Nokia Camera Beta prepped for Cyan, gets new features, while Camera gets an update too

This morning, the Nokia camera team has pushed out two updates: one for their Camera app, which is less exciting and one for their Camera Beta app. The latter one is certainly more tantalizing due to new features and some prepping for the Lumia Cyan firmware update, which comes with Windows Phone 8.1.

Let’s see what’s new.

Nokia Camera

Nokia Camera

Updated from version back in February, the latest version of Camera looks to improve upon the user experience with a routine update with no noticeable new features. To put it another way, it does not have the new UI that Camera Beta introduced recently, so if you prefer that design you’re in luck. We have noticed occasional issues with Windows Phone 8.1 and Camera, so maybe these address some of those quirks. Notice anything else? Let us know in comments.

Pick up Nokia Camera here in the Store.

QR: nokia cam

Nokia Camera

Nokia Camera Beta

Nokia’s test bed for new features in their powerful camera app is their Camera Beta app. Today, it has been bumped up from back in February, as well. The good news is that this version does come with a changelog. The bad news is some of the more exciting features are only for the Lumia Icon, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 running the Lumia Cyan firmware. If that sounds limiting, it’s because those phones run the newish Snapdragon 800 processor, which enables some necessary hardware tweaks for these apps. Let’s see the changelog:

  • Living Images support*
  • Continuous Autofocus for faster focusing*
  • Surround sound capture in Video*
  • New Camera Roll with Full Resolution Zoom and inline playback of video, cinemagraph, smart sequences and refocus images
  • Nokia Camera integrates with Creative Studio and Video Trimmer for editing your photos and videos

See those asterisks? They refer to this statement “Living Images and Continuous Autofocus are supported on Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon running the Lumia Cyan software update”. We’d also toss in the Surround sound capture in Video to that list too.

Actually, some of those other features seemed to be already in the previous version e.g. Creative Studio integration. The playback of Cinemagraph and smart sequences though may be something new (we haven’t used those features in a while, ourselves). Creative Studio is supposed to get a major update soon, and it’s probable this Camera Beta app reflects that upcoming change.

Like the above Camera app, we’re sure there are some other optimizations on board, as well. Pick up Nokia Camera Beta version here in the Store.

QR: nokia camera beta

Thanks, Felipe V., and everyone, for the tips!


Reader comments

Nokia Camera Beta prepped for Cyan, gets new features, while Camera gets an update too


By "soon" I'm not sure what you mean. Days, weeks or months? Everyone's definition is different and "soon" is quite vague. Regardless, it will vary from carrier to carrier, phone to phone and will span the summer, like every other update that has happened on Windows Phone.

Daniel, what's the track record for Nokia OEM devices? This is the first time I've bought one (1020) - should I be expecting it before or after the AT&T/carrier updates?

Yeah, soon is vague..... in Mexico the BLACK (which is available according to nokia webpage) update is still trapped in the carrier telcel. I hope that Microsoft changes the way updates for firmware are delivered.

Yes I have installed the preview for developers and I now have the wp8.1, which I really like, except that is very slow. The CYAN update it's now been mentioned to be coming up but I still can't update to BLACK yet. These firmware updates are needed for some Nokia apps.... thanks for your comment.

Yep, I hope so. Iusacell released Black recently (in the first days of April). At this rate Cyan will be launched by this carrier five or six months after its first global release.

I read this and all I think is, when's the next gen 1020 coming? If the new camera app of all things can't run on the flagship camera phone, then we're due a refresh.
I'll probably end up importing a 930 as soon as it's available, but I'll still be eagerly awaiting the next 1020.

What i want to know is if this is the new trend where phones like the (1020) are not even a year old and are being left out on what seem to be important features. This is very sad and even more when considering most of us are stuck in and sign up for 2yr contracts. Is this how things will be done from now on? As for a new 1020 it's way too early for that I mean it came out last July.

1020 still has the best camera. What are you talking about? West features? "Living images"? Who needs it?

