A camera’s features matter just as much as the camera itselfAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
A phone’s camera has become one of the most important aspects of the phone for me. Honestly, at this point I feel that it’s been a long time since I’ve come across a “bad” camera in a smartphone; most of them are pretty darn good right now. Even the HTC One’s 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera has managed to get my approval, so it would seem that, when it comes to photo quality, most cameras can easily get the job done.
Aside from the amount of megapixels and the overall quality of the photos, though, there is another aspect of smartphone cameras that is equally as important in my opinion: the features.
As I switch from smartphone to smartphone, the features of each stock camera application change. Some offer more features than others, which may or may not prove to be useful when using your camera’s smartphone. On the other hand, some offer too little options. I have found this to be the case with Google’s Camera application that they just released on the market.
Here’s the thing about me: I’m kind of a ditz. If something isn’t in-your-face easy, it will probably take me a few tries to figure it out. When I heard about Google’s Camera app, I decided to try it out. It’s not that I’m not happy with my Moto X camera, but I use my phone as my camera quite often and I thought that it couldn’t hurt to try out the Google Camera app just to see if it was any better. At first, I considered it rather intuitive to use. Swipe in from the left and you have options like Photo Sphere, Panorama, Lens Blur, regular Camera, Video, and Settings options. On the bottom (for portrait mode, to the right for landscape) you have the camera button, and you also have a 3-Dot menu. Click on the menu to switch from rear camera to front, change the exposure, use a grid, or to turn the flash on, off, or on automatic. Pretty standard navigational features.
I can’t like, the Lens Blur was pretty cool to play with. It didn’t always work that well, but here’s an example of a shot that I took of some insecticide in the kitchen. You know, because with spring comes horrifying creatures that have zero empathy and sting you just because you’re within 3 feet of their vicinity. To keep it real, I just left the kitchen table as it was, complete with a bag of markers, car keys, an old laptop, and even the left side of an iron, all blurred out to showcase the Spectracide thanks to Lens Blur.
It blurred out some things that probably shouldn’t have been blurred, but this was after about 3 tries of trying to get the shot right, so this is the one that goes up. I also tried out Photo Sphere and Panorama, but I’ve never been good at lining those things up and somebody always ends up without a head or a couple of limbs so I’m not even going to bother attempting that.
So aside from Lens Blur, there wasn’t a whole lot of extra stuff that I could do with the Google Camera. After that, I used my Moto X camera application and came to the conclusion that I was happier with it, mostly because it offered HDR, which I would prefer over Lens Blur.
Truth be told, the Moto X has nothing on either HTC’s One line or Galaxy’s camera settings, both of which have way more options, many of which I used often (especially HTC’s Zoe, which proved to be more useful than I initially speculated). In the end, I consider cameras with more features to be some of the better ones. Photos don’t always turn out that great on their own, so the more settings and features available to make them better generally make the photo-taking process a lot easier for me.
Readers, what are your thoughts on camera features? Do you find that you prefer to have more features, or do you prefer to keep it simple when it comes to your camera? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!