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Posts tagged ‘Camera’


Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge get some snappy cameras


Although Samsung really put a lot into improving the hardware present in their new flagship devices revealed at MWC 2015 today, like many other manufacturers did with their own devices, smartphones are pushing on the limits of the law of diminishing returns. One area where potential still exists though is the cameras and the ability of the devices to capture brilliant images. Samsung took advantage of that with some significant improvements to the cameras in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.

A major part of the improvement that Samsung made focused on the front camera which is now a wide-angle capable 5 MP camera. The sensor itself is 1.4 times larger than the Galaxy S 5. Samsung also added in full, real-time automatic HDR to both the front and rear cameras. The addition of this feature is partially thanks to the hardware in the rest of the phones as the processors can now keep up with the computing demands needed to stitch the images together. Besides adding this capability, normally reserved for rear-facing cameras, to the front-camera, Samsung has also made HDR video available to users.

Samsung put F1.9 lenses in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge along with Optical Image Stabilization and IR White Balance. Combined, these enhancements will let users capture clear images with no blurring despite shaking or low light conditions. An advanced Auto-Focus function has also been implemented to help users correctly focus on both moving and stationary objects. The auto-focus is also very fast, taking only 0.3 seconds to focus.

To help users tap into all the power of the hardware available in the devices, Samsung added a new Quick Launch feature. According to Samsung, users will be able to launch the camera application in only 0.7 seconds, even if they are using another application. Once opened, users will find an improved user interface for the camera app that provides access to a variety of tools with a minimum of taps and no scrolling. Samsung also added a preview mode that shows the impact of filters in real-time while looking at the screen. In case a user wants to assert more control, Samsung also added a professional camera mode with full control over camera settings.

With all of these improvements, owners of the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge should be able to capture some truly incredible images whether it is what they are looking at or a selfie.

Be sure to check back for more coverage of MWC 2015 to see what Samsung and other manufacturers are doing with their mobile device products.

Come comment on this article: Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge get some snappy cameras


Samsung’s Galaxy S 6 will use a 16 megapixel camera with Sony IMX240 sensor

Samsung_Galaxy_Note_4_Back_Camera_Lens_Heart_Rate_Monitor_Closeup_TAWhile we wait for Samsung to make their 2015 flagship official on March 1st, we can still snoop around to try to figure out what’s going to be inside the Galaxy S 6 ahead of time. Originally, rumors pointed at the device using a 20 megapixel camera, but now it’s looking like Samsung will go with a 16 megapixel Sony IMX240 sensor.

This is actually the same sensor that Samsung used in the Galaxy Note 4, but they’ve reportedly tweaked a few things for better performance. The Note 4 takes fantastic pictures, so any improvement on that will be great news for photo-enthusiasts.

source: SamMobile

Come comment on this article: Samsung’s Galaxy S 6 will use a 16 megapixel camera with Sony IMX240 sensor


Accessory of the Day: Bluetooth-equipped selfie stick, $19.99

While they might not be the hippest looking things on the market, you can’t deny the effectiveness of a selfie stick. This one, from Mpow, features a Bluetooth controlled shutter button so you can easily snap that wide-angle shot of you and your friends for Instagram. At only $19.99 (Prime), this makes a perfect gift!

Join Prime and get this deal with FREE two-day shipping!

Also worth checking out:

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Android customization – capture time lapse images using Tasker, coding 101: the For loop

Android Plush Animation loop

We’ve been on a photography kick here on our Android customization series, we’ve been using Android devices as cameras, as remotes for other cameras and more. We’d like to do a photography project once again today, but our purpose is to learn how to use the For loop tool in Tasker, coding 101.

One of the most memorable lessons my college programming instructor gave was an intro to the IF statement and For loops. It involved gaming, robotics and a hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Since I’ve already talked about IF statements in this series, I will have to deny you games and robotics, but you are welcome to enjoy a hot chocolate as you read forward, learning about the For loop in Tasker.

Before we begin

Get it on Google Play ButtonYou will require Tasker installed on your Android device today. It is probably best to install and perform this project on your device with the best camera. Tasker is $2.99 in the Google Play Store, and is going to have to eventually start giving us a kickback, for all the times we’ve promoted the app around here.

