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Best Camera App and OS For Semi-Professional Photos


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So I have an original Pro 1 and have been using it more and more. I'm trying to figure out what the best camera app that is out there that is stable for taking good photos. Ill be using this camera for taking photos on eBay to sell items, and i want to make sure that it will work for my needs before i make the full switch and get rid of my old phone. I need the shutter button to work with the focus with the two touch process as well. 

 

What OS have you guys found to be the most stable when it comes to the camera as well. 

 

Thanks

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To my recollection close-range-focus was never an issue. Nor did stability have anything to do with the OS (in case of the Pro1). As of this moment I use the stock camera app (LOS 18.1) for point and shoot, Open Camera for Panorama mode and CameraZoom FX for manual mode. All three suck ass when it comes to infinity mode zoom. But I'm pretty sure that's somethin FxTec has to fix (probably with money to pay for a better algorithm or API-like interface with the OS/camera app).

CameraZoom FX works when I'm not in a hurry. Manual shutter, ISO, focus and brightness is a a pain in the a*. But apart from limited focus, it works. It's a shame really. Without proper lighting you don't even come close to pictures taken with a Sony Z3c or Galaxy Edge 6+.

This question has been asked numerous times in the passed year. I think most of us have just given up hope. I'm using CameraZoom FX becuase I bought it back in 2012 to "upgrade" my Milestone 😅. I installed it on the Pro1 out of frustration (after years of not using it). Funny how it seems to work (so far).

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I'm still on LineageOS 16 (without Gapps). As the kernel and (I think) the camera driver are always the same, I wonder whether the OS makes any difference, though.

I restrict myself to FOSS apps as far as possible. Of those, I found OpenCamera to work best with the double-action shutter button.

That said, and even after a few months of training, I am still not as confident with the shutter button than I was with the one of my old phone (N900). Many pictures still come out defocused when I use the hardware shutter button. I'm not sure if its the mechanics of the button, software issues, or both, that are causing my troubles. I am improving with training though, and definitely have made quite a number of decent pictures already. I found that leaving the camera in fully-automatic mode almost never yields optimum quality. For best results, I at least set the scene mode manually, and sometimes have to use things like exposure lock, or relative exposure correction. That need for manual fiddling sometimes leaves me jealous of people who just point-and-shoot with their (cheaper) phones and still get acceptable results.  

All in all, I do feel that the camera is a weak point of the Pro1. If your life revolves around taking pictures with your phone, you will most probably find much better devices (albeit without keyboards). Whether any phone camera qualifies as "semi-professional" is of course debatable in itself ...

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So this is a picture of a 2.5 inch tall Hello Kitty figure.
This picture was taken with the Pro1 using Camera PX version 7.2.014.278150624
It was placed on a table with light from a $14 IKEA floor lamp - one of those ones that has a big light at the open top and a gooseneck arm.
The gooseneck arm light was pointed at the object.

The photo is unretouched.

Also keep in mind that this is a low-res photo that I took using Microsoft's Snipping tool.

Selling your stuff is all about composition and lighting.
My phone takes aMAZING pictures. All the time.

Don't blame the phone because we have the same one.

On 1/29/2021 at 6:43 PM, RagingSkittlez said:

I'm trying to figure out what the best camera app that is out there that is stable for taking good photos. Ill be using this camera for taking photos on eBay to sell items,

 

image.thumb.png.c409c2b8e052a8b189ae8e7c3810b7fa.png

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9 hours ago, sequestris said:

My phone takes aMAZING pictures. All the time.

I believe that, in trying to speak in favour of the Pro1, you actually showcase some of the problems of its camera.

What is that triangular blurry shade at the top of your picture? That looks unphysical to me, especially as, within that shade, there is again a brighter halo around the top-central red ribbon in the background. A similar bright halo is visible around the ribbon at the bottom, which actually lies within the hard shadow of the figure.

