How to Build a Dual Camera App
Technological advancements have made swift progress recently and allow people do things they couldn’t even imagine a couple of years ago. New technologies save lives, facilitate inventions, make people’s lives easier… and more fun. Every year, smartphone manufacturers present new devices with new features, more powerful, more technologically enhanced, and with more cameras on board.
The first dual camera Android smartphones appeared on the market in 2014: the Huawei Honor 6 Plus and HTC One M8. In 2016, Android released more dual camera smartphones, and Apple released its dual camera iPhone 7 Plus. According to Statista, dual camera smartphones will soon account for 45.6% of the installed base. The trend continues to evolve, and 2019 will be the year of triple cameras on smartphones. The industry headliners announced the release of new triple camera devices – Samsung Galaxy S10, Huawei P20 Pro, and Nokia 9 PureView (this one has 5 rear cameras).
What Exactly Is a Dual Camera?
The tiny camera module is situated on the back of a phone. Dual cameras have two lenses, i.e. two independent camera modules placed side by side (either horizontally or vertically). As a rule, one module is the primary lens, and the secondary lens captures additional light, increases the field of view and creates background blur. The advantages of a dual camera are more detailed, sharper images, ultra-wide angle mode and enhanced depth of field. The Economic Times experts state that dual camera setups improve image quality and allow for additional image effects via software.
Dual camera apps provide more options for superior portraits and exposure effects in photos making them really attractive to people taking lots of photos and sharing them on social media. A key factor of dual camera popularity and thus the popularity of dual camera apps is the growing use of social networking applications that allow users to click and share pictures. Today’s smartphone cameras allow users to take high quality photos without using professional photography equipment, so dual cameras and apps appeal to users who display their lives on social media networks.
Dual Camera Apps – What Is on the Market?
Smartphone cameras constantly get better and add features users want. Smartphone companies are in a perpetual “arms race” to create the most advanced devices on the market. Despite the technological advances of smartphone camera hardware, the default camera apps, which allow toggling between two cameras (the standard one and the teleshooter) and provide some effect options, are not as perfect as users would hope. This resulted third parties developing dual camera apps to utilize the smartphone cameras in the most effective way and to create the most stunning images. Third party dual camera apps grant additional control over your smartphone camera shots – you can select the settings of exposure, shutter speed, and camera’s sensor sensitivity to light (ISO).
Both established development companies and startups have created multi-camera apps ranging from simple filter and effect apps, to apps turning high-contrast photos into HDR images, to the apps that create panoramic images and collages. The apps can also be divided in categories such as:
- Portrait specific
- Landscape specific
- Time lapses
- Overlay & collages
- Video specific
Today there’s a possibility to create a dual camera app aimed at specific camera application. Here is a brief overview of dual camera apps popular on the iOS and Android app markets.
Dual Camera Apps for iOS and Android
If you want to build a dual camera app, look at these apps to find out their strengths and weaknesses and to choose the application area you can take on.
Camera+ Legacy and Camera+ 2
This iOS photo app allows users to take professional grade photos. The key features are manual controls for shooting, plus dozens of filters, scene modes, effects, frames and captions, and tweaks. The app allows synchronizing pictures to iCloud and sharing photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.
This app provides a manual camera interface available on iPhone, iPod or iPad. The app features:
- Dual arc slider controls for adjusting focus and exposure
- Live analytics suite including Zebra Stripes, Clipping, False Color and Focus Peaking
- Ramped zoom rocker control
- Waveform monitor including tri-mode histogram
- White balance adjustment matrix with predefined and custom presets
- Content Management System for project file naming
- FiLMiC Sync integration to store preset data in the cloud and share between devices
- Clip favoriting
- Batch upload to supported share targets
- Gamma curve controls for Natural, Dynamic, Flat and LOG
- Live shadow and highlight adjustments
- Live RGB, saturation and vibrance adjustments
The app seller says the app provides complete control over camera focus, exposure, frame rates, and more. It also produces external microphones, lens adapters, and other production accessories.
This app is an example of a portrait specific app. It is easy to use and offers no manual control for a camera. The specialty of the app is more than 100 different filters, including a vast range of effects and hues which can be applied at the point of capture. Other features include videos, gifs, collages, stickers, stamps and doodles, and picture sharing. Retrica is not complicated, so it wouldn’t be difficult to build an app like this.
This app is a zoom camera app with manual camera controls, including shutter speed adjustments on compatible Android devices. The key features are:
- RAW capture
- Manual controls, ISO, shutter speed, focus distance
- Voice Activated
- Collage Maker
- Time Lapse
- HDR Mode Pro
- Various effects
- Grid overlays
- Multiple flash modes
- Scene modes
- Widget for your photos
- Collage: e.g. 2x2 selfie shots
Panorama 360 is a 360 camera app for Android designed to capture and share panoramas. The key features are:
- Automatic geo-tagging
- Automatic storage in SD card
- Click ‘Nearby’ to view panoramas around your location
- Non-compass capture
- Automatic storage in SD card
The app allows sharing high-resolution panoramas on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as well as via email.
As we can see, there are numerous possibilities to create a dual camera app that can offer new features for users. You can make a simple filter app or a complex product embedding photo and video capturing – the market for these apps is still evolving, and you can get a share of your own in it.
Some Tips to Consider When Developing an App for Dual Camera Phones
Good photos, either take with professional cameras or smartphone cameras, are in RAW format. This uncompressed, unprocessed format ensures the best quality images and requires a lot of storage space. Very few pre-installed cameras support shooting in RAW, so featuring this format will be an advantage.
High dynamic range overcomes camera phones’ limitations as it brightens the shadows and darkens highlights, creating a more balanced exposure. HDR mode feature allows creating high dynamic range images, which is a good feature for those who want to make pictures like pros.
Making gifs from videos and sharing them instantly is another popular feature worth embedding in your app.
Timelapse videos are a real “wow” factor in an app. This feature allows shooting a single frame at a set interval (every few seconds or minutes) and combining them together into a video to create a spectacular video. This feature can be the cherry on top of your app.
Panoramas are also a popular type of picture displayed on social media networks. Most smartphones already have a panorama shooting option, but few of them can take 360 degree panoramas.
One of the top dual camera setups creates a “bokeh” effect where the background part of an image is out of focus. Modern smartphones eliminate the need to use additional lenses to create this effect.
This is only a short review of the possible features a dual camera app could have. You can choose from dozens of others to make your app unique and popular with your target users.
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