Using a superb Google Camera app on Nokia 8

(Quite amazed to see that this article has been viewed almost 1,000 times since it was posted here in early June 2019, the gcam download link has been clicked upon more than 500 times – according to Google Analytics.)

One of the best Android camera phones at the moment is the Pixel 3. If you want you can try the camera app of this phone – made by Google – on your Nokia 8. For free! Indeed, lots of developers have been trying to modify this camera app so that it can be used on other phones too together with the standard camera app. In this short tutorial you will find a download link to one of the best GCams for Nokia 8, the settings to use the camera app and a series of photographs taken with the app.

Background information

I tested a few GCam apps myself but wasn’t too impressed by them until I came across Francesco Bacchini on the official Nokia forum. He has been a long time user of all sorts of GCam ports and his Nokia 8 photographs on Instagram look amazing.

Two of his detailed articles for Nokiateco got me interested again: Theoretical background on GCam (including an easy to follow list of settings for Nokia 8) and an extensive Photo quality comparison beween GCam and the standard Nokia camera app. These two articles are in Italian but that is hardly a problem if you first enable ‘Tap to translate’ in the Google Translate-app (downloadsettings). You copy a paragraph in the Italian article and click on the small GT-button that has popped up to read it in your own language.

The photographs I took with the GCam discussed in that article were very nice indeed. But when the same author shared his settings for a newer GCam version of cstark27 – the P3v11.4.31 –  I started to use GCam more often. The app is now on my home screen, just next to the standard camera app. In the beginning I took a photograph of a particular scene with both apps (only a few taps extra really) and chose the best photo afterwards. These days, however,  I almost never use the standard app any more, I prefer the gcam for its sharp, detailed pictures and (true) colours.

Some photos

2019-05-27_05-31-47

2019-06-07_09-56-40

IMG_20190730_120541_1

A detail from the same photoghraph – with the help of the Google Photos Editor:

IMG_20190730_120541_1_2

Macro photography

2019-05-27_05-30-54

2019-06-04_05-19-24

Inside (dark) museums

2019-06-12_04-20-31

IMG_20190730_155159_1

More photos in my Flickr album.

Installing GCam P3v11.4.31

Do you want to try this GCam app too? It will take you no more than ten minutes to download, install and activate the settings of the excellent Italian Nokia 8 photographer Francesco Bacchini.

Direct link.
Click on the above link on your Nokia 8. Then go to downloads and click on the file.
Open the app and beneath the viewfinder you click on More … and then on Settings.

  • Save location – on
  • Camera Sounds – off
  • Google Lens – on
  • Gestures (to your own liking)
  • Grid – 3×3
  • Advanced – everything turned on except raw+jpeg
  • Photo resolution (both front and back) set to max 13 mpx
  • Resolution for video – UHD 4k 30 fps
  • Video-stabilizer – OFF (don’t forget to do that)

Under P3 MoD Settings everything ON, except for the following:

  • AI AWB in HDR enhanced
  • Focus Tracking
  • Disable Align
  • Manual Exposure Control
  • Manual Focus Control

Go back to the viewfinder, tap the HDR icon and set it all the way to the right which is HDR + Enhanced.

Extra info

Two technical reasons why gcam may produce better photos than the standard camera app:

  • “The presence of an Optical Image stabilization module on the primary camera increases the odds of capturing sharp images in daylight, and brighter images in low-light situations.” (from the Nokia 8 review of Übergizmo). The optical stabilisation, however, is present on the RGB sensor, not on the monochrome one and unlike the standard camera app gcam only makes use of the RGB sensor.
  • You can use the burst function when using the volume button on gcam (for taking pictures of moving objects and persons). This is not possible on the standard camera.