Update: Nope, the camera wasn't fixed because of a silent software update or because of wiping the lens clean (we wish!). The problem of autofocus was caused because of a 'rounding error bug'. To quote:

There’s a rounding-error bug in the camera driver’s autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it’ll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again.

The 17th is the start of a new “works correctly” cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works.

Since we're on the 'good end' of it now, the patch releasing on December 11th should fix the issue entirely.

We know some of you have had issues with the DROID's autofocus--the issue being that it never focused right--but now it looks like there may be a fix to all your woes. According to one DROID user, if you simply clean the lens with a soft cloth, your Motorola DROID will begin to autofocus correctly. Apparently, there may have been some residue or oily film on the lens that caused the autofocus issues.

If you're having problems with the DROID's autofocus, we say you give it a try and let us know how it works. If your DROID can autofocus fine but still only takes cruddy pictures, stick to taking pictures on a sunny day, outside or hope for a software fix.

[via techcrunch]

 
There are 14 comments

UncleMike says:

I can't confirm or deny, since I haven't had any problems with my camera, but this is great news for Droid owners. Those with camera issues can hopefully fix it on their own, while those with other issues can be more comfortable exchanging their unit with less fear of trading one set of woes for another.

chrizzle30 says:

I thought, nah... thats not possible but upon inspecting my Droid... Sure enough, there is an oily film on the lens. I tried using my cotton shirt to lightly rub it off and it would not come off easily. I had to use a little bit of cleaner to get the film off. Works great now! The autofocus took about .5 secs where before it would take 2-3 secs if it focused at all.

berry_buster says:

I think the auto focus working has more to do with the silent patch they sent out last night that is being talked about all over the place and less to do with wiping the lens....good try though.

cj100570 says:

It appears that your reading skills need some work.... Google said that there wasn't an update pushed!

David S says:

Well, seems the folks over at engadget found that the fix seems to be true with or without a lens cleaning – seems like motorola pushed out a stealth OTA in the last 24-48 hours.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/17/motorola-droid-camera-autofocus-fixed...

Ryan Smith says:

I couldn't believe it I cleaned my lens and it started working. I was astounded. Then I realized from the post above it had nothing to do with the lens cleaning.

Anonymous says:

Just wiped mine down with a lens cleaning cloth, held my capture button halfway at random objects in my room to initiate the auto-focus about 10 times, worked every time.

rusty says:

Dam AndroidCentral. You're getting scooped by Engadget and Boygenius? Can you at least add an "update" to your story???

czm2000 says:

HOLY COW! When I read this this morning I was like no way. So, I was just sitting here at work reflecting on the day and thought, hey wait I forgot to try cleaning my lens. I whipped out the glass cleaner and gave it a good once over, and HOLY COW! I can't believe I'm saying this, but there's a big difference. Pictures are coming out really well. It's unbelievable to me that a little residue on the lens was causing that. I'm very happy now!

Richa13er says:

Now we need all these reviewers to go back and update their reviews stating the Iphones camera is better then the Droid.

Anonymous says:

I Agree. And if the pinch-zoom feature gets addressed soon then they'll really have to change their tune.

michaelk says:

actually it's just a bug that happens to pop up for 24.5 days and we happen to be in a good cycle now. The next "bad day" will be Dec. 11ish. (date sound familiar? - yep the day we're supposed to get first OTA update)

http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/17/motorola-droid-camera-autofocus-fixed...

stingray389 says:

The auto focus issue is being caused by a bug with the camera app using a time stamp for the photo. Just to experiment, go into your phone's settings and turn the date back a few days, then try to use the camera's auto focus. We cycled into the good end now, so the app works properly. The OTA on Dec 11th should fix this bug.