The wait is finally over, phase 1 of CyanogenMOD´s new Nemesis project is here and it's called Focal, a replacement for the Android stock camera app, which has always been a bit basic.
There are many camera apps out there, but having it automatically installed in every CyanogenMOD ROM is kind of a big deal, there are millions of devices out there running this custom ROM. The camera itself is based on the stock camera, with the same overall style but with a few important changes.
As you can see from the screenshots, taken by Android Police, the UI is completely hidden, except for the shutter button which as you can see, is not the same as the stock one. Simply tap the button and you take a picture, but tap and slide out and you'll see a radial menu, not unlike the one from Google Now, but with 5 options instead of just 1. The modes are Photo, Panorama, Video, PicSphere and Switch Camera. Obviously. we're familiar with 4 of those 5 modes, the only new one there is PicSphere, which is Cyanogen's answer to Google's Photosphere which is proprietary to Google. PicSphere is completely open source and the UI is a little different, we'll talk about it later.
Aside from that, you can touch anywhere on the screen to manually focus on that point. There's also a really curious feature called Exposure Ring, which when enabled gives you a second ring besides the focus one, pictured as a sun. It allows you to choose which spot is chosen for the exposure of the picture, you can pick a dark spot on a bright picture to change how the shot will look.
Besides that, you can swipe from the edge, either bottom or left depending on your orientation, and that row of icons appear at your disposal to modify any setting you want, if you touch one of those icons you get a pop-up menu with more options, it stays there until you tap the icon again to hide it. It's less fluid than Google's new take on the radial menu, but still looks pretty comfortable to use. You can also reorder them as you want by just dragging them around.
From left to right, these are the icons you get, CM calls them widgets: Flash mode, White balance, Scene mode, HDR, Color effects (a.k.a. filters), Exposure compensation, Color enhancements, ISO sensitivity, Burst mode, Time mode and Settings. In the Settings you can select which icons show up and which one you want hidden in case you don't use them.
Here's a list of some of the options available in some of the options:
- The flash includes an always-on mode.
- Scene mode: auto, night, party and sunset.
- Color effects: negative, posterize, aqua, black and white, sepia, whiteboard, blackboard and solarize.
- Burst mode: you can choose 5, 10, 15 or "infinite" shots. Obviously that depends on your storage options.
- The timer goes up to 60 seconds and it looks to have a voice command feature as well.
Here's a video walkthrough of the app in its current state:
This is just the first preview of the new Focal camera app, you know it's only going to get better, and as always with Cyanogen, don't ask for ETAs, it'll be ready when it's ready. Focal will be merged with nightlies this week so you'll be able to play with it soon. For now, we're just waiting on some info of what's phase 2.