Google Upgrades Android Camera Software For Better Pics

High dynamic range (HDR) photos will be easier to implement with the new software.

High dynamic range (HDR) photos will be easier to implement with the new software.

Google has released details about the new camera software coming to the Android operating system. The changes will allow developers access to the raw data of the images, allowing a whole range of apps that can do a variety of post-processing modifications to the photos you take. There is also support now for burst shooting, in which the camera quickly takes several photos at once and the software chooses the best picture in terms of focus, color, exposure, etc.

Google’s latest Android phone, Nexus 5, already makes use of the burst mode. Besides choosing the sharpest picture from a series of photos, the Nexus 5 also features an HDR+ mode that combines photos taken with different settings to produce an image with a greater range of color and contrast. Previous Android devices that supported HDR did so through other apps, but now it will be built-in to the Android OS (iOS has had native HDR support since iOS version 4.1 released in 2010).

MORE: Best Android Camera Apps

To get technical, the changes are to the hardware abstraction layer (HAL), the software in the Android OS that talks directly to the physical hardware of a device, such as the camera. Improvements to this baseline code could mean improvements to Android cameras across a range of devices. And the fact that developers will be able to make apps that use the raw image data should mean more and better camera apps for Android.

Many hardcore photographers will also appreciate access to the raw image data, allowing them to choose what post-processing is done on their own photos, such as noise-reduction or color balance.

Source: Google via Cnet

Follow Kevin Ohannessian at @khohannessian and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Kelly Ohannessian is a freelance writer and editor. With more than 15 years of experience, she works with a focus on covering the creative aspects of the gaming industry. Her articles have appeared on Medium, Fast Company, Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Gamespot, and many more. Currently, she works as a manager at Brooklyn Game Lab.

  • Darkk
    I always wondered because one camera software I was using worked alot better than the one that came with it.
  • clonazepam
    My Motorola Droid Bionic ticks me off sometimes. Sometimes, the flash lags way behind the shutter to the point of not doing any good at all. Oh well. I'm shopping for a new smartphone, and right now, I can either get a replacement battery for probably $50, or a whole range of new phone options from $.01 - $50, so long as I re-up with Verizon. Since the Bionic won't likely be getting anymore updates, it gets a little easier. I think I want to stick with Motorola, as transferring files, msgs, etc should be pretty seamless.

    I've read reviews about this update. If the phone's camera was meh or sucked to begin with, this update will do little to help that.
  • emike09
    Great. We could use more camera control. It's way over simplified at this time. Any ideas when we can expect this, and if it's something 4.x users can use in general or if the carriers have to update it? CWM?