Return to Level1Techs.com

Open Camera vs Google Camera (Software that makes or breaks the camera)

Ever wondered if there is a difference between the google camera application and the open camera application available on android? Well heres a small (as scientific as we can get) test.

Whats not done:
Different manual exposure controls
Different manual ISO controls
A fully uncompressed test (Google camera doesnt support it but I took some with Open Camera)
Anything inherent special and unique to the apps that isnt cross available

I am open to doing more tests if people have ideas!

Phone Model:
Google Pixel 3 XL 64 GB
https://www.gsmarena.com/google_pixel_3_xl-9257.php
Modifications to the system:
Pixel Visual Core firmware modified with better noise profiles. (cant release code because the firmware is closed source). This wont affect the test since both cameras would process there images in the same visual core anyways so the same filter is applied in processing regardless of the app.
Modifications to phone - (should someone care)
Case: https://www.amazon.com/Spigen-Tough-Armor-Designed-Google/dp/B07H5SKSPM
Screen Protector: (was 28.99 pre covid) https://www.amazon.com/Dome-Glass-Protector-Dispersion-Whitestone/dp/B07KCQQVXM

Google Camera App Information:
Version - 7.2.014.27
System app name - com.google.android.googlecameraengine
Download Link - (Pixel come with it)

Open Camera Version:
Version - 1.48.3
System app name - net.sourceforge.opencamera
Download Link- (Pixel come with it)
https://f-droid.org/en/packages/net.sourceforge.opencamera/

Testing Methodology:

Location: (some will care)


Weather Conditions:

Mostly Clear
43 °F
6.1 °C
Humidity 	9%
Wind Speed 	SSE 10 MPH
Barometer 	29.94 in (1013.89 mb)
Dewpoint 	21°F (-6°C)
Visibility 	10.00 mi
Last update 	07 Apr 2021 19:30 PM MDT 

Standard Mode: Both apps set to standard with HDR off and their plain vanilla settings
Auto HDR: Open Camera set to auto HDR mode / DRO and Gcam set to Auto HDR
Full HDR: Open Camera set to HDR and Gcam set to force HDR
Dirty Lens Test: Smudged and licked and sprayed dirt on the lens and left both cameras in full HDR mode to see how they handle a dirty lens.
Color Space: Though both support DCI-P3 I left it on sRGB

  • In order to prevent the forum software from interference with the images. I linked the images to my nextcloud. These are public and should be easy to access

All other settings stock. No modifications. This comparison is to compare app performance out of the box not see if we can make them super identical.

Seems they trade back and forth. Any consensus yall want to share. I am open to what you see. It is afterall a matter of some perspective :wink:

Questions:

Question 1:

Is it software that makes or break the camera or is it the firmware in the camera? We can eliminate the help of googles software as I dont have google photos installed which is what sends the photo to be modified by googles network.

Question 2:

Who would like me to do some image processing and get more technical data on these such as color curves?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Other (explain below)

0 voters

Personal Conclusions thus far:

  • Google Camera only barely edges out the open camera. Software could make or break the cameras IF developers and OEMs paid enough attention to it.

  • Google Camera does have far better dithering and denoising

  • Color reproduction similar on both apps OTB

  • HDR over exposed on Open Camera

Data Source/Dump:

2 Likes

Notice: sorry for the upload delay. My Nextcloud is the open source half baked kid trying to be google drive stuffing his face with glue in the corner

Testing Results:

Open Camera:

Scene 1:
Standard:

Auto HDR:

Full HDR:

Scene 2:
Standard:

Auto HDR:

Full HDR:

Dirty Lens:

Bonus Scene: (HDR only - Was patient enough to catch the sun a bit)

Google Camera:

Scene 1:
Standard:

Auto HDR:

Full HDR:

Scene 2:
Standard:

Auto HDR:

Full HDR:

Dirty Lens:

Bonus Scene: (HDR only - Was patient enough to catch the sun a bit)

Uncompressed Test: (Only Open Camera could do this)

Scene 1:
Standard:

Auto HDR:

Full HDR:

Scene 2:
Standard:

Auto HDR:

Full HDR:

Dirty Lens:

Bonus Scene: (HDR only - Was patient enough to catch the sun a bit)

1 Like

(Reserved for possible other investigations of photo technical data)