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Old December 3rd 19, 09:57 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

If anyone on this newsgroup can give a good account as to _why_ the camera
app makes such a huge difference in details, dynamic range, and better
color (apparently using a variant of the camera app that the Pixel 3 uses).
<https://i.postimg.cc/136096sR/motog700.jpg

On Black Friday I picked up a handful of 64GB/4GB/8-core/512GBsdcard
Motorola G7 stocking stuffer phablets for $100 each where I populated one
for myself with a few hundreds apps from my old SD card.
o What are your favorite F-Droid apps, and what do they do?
<https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.mobile.android/EOWwR40FIWY

After reading the Motorola G7 reviews, I noticed the camera reviews seemed
to suggest for a LOT of phones, that we ditch the default camera app in
favor of the Google-created Gcam app, which apparently works on certain
Qualcomm-chip based phones.
o Google Camera Port Hub
<https://www.xda-developers.com/google-camera-port-hub/

At XDA Developers, these 100 phones are said to benefit greatly in camera
QOR simply using the Google GCam APK which was designed for the Pixels.
o Asus ROG Phone II
o Asus ZenFone 5Z
o Asus ZenFone 6
o Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1
o Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2
o Essential Phone PH-1
o Galaxy phones running Android 10, 9, or 8 (Exynos & Snapdragon)
o Google Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL
o Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL
o Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL
o Google Pixel 3a/Pixel 3a XL
o Google Pixel/Pixel XL
o HTC 10
o HTC U Ultra
o HTC U11
o HTC U12+
o LG G4
o LG G5
o LG G6
o LG G7 ThinQ
o LG V20
o LG V30
o LG V40 ThinQ
o LeEco Le Max 2
o LeEco Le Pro3
o Lenovo K6
o Lenovo P2
o Lenovo ZUK Z2 Plus
o Lenovo ZUK Z2 Pro
o Moto G5 Plus
o Moto G5S
o Moto G5S Plus
o Moto G7
o Moto G7 Plus
o Moto G7 Power
o Moto X4
o Moto Z
o Moto Z2 Play
o Moto Z3 Play
o Motorola One
o Motorola One Power
o Nokia 5
o Nokia 6
o Nokia 7 Plus
o Nokia 8
o Nokia 8.1
o OnePlus 3/3T
o OnePlus 5/5T
o OnePlus 6/6T
o OnePlus 7
o OnePlus 7 Pro
o OnePlus 7T
o Razer Phone
o Razer Phone 2
o Samsung Galaxy A70
o Samsung Galaxy Note 8
o Samsung Galaxy Note 9
o Samsung Galaxy S10/+/e
o Samsung Galaxy S7
o Samsung Galaxy S8
o Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+
o Xiaomi Mi 5
o Xiaomi Mi 5S
o Xiaomi Mi 6
o Xiaomi Mi 8
o Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
o Xiaomi Mi 9
o Xiaomi Mi A1
o Xiaomi Mi A2
o Xiaomi Mi Max 3
o Xiaomi Mi Mix
o Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
o Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
o Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
o Xiaomi Mi Note 3
o Xiaomi Pocophone F1 (Poco F1)
o Xiaomi Redmi 3S
o Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
o Xiaomi Redmi 4X
o Xiaomi Redmi 5A
o Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
o Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
o Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
o Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
o Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 / 5 Plus
o Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro
o Xiaomi Redmi Note 7/Note 7 Pro
o Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
o ZTE Axon 7

Here's a CNET review where the Gcam suggestion is made at time 336:
o CNET: Moto G7 review: The best budget phone we've tried, hands down
<https://youtu.be/57m1_SPBefg?t=336

If anyone on this newsgroup can give a good account as to _why_ the camera
app makes such an apparently huge difference in details, dynamic range, and
better color (apparently using a variant of the camera app that the Pixel 3
uses), it would be useful to all since it's an easy "mod" for sure.
<https://i.postimg.cc/136096sR/motog700.jpg

See also:
o The Moto G7 is on sale for $100 during the Black Friday Google Fi event
<https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.mobile.android/UIYH1QYp8Pw
--
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Old December 4th 19, 04:50 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photoquality of results (but why?)

On 12/03/2019 02:57 PM, Arlen Holder wrote:

At XDA Developers, these 100 phones are said to benefit greatly in camera
QOR simply using the Google GCam APK which was designed for the Pixels.


o Moto G5S


https://www.cyanogenmods.org/google-camera/ for all versions.

Followed instructions, tried all Motorola and generic files, but NOTHING
installed. Yes, I had 'install from unknown sources' checked. It
didn't actually say that the phone had to be rooted for anything except
one of the manual things.

Perhaps it just knows that I refuse to update to Android8 and is
punishing me.

I really hate serious people using the stupid names instead of numbers.
WTF is wrong with them?

