Google Camera, like most camera apps has an AF/AE lock feature. This feature lets you lock automatic and flash exposure. If you have a DSLR camera lying around, it probably has a dedicated button(s) for this setting. A phone camera is not comparable to a DSLR but it works on much the same principle. When you point it at something, it tries to focus it and get you the best picture possible. The camera doesn’t always get it right so it’s up to you to fix it. Here’s how you can use the AF/AE lock in Google Camera.
AF/AE Lock In Google Camera
Open Google Camera and point it at something. Wait to see if it will automatically focus your object. Try moving it a bit closer or further away. Ideally, if Google Camera can focus automatically on your object you will get a great photo.
If not, it’s time to use the AF/AE lock. Tap and hold on your screen. You will see your item move in and out of focus. At one point, the picture will become crisp and clear but then it will blur again. When you release your finger, you will see the AF/AE Lock HUD and a blurred image.
This happens because Google Camera app locks down the focus and exposure at the point when you lift your finger. It’s not the most intuitive way for the feature to work but that’s how it is. To get a clear image, tap and hold on the camera and the second the picture is clear and sharp, lift your finger.
All Camera Apps Are Not Created Equal
Only the Google Camera app works this way. Other camera apps that support AF/AE lock may work differently. For example, if you look at the AF/AE lock in the Camera app on iOS, tapping and holding on a spot automatically adjusts the focus and locks it there. If you’re pointing it at a dark object, tap and hold on a darker area to increase the exposure and lock it there.
In stark contrast, Google Camera app goes through different focal settings. It’s not obvious what it’s doing but it is actually giving users more control over their photo and their camera. The AF/AE lock in the Google Camera app may differ based on how good your camera is. If you have a low end phone with a mediocre camera, this feature might not work well or at all.