Google Camera Vs Stock Camera

Given all the discussion about the underwhelming quality of the camera app, I thought I'd install the Google Camera app and compare the two.

Google Camera Vs Stock Camera

Migs Migs
 /  edited June 2018

Given all the discussion about the underwhelming quality of the camera app, I thought I'd install the Google Camera app and compare the two. I should add that this is not a scientific test, it's just me, a camera and 2 apps. However, I am a keen photographer and have worked as a pro in the past.

All done using standard auto settings, with HDR on.

For me, there is one killer issue with the Nokia app. The images just aren't as sharp as from Google Camera. It's not a camera or phone issue, as the images from the Google app are as sharp as a tack. This is a shame, as the Nokia app is actually better at almost everything else.

Panoramas are easier with the stock app, and the Live Bokeh feature is stunning. Google Camera does okay with these, but the Nokia app is just better. HDR is done much better with the Nokia app as well. It brings more out of the shadows and, whilst the images are a little too bright for me, this is easily fixed.

Also, the Google app complained constantly about low light if the subject wasn't brightly lit. The Nokia app just got on with it.

The thing is, though, you can have the best exposure, colour rendition and bokeh in the world, but if your subject isn't sharp, your images just won't be good enough. Nokia need to fix this, and fast. I suspect they've largely got away with it so far because it only really becomes an issue with close subjects.

Really, the problems aren't actually as big as many posts would have you believe. If you don't take close-up shots, you'll never think your images are anything but high quality, because that's what they are. If you do like close-up shots, though, you will see a difference if you compare them to the Google app, at least. I'm less worried about the camera app than I was a little while ago, but that sharpness issue does need fixing.

I will also say that I had several crashes of the Google app, running these tests, so I won't be using it regularly. That's not an app issue, of course, as it was never meant for the Nokia 8 and has been modified to make it work.


  • mrbelter mrbelter
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    Personally i find the images from the Nokia app over sharpened and the HDR too aggressive so swings and roundabouts i guess.

  • Hi Migs,

    Please share the link/url from where to get Google camera APK.

  • Migs Migs

     @MrBelter That makes me think that something has changed within the app over the time since the initial release. If there's one thing my images aren't, it's over-sharpened. They do accept sharpening quite happily, without losing quality, so I can live with that, but most people won't be post-processing in any way.

  • Migs Migs

     If any body wants the Google Camera app, you can click here

    You use it at your own risk as this is a modified version to work the Snapdragon 835 processor, as in the Nokia 8. It crashes regularly on me, so you have been warned.

    If you end up bricking your phone, or worse, you'll only have yourself to blame

  • mrbelter mrbelter
    ✭✭✭  / 
    When the light is good and the images are not full of camera shake they are too sharp on my phone, however my main
    photography is done using Canon DSLRs with L lenses so I am used to a smoother
    image which clearly a tiny sensor and mediocre lens cannot match.

    Whatever way you wish to sugar coat it the images are clearly not up to a flagship phone, they aren't even as good as they were on my Moto G5 Plus and they are light years behind the quality of what an original Moto X Play could manage.

  • Migs Migs
     /  edited April 2018

    I'm not sure where you get the impression I'm sugar coating anything. I said in my original post that the images aren't as good as from the Google app.

    As for your comment about the Moto G5 Plus, I had one a for a couple of months, as part of a review process. If your images were better from that than from your Nokia 8, then you have a faulty Nokia. The G5 Plus image quality doesn't come close to those from the Nokia 8.

  • BenLinux BenLinux
     /  edited June 2018

    Interesting post, though I do not agree for everything you said.

    It's clear that HMD gave some updates that improved the Nokia 8 stock app.

    I agree to say that the stock app produces images that are not sharper enough. Please check this thread I made (In French, sorry, but just look at the images) :

    Most of them are made with Google Camera, cstark mod (which is very stable btw)

    Though I have to admit that in very good daylight, sometimes pictures from the stock app are better than in Google App, and colors are very good too, despite being over-sharpened sometimes. The real problem is the low light.
    Of course with an IMX258 and f2/0 we won't see any miracles. But look how gorgeous GC can produce in low light. It's sometimes even better than my Galaxy s8.

    There is 2 problem with the stock app:

    - The interface is garbage, sometimes even the click button doesn't react at all... seriously wtf

    - Low light images arent good enough and they aren't sharp enough. And though the hardware isn't the greatest of all time, the software is the real problem.

    For all these reasons, and because I use more my camera inside houses / buildings than outside, I'm forced to use the GC app. And coming from a flagship from Nokia... How ironic is this.

  • Migs Migs
     /  edited April 2018

     I absolutely agree that the app, and not the hardware is by far the biggest issue. And that is much easier to fix, although HMD really need to get a move on with at least adding the Pro to the 8, if not a new app altogether.

    I don't have the lag issues other people have reported. I can't say why that is, but the Nokia app doesn't feel any more sluggish to me than the Google Camera mod. But, yes, low light images are an issue. I'm surprised, 6 months in, that this is something we still need to talk about.

    One would have thought that HMD would have made this a priority.

  • mrbelter mrbelter
    ✭✭✭  /  edited June 2018

    Low light shots are much improved if you use the colour sensor only (which is what all other camera apps do) and therefore you are using the sensor that benefits from OIS.

  • LennartB LennartB
    ✭✭✭  /  edited April 2018

    Here is a nice/easy to navigate website which has most of the GCAM ports out there :

    @user1516712394487, which exact cstark version are you using? I get good results with Arnova's builds but your shots are even sharper than mine, looks great!

  • user389 user389
    ✭✭✭  / 

    HMD's camera app works for me as point&shoot, with volume-up as shutter, in full auto mode, with auto-HDR off.
    Images become overall too bright with auto-HDR on in my opinion, so I only turn it on and snap an extra picture if in doubt, if there's time. I prefer add the 'HDR' effect later if required.

    There are clever algorithms under the hood. It annoys me that Zeiss and HMD don't communicate what they want to achieve philosophically, and how they do it technically, at least nowhere I've seen, yet?
    I'm familiar with Zeiss's imaging philosophy from elsewhere and appreciate what they want to achieve (still images from Nokia N8 and Nokia 8 got the same overall look and feel) but it seems the rest of the Internet forgot what Zeiss stand for ...

    A comparison requires the same scene and light taken with each app.
    - Samples, please!


  • mrbelter mrbelter
    ✭✭✭  / 

    I don't read too much in to the Zeiss lens at all, it is just a marketing gimmick. High quality optics cost much more than the Nokia 8 costs in its entirety.

  • keith keith
    ✭✭✭  / 
    I installed Pro Shot to give me more manual control over focus exposure and the ability to do Light Painting. Worth the money.
  • BenLinux BenLinux
     /  edited April 2018

    @LennartB I'm sorry I didn't see your message. I use Cstark27_GCam_5.1.018_24_v3.5

    Option HDR+ activé
    HDR+ Enhanced Adaptive Shutter Speed activé
    HDR+ Parametres: High
    Jpeg Qualité: 100%

    I just bought the 7+ I'll do a comparaison too before selling the 8 ( or give back the 7+ depending of the results)

  • LennartB LennartB
    ✭✭✭  / 

    Thanks @user1516712394487, gonna give that one a go.

    No worries, it took like 4 days for my comment to get approved by the mods. Do let us know about the 7+ :).

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