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Here's what the Surface Duo's camera app looks like

Surface Duo Camera App
Surface Duo Camera App (Image credit: Microsoft / Windows Central)

Even with the Surface Duo now available for preorder, we still don't really know much about its camera. Sure, we know it's an 11MP sensor with an 84-degree FOV, but we don't know anything about how it performs in real life, and we don't know much about the camera's app UI or features yet either.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Well, today we can solve one of those mysteries as we have screenshots of the Surface Duo's camera app here for you to take a peek at. The screenshots reveal what the app itself looks like, as well as some of the features of the camera app, all of which are standard camera features you'd expect to see on a device with a camera.

Along the bottom, we can see the user has the choice between a handful of different modes, including:

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Slow-mo
  • Portrait
  • Panorama

In addition, we can see that along the top, the user can set a timer for the photo to be taken, and toggle on/off the flash when in photo mode. Along the bottom is a capture button, and in the bottom right corner is the gallery icon for your recently taken photos. Nothing groundbreaking here.

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Surface Duo Camera Ui

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Surface Duo Camera Ui

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Surface Duo Camera Ui

Furthermore, we also have screenshots of the first-run UI that pops up when you open the camera app for the first time. This brief walkthrough quickly describes how to take a picture, flip the Duo around for a selfie, and how you can span the app so that your photo subjects can see you take a photo of them in real-time.

These screenshots were captured during a live chat session with a Microsoft Store associate to help shoppers considering a purchase of the device. While these screenshots still don't tell us how good or bad the camera is, what are your thoughts on the camera app so far? Let us know in the comments.

Microsoft Surface Duo

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Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

