Camera question before purchase

hey, i was just about to order a FairPhone, but it’s currently not available.

i do need a good phone, and i really like taking pictures.

recently, i tried a super-inexpensive microsoft phone at an electronics megastore. while i am very very much against giving Bill Gates any money whatsoever because of the malicious ethical violations he packages as benevolence, i opened up the camera on a microsoft phone, and by some magical stroke of procedural effectiveness, the camera app has a curved focus slider that appears on the screen & can be easily controlled using your thumb.

baffled by the experience of encountering a good-functioning, well-thought-out user procedure on a microsoft product, i wanted to ask: is there something similar for the FairPhone?

maybe there’s a camera app?

for me, it’s two things:

  1. take the picture when i press the button with no lag whatsoever
  2. let me focus

There are many different camera apps around, but personally I prefer Open Camera. It’s very user-friendly, adjustable (I also put a zoom-slider on the screen :slight_smile:) and fast.
About the camera module itself, some people are apparently disappointed. For me, it is good enough and many other people succeed in taking very nice pictures. It’s also o secret Fairphone is working on an upgrade for the camera module. If you are not satisfied with the camera, it should be possible to upgrade it when the new module is launched.


Do not mix 2 different things :

  • user interface : you can use 3rd party cam apps like opencamera
  • intrinsic sensor quality : FP2 camera quality is average. Very sufficient for me, but definitely not on par with higher end models or even reflexes.

Also, consider this is a modular phone, so it will be technically possible for FP to release a better camera module. But this is still not existing.


There was some bad press about the FP2 Camera when the phone first came out, but that was because there were some software problems. Those are fixed by now and the phone is actually capable of taking really decent pictures, check out this. Yes, it’s not a DSLR, but it should be enough for everybody.

I personally use this Camera app, because i like its interface better than opencamera. But it’s also opensource and obtainable through f-droid.

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When funding FP2 I did not take a closer look at what kind of camera sensor and related was integrated. I never had any smartphone before but a still good picture taking Panasonic Lumix camera. Not the top class, but it anyway had very good reviews. The FP2 camera was not so much of my interest. Higher pixel rates aren´t necessarily leading to better results if e.g. the sensor or lens is weak. So how can a tiny camera in a phone compete with a dedicated camera. Yes, they are advancing and catching up, but there are still not to overcome limits. I see things like double lens cameras with dual flash and such in smartphones, but I believe not many would put that much priority mainly on the camera if therefore the remaining specifications are not so interesting. I thing FP2 back camera is decent for the one or the other shot, but not emerging from the mass. I must state, taking snapshots is actually not so easy or possible at all. As starting the app by hardware-button this sometimes takes quite some time depending on what apps are running. With my phone it can take up to 10 sec. When switching to the main screen or activating when locked it still may take 2-3 sec. Actually the picture is taken after focusing which again takes a moment. So if someone is out for snapshots I guess he won´t be happy with this camera. Furthermore I´m missing a series mode in the g***e app. Some more standard functions would be nice to have (series function, better (more automated) panorama assistant not only the basic functions as simple cameras offers. Yes, there are other apps out there, but that´s only a
My girlfriend needed a phone with a decent camera, as she never had a digicam. So she caught one of the last LG G4 H818 dual-sim available. Well, I not only could read that LG offers some of the best phone cameras on the market, but I also could see how eye-friendly her 16MP images turn out. So she is totally satisfied with it. Furthermore there is a decent image stabilizer and the software offers a good series function, automated panorama assistant, full auto-mode and good manual-mode too. All without having to download another app. A drawback to mention is, taking only a few pictures, panoramas and short clips on one day she could collect data of more than 600MB. So I guess we have to pump a 256GB sd card in as the 128GB I use maybe will fill too quick. Our Qualcomm chip in FP2 can handle much higher pixel rated cameras. But FP should also provide a own software with many more functions as we have now. A better camera may take some influence in sales, it´s just like the MHz or HP thing…

I’m sorry, but downloading a better app is not a “workaround”. That’s the standard way of working with a smartphone.

Personally, I never used the hardware button, I prefer sliding the camera from the lockscreen. This goes quite fast, actually. I just tried it: 4 seconds, starting from “pushing the on/off-button” to “being able to take a picture”.

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Software is replaceable - as long as the hardware is up to scratch. There’ve been rumours about an updated camera module with a different chip for a while now - when (and if) this happens we don’t know. So even the hardware may end up being replaceable. On the software side: given the size of the Fairphone team I personally would prefer them to work on features that are more difficult to implement by user choice (such as proper handling of USB OTG devices, sensor calibrations, device stability).

I see some analogy with the question why MS paint that came with your latest computer is lacking a lot of features that Adobe Photoshop does have (or Wordpad vs Office, which are both by the same company!). Smartphones are closer to the computer model of software these days than they are to device-specific embedded systems such as those found in ‘traditional’ digital cameras. The only thing really lagging behind is the availability of open drivers - this would encourage the same Windows/Linux/BSD/Haiku system choice on your smartphone (Android/Sailfish/B2G/Ubuntu)


Yes I agree, but “alternative” would fit better. Anyway such step is not necessary with the standard app provided with LGs G4. I believe there are not many free photo apps available which can keep up. I think it gets out everything from the hardware.
4 seconds with FP2 is enough for pictures, but not for snapshots. I am not sure if it actually is the hardware taking that long for focusing or the software control until the picture is taken. No matter with or without flash or hdr mode, my camera needs at least 2-3 seconds to catch the image. Probably a series function would not be possible anyway.

Since my recalibration with the tool some months back I would say this issue is solved for me. So far I do not have any stability issues, they all went away several updates ago. USB OTG I am not using (yet), but could see the new option in my setting list. Actually I assumed it would work properly. Yes, I also would rather see more fixes than new implementations, but since a while we are limited to security fixes. I mentioned this once in another post.

True, also my opinion.

Personally I am still convinced that implementing the camera 2 API, which allows taking images in RAW format, would be a great improvement for being able to make better images. Particularly because I realized that the auto white balance is quite random: often 2 images taken within a short time of the same motif have a different white balance (clearly a software issue). And of course it allows you better control over processing the image data.

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That indeed would be a great improvement. I wonder how large these files would turn out and if data processing or actually transfering would work quick enough.
Yes I also found out about this behaviour too. Taking two pictures of one scene in a row occassionally does show markable differences. Clearly a point that could be worked on.

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