Windows Phone hands-on: Lumia Camera make snaps burst and pop, though …

February 3, 2015 - photo frame

With a Lumia Camera app for Microsoft’s Windows Phones, your snaps are finally… snappy.

We’ve been anticipating to play with a Lumia Camera app ever given Microsoft showed it off earlier this month in allege of a Windows 10 eventuality in Redmond, Wash. Lumia Camera is customarily one member of a Lumia “Denim” upgrade, that brings Windows Phone 8.1 Update to Windows Phones. Denim also includes a firmware upgrade—and in some specific phones, including the Lumia 930, Icon, 1520, and a Lumia 830—the Lumia Camera app.

It’s some-more than a bit confusing, and as Microsoft moves a phones on to Windows 10, we wish it can facilitate a message. As elementary and absolute as a Lumia camera apps can be, there are clearly dozens of dedicated apps, any bringing dedicated underline sets to a table. Even Lumia Camera is simply a “new” chronicle of an app that debuted a while back.

Mark Hachman

The Lumia Camera has a simplified interface; note a skip of a detonate sharpened mode during right, as good as a “wand” idol during tip for a Rich Capture mode.

What Denim and Lumia Camera guarantee is that with a tiny practice, you’ll never skip a shot. Lumia Camera loads and shoots intensely fast, elucidate a important problem with a Lumia smartphones. Moment Capture (now called Lumia Moments) allows we to remove images from video fast and easily. Finally, Rich Capture lets we adjust a exposure—after you’ve taken a shot. 

Microsoft loaned us a Lumia 830 for testing. It enclosed a Lumia Camera app and a new features—including a “Hey Cortana” pacifist listening feature, that we also put by a paces.

Fast on a draw

Any camera can be pulled from a pocket, unlocked, and used to snap a print of a immobile landscape. But if we have kids, attend sporting events, or customarily like holding extemporaneous photos, afterwards a volume of time it takes to squeeze your phone and take a print matters. Using a comparison Lumia 1520 versed with a comparison Cyan hardware and a Nokia Camera app, unlocking a phone with a dedicated phone symbol and gnawing a print took about 6.5 seconds in a tests. (Incidentally, 6 seconds is about a same volume of time it takes to clear a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 by swiping, rising a camera app, and holding a picture.)

With a Lumia 930, Denim, and Lumia Camera, that “cold shot” time forsaken to about 4 seconds. That’s a poignant difference, generally if you’re perplexing to squeeze your camera for a discerning picture.

Mark Hachman

Most kids are constantly in motion. Lumia Camera creates it easy to take a discerning shot.

Static design times and shot-to-shot times have also improved. In part, that’s given a Lumia Camera app constantly autofocuses a lens. Older Lumias also snap cinema roughly instantaneously—but customarily if we primary a pump, so to speak, focusing a camera before holding a design by drumming a screen. Otherwise, it takes some-more than dual seconds. Whipping a Lumia Camera phone around, afterwards holding a photo, cuts that to reduction than a second. And if we reason a camera still, a camera takes a print roughly immediately.

With a comparison 1520, drumming a shiver symbol regularly compulsory about dual seconds between any shot. With Microsoft’s Lumia 930, we snapped about 3 any dual seconds.

Older Lumias “cheated” by charity a detonate mode option, where we could reason a camera and glow off 10 exposures or so. The otherwise excellent Nokia Blink app also shoots a fast detonate of several exposures. With Lumia Camera, we can manually fire frames during about dual to 3 shots per second.

Capture a impulse with Moment Capture

An even improved choice to detonate mode is Lumia Moments (which Microsoft formerly referred to as Moment Capture). The grounds is simple: Each support of a high-definition video is itself a high-quality photo. If you’re recording video, a meditative goes, we simply can’t skip a ideal shot. That’s not positively true, yet it positively increases a possibility that you’ll constraint that angle, glance, or viewpoint that can make for a good movement photo.

To launch Moment Capture, you’ll need to download a Lumia Moments app from a store; afterwards start sharpened video—and make certain you’re recording in 4K for best results. (The Moment Capture by-pass will cocktail adult after you’ve finished a recording, so don’t worry that we need to record video regulating a app itself.) When your video recording is complete, you’ll have a choice to dumpy by any support and save it as an sold 8.3MP image. (The Lumia 830 will fire in 1080p, and record 2MP frames.)

Mark Hachman

Lumia Camera treats any support as an sold image; we can save them for after and also revise them.

Naturally, your saved design is customarily as good as a video itself—videos we shot positively had many, many frames that I’d discard. But what sets Moment Capture detached is that it frees we from documenting your life, and lets we suffer it. Sure, we can post a whole video on Facebook. But instead of delicately framing any accurate shot of your kids roving bikes, we can customarily indicate your Lumia in their ubiquitous direction. If your camera sees it, so will your print album.

Note that you’ll need to open the video in a Lumia Moments app itself to remove a images; otherwise, it will customarily seem as a video. And in prolonged videos, anticipating that ideal shot feels rather like acid for a needle in a haystack.

