Some camera apps and mods require your device to support the Camera2 API and this tutorial will show you how to check if yours supports it.
Android hasn’t always been the best mobile platform for content creation. The software has constantly had issues with audio latency that has prevented some music creators from using it. The access to Android’s camera hardware features is another thing that people used to complain about constantly. Google has been working on eliminating the audio latency and the introduction of Android 5.0 Lollipop brought with it a new API level that gave software direct access to the new hardware features that camera sensors were getting.
You may have come across a camera application in the Play Store that advertised a handful of features but then it turned out that none of those features worked on your phone. If this has happened since the introduction of the Camera2 API then it likely meant that your smartphone or tablet simply didn’t support it. Today, I wanted to take some time and teach you how to learn what your device supports and doesn’t support when it comes to its camera hardware.
There’s actually four different levels that you’ll find when you are looking for this information and I’ll be explaining each of them in the section below.
Does My Phone Support the Camera2 API?
- Install the Camera2 API Probe application
- Open up the application and check to see which hardware level your device supports
I really enjoy writing these two step tutorials up since most of the time I end up detailing 10-20 step guides that can look very complex at first glance. Thankfully though, all of the hard work is done with this Camera2 API Probe application and it’s completely free to download from the Play Store. So, go ahead and download from the Play Store and wait for it to install so that you can open it and and we can truly start to learn what our camera hardware is currently capable of.
The first section you’ll see in this application is just some basic information about your smartphone. This includes your brand, model name, Android version and more. One of those pieces of information will tell us what API our version of Android supports and it may be useful to know that the Camera2 API can be found on devices that support up to API 21 (which is Lollipop). However, using my Redmi Note 5 as an example, that doesn’t guarantee anything since my device supports API level 27 but only has legacy support for the camera.
Now, there’s a lot of other information included in this single page application that we can look through if you want. You may be interested in learning that your device supports auto exposure, or auto exposure lock, or maybe even an auto focus feature for a continuous subject. There’s a lot of things listed here so anything that’s in green means your smartphone or tablet supports it and the items in red are features that your device doesn’t support. So let’s focus on just the Camera2 API support now.
What Does the Hardware Level Support Category Mean?
The second section of the Camera2 API Probe application tells you which hardware level your device supports when it comes to this API. You’ll see four items listed here and each one means something else.
- Legacy – means your smartphone or tablet currently supports the older Camera1 API features so its current setup will not allow you to use features in the Camera2 API.
- Limited – means that your smartphone or tablet does support some of the newly implemented Camera2 API feature, but it doesn’t support the full suite of them.
- Full – means that your smartphone or tablet does indeed support all of the official camera hardware features that the Camera2 API can take advantage of.
- Level 3 – means that your smartphone OEM has gone and added some additional features to their hardware. A popular feature that we see in this category is for RAW capture.
So, now that you know what all four of these hardware level support categories mean, you will be able to quickly tell what your smartphone or tablet currently supports. It cane be difficult to bring Camera2 API support to devices that do not support it out of the box but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I know I have seen multiple tutorials on how to add the Camera2 API to their device so that they could install applications like the popular Google Camera port.
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