How to: Use the Camera app in Windows 8.1

In a previous we analyzed the benefits of the Camera app in Windows 8 and 8.1 and how easily you can record videos or take photos. However, in this guide we are going to show you a simplier way to do those actions. Therefore, if you own a webcam or your device has one, you should read the following tutorial.

NOTE: If this is the first time you are using the Camera app, make sure that you have installed the driver of your webcam.

Launch the Camera app in Windows 8.1

There are many methods that you can follow to start the app.

  • First of all, you can open up the Charms bar and then click or tap Search. Type the word camera in the search box and click on the appropriate search result.

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  • The easiest way to access the app is by clicking on its tile, found on the Start screen.

NOTE: If you have not installer your webcam properly, the following error message will show up.

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If this is the first time you use the Camera app, you will be asked if you want to use your webcam or microphone and whether if the app can use your location. In case you do not have any problems with those requirements, click or tap Allow. Otherwise, press Block.

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After this, you will probably see an image of what your webcam records. If you still have any unsolved issue, you will not.

Take Photos by using your Webcam in Camera app

In the right side of your screen you will notice two buttons.

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If you press the first one, you will record a video. In case you click on the other button, you will take a photo.

NOTE: Another way to take photos is by clicking anywhere inside the image. 

Configure the Timer and Exposure before taking Photos

The app allows you to configure a few important setting for taking pictures very easily. For example, you can adjust the Timer or the Exposure. You could even access the Camera Roll folder from the app.

  • To adjust those settings, you should first right-click on somewhere on the screen. Alternatively, you can swipe up from the bottom corner of the screen(this method applies to touch-screen devices).
  • Click or tap the Exposure button, so that you adjust the exposure. This setting is responsible for the darkness and the brightness of your image. The more your slider goes down the more the darkness of your image will increase. On the other hand, when your slider goes up, the brightness increases.

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  • The Timer helps you to take photos after a specific amount of time. This time period can be either 3 or 10 seconds. Click or tap on the Timer button, in order to set the preffered amount of time. If you click once the timer will be set for 3 seconds. Click one more time, to set it on 10 seconds. Be aware though that if you ”triple-click” on the button, you will turn the Timer off.

NOTE: Once you have adjusted your Timer, the countdown will display on your screen.

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View Pictures with the Camera app in Windows 8.1

There are many ways to view the photos that you have taken.

  • Firstly, you can the arrow, found on the left side of the app’s screen. If you are using a touch-screen device swipe to the right. Once you do it, you can navigate through your pictures by either clicking the Back button on the left side, or by clicking the Forward button on the right side.  If you use a touch-enabled device, you can also swipe to the right or left.
  • You could also open the Camera Roll folder in the File Explorer. In this folder you will find all of your pictures and videos. Double-click on the picture or video and you will be able to view it.

Record Videos with the Camera app in Windows 8.1

  • When you click the Video button of the Camera app, you will start recording a video.
  • Once you start the video recording, you will notice a stopwatch on the bottom left side of the screen. You will also notice that the Video button turned into Stop button. Click or tap on it, when you want to stop the video recording.

View your Video Recording in the Camera app

  • In case you want to see one of your video recordings, click the arrow on the left side. If you own a touch-screen device, swipe to the right. Then the recording will start playing immediately.
  • Another method to view a video is by going to the Camera Roll folder. There you will find the videos that you have recorded.

Change the Settings of the Camera app in Windows 8.1

Like all modern apps in Windows 8.1, Camera app lets you access and configure its settings from the Settings charm.

  • Bring up the Charms and select Settings, while the Camera app is open.

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  • After this, click or tap Options.

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  • When you do that, you will view a list of settings that you can adjust. Note that these settings depend on the webcam you are using and its drivers. Therefore, do not expect them to be the same as mine.
  1. Photo aspect ratio: With this setting you can adjust the width and the height of your images.
  2. Grid lines: These kinds of lines, which are horizontal and perpedicular, divide your images into small squares. This settings gives you the chance to decide, whether if you want them to display or not.
  3. Location info: If you activate this setting, your location will be saved in the metadata of all your photos and video recordings.

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NOTE: Other webcams may provide you with more settings. For instance, they could allow you to choose the quality of your videos or the microphone, which you will use for your recordings. 

New Features of the Camera app in Windows 8.1

As you noticed there are a few important differences between the Windows 8 version of the Camera app and its other edition in Windows 8.1. In case you do not know much about the app in Windows 8, you could read this tutorial.

Here are the most important features that differ between the two versions of the Camera app:

  1. Aside from the Exposure and the Timer buttons, there was another button, available for you in Windows 8. This button was the Camera Options. Although this button does not exist in Windows 8.1, you will still be able to adjust the same settings of the app by using the Settings charm.
  2. As i mentioned before, in order to record a video you need to press the Video button. Then if you want to stop your recording, you have to press the Stop button. In Windows 8 this process is a bit different. Furthermore, you should first activate the Video mode of the app by pressing the Video button. Once you do it, you can click anywhere on the app’s screen to start recording. Then you can click once more to stop your recording.
  3. The Windows 8.1 Camera app allows you to take pictures, while you are recording a video. You can do this by clicking anywhere in the screen, after the beginning of your video recording.

Although the Camera app differs in Windows 8 and 8.1, it is still worths using it for taking photos and recording videos. On top of that, you need to understand that this app may not be the best solution for those kinds of actions, but it definetely worths using it due to its many features.