Adding pinch-zooming to the camera interface is nothing to shout home about, but the addition of third-party plugins certainly is. All smartphone users have their favorite photo apps, but imagine having them all inside the main camera interface. That’s what the new camera lenses feature on Windows Phone 8 promises.
As Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore demoed today, when you install a new camera-centric app from the Marketplace, it integrates as a sort of a lens, an add-on inside your main camera app. So when you start the camera, you have all the special effects, panoramas and image manipulation tricks, in one place.
I love using all sorts of camera apps on my iPhone. Of course, I have several favorites, and I use them interchangeably. They all do the job of taking pictures just fine, but each comes with its own set of nice little features or filters so I just can’t pick a single all-time favorite. Of those, the standard vanilla camera app on the iPhone is the least feature-rich, but unfortunately, it’s the quickest to launch of all, thanks to the always present lockscreen shortcut.
So Microsoft has achieved something I’ve long thought is quite overdue both on iOS and Android – the capability of enhancing the stock camera app with new features via plugins. Some examples shown on the stage by Joe Belfiore include Bing Vision, CNN’s iReport plugin, a regular Panorama plugin, a Photosynth plugin, which lets you take 360-degree panoramas, or even a plugin, called Blink, which lets snaps multiple portrait shots and automatically suggests the one with best facial expression.
Of course, those are just examples and it would be up to the third-party developers to make this list longer.