Tasker For loop

In the coding world, the For loop is a coding method in which a section of code is performed over and over again, in a loop, until a predefined criteria is met. This may sound odd, until you see it at work. Examples of For loops can be found all over the place in every day life. Think of all of the repetitive actions you make that have a pre-set count to them.


Before I leave the house, I reach down, pull on a shoe, then sit back up, then I reach down, pull on a shoe and sit back up, again. There is but one variable in the action, left side or right side, but the action remains the same and I know exactly how many times I need to do it. If I were coding putting on my shoes, I would most certainly use a For loop to do it. (Special note: that is not my shoe, I’m not that cool!)

Although the For loop is designed to rapidly punch through code, we will use it on a somewhat battery draining project today, a photo time lapse.

Before we start this, let me remind you that Tasker has a method within the Profiles that allows you to trigger a Task over and over again based on time, which would be a little gentler on your battery, but we’re learning here, so let’s use the For loop.

Begin a new Tasker Task, name it appropriately, I’ll call mine “ForLoopse“.

Tap the “+” to add your first action.

Tasker time lapse For loop Task

Choose Task.

Choose For.

We must now decide how we want to handle this project, specifically, how many photos do you want to take in your time lapse. I shall start with 10, just for learning purposes – in the real world, you may end up taking hundreds, even thousands of images to get a quality time lapse of any length. Don’t worry about that too much though, I will show you a better option next week.

So, under Variable, enter a new local variable name, for ease I’ll call mine “%items“.

Now, in the Items section, fill in the parameters for which your For loop should run. I have entered “1:10” meaning that my loop will run ten times, each time it will add 1 to the value of %items, beginning at 1 and running through to 10. I’ll explain more later.

Hit the system Back button to save and exit the For configuration.

Now we take the picture. Tap the “+” button to add another action.

I’ll make this quick, since we’ve seen it a few times already: Media -> Take Photo. Set all the settings just the way you like them, except Filename, I’ll cover that next. Also, keep in mind that you will be taking ten, or hundreds of images here, and that if you plan to compile them into an animated GIF, you probably won’t need them at full resolution. Consider your desired output size and set the Resolution appropriate for that. I’m staying fairly large at 1280×720, which I will crop down for the final animation.

Now, under Filename, I want to use the %item variable to keep track of the photos. This also shows how the variable works. So, my Filename is as follows: “TimeLapse_photo%items“. Remember that the For loop will change the value of %items each time it runs, so this will properly number my photos for me for organizing later.

Tasker time lapse For loop camera Chronological

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

If we do nothing more than just finish off the loop at this time, it would run as fast as it can through the ten iterations, instead, we want to introduce a delay.

Tap the “+” button to add another action.

Tasker time lapse For loop wait

Choose Task.

Choose Wait.

Enter an appropriate time between image captures. I will be watching the clouds, so a one minute interval should be more than enough. Keep in mind that your device will require 2-3 seconds to actually take each photo through Tasker, so I recommend going no less than 5 seconds here.

Also, the length of time your device will now be busy can be determined by simply multiplying your number of times looping by the time in between each loop. Mine is ten loops, at one minute each, for a total of ten minutes of device usage. Obviously I am not using my main device for this project.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

Finally, we must assign a termination for the For loop.

Tap the “+” button to add your next action.

Tasker time lapse For loop end For

Choose Tasks.

Choose End For.

All finished, you can hit the system Back button to save and exit all the way out of Tasker.

There you have it, your device is ready to start taking a succession of photos that you can compile into an animated GIF, or whatever you have in mind for it.

Tasker time lapse For loop Task full

What’s next

Let’s remind ourselves some of the intricacies of animated images. First, you will need a good amount of images to make a smooth animation. That movie you watched the other day likely ran at about 24 or 29 frames per second. Of course, when recording, it would have had to capture at least 24 images each second to make this work.

We are capturing one image every 5+ seconds, thus, real time action is not entirely possible with today’s project. Don’t fret, I will show you a better option next week, oh, and I thought you just came here to learn the For loop anyway. Back to the animation, you can see that I put mine together at five frames per second, giving you a decent 2 second look out my front deck. You are seeing Mt. Hood there, if you were interested.

Tasker For Loop time lapse animation

Deer animationIf you are unsure how to compile your images into an animation, you can try uploading them to Google+, if the AutoAwesome tools do not do it for you automatically, you should be able to force it on your Android device. From there, I used the free and open source image editor GIMP. Simply drop the individual files into GIMP as layers, first image at the bottom, last image at the top, and save as a gif. Super simple.

