Why the new Google Camera app isn't all the great

Dear reader's simply put, the new Google Camera app is a step forward but also a giant leap in the reverse direction.  Here's why.

     Google launched Google Camera, a new app for Android phones and tablets which Google claims "makes it easy to take quick photos and videos."  Google also says that "being behind the lens just got more fun with new creative picture modes.

      The app also adds Lens Blur feature, Improved Panorama and Photo Sphere images that can capture images up to 50 megapixels ! All great......But.....

Where are my Settings ?

      The new app lets you swipe in from the edge of the screen to reveal new "cool" features or photo modes.  But what about regular...ahem...humdrum settings like self-timer, scene modes, white balance? In a quest for simplicity.  Google has gone ahead and ditched these - in my opinion "essential settings".  The only setting that you can bring back is Exposure but that too by  going into advanced settings by tapping on the cog icon while the lens blur and panorama overlay are on.

100% viewfinder coverage

      The previous app showed a 16:9 crop from a  4:3 sensor, just to fill the screen.  Thus you only saw a part of an image in the viewfinder, whereas the actual captured images would be bigger.  Now with the current update, what you see is what you get - a good thing.  A step in the right direction.  But did you really need that extra large capture button ? I understand that you  need  to fill the extra space left from showing a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen, but couldn't you use that space for on-screen settings? Is it worth having a shutter  button on one - fifth of your screen ? Ugh.

Lens Blur performance is hazy

       Bad pun  aside, shooting in lens blur mode isn't easy.  It takes some getting used to and more than 50% of the time you will need to take the shot again.  Once a shot is taken successfully, it takes a long time to process/render.
       After that, on viewing the image with lens blur mode, you get an option to shift focus allowing you to bring the desired part of the frame in focus and blur the rest.  The feature works pretty fine for a software-based implementation.  The slider at the bottom to adjust the blur intensity is a nice touch.  Here are some samples with  focus being shifted to different parts of the frame and comparison to the original frame shot with lens blur mode :  Note that the main image that you shoot with lens blur mode isn't the one you are supposed to use.  You are expected to review the image and then choose the focus points and blur levels to get the desired image effect that you envisioned.

Verdict :

       You could either roll back the changes the update brings by going to "My Apps" in the Play Store and uninstall the app/update.  That will bring back your camera app to previous stock versions, with all the settings and customization options.  You could also check out some of the top alternative camera apps that you can try out on  your Android smartphone.

Next Post »