Google Camera

Google's official camera app has received an update today with a few new things. We've got a new background blur effect that has become all the rage with SLR wannabes like the HTC One M8 and a new UI with extra-big capture button. It's also worth noting that the aspect ratio of the shot is properly reflected in the preview now, a longtime issue with the old stock Camera app. And the much maligned radial menu for controlling shooting modes has been dumped too, replaced with an overflow menu near the shutter key, which gives access to guidelines, HDR, flash and the front camera.

The new version has a lot in common with recent leaks purporting to show future Gmail and Calendar apps. It'll be great to see what else gets updated in the near future, as Google appears to be exploring a new visual direction for its Android apps.

Photospheres have been updated as well and now support resolutions of up to 50 megapixels.

The update is available for phones and tablets on Android 4.4 and up, so you don't need a Nexus or GPe device to take it for a spin. Download it now and let us know what you think.

More: +EvanRapoport


Reader comments

Google Camera gets an overhaul, released into Play Store for KitKat devices


Thank you Google! The interface is so much better with some added features. The app is a lot more responsive. I am taking pictures, photo spheres, and lens blur just to test them out!

They couldn't choose a better girl for the lens blur demo? I almost launched my phone!

Nexus 5...enough said

Sucks! I see there is something in advanced settings to turn on Manual Exposure, but doesn't seem to change anything. Where are all the white balance, scenes, exposure settings? Gone!? The only thing that seems to be better is the view finder is finally fixed, and panorama is better. Video mode is still buried in the side menu. We need more controls that are easier to access! I hope this is just the first release that is laying the groundwork.

You can still use manual exposure if you swipe from the left, hit the settings button in the top right, advanced, manual exposure. Hope this helps a little

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I did do that (read my post), but that doesn't change anything from what I can tell. I've turned manual exposure on, but don't see any additional settings. Am I missing them somewhere?

Once switched on, go back to the camera mode, hit the 3 dot options and at the bottom (below hdr and grid options) is the exposure. Only ranges from -2 to +2 though. Haven't found anymore options...

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Do you have a Nexus 5? The only options I have are grid, hdr, flash, and swap front/back camera.

Edit: NM, just realized you have to disable hdr.

Yeah, at first I hated the new shutter button and "lost" screen real estate due to the corrected aspect ratio. I'm already over that and love the update. At least on a Nexus 5, it's pretty much an upgrade across the board in terms of functionality and responsiveness. Finally happy with using only the stock camera app on a Nexus! Can't wait to show off some blurred d*ck pics to my lady.

Yup makes it 10x easier to snap a photo. Especially when you only have one free hand and are holding the phone at weird angles

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You're right actually. Its funny because I always hit them by accident and end up taking a picture. But when its actually feasible to do so, I completely forget to use them. I just struggle to hit the capture button.

Does anyone feel like they should actually be used for zooming, though?

Since KitKat I've been plenty happy running stock+xposed+gravity box, but that's probably the only feature from custom roms I miss that's not on GB (or I can't find it). That being volume +/- to zoom and power button as a physical shutter button.

This is awesome. Seriously.


Made me so happy. So tired if vertical video. Not to mention when people condone it by applying that annoying blur double image thing on the sides of vertical YouTube videos.

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Yeah, kinda like the blurry side bars on SD video being shown on a widescreen TV - ESPN does that and it drives me nuts.

Yeah, I think the new ui is very ugly on Nexus 5 in landscape. The huge black shutter area takes up enough space on its own. The on screen buttons taking up even more to its right is just bleh!

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Is it me or the auto focus is at least twice as fast and the pictures are sharper and better at least on the nexus 5.

Finally! :-) Will enjoy using this app even more now.

From my Nexus 5 via the coolest of cool Android Central App

This is great on the M8. Takes great pictures and the focus is just as fast as the stock camera. Although when I want to refocus some of my pictures I'll be using the stock app for that. Gotta try this out on the nexus 5 too.

