Surface Pro 3 camera - awful

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

  1. wataru

    wataru Scribbler - Standard Member

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    The front facing camera is good within 3 meters, the rear is opposite. So I cannot use the rear camera to scan document.
     
  2. gcoupe

    gcoupe Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    If indeed the rear camera in the SP3 is fixed-focus, and not auto-focus, then that is a bad design decision by Microsoft. It rules out the use of the SP3 in a whole class of Line of Business applications for field service personnel.

    For example, when the contractors arrived at our house to install and commission the solar panels and electric inverter, the team leader had an iPad with a LoB application. It contained the work order details. Once the installation was commissioned, he used the iPad camera to photograph the serial number barcode of the inverter, and the serial number was used to activate the monitoring system in the cloud. He also photographed my paper copy of the work order, now complete with my signature, and the electronic copy was added into the business process application.

    The iPad has an auto-focus camera, and can be used in these sorts of applications. The SP3's fixed focus camera can't. Once again, Microsoft snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
     
  3. hughlle

    hughlle Pen Pal - Newbie

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    While I agree to a point, if I'm being practical and using viber or Skype on my tablet (I use for written communication, I do not webcam) and not my phone, due to the superior typing experience, it makes sense to send any photo I wish to quickly send by just taking a photo from the tablet. Not taking it with a phone and then firing up an app, finding the right contact, or alternatively then sharing the photo to the tablet. For photography a tablet makes no sense, but there are many applications where a camera on my tablet has proved supremely useful. Those instances where I instantly want to send a picture and am not fussed about quality.
     
  4. kornchild2002

    kornchild2002 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Slightly off-topic but I don't think that's a fair assessment in this day and age. Smartphones have come a long way and are able to provide really nice looking shots, much better than the old point-and-shoot flip phones of old. My iPhone 5 took really nice pictures during the day and that holds true for my Galaxy S5. In fact, the iPhone 5 (and now my S5) was so nice that I could actually leave my Canon at home if I was making a trip to the beach. I would put it in a LifeProof case and not worry about getting it wet, I could actually take it out into the water and take some nice shots. I still lug my Canon DSLR around for when I really want to capture something but smartphones are more than capable of snapping those quick moments while producing some pretty high quality shots. Low light pictures still leave a lot to be desired but most digital cameras that aren't DSLRs struggle with those anyway. The old adage of "smartphone cameras are terrible" is extremely outdated. Someone even mentioned the Lumia 1020 as that phone will outperform many point-and-shoot cameras negating the need to bring a digital camera (unless it's a DSLR) all together.
     
  5. excalibur1814

    excalibur1814 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Personally and professionally I'd not even consider taking a photo with a tablet's webcam. Never. Not going to happen... That's why I have a Nokia 1020 (with the camera grip) and the upload set to on when connected via wifi.

    Although it would be fantastic to have amazing cameras it's not the end of the world. I'd like to suggest that maybe you return the tablet and wait until you hear about driver updates etc.
     
  6. kornchild2002

    kornchild2002 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    While I (somewhat) understand why you would want to rely on a single device for this, I think you are in the minority. Sure, there are likely many people that want to take higher quality pictures with their tablets. No doubt that's one of the reasons why Apple increased the quality of the rear camera in the iPad 2 with the iPad 3. However, the quality of their rear camera pretty much peaked back in 2012 and hasn't moved. It's evident that people who want to take pictures with their tablets, even for professional reasons, are in the minority. The amount of people who want to take higher quality pictures with the 2-in-1 devices, such as the Surface Pro line, are even more of a minority. I have no doubts that MS could increase the quality of, at least, the rear camera in the Surface Pro line with little added cost on their end. The only thing I doubt is if that added cost is worth the benefit on their end when all it's going to please is an extreme minority of users. Even when I used an iPad mini and iPad 3, I never took pictures with the tablet or even scanned documents. Evernote would still mess up even when using the 5MP rear camera on my iPads yet it never had issues when relying on my iPhone.

    To each their own but I don't really see any benefit, from MS's point of view, to adding a higher quality camera. They will likely do so once the costs are the same as their current implementations but I don't think there is a necessity to do so.
     
  7. wataru

    wataru Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Since Surface Pro 3 is highly advertised as a note-taking device, you would think it could do document scan and OCR, which is the selling point of Onenote+SP3 combo. I am not expecting high quality camera but at least legible. Without auto-focus it's an impossible task. And the highly touted camera feature (auto-frame and OCR) in Onenote app? - Handicapped.

    Every other tablet that touts note-taking capability that I used - Vivotab, Duo 13, Venue 8 Pro - has decent auto-focus cameras. Duo 13 is even preloaded with document scan app and its rear camera can be used as a scanner in desktop apps; and vivotab even has a flash light and shot better pictures than my phone; VP8 also shines in its 12 frames burst shot. People who could afford Surface Pro wouldn't mind a few extra cost, and Surface Pro, being an expensive device, feels so cheap on its camera. Even a 18 bucks webcam would have autofocus and take better photos (cameras are REALLY cheap these days). Sometimes I hate MS's extreme saving strategies and they just backfire. I for one, probably skipped both SP1 and 2 simply for its poor camera.

    I might be in the minority and I don't use cellular data. There are numerous times that I don't have Internet access (sure does people in the third world). How could I transmit photos from phone to my computer then? Even if I could, it would be very cumbersome while my simple need is just a legible shot.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  8. be77solo

    be77solo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I see both sides here, but honestly, the cameras truly should be better and not sure why MS doesn't improve them in a product advertised and which I'd 100% agree with is "premium". With their buying power and especially now being on revision 3, no excuse.

    Having said that, I can count on one hand the times I've actually used, or even wanted to use, the camera on my SP1, SP2, or SP3 to actually take a picture. I just by default always use my cellphone (currently Note 3), which I agree, has completely replaced the need for a dedicated camera and takes great shots that are readily available and easy to share.
     
    opasha likes this.
  9. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    @wataru
    Wouldn't a Bluetooth connection to your phone solve the problem? I completely agree with you that a camera on a note taking device should be able to handle basic OCR, but if you just require a simple solution until Microsoft upgrade its drivers I think that would work.

    Sent from my SC-01F using Tapatalk
     
  10. gcoupe

    gcoupe Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I'm not sure why folks seem to think that newer drivers are going to improve the situation - fixed-focus cameras are just that, they have no focusing mechanism that can be controlled by software. If the SP3 rear camera is indeed fixed focus (and all the evidence seems to point that way), then you're stuck with it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
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