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Open Camera


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Open Camera is an Open Source Camera app for Android phones and tablets. Features:

(Some features may not be available on all devices, as they may depend on hardware features, or the Android version.)


Open Camera is completely free, however if you wish you can show your appreciation and support future development by purchasing my donation app from Google Play. You can also donate through Paypal (Paypal account not required, supports debit or credit card) or Bitcoin (Bitcoin address 1LKCFto9SQGqtcvqZxHkqDPqNjSnf​Mmsow ). Thanks! Donations can be used for: purchasing hardware for porting/testing; app store fees; beer money :)


Open Camera Blog ~ Discussion Forums ~ Code Repository (Git)

Contents:

Requirements

This requires Android 4.0 or better. I've tested this successfully on the Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.3, and the Nexus 6 and Nexus 7 (2013) running Android 5. The auto-stabilise feature may not be available if the app deems there is not enough memory (RAM) available (technical explanation: requires 128MB of "large heap").

Note that I've had reports of problems on CyanogenMod (CM11) - unfortunately I don't have any CM11 devices to test on, and CyanogenMod doesn't appear to offer any means of testing without a real device (e.g., no emulator AVD images, no remote device testing), so I have no way of supporting this.

Quickstart

Simply point, and press the blue camera icon to take a photo. The camera will automatically focus before taking the picture. You can also focus at any time by touching on the screen. If your device supports focus areas, you can touch the part of the screen you want to focus. Touching an area will also (if your device supports it) control the exposure level (e.g., so clicking on a bright area will adjust the exposure so that it becomes less bright). To zoom, use the slider next to the take photo button, or do a multi-touch "pinch" gesture. You can also control via the volume keys on your phone or tablet - by default, pressing them will take a photo, but you can change this to zoom in/out from the Settings.

You can press the gallery icon to view your photos (by default saved in the OpenCamera folder) - it will show the most recent image or video. The gallery button's icon will also show a thumbnail for the most recent image/video. Note that there is also an option in the Settings to "Pause after taking photo" - if ticked, then when you take a photo, the image will be displayed - to keep the photo, touch the screen (or take another photo). To delete it, press the trash icon . To share an image, press the share icon .

The screen display is kept on when Open Camera is running as the foreground app (if you want to switch off the display, do so on your device manually).

On-Screen User Interface

A white square is shown (depending on the focus mode), which turns green to indicate that the auto-focus was successful, or red if it was not.

Switch camera - Switches between front and back camera (if your device has two cameras).

Switch to/from video - Switches between taking photo mode, and recording video mode. When in video mode, the take photo icon will change to the record video icon .

Exposure compensation and ISO - Clicking this will bring up a slider and plus/minus buttons which can be used to control the exposure compensation. A higher value increases the exposure, so that pictures come out brighter in low light; a lower value makes pictures darker. One unit of EV changes the brightness of the captured image by a factor of two. +1 EV doubles the image brightness, while -1 EV halves the image brightness. Set to 0 for the default exposure. To get rid of the slider and buttons, either click the Exposure button again, or click elsewhere on the screen. See Exposure compensation. (Only available if the camera supports control of the exposure, and ISO is "auto".) If Camera2 API is used, and a non-auto ISO mode is selected, then instead clicking this icon will bring up sliders allowing you to control the ISO setting and (if supported) the exposure time.

Exposure lock - Click to lock or unlock the exposure. When locked, the icon will change to . Locking the exposure means the exposure doesn't change based on the brightness of the current scene (though you can still adjust the exposure compensation).

Popop menu - Opens the popup menu for quick access to changing flash, focus, ISO, white balance, scene mode, color effect, camera resolution, timer: For flash and focus modes, selecting an option will display popup text explaining what the mode is. A special mode is "Focus Locked", which means the camera will never refocus when taking a photo, instead you should touch the screen to manually focus (this used to be called "Focus Manual"). If Camera2 API is used, then "Focus Manual" will display an on-screen slider, allowing you to directly control the focus distance. The other options are:

See Settings for more info on the other settings.