You are in Camera, not Lens Blur mode, right? I did the same thing, then realized I was in lens blur mode. Nexus 5 though.

They've removed the ability to take photos while in video mode. Grrr. Other than that and the big ugly shutter button, it's a good update.

HOLY CRAP they did!!

That's seriously horrible - I need that feature, and it's probably one of the things I use the most!! Oh man... I didn't even bother to check that because it's such an obvious inclusion to me...

Son of a....I love that feature. I also wish that those front camera pictures save the pictures as i see it when taken and not the mirrored version of it...but oh well.

They did, and no more time lapse either. Boo! I hope they get added back in an update.

One of the 1st things I noticed. Don't rly like that change.

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But it looks like they added the ability to zoom during a video, I don't think that was there before

Very disappointed that there's no SAVE TO EXTERNAL SD CARD setting. I'll be using my other Camera apps by default unless that changes.

That'd be funny, if floppies could hold more than 1.44MB (vs 128GB) and could easily fit inside a phone, but they can't. SD Cards aren't going anywhere. Google even added save to sdcard back in Google Music. It'll come.

I physically lol'd at this as well. Love reading the comments for posts like this!

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Are "scenes" gone in this update, or am I just missing them? I liked to be able to select kids mode or night mode or whatever.

Looks that way. No more power user options. I guess most people never use them but the option for a "basic" and "advanced" mode would've been nice... Perhaps in a future update?!

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Wondering if this update fixed the bug on the Nexus 5... I'm not seeing it in my battery usage. If you have a Nexus 5 and have had that problem lemme know if yours is there or not.

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It's pretty nice. Missing the more advanced options. The biggest annoyance for me is the lack of immersive mode. You would've thought that seeing as Google implemented immersive mode in the latest version of their operating system, they'd at least support it in their own apps!

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I'm not sure immersive mode would make sense in the camera app. In immersive mode you have to touch the screen to bring back the status bar/nav buttons and in the camera that either focuses (hdr)/ focuses and turns on the flash or snaps the picture (since the whole black area is the shutter button).

So does this completely replace the stock camera app on Nexus Devices? and if so will this be the new camera app for future Cyanogen Mod Updates?

It replaces it on Nexus. Doesn't Cm use their own camera app focal
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Yes, they used too but now it is in the Play Store. But by default CM use the Camera App which is found on Nexus Devices, I was wondering if CM would replace the old version with this new version as it is much better.

Never tried focal, is it any good? I would assume cm would also use the updated app soon enough

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Well its better than the old Stock Camera, which was just terrible, but it wont win any awards. Its still clunky to use and very limited.

Limited..........yet when features get added, you'll call them gimmicks. I'm no google disciple but it always makes me laugh how impossible it is to please people.

Actually I wont. It would be nice to be able to make basic adjustments to the settings, as it is there are almost no settings at all.

Do you have the 2012 version? I was able to get it on my 2013 model.

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Just an FYI I noticed some issues running this on an AOKP 4.4.2: black view finder in photosphere and pano, FC with blur. Co-worker saw no issues running on CM11 nightly

Also it appears that there is no option to turn off the shutter sound when taking a picture. This seems more like a Beta release than a fully baked, ready for prime time effort. Yes the pictures seem better, but they've stripped so many features out that it is a bit of a disappointment.

I really like the update but I really wish they world add burst mode to it. I'll stick with snap camera for now

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Yeah that's the one. Its the stock camera app just with a bunch of extras added to it

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Yeah definitely one of my most used apps. Was a nice surprise to find it.

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I'm really excited about the new Android stock camera app. Looks much better on the surface. Much needed for the Nexus 5.