Come on, gang, you have to remember that camera HARDWARE technology isn't remaining stagnant, whether we're talking about Nokia/Microsoft Mobile Oy or any other OEM.  While certa aspects of the Lumia 1020 hardware are still unmatched by ANY competitor, there are certain aspects included in the Icon/930 and 1520 that ARE more advanced.  As a result, just as you'd find with ANY other change in hardware specs (e.g., dual core vs quad-core) not all software updates will work with previous devices.  That's just the nature of the busines.  The cycle of advances in smartphone technology are sure to increase in speed, which means your current hardware will become somewhat date much more quickly.  I bought my 1020 as soon as it came out and it still shames ALL other phones in the camera arena.  But, as much as some of the new features in the 1520, Icon/930 really have my attention, I'm waiting for the TRUE successor to the 1020.  In the meantime, seeing software updates that continually add value and function to my current device is a sweet deal.

Though camera technology and processors advance pretty quickly these features should be available for Lumia 1020.

Okay maybe the living images stuff may be processor intensive but as far as continuos focus goes even the iPhone 4 can handle it.

Slow focusing times on Lumia 1020 are really what put it behind iPhone 5S, once Lumia has true zero shutter delay it'll be a true DSLR alternative.

Continuous focus is something I suggested to Nokia many times, and I feel so proud that it was accepted. :)

And I'm sure Nokia will port most(if not all) of these features to the older Lumia range.

Here's my concern

how come the 1020 not getting the continuos focus? I think it's either of the two:

1- Nokia will port that to the 1020 later (after releasing it's successor.

2- Nokia are fooling us 1020 owners (maybe Microsoft)

I had an iPhone 4 in the past (Two years ago), but I don't know if there was a continuos focus or not. But, if it's a processor issue, how can the single core lower frequancy processor phone handled that?

You answer Nokia (Microsoft)

So you're suggesting that phones with new and updated hardware shouldn't be able to take advantage of that hardware because a year old phone user will be "left out"?  Are you serious?

I bought a Lumia Icon.  Next year when a new version comes out that can do a few things mine can't it doesn't mean that my phone is suddenly less useful than it was before.  If those features are enough to make me want to upgrade then I will.  If not then I'll be happy with the phone I have and absolutely nothing will change for me.

This whole "OMG, you have a feature I don't on my old phone" is the most ridiculous statement someone can make.

To clarify, my point isn't dissatisfaction with support for older hardware. My point is to express my excitement and anticipation for the 1020 successor, which should be around the corner. I'm a little afraid because we haven't heard any rumors or seen any leaks and the 930 won't be released until mid summer - around when I would have expected a 1020 successor announcement.

My own personal cycle of replacing phones is several times a year, so I won't have any problem getting the new one. Realistically, tech improves faster than any contract and even faster than a yearly refresh cycle and I understand that. I still love my 1020, but can't wait for what's surely around the corner :)

That said, to most people, a phone being ~10 months old should not, in absolute terms, be considered "old" hardware. So, when they hear that new software features are not supported on their relatively new handset, it's definitely a disappointment.

I totally agree with you I bought a Lumia 720 a few months since its release and now tar tere are about to launch the 730 (even though there's almost any changes) they say the 720 is obsolete but ITS JUST ONE YEAR OLD!!!!!

You need to read more carefully. Only a limited number of features will not work on the 1020. And perhaps some of them will be enabled on the 1020 after the Cyan firmware update. Besides, it's the sensor and the optics that sets the 1020 apart.

Well the 808 was the last one and it came out April 2012, the 1020 came out Sept 2013. So possibly end of 15, mid 2016?

I don't get why they require the new hardware to get continuous autofocus, android and ios have had is since forever kind of

I think such a niche feature, while nice, is not exactly something to buy new hardware for. Likewise, I'm not aware for a 1020 replacement on the immediate horizon. Next ATT flagship is Goldfinger, due for the holiday season.

Also, there's a good chance these features will go to older phones, but newer devices on the same chipset go first. Makes sense.

Live images don't require new hardware either... They just want you to jump to new devices.

Heh. This is the reason companies stop being transparent; just look at WP8.1, people treating it as of it was final/RTM software.
Out here, everyone and their dog have an opinion and is an engineer of something.


Lol...is there anyway to find out if those new features will eventually be available on older devices...cus right now am thinking of ditching my 925 and I have not even used it for up to 1 year.

Exactly, Daniel.  And I guess I'll need to look up the rumored specs on the Goldfinger...but I'm betting it won't be a true successor to the 1020.  I'm not changing devices again until that comes out.  I'm hoping for a 5" screen, full HD, 2.0 version of the Lumia 1020 camera, and the rest similar specs to the 1520.

