Exynos Samsung Galaxy S10 Google Camera (Gcam) port status: here's what we know

NOTICE: We’ve created an archive of all major developments related to the Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup. We are continuously updating that page with latest S10e/S10/S10+ news so that you don’t need to search for information related to the device on daily basis. Head here to access that page.

It may sound fascinating, but you can always notice distinct patterns in the aftermarket modding communities of every popular gadget. Take the example of Nintendo Switch – many users faced permanent brick after jailbreaking and blindly installing a rogue custom firmware (CFW).

In the Android world, there are some predefined formulas that users need to follow like a sheep to get the ‘geek’ designation. Unlocking the bootloader, installing work-in-progress custom ROMs and bugging the developer(s) with/without proper logs – just to name a few!

android_developer_options_meme

Another prime example is the Google Camera ports. Don’t get me wrong, the developers have done (in fact still doing) a marvellous job by porting the Pixel exclusive camera (often dubbed as GCam) app and associated post-processing features to third party phones.

google_camera_ports

Thing is, the whole project is nothing but a proof of concept. The modders never promised to come up with a fully featured and stable Google Camera port for all non-Pixel phones.

This is not the typical app you find in the Play Store. There are no “universal settings”, some phones support all features while others don’t, it’s stable on some phones but crashes on others, and it’s updated regularly.

As a matter of fact, they need user feedback to fine-tune the parameters and integrate the missing features.

In order to improve photo quality, unlock new features, fix bugs on their phones, supporting new ones, etc, developers have to share their apks. Users are then able to test and provide feedback. Some of these versions work, some don’t. Some are better than others, and that’s why it’s important to be part of a community where everyone shares their feedback.

For Qualcomm Snapdragon powered phones, the porting quest is relatively easy. Google uses the same Snapdragon SoC in their Pixel phones, thus the raw image data are being processed by the Hexagon Digital Signal Processor (DSP) in both cases.

On top of that, if the target phone natively supports Camera2 API, things gonna be buttery smooth. Readers may recall that the Snapdragon variants of Galaxy S10 got almost working Google Camera port – even before retail release!

Galaxy S10/S10 Plus works great with GCAM!!!! from samsung

However, Exynos users are being treated differently.

In one of our previous articles, we explained the differences between the Snapdragon and the Exynos models of the Galaxy S10 series. In short, Samsung sells Exynos 9820 powered S10 models in all over the world, except USA and China.

As readers can speculate, the Exynos SoC comes with their in-house Image Signal Processor (ISP).

Artistic brain that draws photo and video

When you run a camera app and touch the shooting button on a display, billions of arithmetic operations are performed to generate better focus, exposure, white balance, color, noise reduction for an amazing photograph. This is what Image Signal Processor in Exynos does to take that perfect picture in a twinkle.

For this reason, porting Google Camera to the Exynos powered models is a extremely difficult task.

Veteran GCam modder IDan1109 put a lot of efforts to port the Pixel 2 camera app for the global Exynos Galaxy S9/S9+/Note 9. His mods are reportedly working on the Galaxy S10e/S10/S10+ as well, albeit features like portrait mode and automatic exposure are not working properly.

Idan camera 3.5 (galaxy s9 topic) is properly working on S10e

(Source)

I agree. This one which is gcam5.1 from iDan works better and has much better quality than the gcam6.1.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk

(Source)

You can grab the modded Google Camera from here: GCam_5.1.018.177470874.41362666_IDan_N6_3.5_fix.apk

On the other hand, legendary Google Camera porter Arnova8G2 is trying to modify the Pixel 3 camera app for the Exynos powered models.

s10_exynos_arnova_gcam_xda
Source

The Arnova mod can be downloaded from here: MGC_6.1.021_BSG_Arnova_TlnNeun_V1.3.030119.0645.apk

To reduce complexity, IDan’s mod comes with 3 different modes:

Day:

  • Live hdr on
  • Correction slow shutter
  • Hdr parameter default
  • Lock frame on
  • Hdr underexposure multiplier 75
  • Live hdr on
  • Save all photos folder on
  • Denoise multiplier back and front 160
  • Final jpg quality 100%
  • Face box on (developer settings)
  • Use photos on (developer settings)

Night: same as day but

  • underexposure multiple 0
  • hdr parameter very high
  • custom white balance on and set r108 g108 g108 b118

Super night: same as night but

  • custom white balance r98 and
  • shadow saturation 1.2

The above explanation is shared by reddit user u/MyGirlTookMyWardrobe. He has also suggested that:

Now you have Gcam on your Exynos device, there are two things you can do now.

1. Don’t mess around with the settings and just use it as a shoot and go.

2. Clone the App and have two camera apps, one for day and one for night. Amazing members of the community have found near perfect settings to use on both day and night environments that produce better results.

XDA member Android_Nayeem has also shared a comprehensive guide and known working Google Camera APKs for the Exynos Galaxy S10, S9 and Note 9 models.

Interested users should join the dedicated Telegram group for Exynos Google Camera ports and keep an eye on the XDA discussion thread. We will also expand this article when more developers start working on the Exynos port.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.