Nexus 4 camera: In depth first-impression

News Basil Kronfli 12:13, 22 Nov 2012

Before we tell you what we think of the Nexus 4, we're going to tell you what we think of its snapper and Google's brand spanking new camera UI

The Nexus 4 by LG, Google's first Nexus device to offer a camera sensor and lens worth shouting about. We haven't finished our review of the phone, but we couldn't resist giving you a glimpse into what the camera has to offer. Yes, there's a tasty 8-megapixel sensor serving a wide open f/2.4 aperture and yes it's good, but more importantly than hardware alone, Google has also updated the imaging capabilities of stock Android 4.2 operating system. Now with a new camera UI and photo editor, it's quite simply a revelation.

This will be a photo heavy whizz through what you can expect - none of the images are clickable though, so keep your eyes peeled for the full review where you'll find downloadable full-res samples.


Google Nexus 4 camera: User interface

The Android 4.2 camera UI has been revised to look infinitely simpler than any camera interface out there. There are just three icons on-screen on the right, up top is the settings button, below it is the shutter release and on the bottom right is the where you can choose your shooting mode.

Simple it may seem, but a quick tap of the settings icon in the top right and you'll soon see, it's far more comprehensive than it makes out.

What makes it all come together even better is the long press integration. Naturally, the Nexus 4 and Jelly Bean 4.2 incorporates touch to focus, though it takes it all one step further with a long press pulling up settings. Keeping the thumb held down, a simple slide over a settings icon can quickly make image adjustments on the go, creating a camera experience that's easy to work with both one or two-handed.

Google Nexus 4 camera: Photo quality

We're not going to be too in depth in terms of camera quality, you'll have to wait for the review. We will however give you a preliminary word of reassurance, this is a good camera phone. In fact, for less than £300, it's the best camera phone money can buy. Shooting is quick, results look great previewed on screen, print out well and can be cropped into a fair bit. These are bite-sized samples, you can expect a full-sized opinion in our upcoming review.

Google Nexus 4 camera: Panorama and Photosphere

There's a brand new panorama mode in Android 4.2 called Photoshpere. It's Google Street View you can make your self and it totally won us over. You can see our efforts below of both this, and the traditional sweep Panorama which was introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich.


Google Nexus 4 camera: HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Who doesn't love a bit of HDR? We certainly do and thanks to the Google Nexus 4's HDR mode, we're able to pull detail and tonal ranges out where other cameras blow out skies and black blob shadows. What's great about the Nexus 4's implementation is that you don't need to keep your hand dead-steady. It manages to take care of ghosting extremely well. We've laid out a few side by sides for you below to give you an idea of just what a difference it makes.


Google Nexus 4 camera: Photo editor

Google's always kept Android's internal photo editor very simple. Cropping, rotating and resizing was pretty much the extent of it, so you can imagine our surprise when we tapped into the mind blowing wealth of editing options available in the Nexus 4. Filters, brightness, contrast, curves, saturation - and that's just scratching the surface. Hands down the best native OS photo editor we've ever used, you'll be hard pressed to find anything more comprehensive on the Google Play Store for phones. Check out our before and after pictures:

Loving the results? We had a field day snapping away. The Nexus 4 is easily one of the most enjoyable cameras to take pictures on, but how do the up-close results look? We'll let you know in our full review.



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