Gallery - Click to launch the Gallery app, to view the most recent photo/video (by default saved in the OpenCamera folder). If you get the message "No Gallery app available", then you should install a Gallery app (e.g., Gallery ICS). You can also "long press" on the Gallery icon - this will let you switch between the recent save locations, or take you straight to a file dialog to choose a save location if additional locations have yet been defined. See Save location under Settings/More camera controls for more details.

Settings - Click to open the Settings. (If your phone/tablet has a hardware menu button, pressing that should also open the settings.)

The on-screen display also shows the remaining battery left (green/red status bar in the corner), and optionally the zoom level (if zoomed in), the remaining free storage space on the device, and the current angle orientation of the camera. If "Store location data" is enabled (off by default), then a small "earth" icon will appear next to the battery indicator when the location is available (you can still take photos when the earth icon doesn't show, it's just that location data won't be stored in the photo). A dot shows to the top-right of the earth icon to indicate the accuracy (green for accurate, yellow for less accurate). If the location isn't available, a red dash will be shown through the earth icon.

Auto-stabilise feature

All Android cameras will rotate the photo depending on the orientation of the camera, but only to the nearest 90 degrees - so the photos look right whether you hold the device in "portrait" or "landscape" mode. But Open Camera has the option to rotate the photos so they are perfectly level, so your shots come out looking perfectly level every time!

The above shows a rather exaggerated example - in practice, you can probably take better photos, but this feature ensures they come out perfectly level, without you having to edit them afterwards in a photo editor. Of course you won't always want this - perhaps you're going for artistic 45-degree shots - so this is an option. By default it is disabled. To enable, go to the Settings, and enable "Auto-stabilise". Note that this feature is memory intensive - it will not be available on devices with low memory. Even where it is available, the performance of taking photos will be slower, and there is a risk it may cause the app to fail on devices I haven't been able to test. If you do have problems, you'll have to disable the feature again.

Also note that the feature reduces the available space in the image - because rotating an image makes it no longer fit into a rectangular image, so we have to crop it. So it's still advisable to try to hold the camera reasonably level when using this feature.

Settings

Camera Effects:

Lock photo/video orientation - Normally the orientation of the photo/video will be rotated by some multiple of 90 degree such that the orientation looks right - e.g. if your device is held in portrait, the resultant image/video will be in portrait. This option allows fixing the camera to either be in portrait or landscape. Note that if auto-stabilise is also enabled, it will have the effect of aligning photos to the nearest 90 degrees.

Face detection - If this is enabled, then the camera will automatically try to detect faces, and use them for the focus, metering (exposure) and white balance. Faces will be drawn as yellow squares when detected. Note that if this option is enabled, then you will not be able to touch to manually select the focus area, and the white balance option will have no effect (since the face recognition will be used to determine these).

Camera Controls:

Timer - Set a timer for taking photos or recording video. Press the take photo/video button again to cancel the timer.

Timer beep - Whether to beep when the timer is counting down, or for the burst mode delay (see below).

Burst mode - Take a repeated set of photos when the take photo button is pressed. Press the take photo button again to cancel.

Burst mode interval - Specify the delay (if any) between photos in burst mode. Note that true burst mode isn't yet supported, so if no delay is selected, there will still be a short delay. The actual speed that the photos are taken at will depend on the performance of your device's camera. If a delay is selected, note that this does not include the time taken to auto-focus and take each photo.

More camera controls... - Select to access the following controls:

Pause after taking photo - If ticked, after taking a photo the display will pause, with options to share or delete the photo. To keep the photo and continue, touch the screen (or take another photo).

Shutter sound - Whether to play a sound after taking a photo. (Requires Android 4.2 or higher to disable.)

Volume keys - You can set what happens when the volume keys are pressed: either take photo/video, focus (trigger an autofocus - or if in manual mode, change the focus distance in/out), zoom in/out, change the exposure compensation (or if in manual ISO mode and using Camera2 API, change the ISO), switch auto-stabilise on/off, just change the device's volume as normal, or do nothing.