Finally, I did not at all cover how to trigger your time lapse capturing For loop today. Can I leave it to you to create a Tasker Task widget on your homescreen, or create a Profile using Pushbullet to trigger the capture remotely? Or, maybe you want a Profile that triggers at a certain time of the day? I think you can handle this.

Tasker time lapse For loop widget files

Next week

Coding 101 was fun in today’s Android customization post. I hope you get that a time lapse is not a great use for the For loop tool, instead, I suspect you’ll likely use it for variable manipulation within a larger project. If you are still interested in creating a time lapse, and really want to step it up, I invite you to join me next week as I show off one of the best time lapse tools I have ever experienced on an Android device. No hints, sorry.

What is the best use of Tasker’s For loop that you can think of?


Here’s a neat trick which lets you capture 50MP photos from your OnePlus One


The OnePlus One is a pretty stellar device for the cost that it’s available for. And a new camera mod lets users get even more out of the device with minimal work. Thanks to a bunch of keen developers over at the XDA Forums, the OnePlus One can now take 50-megapixel photos using image interpolation tech.

This was debuted in the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7a, so it’s a feature from Oppo’s proprietary Color OS ROM. These developers have simply ported the app to work with CyanogenMod 11S, thus making it compatible with the OnePlus One.

In addition to offering 50-megapixel photos, the camera app also comes with features like HDR video recording, slow-mo video, burst shot and a lot more. So if you own a OnePlus One and would like to get more out of your smartphone’s camera, head over to the link below for more details.

Source: XDA
Via: Phone Arena

Come comment on this article: Here’s a neat trick which lets you capture 50MP photos from your OnePlus One


Toshiba shows off three camera module prototypes for Project Ara

toshiba camera modules

Project Ara is inching closer to its commercial début in Puerto Rico later this year, so it is only natural that we begin to hear word of modules that third part developers have in mind for the build-it-yourself smartphone. Last week, Toshiba showed off some of its own reference design camera modules for Ara.

Toshiba discussed three swappable modules for Ara: a 2 megapixel front facing camera bar, as well as 5MP and 13MP rear camera options. The company will also be opening up its reference designs to third party developers, to bring a wider range of camera options, and other modules, to Project Ara.

“Also we took some of Toshiba technologies and our chips, and developed some module reference designs. We can open these designs out for everybody, so people can use it for their own technology and developing modules.”

The 5MP module fits in the standard 2×1 module size for Ara and comes with its own ISP chip to handle the processing, while the 2MP front facing bar contains an extra audio codec and can communicate with other processors through common I2S and I2C interface standards. Toshiba’s 13MP camera option is based on the company’s T4K82 mobile sensor, which allows for 30fps video recording at 4K and 2K resolutions and has 120fps 1080p recording capabilities.

Toshiba camera modules explained

In addition to these sensors, Toshiba also talked about its 8MP T4KA3 and 20MP T4KA7 products for mobile devices, both of which could also be worked into future camera module designs.

Here’s a quick video of the 5MP camera module being plugged in and used to capture video in real time.

These three camera modules are just the first stage in Toshiba’s plan for modular products. The company is also developing wireless charger, TransferJet, NFC and external memory reference designs for Project Ara this year, leading into an unspecified “unique module” in 2016.

Toshiba modular dev plan

Although still far from a finished product, Toshiba’s little range of camera sensor options are an exciting prospect for Project Ara and discriminating smartphone photographers alike.


Android customization – remote camera trigger with Android

Moto G Tasker Pushbullet remote camera Nexus 9

Last week on our Android customization series, we took a look at using voice commands to fire off the camera on your Android device. We then stepped it up a notch by using your Android Wear smartwatch to fire off that camera, using an app called Tasker Now.

This week, we would like to work with those that do not have an Android Wear powered smartwatch, instead, we’ll use another Android device, or a PC, to remotely fire that camera.

Before we get started

Get it on Google Play ButtonTo follow along today, you will need to have Tasker installed on your device. More than this, you will have to have followed last week’s tutorial on building a Tasker Task to take a photo. Tasker is $2.99 in the Google Play Store.

Get it on Google Play ButtonYou will also require Pushbullet today. Pushbullet is free in the Google Play Store and can be used for so much more than just the project we have in mind today. For example, you could subscribe to our Pushbullet channel for this Android customization series, you will be notified of all future posts in this series.