I notice it now links to the newish photos app. guess next android update will do away with gallery entirely. the blur is pretty cool. ive never touched one of the oem blur effects but i played with a few apps and they were terrible, this is pretty simple. not a fan of the icon tho

Play with it for 30 minutes. Some conclusion on my LG G Pro camera:

1. Didnt get how less blur works. (just figure out how to take it: you need to hold your phone very steady for the camera to take multiple shots, then move it slowly, and you can edit the blur with G+ photo app, again, only G+ photo application)
2. Back camera either have 13 megapixels or 8 megapixel (4:3 ratio only), dont have 10 megapixels 16:9, front camer still has it. If you have 4:3 photos, it will have a big black bar at the bottom (ugly). If you have 16:9 ratio, it will have the transparent one with the camera button.
3. Photosphere works well, but cannot see it 360 degree with current gallery( EDIT: You can see it in G+ photo app).
4. No HDR or HDR+ (It's not acceptable)
5. No scenes and effects options
6. Swipe right will leads us to G+ photo apps, not ordinary google gallery anymore.
7. No count-down timer
8. Still no face detection on vanilla android camera.
9. Sometimes there is kind of a setting buttons but there is nothing when you touch it.
10. Manuall exposure doesn't work (I did enable it on advance setting, but it remains 0 no matter how I try)
11. No touch to focus-then-takephoto option.
12. No power button or volume key option to take photo. It's important to some one who wanna take selfie but with the back camera not the front :)

Some of the options you mentioned are there on Nexus devices only

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4 and 9. Manual exposure is turned on/off in the settings. And just hdr, no plus.
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As I mention, I turned the manual exposure on in advance, but I cannot change it, it stills 0. And I don't even have HDR on my device (LG E980, which can shot HDR :D). BTW, what is your device ?

Great summary! Has the volume down shutter button been a thing in the stock camera or is that new here too?

Wait... so on my G2 when I click the '...' and it's shows the HDR icon with a slash through it and I click it to remove the slash it's not _really_ taking HDR pictures?

Can any Android phone just add an swipe to the left or right to get an actual instagram size shot? that's one simple thing I really miss coming for an iPhone to the nexus I can't even find a app besides taking the full shot & shrinking it which adds the white bars on the side of the full photo.

Awesome, now we can properly frame shots without guessing and this new version is FAST on my nexus 5!

Happy Days!

GOOGLE PLEASE LISTEN! The year is 2014 and people don't have 4:3 aspect ratio screens anymore unless you are an iPad user! WE NEED WIDESCREEN IN YOUR CAMERA APP!!!

It's showing you the aspect ratio for the pictures the camera is taking. If they make it fullscreen then you don't actually see all of the picture you are taking.

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I realize the sensor is 4:3 but 9 out of 10 people would rather lose some MPs to get a widescreen picture. I've always done this, would be silly to with a 4:3 picture just to get the full MPs. And don't suggest to just crop the picture afterwards just that is idiotic to say the least!

Again, it's 2014 and basically every smartphone, tablet (other then ipad), and TV are widescreen. This is a very stupid mistake not to provide the option for widescreen (16:9) regardless of losing some of the MPs.

I tried side loading it from the mirror at Android Police and it did the same thing as on the play store. It wouldn't finish downloading. Hung up at around 90%. I cant seem to get it to download from anywhere.

Do you have KitKat? If so, why sideload instead of getting it through the store? If you don't have KitKat, that is the problem. The app is KitKat only.

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Damn hoping no one would say that .all Samsung need to do now is hurry up and update my s3 :\

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Great stuff Google. Really great stuff; this is the update I was waiting for on the Nexus 5 and I'm not disappointed.

Anyone have the problem on the Nexus 5 of not having the Camera swap option to go to front camera? I have tried factory reset, safe mode, uninstalling any app that used the camera. And I cannot get the front camera to come back. I have also used a device tester diagnostic app and it says the front camera doesn't even exist? Anyone know if this issue will be addressed with 4.4.3!topic/nexus/MATebxlFYyA?

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This is a much welcomed update. Love that they remind users to rotate to landscape for video.
But bummed that they removed (or I just can't find it anymore) the Time Lapse video feature. I liked messing around wit that. And all the other apps for time lapse that I try reboot my phone (Lapse It Pro and PicPac). And since SnapChat also reboots my phone, I figured it might be a photo app issue on Nexus 4. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Awesome. I am a huge fan of this update on my Nexus 5. Delightful. Great focus, and it holds the focus. The old camera app would try to refocus every second and it was so frustrating.


