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Android KitKat 4.1.1 update brings Camera improvements to the Nexus 5

Google already has a new Android update ready for Nexus 5 owners, and its key purpose is to improve results achieved with the rear camera.

Android 4.1.1 is set to arrive imminently on both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices from Google, with the main focus (pardon the pun) being improvements to the Nexus 5’s slightly disappointing rear camera. Google stuck with an 8 megapixel sensor for the N5 but upgraded it to add optical image stabilisation and other features. We have to say that results are better than we experienced on the Nexus 4, but we did expect better.

Google has plans to make things better with the 4.1.1 update, which the company says will tweak the rear camera to bring 5 key changes which will make images much better. Autofocus will be improved firstly, as Google acknowledges that when using autofocus, pictures tended to be rather dark. This is apparently due to the camera failing to balance a longer shutter speed to suit autofocus in low light conditions, which resulted in autofocus taking way too long to capture a picture even in good lighting conditions.

In addition to improving the autofocus so that a longer shutter speed doesn’t mean poorer quality pictures, Google has also touched up the exposure and white balance. Overall the Nexus 5 should snap better quality images much faster, and from the app launching around a second faster to images being captured quicker than before, everything should be much nippier.

Google has also touched up the Camera app’s interface to make things easier to find and to make it much easier to use. We found the settings within the Camera app to be a little too fiddly in KitKat, with many settings seemingly hidden within several layers of menu structure, so we’re pleased to see that Google is working to make things better in this respect.

The Verge has already had some hands-on experience with a Nexus 5 running the new Android 4.1.1 firmware and they say that, “Before, there were shots you simply couldn’t get — I learned to not even try with fast-moving subjects, especially in low light, but now a picture of the New York City skyline out the window of a taxi is crisp and in focus, even if it’s not quite as sharp as on an iPhone 5S. The Nexus 5 just inspires confidence in a way it never did before. It doesn’t take six tries to get a picture in focus, because the camera doesn’t re-focus again as soon as you hit the shutter. It just fires, and far more often than not gets a crisp, clear photo.”

Whether Android 4.1.1 will come to older Nexus devices such as the Nexus 4 remains to be seen, but we know for certain there are some Nexus 4 owners out there who have experienced plenty of software bugs since upgrading to KitKat, so we have our fingers crossed that the update also squashes bugs on older devices.

The update will arrive on the Nexus 5 very soon, and on the Nexus 7 tablet soon after. Unfortunately Google hasn’t yet given us a release date for the new software.

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