Save location - Select the folder to store the photos in. Click on a folder (or "Parent Folder") to navigate through the filesystem. Select "New Folder" to create a new folder in the currently displayed folder. Select "Use Folder" to choose the currently displayed folder. Note that on Android, there are some folders that cannot be written to - Open Camera will display a message if you try to use one of these folders. You can also use this option to save to an external SD card, though unfortunately the path varies depending on the device, so you'll have to look this up or find it out yourself - it's usually one of the folders inside /mnt/ (press "Parent Folder" until you're in "/", then select "mnt", then have a look inside one of the folders in there - note that confusingly it won't be "sdcard", but will be named something else, e.g., "extSdCard"). Also note that Google have blocked write access to external SD cards in Android 4.4. Once you have specified a new save location, you can long press on the Gallery icon to quickly switch between recent save locations.

Save photo prefix - This option allows you to customise save filenames for photos.

Save video prefix - This option allows you to customise save filenames for videos.

Show camera when locked - If you have a lock screen on your device (e.g., PIN to unlock), Open Camera by default will show above the lock screen - i.e., if locked, you won't have to enter the PIN to use Open Camera. The device still needs to be unlocked in order to go to the Settings or Gallery. If you would prefer Open Camera to always be unavailable when your device is locked, you can disable this option.

Lock screen when recording video - if enabled, the GUI will be locked when recording video (i.e., the GUI won't respond to touch presses). You can use this to prevent accidental presses that might change settings or stop recording. To unlock the GUI, swipe the screen (in any direction). Note that this won't prevent the video being stopped if you press your device's Home, Recent Apps or Power button (it is not possible for apps to override the behaviour of these buttons).

Rotate preview - this option rotates the on-screen preview by 180 degrees. Most users won't ever need this, but this option can be useful if you are using Open Camera with equipment which inverts the image. Note that this doesn't rotate the resultant photos/videos - you'll still have to rotate those yourself afterwards - but this will correct the preview so that you can still see what you are shooting properly.

On screen GUI... - Select to access the following controls:

Preview size - By default, Open Camera matches the aspect ratio of the preview (the image that is displayed on the phone/tablet's display) with that of the photo resolution ("Match photo size (WYSIWYG)" mode). The advantage is that what you see in the preview will match what will be in the resultant photo ("What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get") - though this may mean you will have "black bars" on the display in order to do this. If instead you select "Maximise preview size", then the camera preview will be as large as possible, trying to fill the available space. However if the resolution of the photo is a different aspect ratio to that of your device, this will result in the preview being cropped. In video mode, the preview is always in WYSIWYG mode.

UI placement - Whether to optimise the user interface for left-handed or right-handed use.

Immersive mode - Allows you to choose between various modes which affect the behaviour of the user-interface, in order to make it more immersive (requires Android 4.4 or higher):

Show zoom - Whether to display the current zoom level of the camera (when zoomed in).

Show zoom -/+ controls - Whether to display -/+ buttons to control zoom.

Show zoom slider controls - Whether to display to a slider to control zoom.

Show ISO - If selected, the current ISO will be displayed (only available if Camera2 API is used).

Show free memory - Whether to display the remaining storage space of the device.

Show angle - Whether to display the orientation angle of the device's camera.

Show angle line - Whether to display a horizontal "level" line that visually indicates the orientation of the device.

Show compass direction - Whether to display the compass direction of the device's camera.

Show time - Whether to display the current time.

Show battery - Whether to display the current battery level.

Show a grid - Whether to display one of a choice of grids on the camera preview (including 3x3 grid, which helps with applying the rule of thirds).

Show a crop guide - A crop guide is a rectangle displayed on-screen, which has the specified aspect ratio (if different to the photo/video aspect ratio). This is useful if you plan to crop the resultant photos or videos to a particular aspect ratio. For photos, the crop-guide requires "Preview size" to be set to WYSIWYG mode.

Show thumbnail animation - Whether to display the moving thumbnail animation when taking a photo.

Keep display on - Whether to force keeping the screen display on, while the main Open Camera UI is active.

Force maximum brightness - Whether to force the screen display to maximum brightness.

Photo and Video Settings:

Photo settings - Select to access the following controls:

Camera resolution - Select the resolution of photo images taken by the camera. Note that if auto-stabilise is enabled, images will in general come out as a slightly lower resolution (due to the rotation and cropping that's required).