--
Cheers, Bev
"In all recorded history there has not been one economist who has
had to worry about where the next meal would come from."
-- Peter S. Drucker, who invented management
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Old December 4th 19, 05:56 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

On Wed, 4 Dec 2019 10:10:25 +0000, Martin Brown wrote:

If you would care to put up a couple of images of the same scene taken
on the same phone using the default app and a Goggle Pixel it would be
easy enough to determine the JPEG compression settings they each use.


Just to be clear, that side-by-side comparison was in the opening post:
o CNET: Moto G7 review: The best budget phone we've tried, hands down
<https://youtu.be/57m1_SPBefg?t=336

If you need more side-by-side comparisons, I can likely dig them up since
the Internet seems rife with the potentially astounding claim that the
Google Gcam APK dramatically improves the quality of the results (QOR) on
almost 100 common phones out there today (see list in the original post).


Here's the wikipedia on how the Gcam APK does it's QOR magic (HDR+):
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Camera

Here's the Google blog on the Gcam APK QOR magic:
<https://blog.x.company/meet-gcam-the-x-graduate-that-gave-us-a-whole-new-point-of-view-3ee86657d6c9
"the Gcam team explored a method called *image fusion*, which takes a
rapid sequence of shots and then fuses them to create a single, higher
quality image. The technique allowed them to render dimly-lit scenes in
greater detail, and mixed lighting scenes with greater clarity. This meant
brighter, sharper pictures overall."

One interesting potential odd result of that claim of vastly improved QOR
based on the Gcam APK, if it holds true, is that any mobile phone published
QOR review, e.g., the classic DXOMark reviews, "could" be drastically
different simply based on the camera app employed.
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Old December 4th 19, 06:17 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

On Wed, 4 Dec 2019 06:19:05 +0100 (GMT+01:00), Libor Striz wrote:

Is not it obvious ?


Hi Poutnik,

We go way back on the Android newsgroup, where you've helped out a lot.
However, it kind of irks me when people say non-obvious things are obvious.

*Vastly improving camera QOR simply by an APK, is a _big deal_ IMHO.*
o HDR+
o ZSL
o NightSight

It's definitely not obvious, since Google themselves says they spent
_years_ developing HDR+ technology to vastly improve camera output QOR.

o Here are side-by-side photos on the Motorola G7 with the Gcam APK:
<https://www.cnet.com/reviews/motorola-moto-g7-review/2/
"But here's an interesting wrinkle. If you're savvy enough to install
the Google Camera app (Gcam apk), which is essentially the camera app used
on the Pixel 3, you'll be rewarded. *The results are eye opening*. Photos
taken with the Google Camera app on the Moto G7 have more detail, dynamic
range and better color."

If this was so obvious, why did it take a decade of smartphone technology
before this camera-QOR-improvement capability showed up, Poutnik?

It's also not obvious that certain features won't work until you get the
proper non-Google-Play "port" of the Google Gcam APK:
o Download Google Camera (Gcam) for Moto G7 with working HDR+ and ZSL
<https://droidfeats.com/download-gcam-for-moto-g7/
"The Google Camera application does not work correctly on all the
devices. If you just download the Google Camera from APKMirror or any other
site, it may get installed on your phone. But, HDR+ and Zero Shutter Lag
(ZSL) may not work. You may not get all the Pixel Camera features. So, some
additional change had to be made with the app. This modification is called
porting Google Camera app from Pixel devices. This is not an official APK
from Play Store, but a modified one."

All that is decidedly _not_ obvious, Poutnik: at least not to me, a priori.

It's decidedly not obvious a developer had to _port_ the Google Gcam APK.
o Download Google Camera for Moto G7 with HDR+/Night Sight [Gcam APK]
<https://www.getdroidtips.com/google-camera-moto-g7/
"Today an XDA Senior member, ARNOVA8G2 ported the Google Camera for Moto
G7 which brings HDR+ and Night Sight features to the top. Also Credits to
Ukrainian developer B-S-G for porting the Google Camera HDR+ and Night
Sight for many devices. This APK and the related features will work on the
mentioned devices running Android 9.0 Pie. It will not support any
operating system below Android Pie."

Note it's also not obvious why it only works on Android Pie & above!


One interesting potential "issue" of this apparently vastly increased
camera QOR is that any mobile-phone review that tests with the stock camera
may not be what the user "can" attain, where this concept that the camera
APK has a _drastic_ effect on camera QOR, is IMPORTANT to understand.
<https://www.dxomark.com/motorola-moto-g7-plus-camera-review/

Saying "it's obvious" is sort of like saying it's obvious how to fly like a
bird ... all you have to do is flap your arms a lot.

