So i no stock manufacturers, roms have the blobs drivers for full potential of the camera.

Does this only apply for the stock camera app say from Samsung? if i download third party apps while on stock rom do they also make use of the proprietary drivers? if they don't then is the quality the same as it would be while using lineage os for example?

Appreciate all answers.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Dan Hulme
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:58

1 Answer 1


The short answer is that like custom ROMs, it depends on which phone model.

The camera driver in the ROM implements Android's standard Camera2 API, which is common to all phones. Any app can use this API to access the camera. As you've pointed out, on some phones this requires having a binary-only camera driver in the ROM: without the binary part, only some modes may be available (e.g. lower resolutions), or the camera might not function at all. But if you have the binary driver, any app gets the full functionality of the Camera2 API, which is usually the full functionality of the camera.

The answer's not quite a flat "yes" because some phones have extra features. Phone manufacturers like to add extra camera features that aren't present in Android's API (yet). This mainly applies to the flagship phones from the big names like Samsung and LG, who compete on extra features not in stock Android. These extra features are only present in the manufacturer's own camera app, and they might use a special API to communicate with the camera driver, as well as Android's API.

These extra features will only be available from the manufacturer's camera app, and usually only on the stock ROM. Third-party camera apps will still be able to use the full functionality of the Camera2 interface: they just won't have access to these added features.

Note that image quality isn't just a property of the drivers. Many camera apps (both stock and third-party) do some amount of post-processing to make the image look better. You might find that a third-party camera app produces worse images just because its image processing isn't as good as in the stock camera app. Or you might find that a third-party camera app produces better images, if it uses an algorithm or technique that the stock app doesn't use.

  • Cool so it kinda sounds like your saying on roms like lineage os or aosp and the like that don't have a binary driver as only stock does, they can use camera2 api if you set that up correctly. In this case third party camera apps can function to the same full potential of picture quality as they would if they were installed on any stock rom that had the binary driver, is that accurate? also does the binary driver on stock only specifically effect the companys own camera app and has no effect on third party apps using camera2 api, as the binary drivers benefits and the companys own api's sound
    – Alister
    Aug 14, 2018 at 10:33
  • completely different to camera2 api in general. Not all third party apps use camera2 api some still use camera1 api. Thanks.
    – Alister
    Aug 14, 2018 at 10:34
  • No, I'm saying it depends on the phone and the ROM. The binary driver is what implements the Camera2 API.
    – Dan Hulme
    Aug 14, 2018 at 11:03
  • Hmm that confuses me, as lineage os and aosp ect they all don't have a binary driver, yet there's magisk modules to get camera2 api working for things like google camera ports. Yet there's no binary present at all they lack those drivers?
    – Alister
    Aug 14, 2018 at 11:10
  • So how do third party camera apps on lineageos nonstock roms with camera2 api enabled compare to stock? the fact they don't have the binary seems camera2 api and binary drivers are separate?
    – Alister
    Aug 14, 2018 at 11:13

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