74 Comments
  • So the camera app's context aware - I'm assuming using accelerometer information - in determining which screen the viewfinder will be, is that how I'm reading this?
  • Let's be real here.
    Even without seeing any camera samples or any of that.
    No company can screw up the camera at this price point.
    So, for 99.9% percent of people who "NEED" this device, it'll be fine.
  • Not sure why you're assuming that. MS doesn't have any real history of maximizing camera hardware. This is some of the lowest-end camera hardware I've seen in years, especially in a flagship. Have they even mentioned OIS as part of it (I'm hoping it is)? Every flagship phone in the last 3 years probably has better raw specs in their main cameras, while many add additional sensors for specialized tasks (telephoto, wide-angle, etc.).
  • Not really far off Pixel devices with one camera at 12mp. I agree it won't be pixel level, but it should work for many scenarios. It would be great to have an even better camera though
  • To be fair though, raw numbers don't mean too much on actual photo quality. Many phones have higher MP count and some additional camera like telephoto and ultra-wide lens, but photos don't look great or have very artificial processing involved. This is why Pixel phone cameras were good despite the spec sheet seems pretty meh, the processing of their photos were excellent and have great digital video stabilization despite the lack of real OIS. Though for Surface Duo, I'm not going to expect excellent results here that may disappoint me. I just hope by Gen 2 or at most 3 will finally tackle that. For me, at least having ultra-wide is a must. I find telephoto use cases to be more rare, while there is so much use for ultra-wide camera from taking group photos to even productive use like taking photo of the job site on a tight spaces. I've been to tiny server rooms on small offices and ultra-wide is a must there. So having ultra-wide lens isn't just for photographers, but even for productivity is useful as well. Though that applies to telephoto, but I just don't have much use-case for it. Except for wild-life photos, but I use my Mirrorless camera for more professional photos anyways. With far better larger sensor and lenses.
  • I'm assuming you took a trip to Mars during the whole Nokia acquisition. The one thing that the Lumina series showcased was Nokia's advance camera capability and functionality. The Lumina 1020 from a camera perspective, set the standard for years long after the phone was considered outdated. the Carl Zeiss lens, Optical Image Stabilization, and other features were signature features that many other companies adopted, so the notion of Microsoft not having any real history of maximizing camera hardware seems to be an adhoc response with no attempt to back up your statement.
  • That was a Nokia phone FYI.
  • The statement was "Microsoft doesn't have any real history of maximizing cameral hardware." Soooo....if MSFT acquired Nokia, wouldn't they fall under the Microsoft umbrella? I think one of the reasons that Microsoft made the acquisition was to showcase Nokia's camera superiority through the prism of Microsoft.
  • All of that was Nokia IP not Microsoft. Microsoft had rights to it but not sure how they even used it or not. Plus all that dies with Windows phones...None of that applies here. Completely irrelevant. In fact look at how Nokia had to start from scratch with HMD. Nokia 9 out yet they are still trying to nail an algorithm down. The guys from Nokia at Huawei spent the last half a decade perfecting stuff and just in the last year or two it paid off. Do not expect performance or greatness from this Surface Duo camera.
  • Bleached is right. Those were Nokia phones and engineers, many years ago. Acquired yes, but a lot left after MS shuttered Windows Phone. Even the Lumia 950 and 950XL weren't up to the quality seen in the 1020 and 1520 when Nokia was Nokia. I wouldn't be surprised if MS can do a good job on cameras. I'm not convinced it was high on their list. Certainly wasn't something highlighted in the 30 min 'launch' video. If you are buying this for the camera though, you are buying it for the wrong reason.
  • That fact that is was years ago, doesn't absolve the fact that it was done while Nokia was under the Microsoft umbrella. Why haven't we seen any more Nokia phones with stunning camera ability if it was ALL on Nokia and had nothing to do with Microsoft? BTW no Windows phone matched the camera ability of the 1020. It was designed as a phone built around a camera, so comparing that phone to any other is mute, and the 1520 which I've owned, was actually the last true "flagship" windows phone. The 950 and 950XL which I still own, were really centrally focused on Windows phone fans and the camera wasn't the focus. The point is, you really can't say that Microsoft has no history of maximizing camera hardware. Not being able to sustain it would be a more suitable indictment.
  • Why? Because that was a completely different platform. You need to go sit with the developers who build that stuff before you can state a clear argument. I would not keep defending your point. It is not that easy to just slide code and firmware base over from Windows Phones/Lumias/W10M over to Android hw and stack and poof it works like magic. Just wait for this thing to get on the shelves and we can accept it for what it is. Everyone has to start some where but if you want a camera phone go buy an Xperia 1 ii
  • Damn right. I have the Lumia 1520 and swear it is possibly one of the best I have had. I still use it once in a while only for pics. Surely MS cannot mess up here.
