Google Camera snaps quick and easy photos and videos, and has creative picture modes like Photo Sphere, Lens Blur and Panorama.Anyone running KitKat may have come across the fact that the camera app has changed. My Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 both got it as an automatic download, but if you are running KitKat on a handset or a tablet and don’t have the new camera app, you can pop along to the Play store and download it. It’s called Google Camera.Google Camera adds a range of new features, but it also drops some, too. Quite amazingly, the new Google Camera has dropped the self-timer. I rather hope it returns — while I didn’t exactly use it very often, it is such a basic camera feature that it really ought to be in the stock Google camera.
Also gone is the time-lapse feature in the video camera. For me that was not a greatly used feature, but it is a real shame not to have access to it. It was one of those things I always thought I would use when the opportunity arose, but now Google has taken the option away. Google has also removed the ability to take a photo while shooting a video. That’s another feature I want back.
The other major removal comes in the form of the scene modes — the app just works on auto mode now. For some people that’ll be a real step backwards. The first thing you’ll notice when you fire Google Camera up is that it frames your image in a small part of the screen, leaving a huge area for the action button (i.e. “shoot a photo”). That’s because the camera incorporates a 100 per cent viewfinder — it shows you precisely what you will capture in the image.
- Stitch together panorama, wide angle, and fisheye photos
- Lens Blur for SLR-like photos with shallow depth of field
- Photo Sphere for immersive 360º views
- Viewfinder shows whole image sensor for uncropped images (may result in a smaller viewfinder on some phones)
- Updated UI that gets out of your way and is centered on an extra large capture button
Panorama, Photo Sphere and Lens Blur :
So, what about those shooting options on the slide out menu: Photo Sphere, Panorama and Lens Blur?
- Panorama : Panorama is the usual “move the camera around to build up a panoramic image” affair. You get a fairly small image in the frame at any one time, and as you move the camera around to take each shot in a panorama you have to line up a blue dot in a central circle. It is quite a slow process, but I found the end results to be fairly good.
- Photo Sphere : Photo Sphere is my favorite of the new shooting modes. It works like Panorama in that you have to frame each shot so that the blue dot lines up inside a circle, but you can move the camera in any direction. The idea is that you can create 360 degree shots. When you open a Photo Sphere image on your device you can pan around it. You can take the pic off your device as a full-sized image, but you can’t pan around it then, of course.
- Lens Blur: Lens Blur gives you some control over depth of field. Remember the twin cameras of the HTC One (M8)? In that case the secondary camera captures depth of field information to allow you to implement some fancy blurring effects. Google Camera attempts to do this with software alone.
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