. A high score indicates an excellent camera performance for consumers. That way the VCX score is not just a simple comparison system but will also serve as a standard to help guide the industry to develop better cameras.

The Association is a non-profit organization

The mission of the association is the creation and dissemination of a standard for objectively assessing the image quality of cameras in mobile devices such as smart-phones, tablets, computers, notebooks, etc. The main objective is to provide independent and credible information to consumers and industry likewise.

The VCX-Forum seeks to be the most objective assessment and the ideal mediator between consumers and companies. It is important to point out that the VCX score is a reference evaluation, different from advertisements by providing objective and accurate information to customers who are likely to otherwise depend on advertisements for information. We aim to bring together the world’s smart-phone camera manufacturers, camera component producers, chipset/ISP vendors, image quality labs, researchers from academia and other stakeholders from the mobile phone industry. VCX-membership is open to any organization that wishes to further the goals of VCX.

The Association is a non-profit organization; it does not primarily pursue its own economic ends. The members shall not receive any profit shares, and in their capacity as members, will also not be granted any other benefits from the funds of the Association. No person may be benefited by distributions that are outside of the Association's purposes, or by way of disproportionately high remuneration.

Principle

The initiating companies have the intention and motivation to bring the VCX Score to a larger audience. The list below includes opening up aspects of VCX to key industry players. VCX is based on 5 tenets which guarantee results that can be mapped to real life experience:

Tenets

1.VCX measurements shall ensure the out-of-the-box experience

2.VCX shall remain 100% objective

3.VCX shall be open and transparent

4.VCX shall employ/use an independent imaging lab for testing

5.VCX shall seek continuous improvement

1.Tenet

VCX measurements shall ensure the out-of-the-box experience

This tenet dictates that the device under test shall ideally be obtained from an unbiased/untainted source i.e., a random sample/s from a store that sells the device under test. This ensures that neither special samples from suppliers nor custom hardware/software are accepted. The results are obtained from a device/devices that are launched onto the market. The device is tested using the default camera application and setting (except for flash test cases).

2.Tenet

VCX shall remain 100% objective

TThe complete process on how the score is created from measurements is based on objective analysis of the device under test, followed by a fixed and unbiased processing of the numerical results. No human interaction or subjective scoring is involved when creating the VCX score.

3.Tenet

VCX shall remain open and transparent

The VCX score can be accessed by anyone and not restricted to device vendors or mobile operators. The VCX score is designed to reflect the user experience with a smart-phone camera to make it much easier for end-users to decide on a new device. The VCX score is published on the website www.vcx-forum.org. This white paper details the entire testing and measurement procedure, which is open to critique and scrutiny by the imaging community at large. High-level weighting criteria are published along with the details of high-level components of what makes the final VCX score (performance/response and image quality in various lighting conditions).

4.Tenet

VCX shall employ/use an independent imaging lab for testing

VCX as a quality improvement process has been adopted by various entities in the mobile imaging industry, but the final results are obtained from an independent trusted lab. Other independent imaging labs are welcome to join the VCX process, although the final results on the www.vcx-forum.org website, are restricted to be measured by trusted labs to ensure the highest quality results. Processes and procedures for inclusion of other entities to actively contribute to VCX are underway.

5.Tenet

VCX shall seek continuous improvement

VCX has been developed over several years with close cooperation between Vodafone and Image Engineering. Continuous input from Vodafone customers has been taken into account for improvement. Several vendors from the mobile device and chipset industry have contributed positively to its improvement and this cycle of feedback from customers and vendors shall continue.

History

At the beginning of the 1990s, the ISO technical committee 42 (photography) started to develop standards on how to measure image quality and performance of digital cameras. In 1997 Image Engineering who is a member of the ISO committee and one of today’s members of VCX started to test digital cameras. At that time it was the first independent test lab for digital cameras worldwide. ISO TC members including Image Engineering improved and expanded the objective test and measurement procedures to test cameras over the past two decades.

Manufacturers started to optimize their cameras to get a good image quality and therefore good test results from the various testing institutions that appeared on the market. When camera modules found their way into smart-phones in the early 2000s Vodafone had an interest in promoting phones with a good camera and worked with Image Engineering to develop and establish quality values for their key performance indicators (KPIs).

In 2013 the testing underwent a complete modernization. New quality parameters were added based on the latest technologies and tests were performed under different lighting conditions and for various use cases. At that time Image Engineering did the measurements and provided the results to Vodafone. Vodafone took these results and over the course of a year converted them into a scoring system so that management, sales, and customers were able to understand the quality differences between the devices. The Vodafone Camera eXperience (VCX) was born.

Due to limited resources Image Engineering joint into the score generation procedure in 2016 and a bunch of additions and clarifications were added. At the same time the idea was born to make VCX available to a wider audience and after a first conference in Spring 2017 the non-profit organization VCX-Forum e.V. was founded. The abbreviation VCX is still used but the name behind it change to

Valued Camera eXperience – VCX

Today the organization is member driven and Vodafone and Image Engineering are members among about one dozen other companies including almost all of the big smart-phone manufacturers, chipset vendors, module manufactures and labs. All members are united in their intention to create a quality and performance measure that allows to compare their mobile phone cameras with the ones of others and provide guidance to the customers on which camera to choose. That way the image quality of smart-phone cameras is comparable and will be improved in the future.