  • It's Lumia. Also, those cameras were developed by Nokia, most of whom either left before Microsoft acquired their mobile division or were laid off not long afterwards. Some are at Huawei, others Apple, others like Juha Alakarhu are at a smaller start-up after returning to Nokia to work on OZO. The camera on the duo is going to be a potato primarily designed for video calling or scanning docs or whiteboard images.
  • Agreed. I have a Pixel 3 currently that takes great pictures. I'm married, 2 kids, etc...so pictures are common in my family. However, I'm not buying this for the camera, the same reason I didn't buy my Pixel 3 for it's productivity features. Microsoft would really have to try hard to mess up the camera so bad that they couldn't even demo it. Panos has shown it live, so I think it will be "good enough for the target market". That's where I sit.
  • Yahia, I HOPE you're right, but given that they chose to leave out Qi, NFC, and any amount of water resistance, it's clear they're not trying to deliver everything one would normally expect in a pocketable device at this price.
  • It's not a phone.
  • This could be my ignorance talking (someone please correct me if it is), but if it supports a Slo-mo mode, unless it does so abysmally or only in direct sunlight, doesn't that mean it must have a pretty good sensor to get enough light in short exposures to support that? Perhaps that's the first real evidence that this camera and software combination is at least decent.
  • I saw on another article earlier in the month that it supported low light HDR with 4k/60 and HDR video in addition to up to 240 fps for slow mo. That sounds pretty decent to me. I have a A50 shooting in 12MP HDR right now and I can take pictures with it better than most pics I see taken with smartphones, including my wife's pixel and my sibling's iphone 11 (just based on when we all share photos). Of course, a lot depends on taking into consideration lighting, composition, steadiness etc. The higher end phones can simply take better pictures with less effort, but I personally like to put the effort in.
  • Looks pretty basic... Not as good as my Huawei Mate 20x or Nokia 9...
  • Your Mate 20x is 8,2mm thick, while this Duo (unfolded) is 4,8mm. So the Duo should be 8,2mm thick to have the same lenses of your Mate 20x. This means that folded the Duo would be 16,4mm thick. Then the complains would be about its thickness. This is a very good looking and thin and light device with two screens and a decent camera. The other would be a good looking and thick and heavy device with two screens and a very good camera. For this kind of device it is most important to be thin and lighter than to have a very good camera. It's my opinion, of course.
  • You know, a dedicated camera button would go a long way towards ergonomics.
  • Word.... Definitely agree 👌🏽👌🏽👌🏽
  • @sporosarcina they could also map the camera button to provide additional functions in other apps. By providing a setting to allow apps to be able map to it or not map to it - via permissions just like they have for the Camera. Thus giving users alot more flexibility in how they use the device and manage their 'flow' lol. For instance in outlook the camera button would be able to launch office lens for example. Again a option within the app would enable even more granular control if user don't want to launch office lens but another app or leave it as default. Thus enabling "users to do more".
  • TechFreak1, I would like that. Those choices might be viewed as excess complexity by some, but I would like that.
  • @GraniteStateColin I feel that those who view it as excess complexity haven't used their phones more than just the occasional email and document thus really haven't worked on the go. However the entire paradigm of remote working has now shifted due to Covid-19. Speaking of remote working, you know what really would be shining now? Hubs and Rooms with WLM + Teams integration lol. Underpinned by office 365 and azure services / infrastructure. Microsoft could have sold a tonne of new activations if they Windows ecosystem of hardware in the mobile space for direct integration. As opposed to the clunky your phone solution. Foresight ain't 2020. The again such a scenario if considered would be still be the most unlikeliest of scenarios😶.
  • Kinda like a swiss army knife. Mobile devices are like the swiss army knife of tech in some ways....still boggles me why they went so fast (most all companies) to remove the headphone jack. It is like selling a swiss army knife with only the scissor option and tooth pick. Or with a toothpick option and a screw driver but no knife...what happens in 10 yeas when your Qi charging still works but your port does not. Now you cannot get audio no matter what over a cable...or if your bluetooth dies etc. I guess we will just keep adding it to piles of tech waste yearly...
  • Miss your Lumias, don't you? ;)
  • Yup.... That's why I finally retired my 950XL for an Xperia 1 ii.... Can't imagine living without a camera button or wireless charging.
  • I think it's funny how people lie to themselves and say to a device like this the camera isn't important because it's a productivity device... HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU THINK RELY ON TAKING DETAILED PICTURES FOR WORK??? The reality is that Surface Duo should have THE best overall camera experience available on any device if it is built for productivity... And, MS should make Office the center point for a highly functioning camera experience. Sorry if anyone here disagrees, but this is fact. 🔥💯🔥💯🔥💯🤷🏽‍♂️
  • Or they just disagree with you. Don't be so arrogant to assume people are lying to themselves if they aren't agreeing with you.
