Features

Firefly for product identification and and Dynamic Perspective that modifies the screen contents according to where your face is relative to the screen are unique functions on a smartphone, but they are probably not of much interest to mobile photographers. Compared to most of the Android and Windows Phone competition, the Amazon Fire Phone comes with a very concise imaging feature set. The Panorama, HDR and Lenticular modes shown below are all you get but of course there are plenty of apps in the Amazon App Store to expand the imaging capabilities of your Fire Phone. And if you are missing a particular app in the store there are ways of side-loading it from the Google Play Store. 

Panorama mode

Pan the camera to capture a panorama image. You can track progress in the center bar and stop any time by pressing the red button.

Using panorama mode on the fire Phone is straightforward. You simply hit the record button to start and then pan the camera until recording stops or you can stop manually by hitting the button again. Weirdly, the mode captures almost a 360 degree panorama when the camera is held in portrait orientation but only approximately 180 degrees for horizontal panoramas.

The resulting image files are not quite as large as on the latest iPhones or the Samsung Galaxy S4/S5 but at approximately 9000 pixels for the vertical panorama they have a decent size and show good detail. However, if you zoom in to a 100% view on the sample below you'll see more stitching errors than we would like, some of them pretty significant and on subjects further away from the lens. Moving subjects will inevitably cause ghosting effects. In low light panoramas will mostly end up blurry. Overall we liked the image size of the Fire Phone panoramas but there is definitely room for improvement in terms of stitching and dealing with moving subjects.

Vertical panorama, 8880 x 1824 pixels
Horizontal panorama, 6656 x 928 pixels

HDR mode

The Fire Phone's HDR mode has to be triggered manually in the settings menu but the phone will alert you when it thinks a scene would benefit from using it. As you can see in the samples below the effect is fairly subtle, which means the HDR results still look natural. However, HDR images are visibly cropped compared to the standard exposures and at pixel level can often be a little softer, both due to camera motion during capture.

Moving subjects are dealt with very well though and there is normally no ghosting or other artifacts visible. As long as you take the cropping into account it's worth keeping the mode on in high contrast situations. The effect is not very strong on the highlights but the lifted shadow areas can help render scenes with strong contrast more pleasantly.

HDR off
HDR on
100% crop
100% crop
HDR off
HDR on
100% crop
100% crop

Lenticular mode

Lenticular mode is camera feature we have not seen before and that makes use of the Fire Phone's Dynamic perspective technology. You capture between 2 and 11 frames around a stationary object from different angles and the software merges them into a "moving" image which can be saved and shared as a .GIF. On the Fire Phone itself you can change the viewing angle by tilting the device. 

GIF captured in Lenticular mode

While you are shooting the app guides you in terms of framing by overlaying a semi-transparent image of the previous shot on the live view image, similar to how some panorama modes behave. Nevertheless the app requires some practice to achieve decent results and as you can see above our sample above is far from perfect. Overall though, the feature's entertainment value and usefulness are limited. You cannot help but get the impression the Amazon engineers were desperately looking for functions to make use of the Dynamic Perspective technology and Lenticular mode is the result of that process.

Gallery app

The Fire Phone's gallery app is fairly simple, there are no albums, events or highlight movies. Instead thumbnails are displayed in chronological order and you can specify if you want to see images on the device only, images in cloud storage or both. With the device you get unlimited photo storage on Amazon's cloud servers, so image storage is not an issue as long as you've got a data connection to up- and download them.

In the app you get the usual sharing and editing options. Like on standard Android devices, images can be shared with any installed app that can process an image in some shape or form. In terms of editing you get basic functions, such as cropping, rotating and color and contrast modification but also a few more advanced options, such as focus blur or meme creation. There is also a range of Instagram-style filter effects but no control over their application. Overall the editing options are good enough for basic requirements but advanced mobile-editors will probably switch to a more powerful third-party app, such as Snapseed or Pixlr pretty quickly.

Thumbnail view
Individual image view
Sharing options
Editing options
Filters
Focus blur