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Google Confirms RAW Photo Support and Burst Mode Coming to Android

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Android team was working on a brand new camera API, one that would feature RAW image support, as well as a Burst Mode feature for stock Android devices. In a chat with CNET, Google has confirmed these plans, and states that this new API will launch with a future release of Android. Of course, no exact timeframe was given. 

When released, Google claims that developers will be able to work with the new API and take advantage of the features. What this means for end users, is that photo editing apps on mobile devices are about to get a whole lot more powerful. With RAW photo data, editing a photo beyond applying a simple filter or balancing color is possible, and third party apps will take photos to the next level. Of course, with great software in tow, you will still need to hope your device is packing a powerful sensor to take advantage of things such as this. If your camera isn’t producing clear and crisp images already, no amount of editing can really help.

Nevertheless, the camera department for stock Android devices has been seriously lacking lately (we’re looking at you Nexus 5), so any amount of effort put into this by Google should be good.

Via: Electronista | CNET
  • Steve B

    I think all of this is at the system level but Google would be my hero if they could push this through the Play Store instead of a minor OS update.

    My body….errr, I mean, my Nexus 5 is ready.

  • Just_Some_Nobody

    I think that with RAW, Google+ Auto Awesome can become a much better tool for the casual photographer.

  • JeffColorado

    Finally, all the N5 haters can STFU about the camera already.

    • Adrynalyne

      Just because you and some others hunt for the perfectly lit still shot, doesn’t mean the camera doesn’t have issues.


      • JeffColorado

        Quality and usability are not the same thing. But once usability is up to par, all the camera whiners can finally let this go.

        • Tyler

          Usability is more of the interface which works just not in a simple intuitive manor. Quality means you should be able to take a picture of anything with appropriate lighting. The focus times on the nexus5 are too slow to capture motion. The image sensor isn’t the problem it’s the software that isn’t optimized.

        • Adrynalyne

          RAW and Burst mode will not take care of that.

          Quality means little without usability.

  • Christoph Schüpfer

    I would be more happy if they put ActivSync Support back in. Our BYOD project turns into a real mess and we’re near the point to exclude Android devices because of that -.-

    • Chris Hughes

      We’ve stopped supporting them all together. Seemed like every 3rd phone variant couldn’t connect to activesync

      • Christoph Schüpfer

        Yeah its pretty sad, i mean i can understand that google wants to get their own slice of the pie, called business but kicking out the largest supported infrastructure (Exchange with EAS) isn’t the right way to do that.

  • Franz

    Now just merge Gallery and Photos…

  • Hopefully they just fix the auto focus soon, it is abysmal. It has to be a software problem though, the camera’s hardware is pretty solid, but good lord is it slow.

    • Steve B

      Yes, this. Tune the auto focus and speed it up. Fix this problem and the Nexus 5 has one of the best cameras on the market.

    • JeffColorado

      I have gotten some great shots. Macro is supurb IMO for a camera phone. Lowlight is great too. It’s main weakness is action shots…it can do them, but not well. You can snap stills while taking video and it is very quick.

      • DoctorJB

        Thanks for the stills during video trick. That seems to be the only way to get an action shot.

  • tharealoc

    Raw support also means that third party photo apps will be able to use their own jpeg processing. So even those who aren’t editing the raw photos have the possibility of getting better photos if they use a good third party camera app.. I, for one, can’t wait for this update.

  • Jason Kahn

    Has anyone tried, a third party camera app, such as Camera ICS, it did and does wonders for my GNEX

    • George264

      That is a really good shot but I don’t think it’s the app. I mean it seems like you were in the absolute perfect lighting and you had a great scene to capture. Ordinary pictures like I don’t know taking a picture of your pet in the house with indoor lighting is abysmal.

    • Tyler

      That app isn’t the reason you got a good shot, the gnex is capable of taking nice outdoor shots assuming you have sunlight. Once you move out of ideal shots such as indoors with average lighting pictures come out grainy and colors become inaccurate.

  • virjog

    Wow, a grey nexus actually looks pretty good.

  • Dave

    Our Canon Mk5 creates around a 6-8 MB image file per shot, shooting in raw. Better have some super fast and adequate storage available. Not sure what a mobile image would be though….

    • My LG G2 takes JPEG’s in the 7-9MB range.

      • hoosiercub88

        I think he’s talking about RAW images..

        • Chris Hannan

          He knows. He’s saying his G2 takes larger file-size pics and thats also post processing. It’s not even RAW.

  • Chris G

    The whole future release of android is worry some. Unless its something like 4.4.1 which hopefully wouldn’t be too long from now.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Google’s running out of ideas. There hasn’t been a real overhaul of Android since Ice Cream Sandwich.

      That’s what happens when you update your OS every 3-4 months instead of once a year.

      • DainLaguna


      • It gets updated twice a year. 4.4 came out October 2013, 4.3 came out July 2013, 4.2 came out November 2012, 4.1 came out July 2012, and 4.0 came out December 2011.

        • AbbyZFresh

          In technological terms, that update timeline is faster than the speed of light.

          I expect the update rates to slow down now compared to before now that Google is moving most of their core features to the Play Services.

          • Well if you think about it, 4.1-4.3 were all Jelly Bean, so you could say there wasn’t a major release in 2 years.

      • needa

        3-4 months? no real overhaul? its twice a year. and what is art? chopped liver?

        apple updates twice a year. just as google. and windows… hard to say. so many updates adding in new stuff because its so bland and sparse of anything fun.