I've updated on my Nexus 2013,but have hesitated on my HTC One. I guess it won't replace the HTC camera app, but give me another option, right?

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Everybody calm down a minute. I don't like how the time lapse,hdr,and a bunch of other features were pulled. Bit lets think about this. Remeber photos? When that was initially released,it sucked. But look at the update that added all of the editing features! This is what will probably happen with this app. Yes,the app was probably pushed out too early,but if any of you have a problem,do what I did, uninstall the update! Boom! Back to normal.

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Ok ok hang on Google and imma let you finish. This camera update is good but the Google hangouts update with voice calling would be the greatest update of all time!

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I am pretty irritated that the timer is gone. This is one of my most used features. I could give a shit about lens blurs.. that's what my REAL camera is for. Rolling back to the factory version of the camera until they fix this shit. Seriously, Google, what kind of crack are you smoking?

Does anyone else feel like actual image quality has gotten worse? A lot of my shots have come out with a weird yellowish caste as if the white balance is off. This is with a Nexus 5 with 4.4.2. It is kind of random too. I just took several shots of my brightly lit work area and they all came out with a yellow tint. I went to write this post and then tried once more and the white balance was much better (taking picture of the exact same thing). I'm also sad that the general grainyness hasn't gone away from the photos. Hopefully Google keeps working on this. I think this is a good step in the right direction but I'd like to have an easy to use decent camera. Right not I have an easy to use not so good camera.

how's that urban legend go? when Google apps all get updates an OS update follows soon after? fingers crossed 4.4.3 Nexus 5

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I dont see the hdr feature on my Samsung Galaxy S4 or my 2013 Nexus 7.

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I would like to have the ability to choose which camera app to use. This way I could compare them.
My first impression of this new app is that it is a giant step backwards! Many features have been removed and I don't see anything on the plus side.

Google - Please give us back the shutter timer and the time lapse video features.

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This isn't an "update." It's making a stripped down version of the stock Nexus Camera app available to other devices.

Problem is that it's missing some settings and options available on my stock Nexus 4 with the 4.4.2 camera app. Well, that's not the problem. The problem is that my 4.4.2 N4 sees this as an "update" on the Play store to that stock app, so if I leave Auto Update enabled, my stock camera app is overwritten with a "lite" version with less flexibility. Yes I do like (and use) those settings and options, and no, Google, I do not want to lose those.

That's a big ol' #FAIL from Google. Don't override my better, stock application with a new "lite" version on the Play store for other device users. Duh.

I don't have HDR on my Verizon S3 running Beanstalk, but I do have it on my LG G Pad 8.3. It doesn't seem to work at all, though. It just seems to bump the exposure up slightly, exposing the dark areas but blowing out the light areas. It does seem like a rather half-assed effort, but at least Google is trying.

Mejor lo hubieran dejado como esta, el indicador de enfoque (las barras que cuando algo esta enfocadoc orrectmente se ponen verde) lo han eliminado, consume recursos, se calienta, es deficiente con los, recursos, en vez de crar una aplicaciion nueva proque no simplemente actualizar la anteriro con las coas que le faltban? se comportancomo politicos tercermundistas estos desarolladores. Que dejan deteriorar una structura para justificarse y construir una nueva en vez de mejorar la anterior cuando aun es posible

Where did the focus indicator go? why the device gets so hot? where are the white balance options? why does it use so many resources? why i have all the settings together in one place? when i am in the video mode ionly want to edit video setting, when i am in panorama mode i only want the panorama settings... why all modes have no settings instead blending them in one page? what does tell you thats better? in any camera from a DSLR to a Point and Shot, each setting is under the selected camera mode

I have problems using latest nexus 5 take photos to check later find all the photos I just took are missing never saved all updated and fresh install lots space its in the camera app or the lollipops os