Google camera or the GCAM as we know popularly today, is one of the best camera software that is available for download which outperforms stock camera application in every aspect of photography in millions of phones, but how did it all happen? where did this piece of software come from? and what is its future? , let’s find out in this article!
Android phones, especially the budget phones were traditionally not known for good cameras, but that all changed in 2013 when the first Pixel device was launched, A phone that was built up from the ground by GOOGLE that concentrated heavily on software rather than hardware especially in user experience and photography, with an ingenious idea that software once designed is scalable and can bring in more profits and showcase the world their software capabilities
Back in the day and till now (most companies like Xioami, Realme, Oppo, Vivo, etc..) concentrate on heavy specs rather than software experience to attract the customers towards them, for a technically weaker group of people better specs means better experience which is technically not true and to keep the profits in check investment in computational photography with good camera software was never their priority, this left a gap in the market where a great camera hardware could produce mediocre photos
Consider an example where pixel phone runs on SD 845, 48mp Sony IMX586 sensor 6GB ram and also an X phone that runs on the same spec, even though every bit of hardware is same the photo produced by X phone highly inferior when compared to pixel phone in detail, sharpness, white balance and dynamic range, so what is it that is missing? even though both have the same specs how an image can vary so much? , turns out its the software processing that’s doing all the magic and this exact thing evoked some of the great coders like ARNOVA to try to port the lines of code from pixel to other devices and this is how GCAM ( Google Camera Port ) was born
Since then some of the greatest coders I have known like Arnova8G2, BSG, CStark, have ported the lines of code from google camera and moders like Urnyx05, Parrot043, Wichaya, Wyroczen, have further modified these ported cams to work on different devices ranging from Redmi budget phones to top end one plus phones to work smoothly without crashes with countless versions released so far to perfect them and some cases outperforming googles own devices ( like Poco F1 outperforming Pixel 2, thanks to better ISP in SD 845 )
With Gcam’s we are able to get the best detail, sharpness, white balance and dynamic range with natural colours exactly like pixel devices and better in some cases with a lot of Raw settings to play from, u also get every special feature of pixel camera like superior Night sight, astrophotography mode, natural selfies, lossless digital zoom ( Sabre ) to name a few and if u are not a pro photographer then thanks to people like Vlachorum Sapiens a Ready-made XML is available to load and get the best Results without touching settings and now we all are enjoying the hard work of these people
But what about the Future? Currently, the future is bit worrying for all GCAM users, Google wasn’t kidding when they said that google camera mods won’t be so easily possible in the future, it makes sense for them to try and keep their software to their own devices so people will buy them and we already are seeing this, with the release of Gcam 7.3 google has done major changes to Camera2api, hardware and in source code, we have a lot less code to work with now, most of its new features like Dual exposure and Live HDR are moved to its dedicated hardware like Pixel Core which will never be able to port as it’s on hardware side feature and major cleanup for the code has been done in code which means it will be very difficult to port the Gcams from now on until a skilled developer like Arnova or BSG finds a way to do, so keep your Fingers crossed!
U can get all the latest Gcam Ports for all mobiles here