  • Nope.. It's a fact. Sorry if you, or anyone else doesn't agree, or refuse to see the reality of the situation. Most people want a great camera experience with Duo, it's fact and the market proves it. 🤷🏽‍♂️🤷🏽‍♂️🤷🏽‍♂️ The camera is absolutely important.
  • Duo isn't on the market yet! Are you predicting a failure?
  • That doesn't even make sense, and you might as well be commenting on another post.. I'm talking about for future versions of the device.. Why do you consistently insist on making yourself look like a fool on every post? Consistently without fail. Why?
  • Do I need to explain what you said? That the market has required the Duo to have a great camera even though the Duo isn't on the market yet? For the market to say the camera must be good, the first gen would need to be a sales failure due to the camera. With the sensor size, it definitely won't be a great camera.
  • You didn't answer the question. Is life really that difficult for you?
  • so what? not every phone is for every person. it's why we have choice. There are things that can be done on the surface duo that can't really be done on other phones to the same degree. But if taking pictures on your phone is your priority, then you buy a phone that does that. For me, it doesn't matter what camera is on the phone because for me, a camera on the phone is to capture the moment. Not produce amazing pictures. Because even the most amazing smartphone picture still looks like a smartphone picture. You zoom in and it looks like a smartphone picture. I take real pics with my Canon EOS R5 and EOS R. and I have used the Sony A7R3 extensively (though it's not a good experience but the pictures are fantastic).
  • "HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU THINK RELY ON TAKING DETAILED PICTURES FOR WORK???" Not nearly the majority. It's a fact that your opinion that your opinion is a fact is not a fact. That is not to say that there aren't people who wouldn't benefit from a top-notch camera experience but it's not so many that your melodrama is warranted.
  • No.. My point still remains intact, and I never said it was the majority who really on using a camera for work. Some people don't use Word for work but it's still imperative that Word be a great experience on Duo because so many people do. I'm sorry you can't see it or you don't want to believe it, and I don't really mind if you don't. but the majority of Surface Duo fans would like to see a top notch camera in this device. That's just the way it is. 🤷🏽‍♂️
  • If you are taking pictures for work, unless you are a photographer, the quality doesn't matter much. Any camera phone from the last 10 years can provide that basic function. How good does a camera need to be to get a picture of a dented fender or a document?
  • I care that you don't agree
  • At minium, I expect PDFs I create with Office Lens to be legible in a productivity device. That auto-aligning feature is pretty sweet.
  • @somerandombbusernamr, creating PDFs with Office lens and use DocuSign or signable to enable digital signatures either pre-set or hand signed via the Surface pen. So the camera has to be able to focus and make the text incredibly crisp + clear for legibility. To be fair, Office Lens does a decent job of that then again I've not used office lens on phones with low end Cameras lol.
  • Any camera from the past decade can do that fairly easily with adequate light as found in most offices.
  • For that the Duo should be at least 8mm thick (now 4,8mm). Folded, 16mm (now 9,6mm). Now it weights 250gr. With a thickness of 8mm it would easily weight more than 400gr. Now you tell me how productive would be to carry a brick in your pocket.
  • You make it sound like as technology advances we can't do more with less space,,, which is literally the opposite of what's been happening with technology the past 100 years... Your rule only applies for a given period of time. I'm sure some time in the future our screens will be able to take a picture themselves.. Think outside of your box.
  • In my box NOW the phones with the best cameras are not thinner than 7,3 mm (iPhone 8 and SE 2020, assuming that these two models have one of the best cameras). Phones could be thinner, but these cameras make it impossible. Now. And you pretend that Microsoft puts a camera that now needs not less that 7,3 mm in a device with a thickness of... 4,8 mm.
  • You make a fair claim rodneyej, but remember the vision of this device is to maximize productivity in a consolidated form. It doesn't mean having the best of all productivity elements independently, but collectively for them to be respectable. There are a lot of people that rely on taking pictures as part of their jobs, that don't use the best camera and are more than able to do their job admirably.
  • Unacceptable.. As each future version of Surface Duo progress every aspect of the device needs to continue to improve until it is completely grand by every metric. This is what has made Surface such a great product. I'm sorry I you disagree.
  • So you would expect it to have a 20 inch display also? Because that would be more productive.
    You have to find a balance between acceptable size and acceptable functionality.
  • When version 2 has an improved camera your comment will be obsolete.. Because, the fact is that regardless of the size engineers will always figure out how to do more with less space.. That's just the way technology goes.. Maybe you think a device the size of SD isn't capable of having a better camera, but that's your problem,,, not mine. The fact is that every version of Surface Duo will, and should improve on the camera.. Sorry you don't agree.
