At the Windows Phone Summit this week, Nokia announced several free new apps for its Windows Phone 7.5 lineup of Lumia handsets. And the first of these, Camera Extras, just shipped to the Marketplace today. Here’s a quick peek.
“Our Nokia Lumia customers have been, and continue to be, delighted by the Windows Phone experience,” Nokia senior vice president Kevin Shields said during Wednesday’s event. “Today, Nokia is announcing a number of new apps, a wave of innovation, for our current Lumia customers. These new experiences will come to our Nokia Lumia customers starting next week.”
By which, of course, he meant today.
Camera Extras, the first of these apps, adds four new capabilities to the Camera app on Lumia devices: Smart group shot, Action shot, Panorama, and Self timer. After just a few minutes of playing around with these features—or what some bloggers would call “going hands-on”—it’s already clear that these are features that should be available to all Windows Phone users. (And yes, some already are: Hardware makers are free to mix and match camera capabilities as they see fit.)
The Camera Extras are available in the Camera app: Just tap Settings and you’ll see the four new capabilities, or extensions, under the Camera Extras heading.
Smart group shot
Smart group shot takes a series of photos, usually of a group of people, though I only tested it with one person. (Which basically means I didn’t test it.) And then it examines the faces in each shot and lets you pick the best face from each so you can arrive at a composite shot in which no one is yawning, blinking or whatever. Anyone who’s had to take a family photo knows why this is a great feature.
As demoed at the Summit
Action shot takes a burst of images so you can pick the best one from a list. To test this, I had my daughter bounce around on an exercise ball—OK, she was already doing this, don’t distract me—and it was interesting to hear the Lumia shutter sound fire off repeatedly. Of course the camera itself isn’t great, and the shots were inside with poor lighting and no flash, so the resulting shots, even the best one, weren’t great. But as with all phone-based cameras, I suspect outside shots would work well.
Yes, this was the best one.
The Panorama feature is well done: It nicely guides you from left to right, making the stitching process extremely simple.
And the results are excellent, with no ghosting or dead spots, something I’ve seen with Microsoft’s Photosynth app.
... and the resulting panorama
This one counts down from 10 before taking the shot, giving the picture taker time to hop into the frame and be part of the action. It’s simple, effective, and obvious … and quite welcome.
I’m looking forward to more fun and useful apps from Nokia. This is a great start to a second generation of Lumia apps, and one all Lumia owners should grab immediately.
You can find Camera Extras on the device by searching the Marketplace for, wait for it, Camera Extras. It's available today in the US and China, and going global for all Lumias in July, according to Nokia.