One of the advantages to Android's open source nature is that we can poke around in the source code, looking for interesting stuff. This is how we've become aware of some things Google has planned for the stock camera experience. Code from the Android Open Source Project shows that a new camera API has been in development, but it was pulled last month because it wasn't ready for release with KitKat.
Sometimes a smartphone comes with a crappy camera. Other times, it just comes with crappy software. The good thing is that there are no shortage of compelling camera apps to choose to from, and today, there's one more. SmugMug's Camera Awesome has made its way over to Android after amassing over 20 million downloads on the Apple App Store and averaging a near perfect 4.5 star rating.
Camera Awesome is packed with features, offering users an HDR mode, the ability to take panorama shots, and a high-speed burst.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is what you get if you hold a Galaxy S4 in one hand, a digital camera in the other, and slam them together. Samsung unveiled the device early in the summer, and while it didn't take long to arrive in other areas of the world, it's only just now coming to the US. Come November 8th, AT&T will become the first camera to offer the Galaxy S4 Zoom on this side of the pond.
Chainfire's DSLR Controller has been around for a few years now, and while it has yet to leave beta status, it's still your best bet for controlling a Canon EOS camera from an Android phone or tablet without any cables involved. The app continues to inch ever so slowly towards the big 1.0, with today's updating bringing it up to version 0.99.3. The changelog is rather lengthy, but one of the primary changes is support for new auto focus modes and a redesigned way of handling them in the latest EOS models.
A rumor started circulating last week claiming that the Nexus 5 could potentially revolutionize smartphone photography (again) by being the first to ship with a MEMS camera, introducing ultra fast autofocus speeds and post-shot refocusing. As it turns out, Oppo will ship the first smartphone with DigitalOptics' MEMS camera. On top of that, Oppo will be an exclusive launch partner. DigitalOptics' press release explicitly puts an end to the rumor that the Nexus 5 will ship with one of their camera modules.
Back at IFA, I got my hands on Sony's QX10 lens camera, one of two such devices the electronics manufacturer announced in Berlin. I wasn't sure what I thought about it then, having only played with it for about a day, but I've spent some quality time with the device since, and I'm ready to lay down my full impression.
For those not quite up to speed, the QX10 (and its higher-end counterpart, the QX100) is a camera in a lens.
Give Sony points for creativity if nothing else: the QX series is unlike any gadget you've seen before. These smartphone add-on lenses made a big impact (for better or worse) at IFA and now the cheaper model is available for purchase on Amazon, right on schedule. The DSC-QX10 is $248 in both black and white, but the QX100 is marked as releasing on October 15th, and shows as "out of stock" from one of the other resellers.
Samsung has announced a new advanced pixel technology for CMOS image sensors called ISOCELL that it promises will get higher color fidelity in poor lighting conditions. This new technology has currently been developed for use in an 8MP camera, and it's scheduled to enter mass production in Q4 2013. We can reasonably expect this advancement to appear in future Galaxy products down the road.
The flower on the right shows more yellows than the one on the left, a detail that makes more of a difference once you pan out to view the entire image (an option we unfortunately don't have with the one picture Samsung provided).
The Moto X is still rolling out to all corners of the (American) Android world, but the T-Mobile variant is getting an update that improves camera performance dramatically. The difference is noticeable in a variety of situations, most notably in backlit and low-light settings. Presumably the update will hit other Moto X variants once testing and certification is completed by the carriers.
Low light – left: not updated, right: updated
The Moto X uses a fairly large sensor with 1.4µm pixels with an RGBC color array and F/2.4 aperture.