Image quality - The image quality of saved JPEG images. Higher means better quality, but the image files will take up more storage space.

Stamp photos - Option to add a date and timestamp to the resultant photos. If "Store location data" is enabled (see "Location settings" below), then the current location latitude and longitude coordinates will also be stamped on the resultant photos (if the location is known). Similarly for "Store compass direction". Note that if this option is enabled, then it will take longer to save the photo. Also note that this option is only supported for photos, not video.

Custom text - Here you can enter some text to be stamped onto resultant photos (e.g., this could be used for a copyright image). Note that if this option is enabled, then it will take longer to save the photo. Also note that this option is only supported for photos, not video.

Font size - Sets the font size used for text for options "Stamp photos" or "Custom text".

Video settings - Select to access the following controls:

Video resolution - Select the resolution of videos taken by the camera.

Force 4K UHD video (experimental) - Enable recording in 4K UHD (3840x2160) on the back camera (if ticked, this overrides the setting in "Video resolution"). This is provided for some phones that don't "officially" expose their 4K resolution through the standard Android camera API (so it doesn't appear in the "Video resolution"), but in some cases they will still record at 4K if this option is ticked. If you enable this on a device that doesn't support it, you may either get an error message when you try to record, or it may succeed but create a video where the resolution isn't 4K, or may even result in a crash! So please test this out first. I've tested this successfully on a Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 3, but even there it only works on some variants of those devices. (If this option doesn't show up at all, it's either because your device already lists 4K in the Video resolutions options above, or because Open Camera thinks this is a device that probably doesn't support 4K video.)

Enable video stabilization - Video stabilization reduces the shaking due to the motion of the camera in both the preview and in recorded videos.

Video bitrate (approx) - If set to a value other than "default", the default video bitrate is overridden. Higher values mean better quality video, but the files take up more disk space. Note that some values may be unsupported by your device, and may cause the recording to fail - in some cases, this can cause problems with the camera that require a reboot to fix. So please test before using. Also note that the bitrate setting is approximate - the resultant video file will typically be slightly different to that requested.

Video frame rate (approx) - If set to a value other than "default", the camera will try to match this frame rate. Note that this is very approximate, as frame rate depends on many factors such as your device and lighting conditions, so there is no guarantee that the resultant video's frame rate will match with the requested value. Also note that some frame rate values may be unsupported by your device, and cause the recording to fail, so please test before using.

Max duration of video - This option can be used to set a maximum duration of the video. If set, video recording will stop after the specified time (unless already stopped earlier).

Restart video after max duration - If a max duration has been set (see above), this option can be used to make the video automatically stop and restart the specified number of times. So this can be used to take a video for a long period, broken up into multiple video files. If a max duration has not been set, then this option has no effect.

Record audio - Whether to record audio when recording a video.

Audio source - Select the audio source for recording video. The effect of this depends on your device - if it supports an external microphone, you may be able to use this by selecting "External mic". The other options may provide different settings affecting the resultant audio (e.g., automatic gain control), though this behaviour is device specific.

Flash while recording video - If enabled, the camera flash will flash every second while recording video. This isn't something most people will need, but it can be useful if the phone is being operated remotely, as a signal that the video is still recording.

Location settings - Select to access the following controls:

Store location data (Geotagging) - If selected, then photos will be tagged with the current location. Location data will also be stored in videos (though only for devices that record in MPEG4 or 3GPP formats).

Store compass direction - If selected, then photos will be tagged with the compass direction. Note that if Open Camera is called via another app, the compass direction won't be saved - this is only supported when Open Camera is run as a standalone app. Also not supported for videos.

Require location data - If "Store location data" is enabled, then also enabling this option means that photos and videos can only be taken if location data is present (this can be useful if you need pictures/videos to have location data in them).

Misc:

Online help - Load this web page.

Donate to support development - Loads the page for my donation app.

