Earlier this week, Microsoft updated the Windows Camera app for PC and phone. The version number jumped to 2016.107.11 and at the time we assumed it was just part of the .63 OS updates rolling out as nothing new was noticed.
However, a few members in our forums and on Reddit did notice one change: exposure bracketing had been removed.
Bracketing is an advanced feature often found in high-end cameras. The feature lets a user take at least three photos (and up to five) at different exposure levels e.g. -.5EV to +.5EV, -1EV to +1EV, and -2EV to +2EV. Prosumers often use the function in post-editing to create high-dynamic-range (HDR) images using PC software.
The bracketing feature was first brought to Windows Phone in the summer of 2013 back when it was only part of Pro Cam for the Lumia 1020. Later, the feature expanded to other PureView devices.
As to why it was removed we can only guess that it was a feature rarely used by consumers. Despite it being taken out Tuesday, we have barely heard a peep from users about the missing function, suggesting that most people did not even notice.
Additionally, Rich Capture (HDR mode) does almost the same thing when enabled. Rich Capture quickly snaps three photos and then overlays them to create a single image with high-dynamic-range. A user can then control the range of the exposure within the Photos app and making bracketing slightly redundant. Rich Capture is certainly more consumer friendly and convenient.
However, for real pro-shooters bracketing did save three separate JPG files to the phone that could be uploaded to OneDrive whereas Rich Capture lumps them into a single .nar file. You could save images as DNG (RAW) but this can quickly use up a lot of storage, and it doesn't auto-upload to OneDrive.
All in all, losing a feature is never a good thing and for all we know maybe it is being re-worked. Then again, seeing as how the community barely noticed its absence perhaps Microsoft was just reducing complexity and responding to what people (did not) use.
Did you ever use bracketing in the Windows Camera app and will you miss this feature? Let us know in comments.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.