You will require two Android devices for this project to work, or an Android device and another phone, tablet or PC that can run Pushbullet or send SMS. Lastly, our approach today requires a data connection or otherwise connection to the internet or a cellular service to proceed.

A quick side note, we were corrected by reader MarcoS on the abilities of Tasker Now. We said that it only works as a Tasker Plugin, but it also operates as a Google Now extension (hence the name, Tasker Now.) Thanks MarcoS.

Remotely trigger your Android camera with another Android device

First things first, you will need to head back to last week’s Android customization post to create a Tasker Task that fires the camera on your Android device. Just build the “QualityPhoto” Task.

With the Camera Task in place, we will now build a Tasker Profile to fire off said camera action. Before we dive into Tasker again, you will need to make sure that Pushbullet is installed and granted permissions on your device. It’s a good think we recently looked at how to do that as well, check it out and head on back here to continue.

Create a new Tasker Profile, name it something appropriate, I’ll call mine “PushCamReceiver“.

Tasker Task Pushbullet camera receiver

Select Event.

Select Plugin.

Select Pushbullet.

Tap the pencil icon to configure.

In the If I receive field, choose Note.

Enter your preferred text to trigger the action in the containing the text field. I’ll put “take the picture“. Please note, this is case sensitive, you will need to match it later.

Select From myself, unless you want to open this up to friends.

Then, I recommend choosing to dismiss the push.

Tap the Done button in the top right to save and exit the Pushbullet Plugin setup.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit the Profile.

Choose your camera Task, if you recall, I had named mine “QualityPhoto“.

Tasker Profile Pushbullet camera receiver

That was a lot of steps, but I hope you are pleasantly surprised that the hard part is over. You may exit Tasker and even turn off this Android device, we are done here, for now.

Now, we need to head to your other Android device, or other phone, tablet or PC on which Pushbullet is up and running. A PC is easy, there are extensions to browsers, but you can just use the web interface if you wish.

Pushbullet website Note

In Pushbullet on the other devices, simply send yourself a message. Remember, you want to send a Note with the text you established in the Tasker Profile configuration. Hit that send button, sit back and enjoy the magic.

Create a button to fire off the Pushbullet Note

The above was pretty slick, but a little inconvenient to do each time, especially if you are trying to use your Android device to take a group photo. Perhaps a single click button on your secondary Android device would speed things up?

On a secondary Android device, create a new Tasker Task, name it appropriately, how about “CameraPush“.

Tasker Task Pushbullet camera command

Tap the “+” button to add an action.

Choose Plugin.

Choose Pushbullet.

Tap the pencil icon to configure.

Choose the Pushbullet device that is houses your camera, that’s the one that you setup the “PushCamReceiver” Profile above.

Enter a title, whatever you want.

Now, enter the text that you assigned to trigger your camera. Once again, I had used the phrase “take the picture“. It is still case sensitive.

Tap the check mark in the top right to save, then tap the system Back button to save again and exit back to the Task screen.

Head to the bottom right corner and assign an icon to the Task.

Hit that system Back button again and again to save and exit right out of Tasker.

Now, how to trigger this new Tasker Task? Why, a widget, of course.

Create a Tasker Task widget

Find an empty space on your Homescreen and follow your device’s procedure to add a widget. That is likely going to be a long press on the location you want the widget, but you may need to head into your application drawer on your device.

Tasker Task Widget Pushbullet camera

Once you are able to choose your widget, select the Tasker Task 1×1 widget.

Now, choose your Pushbullet Task as set above. I had named mine “CameraPush” (but I changed it to “N9camPush” as you see in the screenshot, I have more than one device I use this with.)

If you ignored me above and skipped placing an icon, you will need to do that now.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

Great news, you did it! You now have a button on your Homescreen, and with one tap, your other device will take a photo.

Go ahead and give it a try.

You will find that it even works with the receiving device’s display turned off. No better way to save battery on a long photo shoot.

Android camera Remote Photo capture

Did you want that display to turn on for you while it shoots? Head way back to our Android customization posts on using the Secure Settings Plugin to Tasker and the display timeout settings with Tasker. Between the two, you should be able to turn on the display, then force it to turn back off when the picture has been taken.

I don’t like Pushbullet, what else is there?