The Pro1's camera has been reported to generate such artifacts under some circumstances (in HDR mode at least, see this thread). Not sure if these are problems of the hardware, Camera API, or of the apps -- but it is certainly not what I expect from a good camera.

Edited by claude0001
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1 hour ago, claude0001 said:

The Pro1's camera has been reported to generate such artifacts under some circumstances (in HDR mode at least, see this thread). Not sure if these are problems of the hardware, Camera API, or of the apps -- but it is certainly not what I expect from a good camera.

1) It is not the camera.... The HDR in the build in app works, as well as pictures in both high and low lights.
2) BUT they do not seem to adhere correctly with the "Camera2 API" protocol, so IF a third party app tries to access the camera through that, stitching images to get HDR, the app will not output the correct result.

I have tried to report this several times, (until now without it resulting in a fix), it is clearly a pure software issue of not adhering to the Camera2 API protocol, and NOT a hardware issue, and will affect third party apps only. I see it with "Open Camera".

(BTW a shadow like at the top  is quite normal with multiple light sources)

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46 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

BTW a shadow like at the top  is quite normal with multiple light sources

Multiple light sources cannot explain the bright halos around dark(er) features. That is a signature of "overprocessing" of the picture. Probably overshooting in the contrast or sharpness enhancement algorithms.

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29 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

Multiple light sources cannot explain the bright halos around dark(er) features. That is a signature of "overprocessing" of the picture. Probably overshooting in the contrast or sharpness enhancement algorithms.

I'm not seeing that in the above image.... Edit: see below
It is an image with (at the least) two light source roughly in the direction from the top right and top left corner. Where neither cover we see a darker triangular area.
The sources are carefully placed so no area of the background are lit directly from both sources (the point of the darker triangle reaches the object).
Had the object been moved down, a washed out area over could be expected, and if moved up, part of it would be ill lit.
Below the figure we have a shadow as the area is not lit from either of the two.
And again the image is composed so this shadow does not end in the picture frame (if it did we would have had a double lit triangle under the shadow()

ADD: It would have been more obvious (and slightly psychedelic) if two differently coloured spots had been used.

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2 hours ago, claude0001 said:

I believe that, in trying to speak in favour of the Pro1, you actually showcase some of the problems of its camera.

What is that triangular blurry shade at the top of your picture? That looks unphysical to me, especially as, within that shade, there is again a brighter halo around the top-central red ribbon in the background. A similar bright halo is visible around the ribbon at the bottom, which actually lies within the hard shadow of the figure.

The Pro1's camera has been reported to generate such artifacts under some circumstances (in HDR mode at least, see this thread). Not sure if these are problems of the hardware, Camera API, or of the apps -- but it is certainly not what I expect from a good camera.

The triangle blurry shade is a shadow.

There is a piece of card stock (the Kitty heads and colored bows) sitting on top of my table (which is covered with cricut vinyl and is likely dirty - the speckled parts on the upper left are probably glue residue. It's my craft table).

Here is a link to the full size photo
https://photos.app.goo.gl/viNoRxng8V5xQD4x7

But the point was, this is a point and shoot photo.
If I were to sell this, I would have used light source from the front to prevent shadow and bleed.
The main thing I wanted to demonstrate is that this is a 2.5 inch figure and the photographic detailing looks really good to me.

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7 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

...And we are most likely back to the original mentioned issue of HDR with third party camera apps

 

I guess for me, I could have gotten a Samsung or iPhone (yuck) to get a stellar camera.
But then I wouldn't have the keyboard or the hands-on developers and a phone that won't be deprecated on the whims of my carrier.
I am happy with the pics. Are they the best? Not even close. Will they do? Yes. And I will keep trying to make it better.
Right now it's a matter of "I need to take this picture to remember this moment" rather than "I need to have a 5 star image"

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Has anyone already tried "Manual Cam (DSLR Camera Professional)"? Beside its name, it does have an automatic mode, too. It's been my personal favourite for some time now, on several phones.  