(Microsoft also allows we to save immobile images as “Living Images,” with a bit of suit attached, or Action Shots, that combination several images together. These facilities are also in Nokia Camera.)

Rich Capture— a bit of post-processing magic

Of course, one of a advantages of Lumia cameras is a endless operation of primer controls, that lift over from a comparison Nokia Camera. If we wish to place a camera in a mountain and take a prolonged bearing of a night sky, we still can. But what shutterbugs will acquire many about Lumia Camera is a new Rich Capture tool.

I never saw a interest of 2011’s Lytro camera, if customarily given we suspicion that “focusing” after a design was taken was an artistic choice few would make. (The Lumia Refocus app does something similar.) I feel differently about Rich Capture, Microsoft’s post-picture bearing tool, if customarily given it feels immensely practical.


 High-dynamic operation photography takes photos during opposite exposures, afterwards composites them together. (Apple’s Camera app has enclosed HDR support given 2010’s iOS 4.1 update; Lumia cameras still rest on third-party apps.) Rich Capture has a identical technique, yet uses a camera’s flash.

To trigger Rich Capture, we contingency daub a “wand” idol during a tip of a shade and make certain we have a peep enabled. Rich Capture will take during slightest dual photos: one with a flash, and one without. You’ll have a choice to open possibly photo, yet don’t bother. Choose a third option, noted “Customize”. 

There, a sorcery happens: You’ll have a choice to gradually request a additional peep enlightenment to a photo, around a slider bar on a right side of a screen. Just make certain you’re happy afterward, as a Rich Capture choice seems to disappear once a photos have been saved. (Tap a “pencil” idol for some-more modifying options, however, including Lumia Creative Studio, that can request some good HDR-like improvements to low-light shots around a auto-enhance technology.)

Mark Hachman

Rich Capture doesn’t seem to be a graphic app. Once we take a shot with a Rich Capture (“wand” icon) enabled, daub a tiny design burble in a top left of a display, afterwards a design itself. You can afterwards revise regulating Rich Capture.

While many photographers cite sharpened in healthy light, conditions don’t always concede for ideal photos. And honestly, you’ll substantially take improved photos, period, by formulation out how to support and arrangement a shot. But Rich Capture seems like a good reserve net, permitting we to prominence sum with a peep yet floating out your subject. 

Hey Cortana: still tough of hearing

Our demo phone also enclosed a “Hey Cortana” pacifist listening feature, that will eventually arrive on a Lumia Icon as well. Normally, Cortana is triggered possibly by a prolonged press of a magnifying potion “search” icon, or else by triggering a Cortana app manually. Cortana has also been included in a Windows 10 technical preview, yet it was found to be rather malnutritioned during that time..

With a Denim update, a pacifist listening underline simply listens for your voice to contend “Hey Cortana” to arise adult a phone. Your voice awakens Cortana when she’s sleeping, and a arrangement is off. That’s a step adult from Google’s latest iteration of Google Now, that requires a shade to be on to trigger it with a “OK Google” command. (The exceptions are a Moto X and Moto G, that perform pacifist listening with a shade off.) 

To capacitate “Hey Cortana,” you’ll need to spin it on in a Settings menu; we never saw any prompt that asked me to spin it on. Once enabled, you’ll need to sight it by observant “Hey Cortana” to a phone about 5 times. we attempted to change my voice a bit, to concede for variations in tinge and speech. But when we initial began regulating it, Cortana seemed to commend my efforts customarily any third try or so, with really tiny domain for error. Cortana also seemed to work best when a phone was during arm’s length; however, my Note 3 recognizes “OK Google” customarily on a initial try.  

I should note that once we have Cortana’s attention, a debate approval works well—there’s nothing of a 1-nanosecond courtesy camber Cortana does on Windows 10.

I still feel like we need to learn Cortana’s “lingo” to correlate with Microsoft’s digital assistant, however, while Google feels a bit some-more loosey-goosey and natural. (Try observant “Hey Cortana,” afterwards “Help,” for a list of activities and a difference to use.) As we fact in a other article, we can ask Cortana a question, report an appointment or reminder, or perform other activities. Interacting with other apps, however, can be a bit wonky. we asked her to play a sold strain from my Xbox Music library, that worked customarily fine. But Cortana plays a strain in a background; there’s no apparent approach to pause a song, as there’s no pull-down presentation and no app to access. You can orally ask Cortana to postponement a music, though.

Any preference that “Hey Cortana” provides is now short-changed by a skip of evident recognition. Quite simply, it’s untimely to use. You’d be most improved off regulating a mic idol or simply typing in what we wish Cortana to do.

All in all, however, what Microsoft offers as partial of a Denim ascent is amazing. Frankly, this feels like a really specialized OS release, rather than customarily a underline update. Just make certain that we have one of a upheld phones—and no, a Lumia 1020 isn’t one of them. Otherwise, you’re going to be jealous.

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