In the Engadget video above, we can see that Nexus 5, with its quad-core 2.3GHz processor, is a very fast phone indeed: all the IU is very-very fast.

But then near the end of the 3-minute as above (2:35/3:26), they showcase the camera.

Wow. The app takes more than a second to launch. Then it takes more than a second to take each HDR picture, yet somehow the presenter comments that it takes "quick snaps".

Since when are 1s+ snaps "quick"? Will the camera be as slow in the non-HDR mode, or will it be as flaky and unusable as the post-4.0 zero-shutter-lag feature of Galaxy Nexus, which has been completely destroyed with the 4.1 update?

  • HDR - by design - takes time to snap and process. 1 second is indeed very fast. I can't speak for the N5 yet, but I've got Android 4.4 on my Nexus 4 right now and the camera takes very fast (non-HDR) pictures.
    – dotVezz
    Nov 1, 2013 at 20:17
  • @dotVezz, even if so, the interface of a simple delay, instead of actually showing you which pictures are taken, seems to be the exact same poor experience that I'm getting on my post-4.0 Galaxy Nexus, alas without the HDR.
    – cnst
    Nov 2, 2013 at 1:56

1 Answer 1


The HDR function in the Nexus 5/KitKat camera app is an optional function that's switched off by default.

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From some informal testing with my new Nexus 5, how fast the HDR function is at taking photos seems to depend on what's in the photo. Taking a close up picture of the well lit surface of my desk seems to be pretty fast (feels like under 2 seconds), taking a picture down the length of my open plan office towards the window seems to take a few seconds longer. It seems to depend on the variation in the lighting (and possibly the depth) in the photo, which would make sense as HDR works by taking photos for different light levels and combining them.

Taking a photo with HDR off seems to consistently take a photo pretty nearly instantly.

For me the camera app launches in about 2 seconds from the lock screen (swiping the lock screen left without unlocking) and in under a second from an unlocked home screen.

The above was written using a Nexus 5 running 4.4. In addition the 4.4.1 update promises further camera speed enhancements, the speed-ups should apparently be particularly noticeable in low light. More: AndroidPolice: Android 4.4.1 Will Improve The Nexus 5's Camera, Update Expected To Roll Out Over The Next Couple Of Days

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