Building Custom Camera Applications

In the last chapter, we looked at how we can leverage Android's built-in Camera application to provide a ready-made photo capture component in any other application. While this provides a standard interface to the end user and is straightforward for us the programmers, it doesn't provide us with much in the way of flexibility. For instance, if we wanted our photo capture application to support time-lapse photography, we couldn't easily do that using the built-in application.

Fortunately, Android doesn't limit us to just using the built-in applications for accessing the hardware camera. We have as much access to the underlying hardware and available methods as the Camera application itself, which allows us to use those capabilities in any type of application we would like.

In this chapter, we'll explore building a photo-taking application utilizing the underlying Camera class and learn how to exploit the capabilities we are given. We'll go through the steps required to build a few different applications:

■ A straightforward point and shoot photo app

■ A countdown-style timer

■ A time-lapse photo-taking application

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