There are two versions, I think one needs payment...

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lensesdev.manual.camera.professional
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lensesdev.manual.camera.pro

 

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1 hour ago, sequestris said:

I guess for me, I could have gotten a Samsung or iPhone (yuck) to get a stellar camera.
But then I wouldn't have the keyboard or the hands-on developers and a phone that won't be deprecated on the whims of my carrier.
I am happy with the pics. Are they the best? Not even close. Will they do? Yes. And I will keep trying to make it better.
Right now it's a matter of "I need to take this picture to remember this moment" rather than "I need to have a 5 star image"

You are somewhat contradicting your enthusiastic post from above where you claimed that your Pro1 took "amazing pictures, all the time" ... 😉

But I can agree with your main point. The camera is not best-in-class, let alone "semi-professional". It works well enough for taking casual pictures, albeit having some bugs that I accept for the greater good of having a keyboard. If the Pro1's price tag was attached to a Samsung, I would expect a much better camera. However, that is an unfair comparison. The Pro1 is produced in very small volume, and the camera is clearly not its central feature.

I feel that, sometimes, I get misunderstood on this forum when honestly pointing out that the Pro1 is not perfect, but -- unsurprisingly for a niche product -- has a number of smaller bugs (screen tint, wifi signal, camera, ...). So just to be clear: I do like my Pro1! I use it everyday as my only phone, and love the possibility to use it as a miniature laptop thanks to its keyboard. I can well imagine to purchase a (real) successor device some day. However, that successor will only be better than the Pro1 if we discuss the imperfections of the latter openly here. Isn't that the very purpose of this forum?

Edited by claude0001
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29 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

You are somewhat contradicting your enthusiastic post from above where you claimed that your Pro1 took "amazing pictures, all the time" ... 😉

But I can agree with your main point. The camera is not best-in-class, let alone "semi-professional". It works well enough for taking casual pictures, albeit having some bugs that I accept for the greater good of having a keyboard. If the Pro1's price tag was attached to a Samsung, I would expect a much better camera. However, that is an unfair comparison. The Pro1 is produced in very small volume, and the camera is clearly not its central feature.

I feel that, sometimes, I get misunderstood on this forum when honestly pointing out that the Pro1 is not perfect, but -- unsurprisingly for a niche product -- has a number of smaller bugs (screen tint, wifi signal, camera, ...). So just to be clear: I do like my Pro1! I use it everyday as my only phone, and love the possibility to use it as a miniature laptop thanks to its keyboard. I can well imagine to purchase a (real) successor device some day. However, that successor will only be better than the Pro1 if we discuss the imperfections of the latter openly here. Isn't that the very purpose of this forum?

I can see that. For me, this phone takes better pics than any other phone or camera I have ever had. So "amazing all the time" is a true statement. But I also generally don't try to use superlatives unless I mean it...

Bad > Fair > Subpar > Decent > Good > Very Nice > Pretty Good > Really Good > Amazing > Excellent > Outstanding > Superb > Unparalleled > Best

Or something like that.

I have a Samsung touchscreen laptop with a foldable screen that you can turn into a mega 15 inch tablet or a tent. It even comes with a stylus.
I keep it on a riser, plugged into a 24 inch monitor and use an external mouse and keyboard.
But it's a really good box.

I am not so Pro Pro1 that I am blind to its faults and less-thans; I just think that the positives outweigh the negatives, and I maintain hope that once this whole covid thing is reduced, and people have their phones, and the crew can get back to innovation and updates, that they will take care of us.

 

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I don't really know why you think Pro1's camera is not good as it has a good Sony IMX363 sensor which can produce great photos.
However, not with stock camera and it is currently also not the best through Camera2 API.

...but it can make really good photos using GCam mods.

I will post a few photos just for example, but I had to reduce their size a bit to fit in 2 MB limit.

In the first photo, she is my almost 15 years old cat - unfortunately, flash was fired but the other photos were not taken with flash enabled.
This photo was also cropped.