I agree that the new living images and continuous autofocus don't require new hardware, but Snapdragon 800 provides hardware support for it. This makes it work better on the newer phones. Making those features run on older phones would require software changes which might make the app slower (and so would lead to more complaining).

Similar to what was seen with Lumia 1020 which lacks a dedicated processor and hence takes around 4 secs to capture an oversampled image as compared to less than 1 sec on the Nokia 808PV (which has a dedicated chip) Source: http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/flow/item/19759_The_science_behind_PureVi...

Ot maybe they don't want to do what apple does. Allow their updates on older devices and then after the 2nd or 3rd updated, the device become so slow they are barely useable and you need to buy a new one. I've seen that happen to several older iphones. They update to the latest ios version because their phone told them the update is available and the phone started to lag badly and everything slowed down.I rather not get an update than to get one that adds features but makes my phone run like crap. 

my thoughts exactly. 8.1 in itself is a huge step forward. And runs butter smooth on even a 525 so I think nokia/microsoft have done a great job in that regard.

can't wait for the 1020 successor.a good processor and a dedicated imaging chip, and a sd card slot. if these are present I'mma buy it at launch . Like i did with the n8, 808 and 1020 :P 


Lol... Get used to it. I have a year and a half 920 and a three months old 1020, and I still feel the pictures both takes great

Why would you want features that you hardware doesn't support. It's not because they don't want to, they just can't.

Of course the hardware supports it. These are not really fancy features. Continuous auto focus has been available on snapdragon android phones for the last 2-3 years. It's because they don't want to, NOT because they can't :) And it sucks.

Yeah, it sucks. I own a Lumia 810. Luckily Nokia still updates the apps and we have the dev preview.

i don't really care for those new features, but they totally screw up the camera after black update...nothing is sharp anymore...so sad...it's so bad that i want to switch to 1020..

How do you set the resolution with any of these apps ? Sometimes I just need to take a low-res pic and not use up 2 megs on my 925

You can go into the camera settings and choose only the 5MP capture mode.  Or, use the front facing camera.  It's always low-res.  I don't understand why anyone would want to take just low-res pictures, but, hey.

Damn! I was very excited when Nokia introduced the concept of living image! But this is not available for my device! Well! I just got another reason to buy a 930!

My Lumia 925 (CV Vodafone UK 32GB) running 8.1 DPV has living images. Started noticing it late last night! Haven't checked the other two.

I don't get this part "New Camera Roll with Full Resolution Zoom", anyone would care to explain please? If it's what I'm thinking, I've been able to zoom all the way in Nokia Camera Beta's Camera Roll. I'm pretty sure about that.

Actually, no, you only got the kind of zoom you get with the low-res picture.  On the non-beta camera app you could choose between the low-res or high-res picture and get the dramatically better zoom on the high-res.  Now you get that by default with this update.  I have both a 920 and 1020, and I compared the two (both running previous camera beta app) to watch the zoom (and other features) and it is definitely better on the 1020 now with the update.

I have a feeling the "living images" and the "continuous focus" thing will work just fine on our 1020s after the Cyan firmware update. If not, I guess I'll pick up that 1520 that I've been wanting anyway... Or
... Hold out for that 1030? :)

This is probably true. Icon, 930 and 1520 are their latest 'flagship' phones, so it makes sense that they perfect new features on those devices first, then go back to older ones. No one wants to buy a new phone today and have to be told to wait for something.

It feels so bad how an x-shit-ria zShit has an amazing autofocus for its ugly camera and my Lumia old20 does not, even an idol mini has it... Why elop why ... Great hardware with worst timing

928 still takes multiple pictures after you press the camera button.... This didn't fix the problem. I'll just use the basic camera app on Windows Phone 8.1. Its just as good

Lack of continuous autofocus is one of my biggest gripes with the camera on my 920. I mean isn't this an obvious implementation?

Apparently not.  I definitely do NOT want continuous focus on the still camera.  I want completely, specific control of the focus when it comes to still photos.  I always take better pictures than any autofocus, and I doubt CONTINUOUS auto focus would be anything other than mediocre.

maybe that continuous autofocus feature will be like "tracking focus" where once you manually focus an object, you can move in and out and still have that object in focus.

Now that would be good. Anyone knows the features of the S4 chip, I'm sure there is still stuff that hasn't been implemented yet by Microsoft.

I want both continuous AF for full auto settings and manual focus for manual settings. Continuous AF will reduce shutter lag in full auto mode and is a needed feature.

