Last night, Google dropped the first beta of the upcoming version of its mobile operating system – Android Q. While it’s just available for the Google Pixel (all generations) owners to try out, it’s packed with promising features – especially for photography enthusiasts. While it’s just available for Google Pixel (all generations) owners to try out, it’s packed with promising features – including a couple of interesting ones for photography enthusiasts.
Better options for portrait photos with new depth format
Starting with Android Q, app developers can access depth information – the XMP (a metadata standard for files) data containing depth information and depth and confidence data (map containing details of distance of objects from the camera lens) from supported hardware cameras – along with the final compressed JPEG file of the photos captured on your phone. This means that app makers, including those behind the stock camera apps of phones running Android Q, can create new bokeh blur effects, 3D photos, and AR experiences more easily than before.
Google’s already working with device makers to make dynamic depth format open source, so more devices can take advantage of this feature.
Improved support for monochrome cameras for rich photos and low-light pictures
Android introduced support for monochrome cameras in the last version – Android 9 Pie. This year, Google’s making some changes to improve native black and white photography and low-light pictures. Android Q will support native monochrome shooting in RAW format. That’s huge, as app makers will be able to manipulate details from the uncompressed version of these photos and improve image quality. PPlus, the latest version is introducing the Y8 stream format to make black and white photos take up less storage.
Google notes on its blog that “A logical multi-camera device may use a monochrome camera as a physical sub-camera to achieve better low-light image quality.” It indicates that phones like the Nokia 9 with three monochrome cameras can achieve better results than before with this feature.
With more phones offering versatile camera hardware lately, I hope to see them take advantage of these features in Android Q in the coming months for better picture quality.
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