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When the Galaxy S5 was announced, the selective focus feature was one of the main selling points for the Samsung Galaxy S5.  The images are software rendered however there is still value in what it provides.  We were already looking forward to that feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a few months down the line.  Well, it turns out an app providing similar app has just been released by none other than Google.  So let’s have a look.

Google Camera Review

App Link: Google Camera

The app is called Google Camera.  It is available to all, except there’s one catch.  It requires Android 4.4.  This means that anyone with a Galaxy Note 3 can download Google Camera, however only a small percentage of Galaxy Note 2 owners with Android 4.4 have access to it.  Rest assured, slowly but surely, Android 4.4 should make its rounds to all the Note 2.

How To Use Lens Blur (Selective Focus) on Google Camera

What this app wants you to do is have a clear main subject in your photo, preferably at the center.  You should be about 1 to 5 feet from your subject.  The closer the better.  Just snap the image.  And what it wants you to do is tilt your camera upwards while keeping your subject at the center.  This means you’ll be moving your device up with a slight circular curve.  It’ll tell you if you did it right.

Once you have taken a good image, review the pictures that you’ve taken.  Tap on the refocus button.  And now you can just tap on something far away to make that in focus.  You can see that your subject is now blurred.  Or you can focus on your subject and make the background blurred which is by default.

Why Do Images With Blurred Backgrounds Look So Much Better?

What you’re essentially mimicking is what’s called the DOF or depth of field effect in photography.  What makes this effect so powerful is that it does many things such as isolating your subject so that your eyes know exactly what your subject is in the photograph.  It also turns things behind your subject which is usually the sky and the landscape into a natural blend of colors that is more of a like a watercolored surface rather than distracting objects in the background.  And it also gives your photo a sense of dimension by letting the viewer know where the subject is in a 3D space.

Controls

If you want to increase the rate of the blur, you can play with a lever to increase or decrease the level of blur.  If you push it too far though, it will start looking unnatural around the edges.
Now you will notice the file that you end up with is pretty small.  It’s 1024 x 768 in resolution which is less than one megapixel.  You can however increase that resolution 4 times by going to settings and  Resolution & Quality.  Then set Lens Blur Quality to high.  One catch is that the processing is painfully slow, but the app is well made and it does it in the background, even if you accidentally exit the app.

Gestures

Along with being able to swipe right to access different camera modes and swipe left to review that pictures you’ve taken, you can also flick upwards or downwards which is a neat way to delete the photos you no longer need.

Conclusion

Along with the unique lens blur feature, Google Camera also has a panorama and photo sphere mode which are redundant to what’s on the stock camera app on the Note 3, but it may still be worth a look.  Now as awesome as this camera is, it isn’t as full featured as the stock camera app.  Not all resolutions are available, the shutter is slow to respond, and many of the basic controls for photos and videos are missing.  So it’s not a replacement for your stock camera app by any means.  But this lens blur feature is unique, and although you may occasionally run into a few weird artifacts from time to time, it does the job pretty convincingly.

Post a Comment

  1. There's no "high" quality available, only "normal". Is this normal?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is it work only for galaxy note 3 ? Do you have the same advice for iphone 6? I am using this software for photo editing https://macphun.com/snapheal but sometimes it's too hard for me.

    ReplyDelete

 
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