So what happens after we get the cyan update, will those features (such as living images) work on older devices like the 925...

My nighttime shots on my icon have been HORRENDOUS since 8.1. Hoping this clears some things up. I was wishing for my 822 two nights ago when I was at a concert

Exactly, this was the feature that I was searching between the lines, hope it's not a hardware but a software issue for my Lumia 1520!

The new camera beta app removed the option to see the detail properties of pictures taken. E.g. The ISO, file size and aperture info. It used to be hidden in the menu once you were in the reframe mode. Now, there is a good new revert option there, but nothing else.
By the way, change log isn't correct. Inline video was already there in the last update, as mentioned. More tutorials have been added. Also there is a link to online tutorials. Audio base options have been added in settings. The revert option is not listed, and features removed are not listed. But I guess hardly anyone lists things removed. The other thing removed, probably for performance sake is the live background when choosing a lens. Now it is all black.
The article should have mentioned these...

Nice update but it is really sad that living images is not available for older Lumia. It would be nice if this innovation is used to identify the Lumia devices as the only phones out there that has this feature. As it is now, not many people will see this feature because the super high end devices are not that common in the wild. Before you know it iPhone will implement something similar and call it the holy grail or something.

Surround sound in video? Now that is cool. I wonder how that is achieved and how many channels will be detected by an amplifier.

what I feel after using new update Nokia Camera Beta on low device (512MB ram)

- faster opening than Nokia Camera

- faster autofocus

- faster saving photo

- sharper image quality

awesome update

what I hate:

- max shutter speed is 1s, can't be fooled with iso set to 100, it won't go up to 4s

Yes, the startup of the camera is noticeably faster now, particularly from lock screen.  I'm not seeing a dramatic difference in auto-focus, though.  I'm also not seeing any improvement in photo-saving speed.  It's still horrible.

Would like to see superfast snaps like iPhone with the quality of 1020. I m jealous how my brother's iPhone goes on rapidly shooting like a burst when capture is pressed continuously. May be with a dedicated processor.

I don't have WP8 yet, but out of curiosity in regards to the Camera app, is there slow-mo video and HDR option? Those seem to be the two biggest features I've heard that are missing.

 - WW

No, for either one.  There are apps available that give you the HDR by taking three pictures in rapid sequence, each with different dynamic ranges, and then it blends them to give you the HDR.  There is also an app (Video Editor 8.1) that does a nice job of turning a video into slow-motion.  But, this is a software approximation of true slow-motion, which requires the camera to be able to record video at faster than 30 frames per second.  The devices you're referring to that have true slow-mo are recording at 60fps or thereabout.

Thanks for the info. Nokia seems slow at this time, both hardware and software, HDR and slow-mo needed to be incorporated yesterday, especially when imaging is its strength and their competitors already have it. Here's hoping post-merger that things will accelerate (eg. 930 should have been released with the 1520, not 6 months after, quad-core 1030 needed to be out 6 months ago too to provide an up-to-date imaging flagship, and the next-gen Pelican leaks should start trickling in soon to offset the incoming iPhone 6 hype). Faster Nokia! :-)

“Living Images and Continuous Autofocus are supported on Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon running the Lumia Cyan software update”

It means that the new features can't be tested by us until Nokia Cyan is released (or Lumia 930 becomes available), doesn't it?

Whenever I launch the Nokia Camera on my Lumia 820, I hear a faint white noise coming from the speaker on the phone... Like it's trying to play audio or something. I noticed this on with the TuneIn Radio as well even if nothing is playing. Kind of weird... it doesn't happen with the Microsoft Camera.

I just want them to let me access settings of the camera when I launch it from lock. When I launch the default camera app I can change settings and go to the front facing camera, but I have to unlock my phone to do it with Nokia's Camera and it's kept me from using it as default.

