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October 14, 2017

Pixel 2 camera app available for all, Motion Photos and other features working for some

by John_A

You can now download the Pixel 2’s camera app ahead of the phone’s official release, but there’s a lot you should know before making the plunge.

There’s a lot of excitement still brewing for Google’s Pixel 2, and the official launcher that debuted on the phone was just recently made available as an APK download for everyone to check out on their current devices. Shortly after that release, the camera app for the Pixel 2 has seen similar treatment, and there’s a lot to talk about with this one.

The app was once again ported by Android Police, and while there’s plenty that’s different compared to the current Google Camera app on the Play Store, not all of the changes are noticeable right off the bat.

google-pixel-2-xl-white-hands-on-4.jpg?i

Starting first with the app’s interface. the top controls have been spaced apart and moved closer towards the top of the screen, whereas the bottom capture controls have remained mostly unchanged. Tapping on the hamburger menu icon to view your different shooting modes reveals the same set of controls, but the Lens Blur option now features a flower icon rather than a camera lens (likely to better indicate that the mode is to be used for close-up shots).

Google-Camera-4-4_0.jpg?itok=c4ey4DOeGoogle-Camera-5-1_0.jpg?itok=4neQj8cLGoogle-Camera-4-4-Shooting%20Modes_0.jpgGoogle-Camera-5-1-Shooting%20Modes_0.jpg

Google Camera 4.4 (left), Google Camera 5.1 (right)

Opening the settings page, you’ll see that Google has done away with the dark upper bar with white text and replaced it with a white background and blue text. This helps to keep the look of the settings in-line with the white and blue design found throughout other parts of the Pixel Launcher and Android 8.0, and along with this, the placement of certain items has been switched around.

Google-Camera-4-4-Settings_0.png?itok=BgGoogle-Camera-5-1-Settings_0.png?itok=-Z

Google Camera 4.4 (left), Google Camera 5.1 (right)

In regards to new features, there are actually quite a few. Motion Photos (Google’s version of Apple’s Live Photos) was spotted working on the 5.0 version of the app, but in the 5.1 variant that I downloaded, the feature is nowhere to be found. It should still work if you download the 5.0 version of the Camera app on a first-generation Pixel or Pixel XL, but if you have another device or download the 5.1 file, you’re out of luck.

Google-Camera-5-1-AF-AE-Lock_0.jpg?itok=Google-Camera-5-1-Flash-Warning_0.jpg?it

Google’s also updated the UI for adjusting your auto-focus and auto-exposure so that it’s much easier to lock your focus and exposure in place once you’ve got it set at the desired level. This is something that you could previously do with older versions of the app, but it’s now much more visible to users. Along with this, there’s an updated interface for viewing photos/videos that you’ve captured, “face retouching” for selfies, an improved version of HDR+ called “HDR+ enhanced”, and a warning on the screen when flash is turned on.

Unfortunately, the breakdown for who gets which features is quite confusing at the moment. Downloading the camera app on a Pixel or Pixel XL will provide you with certain features that other users won’t have access to, the 5.0 and 5.1 versions of the app are also tweaked with what’s available and what isn’t, and downloading 5.0 on a Pixel will give you different features than what you’ll see on 5.1.

We understand the want to rip your hair out, but this sort of thing is to be expected with ported versions of applications. They’re fun to mess with, but complications are to be expected.

If you still want to give this a shot, you can download the 5.0 APK file here, and the updated 5.1 version here.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL hands-on preview
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

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