Standalone Google Camera app now available with new Lens Blur feature

Douglas Soltys

April 16, 2014 2:50pm

Rumours of a standalone Google camera app have proven true, as Google Camera is now available today in the Play Store for all Android devices running KitKat 4.4 or better.

Google Camera fixes the viewfinder crop issue that has plagued Nexus 5 users, in addition to adding a brand new interface and features. The most notable of which is “Lens Blur”, a shallow depth of field effect common with DSLRs that is difficult to replicate on a smartphone due its comparatively small lens and aperture. Google has attempted to solve the problem with a computer vision algorithm that simulates a larger lens and aperture by creating a 3D model of the shot. You can read more about Google’s work on the feature at the Google Research Blog.

Google Camera follows a trend of releasing standalone apps of core Android functionality into the Play Store (e.g. Google Now, Google Keyboard). What core Android functionality would you like to see as a standalone app next?

  • Collin dubya

    bout time!! no need for a galaxy s5 now! will be able to get better focused shots on the note 3

  • Mike L

    i really like these minimal designs. very little clutter on the screen.

  • wahwah

    Finally a decent camera app for nexus device users! Great job Google!

    • Max Fireman

      ??? The google camera comes with nexus users.

    • wahwah

      Ugh, yeah. It IS the nexus camera app.

  • KrispyInTO

    Pano mode is nice- makes a high res pano(can be around 25mp) and the stitching is good.

    • wahwah

      It’ll actually do up to 50mp depending on quality settings and subject detail.

  • RMT

    Out of focus effects do not make a bad photo good. Shallow depth of field is something a lot of beginners get sucked into…

    • wahwah

      Whooppie. The nice thing is it actually does a better job than both the m8 and s5 in that department. Much, MUCH smoother transition.

  • Hubert

    what is the different between this app and the app that comes stock with my nexus 5 ?

    • wahwah

      It IS the camera app that comes with the nexus 5, just updated. Click the Google play link provided in this article and it’ll tell you to UPDATE the app, as opposed to INSTALL it.

  • Adrian

    Unfortunetly the lens blur feature seems to be limited in terms of output quality — I only seem to able to get shots which have a resolution output of 1024 by 576 and an output file size of about 250 to 350KB

    • wahwah

      Quality options inside settings. It defaults to low quality.

    • Adrian

      I changed it from low quality (fast) to high quality and the output still remained at 1024X576.

    • wahwah

      Something wrong with your phone then. Mine produces images at whatever they’re set to in settings.

    • Adrian

      Maybe someone else can confirm? I’m also using a moto X, but I cant see why it would shoot at such a low resolution.

    • wahwah

      FYI, the app is designed specifically for the nexus. In fact it’s a direct replacement for the built-in default camera. While it works on any KitKat device, all features and abilities are not guaranteed.

    • Pete Isaacs

      You’re correct Adrian. You don’t get full resolution shooting with the blur-cam. I guess it needs to deal less data so it isn’t too much to process

  • MrMastodonFarm

    The video mode is great. Has a tiny repetitive animation to turn your phone to landscape mode before capturing video. Google trying to banish portrait videos thank god

  • KiwiBri

    Nice. Will check it out on the way home.

    Installed on my HTC One M7 :-

  • Kienerman

    just tried it terrible I don’t like the fact i need to scroll the bar to make the change rather then a push button like Samsung s5. Keeps failing saying i need to move faster and when i move to fast it doesn’t like it either.

    • wahwah

      Then use the s5 app. Duh. This is mainly for nexus users although they made it compatible with any KitKat device.

    • Kienerman

      hmmm duh s5 app is only available for samsung S5 I currently have S4 thanks for showing up.

    • wahwah

      Hey dummy, you mentioned the s5 in your diarrhea…

  • andy c

    Is it just me or did they remove the white balance settings?

    • wahwah

      They removed a few settings and features, including taking stills while recording video.
      Hopefully these omissions are as a result of rushing and will be reintroduced in a future update. Either way, at least on the nexus 5, it turned the camera’s function from just OK in the 4.4.1 update, to quite good, and WAY faster than ever!

  • Rob

    I am running a CM 11 nightly on my Nexus 5 and noticed that I was missing Photosphere, so I installed it from a zip file in the XDA site.

    Can anyone conform that I will still have Photosphere after I install this app? Thanks.

    • wahwah

      Not only is it there but it’s greatly improved.

    • Rob

      Installed. Thanks. It sure is!

  • Shadi

    This new camera app made the shutter speed on my Nexus 5 much slower. Not happy.

    • wahwah

      You mean much faster. If it’s slower then you have something else going on. Try a reboot at the very least. It’s SIGNIFICANTLY faster now, not only in snapping pics but focus AND switching between modes. Basically everything is better.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    makes me wish my S3 ran 4.4

    • wahwah

      It can.

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      I know but I don’t have it yet. waiting for carrier to release it

    • wahwah

      Will they? If give up waiting I’d I were you. Go to xda-developers dot com and find your model then do some reading. LOTS of reading. If you can tie your own shoe laces you should be able to get KitKat running on your phone.

  • Garrett Cooper

    She’s cute.