Surface Pro 3 camera - awful

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by wataru, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. wataru

    wataru Scribbler - Standard Member

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    So I imagined using SP3's camera to scan document or presentation in Onenote, but the quality of the camera failed the job.

    1. The cameras have fixed focal length and no auto-focus. (Did I get a defective product?) The rear camera is set to focus on very distant object while the front camera is the opposite, which seems to make sense. But the rear cannot do document scanning or anything near 3 meters - it is out of focus! And I have to stupidly use the front facing camera to scan document (this is similar to doing video chat with only a rear camera in the old days). Similarly, the front facing camera is out of focus for anything beyond three meters.

    2. The rear camera is so slow in Onenote, that any flat surface will become waves in a shot. This is a software issue and is not observed in other camera app.

    3. The stock camera app does not have the option to pick high resolution shot - so I'm left with only the low resolution images - even with the stock camera app! No panorama mode either.

    Now the Dell Venue 8 Pro camera is suddenly like a beast compared to SP3's camera. So you know how poor the camera on SP3 is. I know people will argue that smartphone camera will be their first choice but they don't offer a seamless Onenote experience and is less convenient for simple tasks esp. if you live on Onenote.

    BTW, does anybody know how to make the camera work on desktop Onenote? There is a 'insert scanned images' in desktop Onenote, which works with some cameras (like the Vaio Duo 13's rear camera) but not others. This has to do with the drivers of the camera and whether it can be seen by Windows as a traditional camera/scanner instead of a webcam. I'll throw away Metro Onenote If only I can get the camera to work with the desktop Onenote.
     
  2. bkydcmpr

    bkydcmpr Scribbler - Standard Member

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    probably auto focus is a software issue and would be fixed in future updates. onenote speed is apparently a software issue since you saw other apps don't have the delay.
     
  3. tallshorty

    tallshorty Pen Pal - Newbie

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    You don't suddenly get autofocus if the hardware is missing. Lacking autofocus is also a huge oversight in my eyes especially now the SP3 is more like a tablet than its predecessors. It takes me back to phone cameras from 10 years ago. We are in 2014 and Microsoft can't put AF on the surface but we can get it on a $100 smartphone (shakes head in disappointment)
     
  4. gcoupe

    gcoupe Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    You're not the only person who is disappointed about the fact that the SP3 rear camera is fixed focus. It does seem like a huge step backwards for a so-called "flagship" product. Yet one more reason to look again at the ThinkPad 10, which does have auto-focus (and a higher resolution, to boot).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  5. kornchild2002

    kornchild2002 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I've found that my Surface Pro 720p front and rear cameras are adequate, nothing really more and nothing really less. They could be better but I've never used my tablets to take pictures, even pictures of notes. I always have my smartphone next to me or actually on my person and it (Galaxy S5) takes much better pictures than any tablet on the market. I also tend to silently laugh at people who hold up their tablets, especially something as big and heavy as a Pro 3, to take pictures. I understand that they make the world's largest viewfinders but they just aren't practical. Even when I had an iPad mini, I never used it to take pictures and it has a much better rear camera than my Pro 2. I just don't see the practicality in it and the average smartphone is going to stomp all over the best camera in a tablet.
     
  6. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Microsoft is treating the cameras of the Surface Pro like the ones in laptops, as webcams, nothing more.
    People uses the cameras for web chat, and that is what they are designed for.

    Smartphones tries to ber a digital camera as well as a phone (well it tries to be jack of all trade, but is really master of none)
    If you want to take pictures, use a digital camera. If your standard are low, or you can live with not so great photos, you can use a smart phone.
    Or you can cash out 100$ or so, for a Logitech 1080p web cam, and enjoy auto-focus.
     
  7. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Still though, for a notetaking device, you'd think they'd at least make it auto-focus to take pictures of documents and whiteboards. Sure, you can use your phone and Office Lens or equivalent to do the same thing, but that requires a Wifi connection on the tablet. It's sometimes more convenient to just do it in OneNote.
     
  8. gcoupe

    gcoupe Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hmm, I think a Nokia Lumia 1020 will give many digital cameras a run for their money. But getting back to the point of this thread, I'm coming to the view that the SP3 has a couple of strong points (screen size/aspect ratio, Intel Core power), but these are undermined by the weak points (e.g. camera, no GNSS). There are compromises that have to be made. Microsoft may view the SP3 as a "flagship" product, but with these compromises, I don't.
     
  9. stefano

    stefano Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi,
    you are saying that the read Surface Pro 3 camera can't be used to take a photo of a whiteboard ?

    In the first post wataru said that the focus is good over 3 meters...


    Stefano
     
  10. darthhen

    darthhen Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I can't get the desktop version of OneNote to recognize the camera to take a picture either. I have OneNote 2013.

    The rear camera is pretty crappy. In this case, it is really better than no nothing. Hope MS use a better camera in future SP....
     
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