Use Camera2 API - If selected, this enables support for the Camera2 API that was introduced in Android 5. This enables some new features, but is currently experimental. Note that not all Android 5 devices have full support for the Camera2 API (Open Camera will only show this option if all cameras report either "LIMITED" or "FULL" support for the API; "LEGACY" devices are not supported). Supported devices include the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6. Known issues with the Camera2 API include bugs with flash (sometimes shots come out too bright or dark, or auto-exposure routine stops - I've seen this on the Nexus 6 with other camera apps using Camera2 API), and problem that ISO doesn't work for recording video. Turning this option on or off will cause Open Camera to restart. (Requires Android 5.0 or higher.)

About - Provides various debug information about the app and your device's camera. You can also copy this information to the clipboard.

Reset settings - Resets all Open Camera settings to their default.

Widgets

Open Camera comes with a "Take Photo" widget. You can place this on your homescreen. When clicked on, it lauches Open Camera and takes a photo immediately.

Open Camera also comes with two widgets that can be displayed on the lock screen (requires Android 4.2 or later - but lock screen widgets are no longer available in Android 5 or later). The "Open Camera" widget launches the app; the "Take Photo" widget will also automatically take a photo. Note that if you have a PIN lock etc, you'll have to unlock even if "Show camera when locked" is enabled.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I save to my external SD card - See Save location under Settings/More camera controls.

My device can do 4K/UHD, so why doesn't it work on Open Camera? - Unfortunately many devices with 4K support have for some reason not exposed this through the Android API to 3rd party camera apps. For some such devices, it turns out that 3rd party camera apps can request recording in 3840x2160, but this isn't guaranteed to work, hence it's marked experimental. If this doesn't work, it's not a bug in Open Camera, it's something that's just not possible through 3rd party apps on some devices. If you want a device with proper support for 4K video recording, get the Nexus 6.

Why doesn't the FPS/bitrate setting for video work? - These settings only give "recommendations" to the camera, and there is no guarantee that they will be met. Some devices might not even allow recording at some settings, and there's no way to determine this in advance.

But my camera can do 60/120FPS, so why can't Open Camera? - High frame rates often are achieved only by the "stock" camera app (or "mods" of it) because these are written for a specific device and don't have to go through the standard Android camera API.

Why can't I change the ISO? - Even if your device supports ISO, this may not be made available through the standard Android API for 3rd party camera apps to use. For example, this is true of Sony devices.

Why has Open Camera stopped working properly? - If something stops working in Open Camera first try a reboot of your device. If that doesn't resolve the problem, try resetting the settings to the defaults (under Settings/"Reset settings"), or try reinstalling the app (or go to your device's App Settings and select "Clear data" for Open Camera) to reset it to its initial conditions. Obviously ideally this shouldn't happen, but can be a way of working around any unresolved bugs that appear. If something stops working in an upgrade to a new version of Open Camera, and the problem isn't resolved by a reinstall/Clear data, please let me know, but in the meantime you can install the older versions from https://sourceforge.net/​projects/opencamera/files/ .

Why doesn't the preview display match the resultant photo/video? One of them is cropped. - Firstly, make sure that Settings/On screen GUI/Preview size is set to "Match photo size (WYSIWYG)". However if that doesn't fix the problem, this is a limitation on some devices and photo/video resolutions (it happens if the device doesn't offer a "preview" with the same aspect ratio as the chosen photo/video resolution). A workaround may be to try a different resolution for photos and/or videos.

Why isn't Open Camera available in my language? - I can only speak English I'm afraid. Please contact me if you're willing to do a translation (this doesn't require any knowledge of Android programming, it's just a case of translating a set of strings in a text file).

Why is the non-English translation of my language incomplete? - Scene modes and color effects aren't currently translated, as these are just strings returned by the camera. Also note that even if I get someone to translate Open Camera, when I later add new features/options, this may require additional strings which aren't translated. I don't have a team of paid translators, so it's not always possible to keep translations up to date :)

The non-English translation is wrong! - I can only speak English, and am dependent on other people to offer translations. If you think a particular translation is inaccurate, please let me know.

Why is the screen forced to maximum brightness? - If you don't like this feature, you can switch it off by going to Settings/On screen GUI/Force maximum brightness.

Why is auto-stabilise slow? - This feature requires doing a decompress of the JPEG data, followed by a rotation of a multi-megapixel image, then recompressing, which typically results in a short pause on most devices. And as devices get faster CPUs, they typically come with cameras with even bigger megapixels! This is why I've made it optional (and you can set the volume control to quickly switch it on and off if you like).