  • AbbyZFresh

    So what does this new camera update do exactly? I don’t get it.

    • Exactly what the title says. Adds RAW file support and burst mode.

  • yellowflash94

    For those who doubt the Nexus 5 camera http:// imgur.com/a/MtwTa my friend went to SF this past friday I would have gone but I had school 🙁 anyway he is not a professional photographer

    • maratu

      I think these look good. I think the pictures that my N5 takes look good. Maybe I have bad taste? I dunno, I don’t expect any phone camera to be better than a DSLR, or even close to it. I have always found any of my android phones to be fine enough.

      • DoctorJB

        The N5 takes fantastic photos in the right settings. It can’t handle motion, low light and moment capture. It will take a beautiful picture of a landscape but you will never get that funny face your baby is making.

        • ^ this

        • Adrynalyne

          That would be a problem for me too. I don’t take a lot of still shots.

    • Jason Kahn

      Photography is a highly subjective, thing, it’s as much about luck and knowing the right conditions to shoot in for your equipment. Those photos are fantastic good natural coloring, assuming they have not been put through a filter first.

      • yellowflash94

        no filters nothing was changed shot with HDR+

    • tharealoc

      Your friend may not be a pro, but has definitely spent some time learning photograph, and has a good eye. These are very nice shots.

  • yellowflash94

    For those who doubt the nexus 5 camera http://imgur.com/a/MtwTa This was from SF a friend on mine recently went to this past friday

    • SpoorthyVemula

      Stunning shots. The nexus 5 has great image quality. However that’s not the problem. Its just super slow and finniky to use.

      • lamenting

        Shutter speed + the slow autofocus (or actually properly focusing on the subject) is the biggest drawback right now.

      • yellowflash94

        I should have probably mentioned the phone was rooted and has the camera fix from XDA

        • Shams Alkari

          oh you think?

      • Cowboydroid

        It is truly strange how slow it is to open…especially after Google made such a big deal with how fast it opened on the Galaxy Nexus. There’s no reason it should take 3 seconds for the camera to open from the lock screen.

    • michael arazan

      Google Ad agency should buy those shots and put the in their commercials

    • Justin Foster

      How would we know they’re from the N5?

  • GVLBob

    I’m glad my phone supports external SD cards.

  • Maxim∑

    Hopefully this burst mode will work well. I know iPhone is forbidden here 🙂 but the 5S is pretty quick to take photos my Nexus 4 is noticeably slower in picture taking/shutter speeds.

    • jboogie1289

      iPhones take only 10 snaps if I’m not mistaken. Can only speak for Sammie on my Note 3 and it takes 20 snaps pretty swiftly. Just saying…..

      • Maxim∑

        iPhone 5S takes 10pics per second up to 1,000 in burst before forcing you to stop. Samsung limits you to 20 and also seems to do 10 per second also at least with the S4

        • jboogie1289

          Hmm, interesting. Point taken, but not sure I’d need to take a 1000 snaps but one never knows.

      • proparham

        sony xperia z1 takes 62 shots in 2 secs so …

  • dragonflyr

    So sorry..but.. the new layout is difficult. It shouldn’t be this hard to read. Mobile version: pics before title and center title is difficult. The ads are HUGE in the article..and numerous! Vonstantly scrolling around ads. Not sure if you resided the pc version .. but a few hours ago it was enormous..and I’m running large hd monitors..3 of them. Back to mobile..the persistent social tags on top are just annoying. I like the general layout..and all the white..but it seems to be taking a lot of effort to browse. Just my onion. And i do LOVE DL. Just feel i have to post after trying it or for about 45 mins. Thanks again for all you guys do. Not trying to be difficult. 🙂

    • dragonflyr

      Want to clarify that the huge ads were while viewing on phone..lg g2. Much better on a 1080p tablet.

  • MrT

    There are times that I wonder how well Google meets timelines… they seem to always roll with a product that is nearly perfect but always missing something. They boasted how the Nexus was going to be the flagship line of products (talking about you Vic) and then they dump the camera API from 4.4 and give a camera that kinda works.

    Plus the release of the N5 was so mundane (at least outside of our Android world). It just showed up.

    • Jeff Miller

      Nexus is a developer phone in Google’s eyes. No need for lots of press. The people that need to know about it follows the blogs….

      • AbbyZFresh

        A developer phone that gets constant play in commercials and posters in nearly every carrier electronic store?


        • I kind of agree with Jeff. I mean, what other reason would they have for such a lackluster launch? They saw last year that they didn’t need a huge event because those who want the phone already know about it. Then they release a few commercials to get some casual Android fans on board. It’s like their beta test phone.

          • Adrynalyne

            Precisely. It showcases their cutting edge software tech, and is for those who aren’t afraid of losing a bit of blood.

        • Adrynalyne

          All you have to do is look at the Android developer page to see it is indeed a developer device. What other consumer device has such klunky and user unfriendly update methods? None. How many are supported under an open source project from Google? None.

          There is always a disconnect from marketing and developers in companies. Always.

  • fartbubbler

    the much-improved camera on the Moto X has burst mode of sorts. And with the recent upgrade to KitKat 4.4, the camera is now in the acceptable-to-good category IMO.

    • TheDrunkenClam

      I just got my Moto X on Saturday. But I’m excited to try out its camera.

  • Morbid138

    Its happening?

    • proparham

      not really