Google Camera 7.0 leaks from the Google Pixel 4 – Here’s what’s new
Unless you’ve muted “Google Pixel 4” from all your social media, RSS feeds, and Google Discover, then you’ve probably seen every angle of every color of Google’s 2019 Pixel smartphones. Thanks to a shop in Vietnam, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have fallen into the hands of YouTubers who recorded their first impressions of the devices in HD, giving us our best look at the two smartphones. The YouTubers also showed off the new Pixel software customizations on top of Android 10, revealing features like Screen Attention, Pixel Themes, a new Assistant UI, and a revamped Google Camera. A tipster sent us version 7.0 of the Google Camera APK extracted from the pre-release Pixel 4, giving us an early look at the new camera interface.
Vietnamese YouTube channel ReLab, which earlier published the first gaming test of the Pixel 4 XL, shared the new camera APK with our tipster, Hani (@HANI_4k). I can verify the APK is legitimate since it installed on top of the publically available Google Camera 6.3 that was installed on my Pixel 2 XL. The changes I observed to the UI match what’s been shown in the multiple leaks over the past week. The leakers didn’t dwell too long on the new camera app since their pre-release devices were reportedly buggy, but I loaded up the APK to find as many changes as I could, both on the surface level and under-the-hood.
First, here’s what I observed in the new UI:
- The camera modes are now located underneath the camera switch, shutter, and gallery buttons. The camera switch icon is enclosed in a circle to match the shape of the other two buttons. The entire bottom part of the camera interface, except for the gesture navigation area and a small area above it, floats on top of the viewfinder (when taking 16:9 photos), giving you more room to see what you’re capturing. The corners of the viewfinder are also rounded to match the rounded corners of the display. 16:9 is called “Full View” and is the default, but you can still change to the old 4:3 view. Like version 6.3 and before, you can still swipe left or right on the viewfinder to switch between camera modes.
- The top bar that previously contained options like the timer, Motion Photos, and flash, has been replaced with a box that pops up in the middle of the viewfinder. This box is hidden by default until you either tap on the dropdown arrow or you swipe down anywhere on the viewfinder. The camera options that appear in this box depend on what camera mode you’re currently using. For example, the portrait mode options include face retouching and selfie illumination while the panorama mode includes an option to toggle audio recording. Lastly, the General Settings can be accessed from the settings box of any camera mode page rather than in the “More” tab.
- Night Sight has added a new “Infinity” focus option, which likely aids in astrophotography for the Google Pixel 4. Previously, there were 3 Night Sight focus level options: Autofocus, Near, and Far. According to Google, “Near” focuses at about 4 feet while “Far” focuses at about 12 feet.
- The zoom and exposure sliders have been tweaked to be smoother. The zoom slider now tells you the zoom level while the exposure slider no longer tells you the level.
- Long-pressing the shutter button in the Camera mode starts recording a video for as long as you hold the shutter button. Videos recorded in this way are saved in 720p resolution. This replaces the Smart Burst functionality.
- Suggestions have been added to the Time Lapse mode to help users decide which speed to use. 5x is described as “good for lively groups,” 10x as “good for walking,” 30x as “good for busy spots,” and 120x as “good for sunsets.”
- A new horizon leveling circle has been added so you can straighten your phone.
- Photobooth on the Pixel 3 is no longer its own mode. Rather, you’ll have to switch to the selfie camera and then choose the “auto” timer option.
Screenshots of Google Camera 7.0, extracted from the Google Pixel 4 and running on my Pixel 2 XL. Please note that I had to censor the gallery icon in many of these screenshots.
Next, here are screenshots showing the General and Advanced Settings of Google Camera 7.0. In summary:
- There’s a new “Camera coaching” feature that gives tips on how to take better photos based on the scene (we spotted some related scene detection code.) Turning it off disables hints like “try Night Sight” when there’s low lighting conditions or “try Portrait Mode” when a face is detected in the viewfinder.
- The Camera photo resolution options are limited to just “Full resolution” and “Medium resolution.” Medium resolution produces 16:9 photos that are 4.1MP on the Pixel 3 XL. This is a disappointing limitation and I hope it’s not in the release build.
- Under Advanced settings, you’ll find a new “save selfie as previewed” option which, when disabled, turns off mirroring of front-facing camera shots.
- Lastly, not shown below is an option I could only get to appear on a Pixel 3 XL: “HDR+ control.” This isn’t actually a new feature as it just lets you show the manual control for HDR+ in the settings box for the main Camera mode. You can turn off HDR+, turn it on, or turn on HDR+ enhanced which turns off Motion Photos.
That’s all we found while using Google Camera 7.0 on the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3 XL. We also dug into the APK to find as many code references as we could to upcoming 2019 Pixel features, and we’ve covered them all in a separate article.