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I have two phones, one has a 3.2mp camera, the other has an 8mp camera. I downloaded the 'Barcode Scanner' app on both phones, it works on the 8mp phone but the 3.2mp phone doesnt pick up any barcodes at all.

Is there a way around/fix to get the 3.2mp phone to scan the barcodes?

UPDATE: The 3.2mp camera picks qr barcodes just fine

UPDATE: From the discussion below, it seems the phone doesn't pick up barcodes because it doesnt have Auto Focus. Is there a way I can get around this?

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looks like you have resolved your issue then. –  davidbb Mar 8 '12 at 15:06
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I suspect it's a focusing/lighting issue. My 1-year phone also has trouble sometimes picking up a barcode in suboptimal conditions. Changing the distance to the barcode and holding your phone still should help. –  Martin Tapankov Mar 8 '12 at 15:07
    
QR codes are designed for phone cameras, so it's no surprise it works with those. You need a pretty good image for standard bar codes to work. Have you tried getting very close to the bar code? Bad lighting can also do it. –  Ben Brocka Mar 8 '12 at 15:18
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You could try Google Goggles as well. –  Peanut Apr 16 '12 at 13:29
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Does tap to focus work from the app you're using? Tapping the barcode should focus on it –  Ben Brocka Apr 16 '12 at 14:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

(I'll address your 2nd edit below...)

Some cheap camera modules don't include an auto focus feature, i.e. they are fix-focus'ed to infinity.

Barcode scanners need a near focus though and cannot (or hardly) scan the resulting blurry images that result from infinity-focused fix-focus cameras.

The only way around this would be to attach a macro lens specifically designed for smartphone cameras (also works with fix focus). Search for smartphone macro lens to see some samples.

I already tried that once with an older (also fix-focus) Sony-Ericsson Xperia X8 and it worked back then.

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FREE solution:

I've had success with a fraction of a drop of water or oil over the lens of the camera on my ZTE Score. It causes bar codes close to the camera to be in focus, and they read reliably. Enough to form a convex surface, but not so much that it drops off.

The ZTE Score has a smooth back; I dip my finger in oil and, with the lens aimed up, touch the back of the phone where the lens to put a droplet of oil on it. Then I can turn the phone face up (lens down) and I can scan bar codes. If the outer surface of your camera lens isn't flat, this likely won't work, but it's worked with my ZTE score and should work with most low-end (fixed focus) phones.

A clear convex on one side, flat and sticky on the other side piece of plastic would do the trick too; I recall seeing stick-on rubber feet that would have served well, but haven't seen 'em and haven't tried that.

I got tired of doing this every time I wanted to scan a barcode, and just ordered a macro lens.

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+1 For creativity. Real World creativity, even. –  Volker Siegel Apr 9 at 1:55

as i know, if you put set the distance between the phone and the bar code, far enough to there's no need for auto-focus, the phone should recognize it, but in some cases the bar code distance maybe far from the specific rectangle by the app, so will not be recognized, so in this case this situation will differ from phone to another, and btw i had this case in past, and never worked for me.

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I have u8160 huawei phone 3mp no auto focus it works just fine and you must have the light coming from the side not from the back because the back light gets interrupted by the phone

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