Google’s New Camera

I have a plethora of photography apps on my HTC One. Some are camera apps. Some are filter apps. Some do both. Some are good. Some need deleting. One is great. The most recent one. Google’s stock camera app. Let me tell you where it scores. It’s got the cleanest interface of any photo app. Swipe from the left to bring out camera options, such as the standard camera, video, lens blur etc. Or swipe from the right to bring out the gallery of previous photos. Or hit the option dots to select flash, HDR or the grid. The screen is devoid off distractions, letting you get on with framing your photo.

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The Lens Blur feature works brilliantly. It’s not perfect, every time. But if used properly, it produces those professional looking shots with the illusion of depth of field. The Sphere mode work well too. Check this out. It’s not perfect, and you can see more than a few breaks. But considering it was my second effort, it’s not too bad. And it’s a very neat way to show off where you’ve been.

Filters? None. Not built in. But fear not, with just a push of a button in gallery view, your image is sent to Google Photos with filters galore. If you’ve ever used Snapseed, then it will look mighty familiar. Identical, indeed. Which isn’t surprising. Having bought the (rather brilliant) Snapseed a couple of years ago it’s only natural to find it now embedded in Google’s own photo suite. I’ve now deleted the standalone Snapseed app off of my HTC.

Google has taken over my mobile photography. I’ve had my grumbles about Google and their photo suite before, and I’m not tempted to use the web service as a full replacement for all my photography. But for mobile shooting, the Camera app, Photos app and Google+ have it all wrapped up. I’ll leave the final word to Mrs P, though, and an example of Lens Blur working nicely.

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3 comments

  1. Isn’t Picasa famous for stripping color profile information? That one “little” omission (along with Google’s relentless tracking of user data) has kept me well away from any of their photo offerings.

    And I’m never satisfied with the photos out of my iPhone 4 anyway. They are inevitably noisy, and I’m sick of the super wide-angle lens. But I have posted many of those photos to my blog because it’s so easy to snap photos while driving. But they’ve all required heavy post-processing to achieve the level of “barely decent.”

    For my next road trip, I think I’m going to get a point-and-shoot that I can use with one hand because even the $99USD point and shoot will run circles around the cell phone camera.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Tehuacán, Puebla
    Where we think we’re something of an avowed enemy of cell phone photography. At least where a real camera could easily be used.

    1. I know you have reservations about Google. To say the least! Picasa isn’t the only piece of software to strip color profiles. Most browsers did too, or rather ignored profiles. I really don’t know what the current state of play is regards this.

      Don;t entirely give up on mobile photography. The iPhone 4 is quite old now, and the latest phones have fairly decent cameras. I’m even going to go as far to say that Nokia’s latest and greatest isn’t far off a $99 camera. Perhaps in some areas it’s better. And I’m equally sure mobile photography will keep improving, despite the obvious limitations of the lens size.

      And the thing is…I ALWAYS have my mobile phone with me.

      https://www.flickr.com/groups/nokialumia1020/

      1. Browsers now mostly do read color profiles, though I don’t take too many chances with that so I convert all my photos on the blog to the standard sRGB color profile so as to give my photos a fighting chance of being displayed properly. I mostly work in Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB. And you’re right about the cell phone cameras getting better, but even my friend’s new iPhone 5 produces very noisy pictures. I think it’s more a question of sensor size than lens size, and unfortunately the demands for small, thin phones will keep sensor sizes small for the foreseeable future.

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