Motorola DROID as photo viewer?


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Nov 20, 2009
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The DROID has a very nice screen, so how well does it work as a photo viewer to show friends albums of photos? I'm not talking about photos taken with the on-phone camera, but photos taken with a good camera (like a D-SLR) and transferred to the phone for the express purpose of using the device as a photo viewer. My questions are:

1. Do good photos really look good on the screen? Does the screen do them justice?

2. Does the DROID read orientation information in the EXIF header to display vertically taken shots vertically (regardless of the phone orientation?) I.e. can I hold the phone veritcal, and correctly view both landscape and portrait shots correctly - then turn the phone sideways, and still view those same pictures correctly?

3. What method is used to navigate between photos? Finger swipe, on-screen arrows, d-pad, or what?

4. Any kind of timed slide-show function, and does it offer image transitions?

5. If the built-in software isn't really great for these purposes, are there some Android Market apps that are better?

Any comments on using the DROID as a photo viewer are welcome.

- Bob
Are you planning to use it for viewing your photos while on the shoot?

Don’t think it is going to work well for that. First of all there is no way to transfer pictures directly from camera to the phone, and second – screen is not that much bigger then DSLR (3.7 vs 3.0).
I had some photos taken with an Olympus DSLR that I'd put on my DROID, and I was quite happy with the results, particularly those that I'd cropped to a 1.85 aspect ratio.

In reply to each of your questions:

1. If you're happy with displaying the photos in a 3.25" x 1.8" (82mm x 47mm) screen (which is still better than the 2" x 1.5" (52mm x 38mm) that my camera's built-in screen does!), and presuming your camera does a decent job, you shouldn't be disappointed with the DROID photo gallery. The zoom is only by interval steps, but even into about seven steps on my 10 megapixel photos, still looked clear.

2. I don't have any photos taken with my camera in a vertical orientation, but the ones that the phone's camera takes, it displays how they were taken, so I'd have to assume that it's smart enough to tell. I will say this: that when switching between portrait and landscape viewing by rotation the phone, the pictures automatically resize to fill the width or height, leaving the edges letterboxed if need be.

3. The built-in gallery program has previous and next arrows, but they only pop up for about three seconds when you touch the screen (along with zoom, delete, set as wallpaper/contact photo, and share buttons). If the phone is slid open, the d-pad on the keyboard works with the right and left buttons, but the on-screen arrows are probably preferable, since when the keyboard is slid out, the screen automatically locks into landscape orientation.

4. Slideshow has 2, 3, or 4 second displays with fade and left-right or top-down sliding (or random of the above) transitions.

5. I haven't really looked at other apps in that vein yet. I did a brief search of the Android Market just now to test the waters, but the ones I found were not very promising (either bad display quality, or didn't read the EXIF orientation, or both).

In general, if finger-sliding to advance in the gallery worked, and perhaps more slideshow options, I'd say you'd have exactly what you needed. With the current batch, though, I'd still rate it a B+ or A-, mainly on display quality.
Are you planning to use it for viewing your photos while on the shoot?

No. Just thinking it would be nice to have photos on the phone and when I see a friend, be able to hand them the phone and say "here, take a look at my most recent vacation photos" or whatever.
I'm still looking for a better photo viewer on the Droid. The one that comes with it is OK. But it's really just an app and I'm very sure there are better ones available. If not, there soon will be.

That said, the Droid display is very nice for doing what you want to do. However, I would recommend resizing your images to about twice the size of the native display (860x480 in landscape more). This means your photos should probably be about 1024 in the short dimension.

I uploaded some shots from a Grand Canyon rafting trip, about 200 files, each of which was over 2300 pixels in the short dimension, adding up to about 600 MB. There's plenty of space to store that sort of thing. However, I suspect that most (badly designed?) photo display applications will try and read them all into RAM to make thumbnails, if nothing else. This is problematic. Resizing them as described about worked really well. This allows me to zoom in somewhat on certain images without losing detail.

A good photo display app would have an option to just figure out the proper orientation and put the short dimension of the image on the short dimension of the display. A good photo display app would also go to the file system more often and load into RAM only as needed, allowing the storage of many large size image files.