Guides, Nokia, Windows Phone

What We Don’t Like About Nokia Camera On Lumia Devices

Screenshot 2013-11-19 17.53.46

Nokia Camera offers significantly more control than any other camera UI we’ve used on a mobile phone (808 and its Creative Mode included) in an intuitive Sliding Control UI. We love being able to have manual control of Shutter Speed, ISO and even Focus on a mobile phone camera.
A great Slider UI to control these aspects, paired with options like Bracketing, Timer, custom Framing Grids and Windows Phone 8’s concept of Lenses make it the best Mobile Camera money can buy. However, it isn’t perfect. Here are some issues we have with it. Note that none of these make it unusable in any way, but are ways it could be even better:

  1. Timer Option Resets Itself Every Shot: Untitled                There are times when you need to take shots with the self timer: like while taking shots in low light, or for group shots you want to be a part of too. Every time you set the timer (can choose from 2, 5, or 10 seconds) and take a shot, the Timer option resets itself. If your next shot needs the timer, you again have to delve into Settings > Timer > and set it.
  2. Windows Phone Notifications Are Jarring
    Untitled                  You are crouched in place waiting for that perfect shot. You see what you need to shoot and are adjusting the settings accordingly. Suddenly people on a WhatsApp group of yours are in a particularly chatty mood, and you get a notification for each and every message they write, forcing you to keep having to swipe away the banners from the top of the screen. This happens even when you Mute the WhatsApp Group. We realize this is a Windows Phone/WhatsApp issue, but feel Banner Notifications should be disabled by default in the Nokia Camera App.
  3. Can Only View Last Image Taken You Can, Our Bad
    Untitled                                                                                                    This one is kind of ridiculous. After a session of 20-30 images taken, I would expect to easily be able to go back and look through them, right from the Camera UI. Instead, you can only see the last image you have shot.
  4. Tapping the first icon lets you swipe through all your recent images.

  5. Multiple Reframes From Single Shot Not Possible – You take a shot, then later decide one aspect of the image is most interesting and reframe to show only that part of the image. Once this is done, you can’t reframe to show another aspect of the image, *and* have the first reframed image, at the same time. You have to choose one. With the 808, we remember Nokia talking about ‘Many Images From One Shot’. This doesn’t seem to have carried on to the 1020.
  6. Shot To Shot Time Is Slow – When in the zone, you want to as short a shot to shot time as possible. On the 1020, the time taken between each shot can be jarring. If you are in the 5MP + 38MP Mode, shot to shot time gets even slower than in only the 5MP mode. While we get that there is a *lot* going on under the hood, the average user may find this quite disappointing, especially when compared to the camera experience in some of the competition.
  7. No Custom White Balance Presets: You can choose from Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, Incandescent and Lightbulb for White Balance, but some times neither of those are doing it for you, or you want to get creative and add a tint to the image in real time. Having another option called Custom, where you could slide through a whole range of color temperatures would be quite useful. Most people wouldn’t need it, but it wouldn’t be overkill for an app like Nokia Camera to have the option
  8. Swipe To Close Sliders Can Accidentally Exit App – Swiping the Camera icon left opens up the Slider UI of concentric circles. Swiping it right closes these sliders. However, many times while sliding the camera icon to the right to close the sliders, we ended up touching the Home button of Windows Phone and exiting the camera app. By doing so, we lose the settings we just set to the different parameters like ISO, WB, etc when we again enter the Camera App. You can just be more careful, or use the Back button instead of sliding the icon left, so this is a minor niggle.
  9. Miscellaneous – We wish Windows Phone would use the Nokia Camera UI everywhere, and not only when you explicitly open Nokia Camera. For example, if in Whatsapp and clicking on ‘Attach Image via Camera’, it opens up the vanilla Windows Phone camera UI.
  10. Wishlist: Custom Shooting Profiles. We wish there was an option to save your combination of WB, ISO, Focus, Shutter Speed along with a profile name. eg: Fireworks. Being able to bring up these different profiles in different situations would be greatly useful. Also,  we wish there were a way to access, delete and send the full resolution 38MP image files from the phone itself. Right now, they can only be accessed from the PC via USB cable.

Most of these problems can easily be fixed via software updates to Nokia Camera and we hope Nokia does. With DNG support coming to the 1020 with the Nokia Black update, things can only get better from here for avid users of Nokia Camera.

How has your experience with Nokia Camera been? Is there a feature that doesn’t work as it should, or something you want further from the app? Do let us know in the comments below.

  • Dr Amit Johari

    Nice and short. At least it will keep me away for some more time from this beauty. Looking for a buyer for my 808.

  • Siddhartha Vuriti

    you are wrong about the third point “Can Only View Last Image Taken”.. we can view all the images taken by simply tapping the first icon which opens gallery..

    • aatifsumar

      Oops. Don’t know why it didn’t work for us properly before. Thanks for the correction :)

  • idlelimey

    I’d like to add, if you have a pin lock on your phone you have to enter it to use the app from standby (unlike the stock camera app which bypasses it in this scenario). As you can set which app to default to when using the camera button, it would be useful if Nokia Camera could also bypass the pin lock in this case.

    • Aatif Sumar

      That would defeat the security purpose of the pin lock, if a button could override it, wouldn’t it?

  • Al Pavangkanan

    That shot to shot time worries me and has me thinking wait for the next one.