camerapro

CameraPro Nokia N8 Update

A few months ago I wrote a review of Camera Pro for N8 Geeks. Since then a number of changes have been made to the app, some more obvious than others, so I have decided to write a part two here. The simplest way to order this update is by feature menu. To save you having to read the original review alongside this one I’ve kept the text with an indication where changes have been made.

Some of the big changes are:

  • that Camera Pro can now be set as the default camera and video app
  • Bracketing now permits 3 or 5 image brackets and a user configurable delay time between image capture. The significance in the addition of 5 image bracketing is that this provides better HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery.

Below is a more in-depth review of all of the features of Camera Pro.

Flash cp_0035_morning_flash

Camera Pro offers all of the standard flash features offered by the Nokia N8 default Camera app, namely:

  • No Flash – flash is turned off
  • Auto – flash is automatically used if required
  • Forced – flash is always on
  • Red-eye – multiple flashes to reduce red-eye
  • Videolight -  use the flash as a night light in video mode for phones with LED flash. This is not available phones with Xenon flash as it can be damaged by continuous operation.

Effects

The Effects is the first area that Camera Pro starts to offers extra features in Negative and Natural features with the remainder of the effects being duplications of the standard app.cp_0034_morning_effects

  • None / Normal – No effects applied
  • Negative – colours are reversed.
  • Black & White – image saved in black and white
  • Sepia – image saved in sepia to provide an nostalgic look
  • Vivid – colours are amplified to provide a more vivid image
  • Natural – colours modified to provide a warmer feel

Exposure Mode

The exposure mode settings are a little harder to compare as names change as the target audience appears different between Camera Pro to the default app. For a start Camera Pro has no Close-up, Portrait, Landscape, or Night Portrait modes, although it does offer Backlight, Center and Very Long modes. The mode list is: cp_0033_morning_exposure

  • Auto – exposure mode is automatically selected.
  • Night – low light imagery, resulting in longer exposure.
  • Backlight – compensation
  • Center – exposure level is biased to the centre of the image
  • Sport – faster exposure to minimise blur when shooting moving images
  • Very long – longer exposure time than Night mode

Focus range

Focus Range is another interesting menu overlapping the standard app’s “Exposure Mode” with it’s inclusion of Auto focus and Macro options. Although face recognition is not available Camera Pro offers Hyperfocal and Infinite focal range.  cp_0032_morning_focus

  • Auto – focal range is automatically selected.
    • Off – No auto-focus
    • Single – focus set once
    • Continuous – focus continuously adjusted
  • Macro – the focal range is set for close–up shots.
  • Normal – standard focus
  • Hyperfocal – both closer and distant objects remain in focus
  • Infinite – distant objects remain in focus although closer object may not

White Balance

cp_0031_morning_wbWhite balance offers the same options as the standard app, namely:

  • Auto
  • Daylight / Sunny
  • Cloudy
  • Tungsten / Incandescent
  • Flourescent

Image Controls

cp_0030_morning_controlsThis menu, again, provides the standard offerings, but with an extra level of detail.

  • Brightness (+/-100)
  • Contrast (+/-100)
  • Grey scale (+/-100)
  • Sharpness (+/-100)
  • Exposure Compensation (+/-2ev in 1/3 increments) (CHANGED FROM +/-200 TO ev STOPS)

ISO Rate

cp_0029_morning_iso The ISO rate menu is another area where Camera Pro provides more professional options when compared with the default app as rather than offering Auto, Low, Medium and High the user is presented with:

  • Auto
  • 100
  • 200
  • 400
  • 800

Camera Modecp_0028_morning_modes

Camera mode offers the standard Normal/Camera, Video, Self-timer and Anti-shake, but then adds bracketing, which can be used to produce HDR (High Dynamic Range) images using a PC based HDR merging app like Luminance HDR which is a free download. In addition to this Camera Pro provides burst  (2 to 6 shots) and time laps imagery.