IMG_20210102_205613.thumb.jpg.d0404a7e62323ee22e391420d98fa2c3.jpg

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I don't think these are bad photos and I did not have much attention on their quality...

All of them was taken indoors with not really high amount of light.

Edited by VaZso
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15 minutes ago, VaZso said:

I don't really know why you think Pro1's camera is not good as it has a good Sony IMX363 sensor which can produce great photos.
However, not with stock camera and it is currently also not the best through Camera2 API.

...but it can make really good photos using GCam mods.

These are nice pictures (and I like your cat and dog 🙂 ).

I am not saying that the camera is physically incapable of taking good pictures. I have taken many pictures that I am perfectly happy with. The point is that the camera works unreliably, which makes its use frustrating. I often have to shoot the same scene three times to get one nicely-focused picture. Also, as I wrote above, automatic exposure is failing me quite often, so that I have to manually intervene.

The behaviour and picture quality was pretty bad with the stock camera app (as you seem to agree). With OpenCamera (with Camera2 API) the problems are still there, but can mostly be worked around. That's my experience at least. So yes, the camera works OK, but I was more confident with my (ten-year-old!) N900.

I do believe that GCam gets the max out of the lens. However, I cannot (and do not want to) install it on my Google-free Lineage system. Also, as far as I know, no GCam port can take advantage of the double-action shutter button, which is a key requirement of the OP.

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3 hours ago, claude0001 said:

The behaviour and picture quality was pretty bad with the stock camera app (as you seem to agree). With OpenCamera (with Camera2 API) the problems are still there, but can mostly be worked around. That's my experience at least. So yes, the camera works OK, but I was more confident with my (ten-year-old!) N900.

I do believe that GCam gets the max out of the lens. However, I cannot (and do not want to) install it on my Google-free Lineage system. Also, as far as I know, no GCam port can take advantage of the double-action shutter button, which is a key requirement of the OP.

I have used to take relatively good photos using my N900 but its time was over.
It had good lens, great focus, but relatively low resolution compared to today's phones (5 MP) and relatively noisy photos in darker environment.
In its time (when it was manufactured), it was a really great device including its sensor equipped with Carl Zeiss optics.

I did not like the photos created by a lot of later Android phones anyway as often focus was not very good and aggressive noise filtering (like digitally smoothing then sharpening the image) caused a lot of loss in details - that is how I saw a lot of Android phones in general.

As of making photos... the smaller the lens, the harder to make them perfect and also the lower of the amount of light reaching the sensor.
So increasing the resolution worth nothing without proper lens.
Maybe there are also digital techniques to improve image quality but the base of the whole process is the sensor and attached optics.

Basically it seems the sensor and optics in Pro1 is not worse than what used in other phones, but software resources were much fewer, so a lot of optimizations which would allow to make better photos are missing.

However, GCam's ports are developed by Google using a lot of efforts, thus, it can utilize the capabilities of hardware, resulting in much better photos.
As it was developed for other hardware, it does not support shutter button and also does not support saving to SD-Card which Google also tries to kill.

So, camera is reliable and works perfectly well using GCam port, however, it is not suitable to use if you have a Google-free device, so unfortunately it is not a solution then.

 

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On 2/1/2021 at 7:38 PM, VaZso said:

..but it can make really good photos using GCam mods.

Which mod do you use?

 

I'm on AICP, and have severe issues with auto focus, macro don't work at all, and as soon it start to get a little bit towards dusk, the auto focus won't work at all. 

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1 hour ago, pebert said:

Which mod do you use?

 

I'm on AICP, and have severe issues with auto focus, macro don't work at all, and as soon it start to get a little bit towards dusk, the auto focus won't work at all. 

That is "Poco F1" using stock Android.

I have heard about focusing problems under Lineage OS (which is I think much closer to AICP than stock Android of Pro1) but I don't know if it also affects GCam ports - it works well under stock OS.

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