I want to just briefly touch on a few other approaches, as they are functional, but not very effective, especially if you do not have unlimited SMS on your cell plan.

The idea is straightforward, in place of Pushbullet, create a Tasker Profile that accepts incoming SMS messages, again looking for the keywords to trigger the camera. We basically did this same project as a security cam back in January, check it out for instruction on this one too. The steps are the same, just choose your new “QualityPhoto” Task in place of your old Security Cam Task.

Tasker Intruder Security Front Cam

If you are thinking that SMS works, but isn’t the solution for you, you could try approaching this a few different ways. But the truth is, there is really nothing else that is easy to work with. For example, you could use Tasker with the FolderSync Plugin or a compatible to-do list app, creating a Task on one Android device that creates a to-do entry or small text file, waiting for either service to sync across devices to have the receiver device identify the list item or file and trigger the camera. If that sounds complicated and convoluted, that’s because it is.

What if I don’t have a data connection? I was afraid you might ask this, well, I certainly will not touch this today, but you could, theoretically, establish a trusted Bluetooth relationship between your devices. Upon receipt of a file transfer, for example, over Bluetooth, you could then have Tasker fire the camera. Once again, this is not ideal, and would require a folder watch in Tasker, but it would work. Head on down to the comments below if you have other suggestions, especially one that allows you to control Tasker over Bluetooth.

What’s next

Let’s see, you’ve now got Pushbullet on one device sending a Note over to the second device. The second device fires off the camera to take a photo. I hope you set the device up so that you didn’t just take a closeup photo of the surface that device is sitting on.

Android and a Canon DSLR

What about my WiFi equipped DLSR camera?

If you are one of the few that have such a device, there is a good chance that you already know of the accompanying Android apps available in the Google Play Store for most brands of DSLR cameras. For example, Canon has an app that will let you control most aspects of a few of their cameras. EOS Remote is free in the Google Play Store. As is Nikon’s WirelessMobileUtility, Panasonic’s LUMIX remote and more. Perform a quick search in the Play Store for your camera brand to see if something pops up.

Next week

After taking a single photo, remotely triggered by another Android device, in this week’s Android customization post, let’s dial things back a little, but still play with the camera. I want to use Tasker to take a succession of photos that can be turned into a timelapse animation. We won’t actually create an animation next week, our purpose is to learn the For Loop tools in Tasker, coding 101 stuff.

What do you say, will you try using your Android phone to remotely fire the camera on your Android tablet?


5 of the best camera apps for the Nexus 6

Today, many people only own one camera and they always keep it in their pocket. It is their smartphone. This has caused phone manufacturers to constantly improve the cameras and camera software on their phones with each new generation, and developers focus on making camera apps that improve photo quality and add features to make smartphone cameras as useful as possible. Motorola put a great 13 megapixel camera in the Nexus 6, and today we are looking at the 5 best camera apps you can get on the Nexus 6.

A Better Camera

A Better Camera interface

A Better Camera brings several great features to the Nexus 6 that other apps do not. It also takes advantage of Lollipop’s Camera2 API, but you do not have to be running Lollipop to download this app. A Better Camera offers both HDR photos and HDR video; however, the latter is not working on the Nexus 6 but is coming with the next update. Multishot allows you to take a group picture and choose the best face for each person, take a sequence shot, and remove unwanted objects from a picture. Preshot takes pictures before you press the shutter button to ensure you will not miss the shot. Best shot takes several pictures and automatically chooses the best one and deletes the rest. A Better Camera also includes a Burst mode and Night mode plus many other modes and options to fine tune your photo. For more experienced photographers, it also includes exposure bracketing, a live histogram, and the option to shoot in RAW. Of course, A Better Camera is not without its flaws. You cannot shoot video in 4K resolution, the time-lapse feature is not available in the Nexus 6, and the interface is not as appealing as other apps on this list. A Better Camera is free in the Play Store, but there are in app purchases that unlock other feature that some might find useful which can be purchased these individually or buy them all for $7.99.

