From dead simple to the very feature-laden, there’s no shortage of camera apps on Google Play, but the search engine giant is now offering a standalone version of its stock camera app that ships with Nexus devices. Simply called Google Camera, the big G has made a number of improvements and enhancements over the stock variant though, introducing a much slicker user interface as well as throwing in a prominent shutter button for instant clicks. Besides the ever popular Panorama and Photo Sphere modes, there’s now a new Lens Blur option as well that aims to give you SLR-like quality ‘with shallow depth of field’. Read on for our hands-on impression.
Google announced the new camera app via its own official Google+ blog post, where it explains how the new Lens Blur can give you the new blurring effect via ‘Bokeh’ (aka. shallow depth-of-field).
Technically speaking, it does this by creating a depth-map of multiple images using an algorithm, which achieves the final result after one of several photo inputs and further processing under the hood. Once a photo is taken, the app lets you adjust the blur in real-time which is then applied to the processed image to generate final output.
The first thing you will notice after launching the new camera app is its fantastic UI. Things now look much more minimal and accessible and the viewfinder itself has much more room for showing what you’re going to capture. A menu can be invoked by swiping from the left edge of the screen, from where you can navigate among photo sphere, panorama, lens blur, camera and video optoins. You might already have tried all the existing modes that were previously available, but the show’s limelight here is the new Lens blur effect. Here’s how it works.
First off you need to take a normal picture while keeping your subject centered. Afterwards, the app asks you to raise your device while still keeping your subject in the center to attain additional depth information. Having done that, wait a few seconds to let Google Camera process the final output, and once finished, you can simply drag a slider from the right edge of your screen to bring up the new photo. Here’s a quick look at the final result achieved from a Galaxy S4 device.
The camera app lets you quickly share the captured photo – lets say Facebook or Twitter – via the in-app share feature. You can also delete it as well as open it in your desired image editor by tapping the edit button.
Besides lens blur, the new the Panorama mode has also received note-worthy refinements and now lets you capture higher resolution panoramas having full width and detail of a scene. The Photo Sphere, on other hand, offers the ability to capture full 360 degree immersive snapshots as before.
Google Camera is available for free at Google Play and supports all Android phones and tablets running version 4.4 KitKat and above.