My point is that it's decidedly _not_ obvious if it took Google _years_ to
develop this technology (we can assume they spent tens of millions on it).

Given I'm clearly not a "camera expert", others on this ng _are_ more
expert than we are, Poutnik, where the main question is whether someone on
this newsgroup can explain to us, the hoi polloi, _how_ Google did it.
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Old December 4th 19, 06:26 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

On Wed, 4 Dec 2019 18:56:01 -0000 (UTC), Arlen Holder wrote:

If you need more side-by-side comparisons, I can likely dig them up since
the Internet seems rife with the potentially astounding claim that the
Google Gcam APK dramatically improves the quality of the results (QOR) on
almost 100 common phones out there today (see list in the original post).


Hi Martin Brown,
In my response to Poutnik, I found more side-by-side comparisons, where,
apparently, you can _vastly_ increase the camera QOR simply by loading a
decent port of the Google gCam (which is not available on Google Play).

o Here are side-by-side photos on the Motorola G7 with the Gcam APK:
<https://www.cnet.com/reviews/motorola-moto-g7-review/2/
"But here's an interesting wrinkle. If you're savvy enough to install
the Google Camera app (Gcam apk), which is essentially the camera app used
on the Pixel 3, you'll be rewarded. *The results are eye opening*. Photos
taken with the Google Camera app on the Moto G7 have more detail, dynamic
range and better color."

The main technical question for this group is "how" the APK does its magic.
o HDR+
o ZSL
o NightSight

Where it wasn't obvious to me that one could dramatically improve the
camera QOR so greatly (based on the cites I've provided), simply by loading
a port of the Google Gcam APK.

As a related aside, what that calls into question is _all_ camera QOR
reviews that don't use the best available camera app, since the camera QOR
results are, by all accounts I've seen, referred to as "eye opening" and
"dramatic".


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Old December 4th 19, 06:33 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

On Wed, 4 Dec 2019 09:50:25 -0800, The Real Bev wrote:

Perhaps it just knows that I refuse to update to Android8 and is
punishing me.


Hi The Real Bev,
We both go way back in helping out others where I always appreciate your
honesty and candor.

As with you, I failed. Not only did I fail, but I failed twice.

It's not obvious how to get this stuff to work, but it is obvious that
other people _have_ gotten the Google Gcam port to work on their phones
(since they published side-by-side photos which showed 'dramatic'
improvement in Camera QOR).

Since "eye opening" instantly improvement in camera QOR can be obtained,
for free, simply by loading the Google Gcam APK, it's a "no brainer", to
try.

So I did.
o And I failed.
Twice.

I first tried the Google Play Gcam app (from Aurora Store) version of the
Gcam app, but it simply crashed. Then I tried the xda-developers' port
specific for the Moto G7, and it failed to install. I'd hit the install
button, and it would go back to the screen saying to install it. Over and
over and over again.

And I'm on Android 9 Pie, where it's "supposed" to work.
So it's _not obvious_ how to get this reputed Gcam APK port to work.

In _your_ case though, I just belatedly noticed this when I was researching
what the constraints are, where if you're not on Android Pie or above, I
think you're hosed (AFAICT).

o Download Google Camera for Moto G7 with HDR+/Night Sight [Gcam APK]
<https://www.getdroidtips.com/google-camera-moto-g7/
"Today an XDA Senior member, ARNOVA8G2 ported the Google Camera for Moto
G7 which brings HDR+ and Night Sight features to the top. Also Credits to
Ukrainian developer B-S-G for porting the Google Camera HDR+ and Night
Sight for many devices. This APK and the related features will work on the
mentioned devices running Android 9.0 Pie. *It will not support any*
*operating system below Android Pie*."

I didn't know this when I first posted this thread, but what is extremely
interesting is that, by all accounts I've seen, you can attain "dramatic"
camera QOR results simply by using a port of the Gcam APK, where the
results are "eye opening".

This means it's a no brainer for most of us with the 100 ported phones to
"try", but, you and I both failed so far.

It would be nice to know from others _how_ they succeeded since we failed.
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Old December 4th 19, 06:56 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photoquality of results (but why?)

On 12/04/2019 11:33 AM, Arlen Holder wrote:

This means it's a no brainer for most of us with the 100 ported phones to
"try", but, you and I both failed so far.

It would be nice to know from others _how_ they succeeded since we failed.


Indeed! I tried the apks for 5+, 4, and the generic ones up at the top.
All failed miserably.

As a slackware user I'm used to things just not working, but the
annoyance factor never seems to go down :-(

--
Cheers, Bev
"Do not try to solve all life's problems at once -- learn to
dread each day as it comes." -- Donald Kaul
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Old December 4th 19, 07:50 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

The Real Bev wrote:
On 12/03/2019 02:57 PM, Arlen Holder wrote:

At XDA Developers, these 100 phones are said to benefit greatly in camera
QOR simply using the Google GCam APK which was designed for the Pixels.


o Moto G5S


https://www.cyanogenmods.org/google-camera/ for all versions.

