Following a report at the beginning of this month that Google was about to release a new, standalone Android camera app, today the app has officially made an appearance on the Google Play Store. Google announced the camera app today and in a separate blog post explained the technology behind the new lens blur features:
That all changes with Lens Blur, a new mode in the Google Camera app. It lets you take a photo with a shallow depth of field using just your Android phone or tablet. Unlike a regular photo, Lens Blur lets you change the point or level of focus after the photo is taken. You can choose to make any object come into focus simply by tapping on it in the image. By changing the depth-of-field slider, you can simulate different aperture sizes, to achieve bokeh effects ranging from subtle to surreal (e.g., tilt-shift). The new image is rendered instantly, allowing you to see your changes in real time. Here’s how we do it. First, we pick out visual features in the scene and track them over time, across the series of images. Using computer vision algorithms known as Structure-from-Motion (SfM) and bundle adjustment, we compute the camera’s 3D position and orientation and the 3D positions of all those image features throughout the series.
Some of the features that were reported previously are present, including the lens Blur option, a 100% viewfinder, and a high-resolution panorama mode. We also get a good look at the completely redesigned UI in the gallery below. Here’s the full list of features from Google:
Google Camera snaps quick and easy photos and videos, and has creative picture modes like Photo Sphere, Lens Blur and Panorama.
• Photo Spheres for immersive 360º views
• Lens Blur mode for SLR-like photos with shallow depth of field
• Panorama mode with high resolution
• 100% viewfinder for getting the maximum resolution from the sensor (no dropped pixels)
• Updated UI that gets out of your way and is centered on an extra large capture button
• Works on phones and tablets running Android 4.4+ KitKat
The new stanadalone Android camera app is available on the Google Play Store to allow all Android users running 4.4 and up to receive the latest updates without waiting for the usual carrier OS updates. Previous reports claimed it would also receive support for third-party filters.
The Google Camera app is available now on the Play Store and should be available to install on devices running Android 4.4 up soon. A gallery of screenshots is below alongside some comparison shots showing off the new Lens Blur feature: