Windows Phone 7 might not be an obscure smartphone platform anymore, but still the biggest selling point of the Nokia Lumia series is its awesome Carl-Zeiss camera rather than the OS. Having said that, a lot of people have claimed to be rather disappointed by the picture quality of the cameras in Lumia phones, and the companion camera app isn’t too mind-blowing either. Fortunately, instead of trying to sweep the issue under the rug, Nokia has taken it by the scruff of the neck. A few months back, the camera received some basic improvements via a Lumia-exclusive update, and now the Finnish mobile makers have launched Camera Extras, an app that adds a host of new features to the stock camera app in Lumia 710, Lumia 800 and Lumia 900. The new options introduced by the Extras app include the addition of panorama mode, smart group shot (a feature that makes good use of automatic face recognition), better capturing capabilities for moving objects (via the Action Shot menu) and even a nifty little self timer.
Although Camera Extras will be installed on your Nokia device as a standalone app, all it does is add a new set of options to the stock Camera app. When Camera Extras is launched, it merely directs its users to press and hold the camera button, and look in the settings of the preview screen. The new options added by the app are bunched together pretty neatly in the camera settings under the heading of Camera Extras. There are 4 new options in total, and we will discuss them here one by one.
Smart Group Shot
Smart group shot offers two main advantages. First of all it separates out faces in any view automatically. Other than that, when this mode is activated, multiple shots are captured quickly, so that you can save or share the best of them. This feature of the app ensures that users aren’t forced to focus on faces manually, and there are no bad photos in your camera roll. To choose the best shot, just navigate between all the captures from the bottom strip on the screen, and hit the OK button when you have found the best one.
Action Shot is pretty similar to Smart Group Shot, but less complicated. This mode is designed to capture moving objects without any blurriness. Just activate Action Shot, and point it any person or thing that is in motion. Multiple shots will be captured and saved, and then you can proceed to choose the best of them from the Settings menu. Action Shot has the option to let users keep just one image from the entire series, or save them all to the camera roll.
Although there are quite a few other ways of capturing panorama images on your WP7 device, the Panorama mode in Camera Extras just might be the most convenient of the lot. The Panorama mode guides its users via a HUD, and you don’t have to hit any button after initiating the capture. Just keep moving the camera in the displayed direction, and the app continues to capture at appropriate intervals and positions.
This feature of the app might appear to be a bit too small and insignificant on the surface, but it has the potential to become the one that is most used by Lumia owners. There are no configuration or editing options available for the Camera Extras timer, but that serves to keep things simple. The Self Timer interval is 10 seconds, and to trigger it you just have to tap the screen (or press the camera button once) if you are already in Self Timer mode. The timer is accompanied by a ticking sound, making sure that the user remains aware of the remaining time even after moving away from the device.
Camera Extras is available only for Nokia Lumia users in US and Chin for now, but the app will soon be released in other countries as well. So, if you have a Nokia WP7, there is no reason why you shouldn’t download this free app. It is truly awesome.
Download Camera Extras (click via your Nokia Windows Phone device)