Why is auto-stabilise for photos only? - Doing auto-stabilise for video is a massively harder problem. This wouldn't be possible in real-time - rotating images causes a noticeable pause as it is, imagine having to do that for every frame. Also the rotation angle wouldn't be constant, so it's a much harder problem figuring out what the correct result should actually be.

Can I launch a different gallery app when I press the gallery icon? Why doesn't Open Camera have its own gallery app? - If you have more than one Gallery app on your device, you should be given the choice which to use when you press the gallery icon. If one app is already set up as the default and you want to change it, then go to the App Settings for that app, and under "Launch by default" (or something like that) it will list if it is set as the defaults for any actions, with an option to clear them. There are plenty of gallery apps for Android, and it seems better for users to have this choice, rather than Open Camera having its own custom gallery.

Can you implement disabling shutter sound for earlier than Android 4.2? - The functionality for this requires Android 4.2. There are possible workarounds for earlier versions, though the issue is it doesn't work on all devices (either they don't support it, or even that some countries have legal requirement that camera devices play a sound). At least with the Android 4.2+ method, Open Camera knows if it isn't supported, and then doesn't show the option. Also I feel for the long term, it's better to focus on new features, even if they require newer Android versions.

Why does Open Camera have ads? - Open Camera does not have ads, but there are some clones that appear on Google Play with ads inserted. Please ensure that you've downloaded from one of the places listed above on this page.

I don't like the UI! - The UI for Open Camera has improved significantly over the versions (both in terms of having a consistent look, and the operation), so this criticism seems to have gone down, but there's always room for improvement! However, in order for me to improve, please be specific: comments like this could mean all sorts of things, such as the style of the icons, the arrangement of the icons, wanting more things on the main screen, wanting less things on the main screen, preferring swipes to icons, wanting it easier to change certain options, or even that some devices may have a bug that I'm not aware of. Also bear in mind that some preferences may be a matter of opinion and it's not possible to get an app that satisfies everyone (e.g., some camera apps hide everything behind popup menus that you swipe to enable; others have as much on screen as possible - I try to achieve a balance in Open Camera).

Why is the UI cluttered? - Under Settings/On screen GUI, there are options to disable various controls and so on from the main view.

Can I use the Open Camera source code in my app? - Open Camera is available under the GPL (see Licence), and can be used for free, including commercially, if you follow the terms of that licence (this means making the source of your app available under a GPL-compatible licence). If you would like to use the Open Camera in a closed source app, please contact me for a commercial licence, with details on your company and app.

Contacting me (bugs etc)

Please contact me at mark dot harman at ntlworld dot com for bug reports, feature suggestions, etc. I can only test Open Camera on a small number of devices, so if you are having problems, these may be issues that I am unaware of, so reporting bugs will help me improve Open Camera! But please check the FAQ first, in case your question is covered there.

If you experience a crash, and Google offers to "Report", please do so (if you've installed via F-Droid, please see here). If you are reporting a bug, it is also helpful to email me the "About" information - please go to Settings/About, then click "Copy to clipboard", then you can paste the information into an email (or Google Keep, or wherever) to send to me.

If something stops working in Open Camera (either it fails to start, or something no longer works properly), first try a reboot of your device. If that doesn't resolve the problem, try resetting the settings to the defaults (under Settings/"Reset settings"), or try reinstalling the app (or go to your device's App Settings and select "Clear data" for Open Camera) to reset it to its initial conditions. Obviously ideally this shouldn't happen, but can be a way of working around any unresolved bugs or odd conditions that appear.

Note that whilst I welcome reviews/ratings, they are not a good way for reporting bugs (I may miss it, there's only limited number of characters for me to reply, and I don't get notified of further replies).

Credits

Open Camera is written by Mark Harman. Additional credits:

Licence

Open Camera is released under the GPL v3 or later. The source code is available from https://sourceforge.net/​projects/opencamera/files/ .

The following files are used in Open Camera:

History


Open Camera on Sourceforge.

More of my Free software.