19
Oct
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One of the features I'm most excited about in Ice Cream Sandwich is the camera. The new camera app really raises the bar, bringing a heap of improvements, as well as plenty of features we haven't seen before.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of ICS' camera is that it has zero shutter lag. That's right - zero. Photos are taken as soon as you hit the shutter button. In last night's demo we got a glimpse of how powerful this is, as the presenter snapped off several images back to back with no wait time in between.

Before you hit the shutter, though, the new camera app is already helping you compose a better shot. Ice Cream Sandwich's revamped camera includes automatic face detection (for "real people, of course"), and touch-to-focus, allowing for a much wider range of compositions, and more fine-tuned control over the image's focus.

Users can also create panorama images quickly and easily, using the built in panorama functionality.

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There's still plenty in store after you've hit the shutter button, however. Remember when we said there'd be photo editing options? Those were confirmed last night as well. The editing features you can expect in Ice Cream Sandwich are surprisingly sophisticated, offering everything from "hipster filters" to fine-tuning for shadow, highlight, and midtones (fill light). Users can also share photos instantly through various services including Flickr, Twitter, Gmail, G+, Messaging, and Picasa, meaning you can share your masterpiece with the world faster than ever before.

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Besides the slew of camera features ICS is bringing to the table, we can also expect some awesome new video capture features as well. First off, ICS is capable of 1080p recording (at least on the Galaxy Nexus), meaning you can capture some great high-def videos. While doing so, you can rely on a consistent appearance thanks to continuous focus. Users can also zoom while recording, and snap still frames while in the middle of shooting. Even more impressive is the fact that ICS's camera app supports time-lapse photography, making it easy to produce well-done time-lapse footage on the go.

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With all of the new recording/shooting features, and heaps of exposure-adjustment and fine-tuning options, Ice Cream Sandwich appears to be bringing your cellular camera closer to replacing your point-and-shoot, as well as your camcorder.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • notsuprised

    Can wait to get this on my galaxy SII hopefully Samsung doesnt make us wait too long.

  • AC

    We have heard a lot of things about ICS, but what about one of the most important things: does Dalvik support multiple CPU cores?

    • Darkseider

      Here's hoping as this is the one Android to rule them all. Seeing that pretty much every phone and tablet from here on out will be dual or quad core.

  • wackadroid

    how will all this work on my nexus s?? all this stuff is great but can someone find out how it is implemented across all devices? my nexus s camera can handle time lapse and zero shutter? what happens to phones with 4 buttons? it seems the menu button is built into apps and only 3 "buttons" at the bottom. All these answers are leading to new questions!!

    • Jim

      if you have physical keys, it'll disable that feature in ICS so they can be utilized instead.
      (it'll disable the onscreen keys i mean)

  • S

    It's still missing the burst mode (multiple shots with one click) and image stabilization (you can notice how blurry the pix get when you're moving the camera while taking them.) pretty much these two features I need the most. Over half of the pictures I'm taking are not crystal clear, especially the ones taken in low light, and also most of the time I don't click on the exact second I want the pic taken. Either too late or too early and I miss the moment.

    • Sigh

      And even more important basic feature is still missing, at least for those who imagined to develop real camera apps instead bloatware toys - adjusting focus distance directly.

      That is one of the 3 basic parameters, focus distance, aperture and exposure time. Considering the simplicity of the stuff in phones, I'm not so worried about lacking the latter two (exposure compensation, which is there, helps a bit), but there is no workaround for the focus distance.

      It did get some sort of API to query the distances, but everything related to setting it are still super super simple, or too automatic (read idiotic).

      Unless I'm really wooden eye once again and somehow missed something in the API.

      (Getting full resolution raw data from the sensor would be nice, too, but I guess 600€+ phones are not meant to compete with 150€ pocket cameras, even if their marketing would want to make us believe so).

  • DFT

    How about 16:9 video and photos? No mention of that.

  • Esteban

    I got ICS on my transformer and the camera and the only thing it does of the things mentioned is take panoramic other than that nada. Unless i'm missing something, but i looked at setting and everything and nothing. And definitely has a lot of lag. I guess Asus decided to use their on crappy cam app instead.