  • I think your response is a little off tangent. I agree with your statement completely, and from the history of what we've seen from the Surface brand, there is nothing to suggest every future iteration of this device will surely make every effort to build on the lessons of the last generation to make it completely grand as you say. My point was base upon the implication of you expecting them to make it completely grand on their first attempt in every aspect, especially when you're venturing down a new form factor. Trust me, I know the track record of the Surface Brand. I've owned a Surface 3, currently own a Surface Pro 6, Surface Earbuds, and bought my daughter a Surface Go 2 for school.
  • Based on that reasoning, it's a wonder we survived to this point, considering the smartphone cameras we've had before this camera blow-out generation of devices. Not sure about anyone else, but my smartphone cameras took decent enough pictures for document scanning, work photos, and detailed site or focal photos. Didn't need 108 MP with 3 additional cameras on the back for that.
  • I work in marketing and advertising, and I can't remember the last time I had to pull out my own phone to grab images of anything for work. But to each their own.
  • When it comes to mobile devices "productive" is entirely relative. For me "productive" is having a device I can use with one hand and slip in and out of my pocket easily. If I'm responding to work while on the go or on vacation. Then having a device that I can check notifications on easily while I'm carrying luggage or something else, makes me more "productive" when it comes to mobile. For someone else, taking high quality pictures makes them more productive, for others being able to draw or sketch or swap an SD card makes them more productive. For MS "productive" is using two hands looking at multiple apps at the same time. That might be the case for some, but I really don't think it's the case for all people. I don't think most of the examples that MS have shown really make anyone work faster, some might, but most are just for aesthetics. However if I have to open up to screens every time I check a notification, or I have a device that is too wide to use effectively with one hand, then for me that makes me *less* productive. If I don't have a dedicated camera button then that makes me *less* productive. There is a LOT to phones these days other than just the apps and I think that's what MS is missing out on... They're creating a one trick pony and neglecting nearly everything else.
  • You are clearly not the target audience
  • I am still confused with the complains about camera. With the current limited technology it is not possible to get iphone 11 pro and Galaxies like camera without bump, the sensor itself is big. So either Microsoft have to make the device think to keep it’s back surface flat for 360 flip or create a small round hole so the bump can fit in when flipped. I doubt any company would go with the second option during first iteration and obviously no one wants it thicker. So i dont see many options at this moment. You cant have it all, i guess.
  • I think the camera is fine as long as it continues to improve with every new version of the device.. And, that's likely the plan,, as with any other device.
  • I think you may need to go back in re-read the comment you made since I'm not the only person drawing a correlation between you and the specs of the camera of the Duo now, not moving forward.
  • I was feeling really salty about T-Mobile not getting this device...but I think I made the right choice going with the LG V60. I guess I didn't know how much I liked having a really good camera until I had one. This looks like it "also takes photos," which is probably good enough for most people I guess? Feeling much better about my purchase now.
  • I am trying to decide if camera fanatics are more or less annoying than Thunderbolt fanatics.
  • That's a very tough choice. Can we toss in "audiophiles" into the mix, or do they just win it all?
  • Are you saying the Duo doesn't support Hi-Res Audio? OMG it's gonna FAIL.
  • So no "world class camera" then eh?
  • I kind of think the opposite. It's funny watching folks that are Microsoft "fans" pretend that a camera doesn't matter. 😂
  • Not getting it for the camera, but should be good for everyday use.
  • Oof that UI is a comedown from the Lumia 950 XL, which nailed its camera experience so well
  • You are comparing a phone with a Surface.
  • We do not how good the camera is yet in practice, MP does not say much. Personally I think 950XL camera will be better but that was a really good camera for its time (even still is) but also has a much bigger lens and sensor. The Duo has no space for that, its already cramped full.
  • I'd like to see an option in the camera app to scan QR and Barcodes. That ability should be so much easier to get to and locate than it is currently on phones.
  • I find it funny that Apple changed the smartphone market with minimalist design, but threw the minimalism away to include a huge camera bump and pretty much everyone else followed. Microsoft is bringing back minimalist design and is being downgraded for only having one camera by some critics.
  • ? Phones have had camera humps for a LOOONNGGGG time. Nokia 1020?
  • The camera bump serves a purpose, to make the camera better. The bump doesn't bother me in the least, I honestly would never know it was there if I didn't turn my phone over and actually look at it. I can understand why the Duo with its 360 degree hinge doesn't have a protruding camera, but that is going to mean a much lower quality camera. For a device that is already cutting corners in other categories it doesn't bode well if the camera is crappy, but I'll reserve judgement until I see reviews. Personally I prefer functionality over looks.
  • Well I've had my duo for a few days now and I knew the camera experience wasn't going to be that great but OMG it's terrible!