The full lit is detailed below:

  • Normal – Camera (Access to camera settings)
  • Video – Video Camera (Access to video settings)
  • Self Timer (>0 secs) – single shot with user defined delay.
  • Anti Shake (Insensitive (0)/Normal (1)/sensitive(2)) – image stabilisation
  • Bracketing – 3 or 5 shots with exposure set for each shot at +/-2ev in 1/3 increments (UPDATED)
  • Burst – 2 to 6 shots in close succession (UPDATED)
  • Time Lapse (>1 sec) – multiple shots at a user defined interval

options

The last button icon on the main screen is the cog (bottom right) which opens a short options menu. At the top of this menu there are four button icons, which are, from left to right:cp_0027_morning_settings

  • 3×3 grid – a 3×3 grid overlay on the viewfinder screen
  • 7×7 grid – a 7×7 grid overlay on the viewfinder screen
  • Compass – a compass overlay in the top right corner showing the direction of pointing
  • Crosshair – centre crosshair with integral indication of camera angle
  • Options – Presets

Presets are sets of settings (e.g. focus, exposure, etc.) which can be can be loaded, saved (user created) or deleted, with the initial “Load” list being taken from the default camera mode list, as detailed below:

  • Auto/Default
  • Close-up/Macro
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Sport
  • Night
  • Night Portrait

camera – Options – Settings

We now arrive at the main application settings menu, which changes dependent on if the user is in Camera (Normal) or Video mode. This section describes the Camera/Normal mode settings.cp_0024_morning_photo

  • Storage location – The memory location where captured images are saved.
    • Custom location
    • C:/
    • D:/
    • E:/
    • F:/
  • File prefix – initial text in each captured image file name.
    • Date
    • Custom
  • Image size – The size of captured images.
    • 4000×3000
    • 4000×2248
    • 3264×2448
    • 3264×1832
    • 2592×1944
    • 2592×1456
    • 2048×1536
    • 1600×1200
    • 1280×960
    • 1024×768
    • 640×480
  • Image quality (1-100 scroller) – image resolution.
  • Show captured image (on/off) – Automatically display captured image after capture
  • Face detection (Symbi… (on/off) – Automatically recognise faces
  • Geotag (GPS) (on/off) – Locational tag images with GPS location
  • Play sounds (on/off)
  • One tap selection (on/off) – Select and Set with a single tap
  • Autofocus light (on/off) – Turn the red light that appears during autofocus on/off (disable)
  • Show on-screen info (on/off) – Display settings top right corner of the viewing window
  • Set CameraPro as default (on/off) – Set CameraPro to open when camera button is pressed
  • Web upload resize (app…
    • Unchanged
    • 1600×1200
    • 1280×1024
    • 1024×768
    • 800×600
    • 640×480
    • 320×240

Video – options – Settings

Below is the menu structure of the video settings.cp_0025_morning_video

  • Video type – video size and frame rate (speed)
    • 1280×720 (h264, 30fps / 25fps)
    • 864×480 (h264, 30fps / 25fps)
    • 640×480 (h264, 30fps / 25fps)
    • 640×480 (mp4v, 30fps / 25fps)
    • 640×352 (mp4v, 30fps / 25fps)
    • 352×288 (mp4v, 30fps / 25fps / 15fps)
    • 320×240 (mp4v, 30fps / 25fps / 15fps)
    • 176×144 (h263, 15fps)
  • Storage location
    • Custom location
    • C:/
    • D:/
    • E:/
    • F:/
  • File prefix
    • Date
    • Custom
  • Audio recording (on/off) – Enable/disable audio recording during videoing
  • Video Stabilization (on/off) – Camera shake reduction
  • Expert mode (“Option… (on/off) – UNKNOWN
  • Shutterkey autofocus (on/off) – Enable/disable autofocus on camera button half-press
  • Play sounds (on/off) – Enable/disable warning sounds
  • One tap selection (on/off) – Select and Set with a single tap
  • Show on-screen info (on/off) – Display settings top right corner of the viewing window

image capture

Camera Pro provides an increased level of zoom, although this is countered somewhat as the camera is only cable of digital zoom, meaning that the image is cropped reducing definition. The built-in camera app has the zoom range limited to a level which produces “acceptable” quality (from the Nokia engineer’s point of view), but there are situations where a higher zoom might be interesting (e.g. watching a bird on a tree). With maximum zoom it is important to use “single auto focus” and manually trigger the “single auto focus” (e.g. by slightly pressing the shutter key) after zooming to get a sharp picture.

20110608204857 20110608204938
Min Zoom Max Zoom

 

conclusions

With it’s ability to replace the default Nokia camera and video app and the fact that Camera Pro is the only Symbian app permitting 5 image bracketing for HDR processing, this application is a must buy with a price tag of £3 from the OVI Store as this is a bargain for so many extra features. In fact it would be well worth the price if it doubled in price.