Camera FV-5

Camera FV-5 interface

Camera FV-5 is an app that gives you almost full manual control over your phone’s camera, but it also has some other goodies baked in. You have the option to adjust shutter speed, ISO, focus distace, and white balance. For those looking for a more professional experience will be glad to see the inclusion of light metering, exposure bracketing, and a live RGB histogram. One of the coolest features in Camera FV-5 is the ability to assign a camera function to the volume keys. In other apps, you can use the volume keys to take a picture, but in this app you can use them to control different setting in the camera. You can assign you most used setting, such as shutter speed, to the volume keys to that you can raise or lower it by simply pressing the buttons. Another feature that some will find appealing is the option to do a time-lapse. While Camera FV-5 has some great features, it also has its downsides. While there is a video camera icon in the app, video recording is not available. Touching the icon will simlpy give you the option to install a separate video app. Also, the Lite version will only take pictures up to 640×480 resolution. To unlock higher resolutions, you have to buy the Pro version. Camera FV-5 has the ability to shoot in RAW, but the Pro version is also required for that. It is also not the most visually appealing camera app out there. However, if you want a plethora of options and are up for shelling out a few bucks, you can pick up Camera FV-5 Lite free and Camera FV-5 Pro for $3.95 in the Play Store.

Google Camera


Google Camera is the stock camera app that comes preloaded on the Nexus 6, but that does not mean that it is bad. Google Camera has several cool features that you simply will not find on the other apps in our list. One is Lens Blur which allows you to blur the background around an object in the center of the photo. Photo Sphere is another feature that allows you to take a full 360-degree photo in the shape of a sphere. Google Camera also has one of the best panorama modes out there. It gives you the option to shoot video in 4K resolution and take HDR pictures. The shutter is extremely fast with almost no time between touching the shutter button and taking a picture. While Google Camera has several great features, it is also missing many features that other camera apps include such as control over white balance, shutter speed, ISO, burst mode, scene modes, and full camera control. If you are looking for an easy to use, beautiful camera app that just works, you do not need to look further than Google Camera which you can get free in the Play Store.

L Camera

L Camera interface

L Camera is different from the other camera apps on this list because it is not available on the Play Store. You have to download the APK from their website and install it from there. Also, L Camera is an experimental app that demonstrates and tests the new features in Lollipop’s Camera 2 API which means you have to be running Lollipop to use it. With L Camera, you are given the option for manual control over focus distance, shutter speed, and ISO. You can take pictures in RAW format and record in 4K which are both useful options. You also have the option to record video at 60fps in 1080p. One of the most appealing features of L Camera is its use of Material Design. The app looks amazing and takes Google’s new design language into account with every detail. Since this app is experimental, there are several functions that are simply not there. You do not have the option to control white balance, there is no photo review, there is no flash control, and no portrait orientation. Since the developers are constantly working to sort out every bug and bring new features to the app, it will definitely be updated to include more options. Unfortunately since it is not on the Play Store, you will have to go check their website periodically to check for new updates. All that being said, L Camera is still a fantastic looking and operating camera app that takes full advantage of the Camera2 API even though it may be lacking some features. You can get L Camera free from their website.

Manual Camera

Manual Camera interface

Manual Camera is currently my favorite camera app out there. This app takes advantage of Android Lollipop’s new Camera2 API which causes photos to look even better. The best part about Manual Camera is that it give you full manual control over your camera’s settings. You can control exposure, shutter speed, ISO, focus distance, and white balance. White balance is not working on the Nexus 6, but that should be fixed in a later update. You are also given the ability to capture pictures in RAW format which many will find extremely useful. On of the best features of this application is the selection wheel. When you choose a setting you want to change such as shutter speed or focus distance, you can change them by rotating a wheel in the bottom right. This is extremely well implemented and makes the app fun and easy to use. Overall, the app looks and functions very well, but there are some downfalls. As I mentioned, white balance is not working yet on the Nexus 6. Also, there is no video mode so you will need a separate video app if you want to record any. The app also requires Lollipop and, according to the description, only the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 work well with this app. That being said, if you are using the Nexus 6 and want full control over your camera and a great looking camera app, you should pick up Manual Camera for $2.99 in the Play Store.

These 5 camera apps give you the best control of your new Nexus 6’s camera and several take advantage of the new Camera2 API that was introduced with Lollipop. Give one or all of them a try and leave a comment telling us your favorite one. If we missed your favorite camera app, tell us down below in the comments, too!

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Android customization – voice activated camera control using Tasker and an Android Wear smartwatch

Tasker Task voice controlled remote camera trigger

Last week on our Android customization series we rounded up a handful of apps that not only push your SMS from your Android device over to your PC or tablet, but allow you to respond to messages as well. Sending and receiving SMS without having to pull your phone out of your pocket is pretty slick, let’s see what else can be done remotely.