Followed instructions, tried all Motorola and generic files, but NOTHING
installed. Yes, I had 'install from unknown sources' checked. It
didn't actually say that the phone had to be rooted for anything except
one of the manual things.

Perhaps it just knows that I refuse to update to Android8 and is
punishing me.


(Especially if you do not have Android 8/Oreo,) Did you *first*
install and run the mentioned 'Manual Camera Compatibility' app (step
1.)?

If not, there's your main error. If yes, then did it report that all
features are supported? If not, that's your main error.

If the 'Manual Camera Compatibility' app did not report that all
features are supported, the installation procedure (step 3.) becomes
very, very complex and involves unlocking the bootloader, installing a
custom recovery (which is also device-specfic and may or may not be
available for your device) and installing the Camera2 API zip file from
the recovery.

Just unlocking the bootloader probably will be a major hurdle, not to
mention the rest.

Bottom line: Installing Google Camera *may* be as simple as installing
a device-specific APK, but it probably *is* not simple at all.
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Old December 4th 19, 09:34 PM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

On Wed, 4 Dec 2019 11:56:46 -0800, The Real Bev wrote:

Indeed! I tried the apks for 5+, 4, and the generic ones up at the top.
All failed miserably.


I see in another post that Frank Slootweg is helping you where he's far
more qualified than I am in this process, so, since I failed, I'll leave
you in Frank's capable hands.

Meanwhile, the cite you provided does somewhat explain a few of the
instantaneous benefits of switching smartphones to the no-brainer choice of
Google Gcam port, which seems to be the best camera app (for camera QOR
anyway) on the planet (AFAICT).
<https://www.cyanogenmods.org/google-camera/

"*Is the Google Camera ... better than stock camera? Hell Yes!*
It is far better than the stock camera of most OEMs.
- Images have good sharpness and saturation of colors.
- Better edge detection on portrait mode
- Better low light photography on Night Sight mode on selected versions
- Astrophotography mode on selected versions
- Integrated Google photos and Google lens
- Video recording in slow motion
- Object portrait mode is supported, which is also known as lens blur.
- Supports up to 8X zoom.
- 4k 60 FPS recording
- RAW image capture

Apparently what you instantly gain with the Gcam APK port is:
o ZSL (zero shutter lag) HDR+
o Night Sight
o Super Res Zoom
o HDR+ Enhanced
o Portrait on front & back camera
o Photosphere
p Slow motion 240 FPS (1080p)
o Astrophotography
<https://youtu.be/jMZ88BeLIWQ

--
Usenet works well when purposefully helpful people share knowledge.
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Old December 5th 19, 06:02 AM posted to comp.mobile.android,uk.telecom.mobile,rec.photo.digital,alt.comp.freeware
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Default Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo quality of results (but why?)

On Thu, 5 Dec 2019 07:21:16 +0100 (GMT+01:00), Libor Striz wrote:

"Hint: Changing the camera app can remarkably improve your photo
quality of results (but why?)"
and ask: "Why not" ?


Hi Poutnik,
I don't disagree with you, since I'm always rational & reasonable when
discussing facts, and particularly with the ramifications of those facts.

My views on the ramifications change as experts provide better
interpretation, where it seems that the camera APK has a _huge_ effect on
overall camera quality of results (QOR).

While it wasn't obvious at first to me that the camera app dramatically
affects the overall camera quality of results, it's certainly been said by
a bunch of the reviews for the new $100 Moto G7 I picked up this week:

For example, at time 230seconds in this official GSM Arena review, they
also suggest ditching the default camera app for the Google Gcam APK port:
<https://youtu.be/AcE3B5nKdzw?t=230

The more I read up on how to improve the camera QOR simply by changing the
camera APK, the more I begin to realize the tricks they use to do that,
where it seems almost every phone's camera QOR will benefit by ditching the
default camera app in favor of the appropriate Google Gcam APK port.

For example, Xiomi cameras are said to benefit greatly in this report:
o How Google Camera HDR+ Improves the Image Quality of Xiaomi Budget Phones
<https://www.xda-developers.com/google-camera-hdr-xiaomi-redmi-note-3/

This thread has a bunch of before & after pictures for comparison of QOR:
o All about GCAM and Tutorial for How to use it
<https://c.mi.com/thread-1687977-1-1.html

Apparently the "magic" is done, mainly, it seems, by combining multiple
photos with a bit of computer processing, ending up with better camera QOR.

What this calls into question then, is the validity of any camera QOR
report that does NOT use the best camera APK possible for any given phone.


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