Did you know that Android L brings a ground-breaking new Camera API?

Did you know that Android L brings a ground-breaking new Camera API?
The Android L release is one of the biggest system updates for Google’s mobile OS with the new ‘Material Design’, but it is the changes under the hood that make it even more important.

One in particular is set to give a ground-breaking and reinvigorating shake to mobile photography - after years using the restricted Camera v1 API, Google finally adopts a brand new API that speeds up the camera radically and allows for much more advanced third-party apps. The changes in it put Android a leap ahead the other platforms in terms of settings and capabilities for camera app developers.

The new camera API will not only be able to capture DNG format (with raw data) images like advanced cameras, but it will also open up to settings like the exposure time (something that was not previously available on Android). Moreover, it will open access for third-party app developers to the color correction matrix (something that only phone makers have access to currently).

The issue with the current Android camera API is that manual controls in it are treated in a separate, general layer outside each of the picture. With the new, pipelined API, each image will carry all the settings with it. This kind of optimizations is what allows each shot to quickly come through the pipeline with its unique settings, and ultimately, this is what has enabled Google to achieve the mind-boggling 30fps burst image still shooting speeds for 8-megapixel capture on the Nexus 5.

We’re looking forward to seeing this new camera API and all the imaginative ideas of developers for new camera apps. In the time until the public release in the fall, though, only the Nexus 5 will take advantage of it.

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34 Comments

1. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Seems decent enough.

4. sipha

Posts: 439; Member since: May 12, 2012

Ground-breaking!!

17. Ashoaib

Posts: 3243; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

google is innovative instead of being a copy like apple

34. Castro90

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

c'mon, let's just not start this.

2. itsjustJOH

Posts: 232; Member since: Oct 18, 2012

DNG, not RAW. Still a very good format like RAW.

29. vincelongman

Posts: 5585; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I thought DNG is a RAW format from Adobe (not a photographer, so sorry if I'm wrong)

32. sckortyman

Posts: 23; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

If you want to get technical, no photo is technically raw. All photos go through a level of compression and processing. DNG is a little worse than traditional RAW formats but still wayyyy better than JPEG

3. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

BTW my HTC one m7's camera takes really bad photos after I flashed custom ROM, Android revolution HD sense 6.0. Do anyone has the same experience like that?

24. hellt1M

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

Wrong place lol ask this on the the corresponding xda thread

33. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Don't use a bad phone that has to cover up its horrible camera with software?

5. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

"The new camera API will not only be able to capture RAW format images like advanced cameras, but it will also open up to settings like the exposure time (something that was not previously available on Android, nor is it available on any other mobile platform)." So I'm confused here. Are you deliberately ignoring Nokia Lumia smartphones or what?

6. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Can all Nokia Lumia models shoot RAW? Same with exposure time? I'm just asking because I really don't know.

8. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

Only Pureviews can output RAW, but all of them have manual exposure time, even 520.

10. YasserNaggar

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Correction, only higher end Lumia Pureviews can shoot in RAW (1020, 1520, 930) but in ALL Lumia phone, you can manipulate exposure using shutter speed, exposure compensation and you can even alter manual focus using Nokia Camera. I have a Lumia 925 WP8.1 DP, so I know what I'm talking about btw.

12. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

This is more about API's than single cameras in phones. Technically yes, they could have the ability. Since it is windows api's that currently allow this to happen in the first place.

7. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

They are talking about third party app, no the native ones, I think.

9. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

Nokia Camera is a 3rd party app since it has to be downloaded from the store.

21. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

They corrected it, so I think that they really didnt know that, which is a shame for a mobile website...

11. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Third party apps have them as well. Proshot, camera360, and others have the ability to manipulate iso, shutter, exposure etc. Other than nokia, proshot is one awesome tool.

20. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

So I have no idea why they said that...lol

14. Penny

Posts: 1844; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I don't think they're avoiding it; I just think they don't know. And that seems pretty worrisome to me for a site that aims to be an objective purveyor of the mobile phone industry.

25. sbw44

Posts: 433; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

More like ignoring it, like they ignore the Lumia's in their Camera Comparisons

23. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

they talk about platform, not special phone models. To my knowledge Micro$oft's platform, nor Apple's iOS, don't permit RAW shooting out of the box.

13. rangoj

Posts: 46; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

THis is why Nexus 5 can make better pictures then many current flagship smartphones like G2, Z2, S4... When HDR+ is ON!

15. Retro-touch unregistered

Keep lying to yourself

16. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

This is indeed huge news. And it wasn't even mentioned in the Android L presentation! Apple would make an eight wonder of the world out of that story!

18. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

Oh, yes welcome to the circlejerk. There really is a world outside of Phonearena you know.

22. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

What on earth are you talking about?

30. steedsofwar unregistered

He's just being a douche

19. FYoung

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

Personally, I think the HDR+ capture in image 1 is inferior to the N5 standard crop, because you can hardly see the man's facial expression on the NDR+ capture. Nevertheless, both captures are quite poor because they have too much colour saturation. I certainly would not use that slide if I was trying to promote the new API.

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