Today, we would like to begin a multi-week project, the goal is to learn more about using Tasker, Pushbullet, a new app called Tasker Now for Android Wear and more, and we will be doing so by creating voice controlled and remote camera controls between two Android devices, between your Android device and Android Wear device and between your Android device and a PC. It sounds like a lot, but it will be worth it, if only to learn more about using the services.

We’ll start with some of the ground work today, let’s look at building the Tasker Task to fire the camera, another Task to accept voice command, then we’ll look at the new app Tasker Now that runs on your Android Wear smartwatch.

Before we begin

Get it on Google Play ButtonTo follow along today you will require a copy of both Tasker and Tasker Now installed on your devices. Tasker is $2.99 in the Google Play Store, but if you’ve been following along previous Android customization posts, you already know that.

Get it on Google Play ButtonTasker Now is an Android Wear app, it is free in the Google Play Store, but has a $1.19 in-app upgrade to a pro version that unlocks more than just the most basic of functionality. Sorry to say, you are probably going to need the pro version to follow along today.

Use Tasker to take a photo

We took a look at using Tasker to take a photo in a previous tutorial, at that time we focused on discreetly using the front camera to capture an image of any person accessing your device without your permission. To take a full quality photo from the rear camera is very similar in procedure, just a few differing settings.

Create your new Tasker Task to take a photo, I called mine “QualityPhoto.”

Tasker Task take photo

Tap the “+” button to add an action.

Select Media.

Select Take Photo.

Leave it set to Rear.

Add a base Filename, I’ll put “TaskerPhoto.”

I like to change Naming Sequence to Chronological, but you can choose another option if you wish.

The above two settings will result in a file name in the format “TaskerPhotoFeb4_2015_160255.jpg.” It will be a little different than that, but it will take your base Filename and append the date and time down to the second.

It is up to you if you would like to leave Insert in Gallery turned on, I will.

I will leave Discreet turned off, meaning the screen will display the photo as it is being taken.

Change Resolution to the quality you desire, I want mine as high quality as possible. Tap the magnifying glass icon on the right hand side, choose your photo resolution. My camera is only capable of 3280×2460, but that should be good enough for most needs.

I recommend leaving the remaining settings on Auto. We can always come back here later to edit the settings if the photos just are not working out.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit. That is all for this Task, feel free to hit the play button to see how things work, or just tap that system Back button again to save and close the Task.

Create voice command input

We are going to do a few things in this Tasker Task. First, we will collect voice input, next we will validate the input and either halt the Task or proceed if the right words are spoken. Finally, we’ll need to trigger the “QualityPhoto” Task created above. Let’s do it.

Start a new Task, name it concisely and uniquely, I’ll call mine “VoicePhoto.”

Tasker Task get voice

Tap the “+” button to add your first action.

Choose Input.

Choose Get Voice.

The default settings are just fine, tap that system Back button to save and exit.

Tasker Task Stop If voice cheese

Tap “+” for the next action.

Choose Task.

Choose Stop.

Tap the + button beside If.

Enter %VOICE in the first field, or tap the label icon to find Voice Results from the long list of available variables.

Tap the center comparison button and choose Doesn’t Match. It will change the text on the button itself to “!~”.

In the right hand text field, enter the word or phrase that you would use to trigger the photo capture. I’ll keep it simple, I am entering the word “cheese“.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

Tasker Task Perform Task

Tap the “+” button one last time.

Choose Task.

Choose Perform Task.

Tap the magnifying glass icon to the right of the Name field.

Choose your photo capture Task, mine was called “QualityPhoto.”

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

One last thing before we call this Task complete, tap the icon button in the very bottom right of the screen to add an icon to this Task. You can skip this if you wish, it will ask you to input one later if you try to use the Task as a widget.

Tasker Task Voice Photo project

That’s it for the creation process. I highly recommend testing things out before you move on, just in case. If things don’t seem to be working, try adding an Alert->Flash after the initial Get Voice above, put %VOICE as the popup message. This will show you what the microphone is picking up. Chances are, it will be a collecting the word “cheese” in lower case, and failing to match if you entered the Task->Stop validation as a capitalized “Cheese”.

