The Nexus 5 is a great smartphone in many ways except for its camera. After languishing with a rather lagging snapper, the Nexus 5 is finally getting a camera boost with the Android 4.4.1 KitKat update.
Due to come as an over-the-air update in the next few days, the latest Android update is geared towards fixing and enhancing the Nexus 5's picture taking capabilities. Google's Director of Engineering for Android David Burke told The Verge in an interview that the Nexus 5 shutterbugs should expect a faster camera overall.
Burke explained that the camera before the update tended to create images focused on better quality over speed. 4.4.1 makes it so the camera fires frames at faster shutter speeds while not relying on optical image stabilization as it does now.
"There's a tendency to say, 'oh, we have this cool thing that stabilizes, so lets make the shutter time longer, reduce the gain even longer, and get better shots," Burke told The Verge. "But while the Nexus 5's optical image stabilization allowed it to get better-than-average shots in low light, in good lighting it just made for frustratingly slow shooting speeds."
Post-update, the Nexus 5 camera will shoot images at faster shutter speeds producing pictures with less motion blur. This comes with the tradeoff of more pixel noise because the camera is probably bumping up the ISO sensitivity to do this. Burke says his team has also improved the camera's autofocus, the exposure, and the white balance.
On top of improving image quality, the camera app reportedly launches a full second faster. Default Camera app users will also notice a new progress indicator for HDR+ mode to indicate how far photo processing is progressing.
One extra non-camera related thing the 4.4.1 update fixes on the Nexus 5 is the face unlock bug. Currently facial recognition sometimes causes a bug that locks the camera app with a blank white screen, which requires a full device reboot to fix.