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.  WHICH settings of the camera are you talking about?  First, you need to change your default camera app.  You do that by going into the MAIN settings for the phone (not the camera settings) and pivoting over to the Applications side.  Scroll down to the Photos+Camera option.  Scroll down and you'll see the option for "Default camera app".  Change that to which one you want.  Now, if you have the Nokia Camera app or, better yet, the Nokia Camera Beta app as your default, you can have a lot more control of your camera settings (ISO, white balance, exposure, focus) right there on the screen.  BUT, if you are referring to the camera settings that you access via the elipsis ( ... ), then, no, you can't get to those if you're taking pictures directly from the lock screen.  You're missing the point of being able to take pictures from there.  The idea is that if you are in a hurry to take a snapshot of something (the point being SPEED) then you won't have to unlock your phone to do it.  This naturally means you SHOULD have your DEFAULTS set to what you'd normally need in this kind of situation.  If you something besides that, then you'd have to unlock and the assumption is if you're going to fine-tuning your photography speed isn't the issue. 

Bottom line: SET YOUR DEFAULTS to what you'd need in most situations. 

Now that you've taken the time to write all that out that I already know, how again do I set my default to give me the option to switch to the front facing camera? Or to allow me to use the timer? There isn't a way.
It's stupid that the settings are hidden under the lockscreen. When I take my phone out and press the camera button, I want to take a picture, put it back in my pocket, and get on with my life. With the default camera app, I can do that. With Nokia's camera app, I have to either decide if what I had as default settings is good enough, or unlock my phone. I was in a contest recently where I and another person had to go to specific locations and take pictures. Since you got more points for both being in the picture, I had a 1020 with a camera grip, and there weren't always people to ask to take my picture, I would use the timer to take the picture and then move on to the next location. Because of the stupid way settings are hidden in the Nokia camera app, I had to enter my pass code every single time just to access the timer.
The Nokia camera app used to not even open without unlocking your phone if you had it set to default. Now, the settings don't work if you don't have your phone unlocked. This needs to be fixed, and hopefully a future update of the app will solve it. Until then, I can't use it as default.

You can mimick HDR via the photo editor, using the Fix function. It's actually nicer than HDR because you an toggle the button to compare the original to the "fixed" HDR shot.

Please bring continuous auto-focus to ALL phones. This would significantly reduce shutter time lag. I hope it continuously auto-focuses before shutter button is pressed halfway instead of after pressing it, otherwise it would be useless. Also, I hope pre-focus does not occur anymore in between shots in rapid fire shots.

I did t understand the last part. If you are already holding the camera shutter down, to take sequential shots, it doesn't focus again.

Yes you're right. A long press of the shutter button doesn't pre-focus the camera. However, with the iPhone, even if you press one at a time, as long as you don't recompose your shot, it does not pre-focus anymore. So, you can just click away quickly any time. I think iPhone's pre-focus is accelerometer activated. It is continuous AF until it senses no movement.

I hope living image option will come to other PureView devices such as Lumia 920 or 925 in the future. It seems like a great option and I will be very dissapointed not to be able to use it on my Lumia 920.

Just downloaded the camera beta and it sucks! After the taking the image the "whites" turn into a shade of purple. Compare it with the non-beta version n you will see.

well, they just added the UI of the pro cam to other devices to be fair... but the oversampling is only for 1020

Fortunately, since MS and Nokia are finally one, I suspect we will have direct early access to our firmware's, just as we do the OS.  

If MS totally bypasses the carriers for Lumia devices with OS & Firmware updates, they would really be doing something positive for users.

So now when I view a photo and tap on "Open in Nokia Camera Beta" it just opens up the crop/rotate menu? I liked it before when you could view the high-res image and then click on edit to crop and rotate. Sometimes I just want to view the high-res image, and not edit it. Anyone know how to figure this out?

Running Dev Preview 8.1 on 720 ... Camera Beta opened once only after the update and since then its been crashing ... The only time it opened , it did show a new option titled Bracketing ... could use it once only ... basically allowed multiple shots is what i could gather ...

Did 2 soft resets .. Still the app wont open ...




I installed the Nokia Camera Beta app. It works like a charm on my Lumia 920. Ever since I installed Windows Phone 8.1, the Microsoft camera app and the Nokia Camera app were not functioning they way they used to. The OIS was gone, photos lacked clarity, etc. The Nokia Camera Beta app, however, minimizes all the problems. Looking forward to bigger updates from Nokia/Microsoft.

I am using Lumia 925 WP 8.. After update Nokia camera takes 1-2 seconds showing "loading..." .This app after update has become slower... Need a faster app to click pics. Sadly have to use "Camera" app

Will this cyan update fix the problem on the 1020 where you can't autofocus & read a barcode? I thought the issue was specific to my phone, but when I tried it on a new Lumia 1020 in the Microsoft store, the same thing happened.