One of the major improvements to the 2nd generation Kindle Fire HD is its front HD camera. However, there are many unanswered questions about this camera such as:
- How do you open the camera?
- Does the camera turn on only when using Skype?
- Are there third party apps to get the camera working?
- Does the camera do still pictures only or does it record videos as well?
- If it does record video, what is the resolution?
- They say it’s HD, but is that 720p or 1080p?
- Are there any customizable settings like focus, exposure etc.?
- Can it do a Panorama similar to the one on the new iPhone 5?
On this Kindle Fire HD Camera review, we try to answer the above listed questions and more.
Here’s how to open the camera/video camera app
Here are some features of the camera – still camera, video camera and panorama recording
Time laps intervals available – from 1 second to 10 seconds
Video quality can be changed from non-HD to 720p to 1080p HD
Tap on the screen to focus on a location of your choice
Nicely working panorama mode – really nice!
The video camera mode
Change exposure level from -3 to +3
Auto, Action, Night, Sunset and Party screen modes available
Here are some pictures taken with the Kindle Fire camera
As mentioned earlier, you can tap on different areas of the display and depending on where you tap, the camera automatically sets focus and exposure according to the area that you selected. On the examples shown below, on the first example, we selected the white speed limit sign post to focus. Because it’s white and bright the Kindle Fire HD camera (just like any other digital camera) thinks that the lighting conditions are good and decreases exposure. That’s why the first picture is relatively darker.
In contrast, the 2nd picture below was taken with the focus on that dark area where the trees are. Remember, this is a cloudy, rainy October day around 4pm and it’s a little dark all around. And as soon as I set the focus on that dark area, the display brightened up (I think in technical terms, it is called increased exposure) and as a result, the photo looks brighter. Probably too bright, but if I played with the exposure settings, I guess I could have got it near perfect.
Here is that 2nd photo with the focus on a dark area.
How about the video quality?
Considering this was an October Fall day around 4pm with all the rain and clouds, I don’t think it was bad at all. However, inside the house where it is a little darker, the video becomes grainier. But that’s the same with my iPad 2 video camera as well.