this is basically a very good checklist for what a perfect camera app would look like, for me (and hopefully some inspired developer). and not the first version.

most of it was adapted from that 2015 post linked above, about point and shoot, before black mirror’s grain i think (oops).

nice

  • panorama. google camera is probably the best one for this, on android. yes, the iPhone is still generally better, somehow.
  • stabilize. google does offer an api for this, should be simple.
  • zoom. because getting close to insects can’t focus as good as a zoom. and digital zoom is better than cropping, thanks to ai and fast processors.
  • photo sphere. gcam must be the only one with this, but it crashes on some phones.
  • lens blur. again, kudos to google!
  • speak recognition (say “cheese”)
  • 3d camera. this is like almost opposite as sphere, the way it should work.
  • split photo / make twins. compose photo while taking them, though panorama may work for this.
  • dual camera mode / picture in picture / face reaction / front back. basically compose both cameras in a single shot. Nokia is the best at this.
  • manual exposure options. okay, maybe add ratio options here, if you wanna go “artistic”… this is where the perfect app could easily monetize with a pro and paid version.
  • time lapse. maybe it should be default, but it’s not really essential.
  • cool filters. such as “paper”.
  • video streaming, with intelligent cache. Nokia forgot the second part. plus, the local file recording should always be done anyway, while there’s enough storage for it.

essential

  • squared photo. instagram got this right, no reason for any other ratio to even exist, really. other than perfectionist professionals/artists.
  • squared video. i don’t think anyone got it right.
  • high FPS / slowmo videos. with audio, please!
  • auto hdr. shall we just capture everything already!?
  • multiple focus merger. so we don’t need to bother to focus a scene. multiple shots are stored. edit later, if needed.
  • hold camera button = quick photo burst. very similar to strip out, but no need for audio.
  • enable to strip out photos from film. very similar to quick photo, but with audio.
  • hold video button = quick video stitching. yay instagram for copying other pioneers.
  • easy “buffer.io” sharing. instagram alike, though GitHub or some sort of blog or email 2.0 would be nicer.
  • awesome filters. kudos to instagram again.
  • night vision. detects low luminosity or offer as a mode / auto filter.
  • live shots to shoot the past!! i may promote this to crucial eventually, and write a post just for it.

crucial

  • no ads (d’oh). no annoyances or begging for money. there are better ways.
  • good ux. almost nothing on the GUI. kind of repeating the no ads with other words!
  • store in sdcard. should be trivial, right? google missed this. badly! then again, their port isn’t official…
  • as small app size (MB) as possible. look at night vision camera app - no clue how they did it though.
  • really quick start for taking photos on lock screen.
  • maybe above all: dual shooting buttons. so we don’t need to swap between photo and video, because…

both recording videos and taking photos is all about opportunity. any professional photographer will agree the best camera is the one you have at hands. fill in the blank: you have it in your hands, ready to shoot at the right moment. reason why i love the concept around the (sadly now dead) Narrative Clip so much.

speed from grabbing the gadget and being able to record data is crucial. the way we switch between modes is terrible because then we lose the opportunity, and the moment is gone. panorama, lens blur, all photo enhancements that require time in hands shouldn’t be such a priority.

the squared photo fits into this, as a way to auto improve quality in the end, without needing to worry about the camera tilting. in fact, Narrative Clip used to get all of these right. automatic opportunity quick photos should all be squared and rotated into standing position regardless of tilt, and it did it amazingly, with their server side software.

do notice none of the essentials add anything to the GUI. they’re all “hidden” features. and do realize how valuable this checklist should be to whoever wants to take on the quest to develop such an awesome camera app. isn’t it?

i’d go as far as to say that ideally it would video record the whole moment you have a camera on, and create auto generated thumbnails out of best moments around the few seconds you’d press the shutter button, while still keeping the video later on in case you want to and it isn’t garbage. sadly the narrative clip 2 didn’t manage to do this. nor anyone else since.

oh… and google camera should be open source! can you, dear googler who just read all this, help with this quest? it’d make things so much better, thanks!