You could now consider placing the VoicePhoto Task as a Widget on your Homescreen. This gives you one tap access to the voice command controlled photo capture. If you are thinking that this is a little silly aside from testing purposes, don’t worry, our next step is to create realistic and functional triggers.

Tasker Now

Tasker Now is a newer Android app designed for your Android Wear powered devices. Specifically, you’ll do best to run it on a smartwatch. The app serves just one purpose, to collect your voice input from your Android Wear device and fire it over to your connected Android phone or tablet to be interpreted by Tasker, which will fire off an action on your device.

Tasker Now screenshot

As you might imagine, this gives you the power to perform any Tasker command on your device all by a quick tap and talk into your smartwatch.

I don’t know about you, but if you’ve ever tried to use your Android device to take a group photo, and be in the photo yourself, having to tap the camera button and try to run to your position in frame within the 10 seconds it gives as a delay time, can be tough. Wouldn’t a remote shutter control be awesome? Of course it would.

Start a Tasker Profile to accept the Tasker Now input, call it something appropriate, like “TaskNowCamReceiver.”

Tasker Profile Tasker Now

Choose Event.

Choose Plugin.

Choose Tasker Now.

Tap the pencil icon to configure the input.

Enter your statement to be matched. In the free version you will only be able to enter a 4 character phrase, and it will be locked to requiring an Exact Match. Pro users can input a full text string, more important, they can choose from a handful of Matching rules, including searching the collected voice input for one specific word, an exact match, starting words, ending words and more.

I have entered “take the picture” and stuck with the Exact match rule.

Tap the Done button in the top right to save and exit.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit out of the Profile editor.

Now, you do not want to choose your voice input Task created above, that would just make you have to talk again. Instead, choose your “QualityPhoto” Task.

Go ahead and give it a try now.

Tasker Now Speak screenshot

What’s next

We created a Task to take a picture, it should work pretty good by default, but I do urge you to head back into the Task itself and play with the settings, you can control the flash, scene mode and more. Find the right combination for your device and environment.

From there, if you find that the photos are not in focus, try heading into Tasker’s main Preferences settings menu, in the Action tab you’ll find a Camera Delay setting. The value is set in seconds. Newer devices work just fine at as low as 1 second, but older devices may need 3 or 4 to gain focus before the photo snaps.

Tasker Preferences Camera Delay

We also created a Task that accepts voice input, validates it, and fires off the above picture taking Task. This was a great exercise, but I will fully admit that it serves little purpose when run on the same device as the photo taking Task. I am hoping you can think of other things, besides a Christmas count down timer, to use this voice input procedure.

Finally, we needed an effective way to trigger the camera taking Task from a distance, so we used the Android Wear app called Tasker Now. But what if you do not have an Android powered smartwatch? No worries folks, we’ll get you hooked up next week.

Next week

Android Wear users may be all ready to roll after today’s Android customization post. Next week we’ll explore methods to fire off the camera remotely without the need for a smartwatch. I’ll give you a little hint, Pushbullet will be on the list.

Aside from selfies and group photos, how will you use a remote trigger to take photos on your Android device?


Olympus Air wireless lens camera pairs with your smartphone


Remember Sony’s attachable camera lenses for smartphones – the QX1 and QX30 – from last year? Well, Olympus, which is partially owned by Sony, has its own take on the wireless camera attachment formula, with its newly announced Olympus Air A01.

As far as camera specs go, the Olympus Air features a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor and can be used with any Micro Four Third lens. The Air can capture fast moving subjects with its 1/16000 ultra-high-speed shutter, allows for continuous shooting of up to 10 frames per second, and there is a three times digital zoom thrown in for extra flexibility. The camera is also capable of taking up to 320 pictures on a single charge of its battery and weighs a reasonable 147g. But the real talking point is that you can partner the lens up with your smartphone to frame, edit and store your shots.

olympus air press

The camera supports both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity when pairing up with a smartphone, and comes with an app to help setup communications and transfer pictures between the two.

The Olympus Air already works with a series of apps, such as one designed to replicate a physical camera mode dial, capture shots using 14 art filters or 9 different effects, or simply trimming down your snaps. The company is also keeping the Air as an open-platform, allowing third-party developers to come up with their own apps for the device.

The Olympus Air has only been announced for release in Japan so far and will go on sale on March 6th. The retail price is around ¥33,800 ($290) and can also be grabbed with a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens bundle for ¥49,800 ($425).


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