Camera Operation

The Nexus 6 camera user interface is clutter-free.

The Nexus 6 is Google's showcase device and therefore unsurprisingly comes with the software giant's own camera app, Google Camera, that is also available to the users of other Android phones in the Google Play Store. You can open the app via a short-cut on the lock screen or by tapping on the camera icon on the home screen. 

The user interface of Google Camera is very simple. There is no manual control over exposure settings or white balance and not too many parameters to play with. On the plus side the layout is intuitive and it takes very little time to memorize how things work.

The right edge of the screen is occupied by the large shutter button and in the top right corner of the preview image you'll find the settings icon. A tap on the latter will open up options to change the aspect ratio, engage HDR+ mode, turn on a framing grid or activate a 3 or 10 second self-timer.

The shooting modes can be accessed by swiping from the left edge.
A tap on the three menu dots opens a few options including front camera, HDR+, flash, self timer and grid.

A swipe from the left edge opens up the shooting mode options. We'll have a look at the Photo Sphere, Panorama and Lens Blur modes on the features page of this review. Video mode will be covered on the video page. Camera is the default shooting mode and offers very intuitive operation. Tap anywhere on the screen to focus and then tap on the shutter button to capture the image. Exposure is linked to the focus point but, if you activate the manual exposure option in the settings, you also have access to an exposure compensation slider in the shooting options. Exposure compensation is not available in HDR+ mode though. Unfortunately there is no "tap to capture" option.

Overall Google Camera is easy and intuitive to use and offers some interesting shooting modes. However, those who like to fiddle with shooting parameters and prefer more manual control over image results might be better off with a third party camera app form the Google Play Store, such as Camera FV-5 or the new Manual Camera. Both those apps also offer the added benefit of DNG Raw support on the Nexus 6.

Exposure compensation is accessible in the options menu.