HP Slate 7 Camera Tips

Jun 15, 2013 | Gadgets & Geekery

The HP Slate 7 has both a front-facing camera and rear-facing camera. Neither of them boasts an impressive resolution; the front is VGA, the back is a whopping 3MP. Because they’re subsidized or paid off in small monthly installments, I think we tend to forget that our phones, which typically have 5MP+ cameras (mine has 8MP!), are tiny little tablets with a big price tag (unlocked, mine runs $350-500). The HP Slate 7 is a feature-packed, 7″ Android tablet for $169. Despite this, the HP Slate 7 takes surprisingly good pictures. But it has one annoying drawback – there is no mechanical shutter button and you have to touch the round, blue circle to take a picture – front or back. That can be kind of awkward.

I mean, how the heck are you supposed to take a decent selfie if you’re futzing around trying to find just the right spot on the screen to activate the camera? Impossible! Sure, you can line it up in the bathroom mirror and hold your Slate 7 at arm’s length while trying to hit the sweet spot with the index finger of your other hand, but do you really want to do that?  I like to use the reflective surfaces of PC monitors, flat-screen TVs, aluminum frying pans, spoons, aluminum rims, and window panes, personally – but it can still be a challenge to get your fingertip in the right place, and once you do, it’s a sure bet your expression says, “Oh, gosh dang it, hit the Back button again!”

Tap Anywhere on the Screen to Take a Photo

I found a solution. Now, I like free apps, too – but for the price of a fancy cup of coffee, I found one that really does turn the entire screen into the big blue button and makes the camera on my Slate 7 work just like the camera on my phone. It’s called Camera Zoom FX. There are plenty of free add-on packs to expand the app with additional filters, frames, stickers, and effects.  But the main reason I shelled out my $2.99 for the full version is that it lets me tap anywhere on the Slate 7 screen to take the picture.

  1. Open the app, touch the Settings icon, then select Focus mode:
    Screenshot_2013-06-15-20-18-17 Screenshot_2013-06-15-20-16-10
  2. Since the HP Slate 7 does not have autofocus and cannot “pre-focus,” you must select the second option: Click anywhere to auto-focus and take photo.

Camera Zoom FX has seven shooting modes: Normal, Stable Shot, Timer, Voice Activated, Burst, Collage, and Time Lapse.

Stable Shot may help a bit to compensate for the lack of auto-focus on the Slate 7. For group shots (or more creative selfies), you can set the Timer delay from one to sixty seconds, or use Voice Activated mode to take a picture when everyone yells, “Cheese!”

Save to microSD Card

I found Camera Zoom FX while trying to answer another customer’s question about how to set the external microSD card as the default for storing images. I couldn’t figure out how to do it with the built-in Camera app, myself. But using Camera Zoom FX, it’s fairly easy – and the app itself will create dated folders beneath the selected path, if you wish, to help keep your photos organized.

  1. Open Camera Zoom FX.
  2. Touch the Settings icon, scroll down, touch All Settings.
  3. Touch Save.
  4. Under Camera folder: tap Manual. Navigate to the folder where you want to save your pictures. (You may need to use a file management app, first – something like ES File Explorer or File Manager HD – to create a folder, if the one you want does not already exist.) Touch the folder icon with “” to go up a directory level. The external microSD card is /mnt/external_sd – locate it in the list of folders and touch it.
  5. Select the folder where you want to store your photos. I had previously created a folder, there, called Camera. Back on the Settings > Save screen, confirm that your selected path and folder are shown, then touch the check box next to Use dated folders? if you want Camera Zoom FX to create a new folder for each day’s photos.
  6. You can also select the JPEG quality for saved images (higher quality = larger file sizes, of course, so if you’re saving your pictures to the internal memory you may want to reduce the quality a bit – if space is no issue, choose the best possible quality).
  7. Go to Settings > Camera. Odds are, pictures taken with the front camera will be upside down, when taken with Camera Zoom FX. Under Front camera portrait fix, touch 180.

Other settings are just a matter of personal preference – have fun playing with them! On the Slate 7, it is possible to disable the shutter sound in the app settings, if you wish to do so.

For questions about your HP Slate 7, be sure to visit the HP Forum for Android Tablets (e.g. HP Slate 7). If someone there helps you out, be sure to click Kudos or mark their answer as a Solution, if it solves your problem. Remember, the folks answering questions there are customers and employee volunteers – most of them do not work in customer support, and they may or may not know all the answers, but they are trying to help.

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Yes, I work for HP. But I am also a customer, and this is my personal opinion and experience – which was not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by my employer. It doesn’t reflect anyone’s opinions but my own – and if you know me at all, you know I’m very opinionated. 😉 I’m not in marketing, engineering, or customer support – although I do volunteer time to help fellow customers out in the HP Forums and get to call myself an Expert.




Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


    • Holly Jahangiri

      Well, my cell phone photo quality is better than what I get with my camera – which, mind you, is just a 16MP point-and-shoot. Well, sort of. I did get one photo of a Supermoon (it took work and a really good tripod) that even a professional photographer I know said, “I hate you – $10K worth of photo equipment and I’ve never been able to get one that good” about. But my phone camera has a Carl Zeiss lens. It really does a pretty good job – but this was the first time I’d noticed things were so…PURPLE. 😉
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…#blogcrawl Penny for Your Thoughts?My Profile

    • Holly Jahangiri

      The real point, though, is that with the Slate 7 you get two cameras on an inexpensive, entry-level tablet. You should not expect professional quality photos. But you can use it to chat with a friend or take a snapshot and share it, and it’s surprisingly good (to me!) quality for such a low res camera. The other thing is – even without a flash, it does incredibly well in low light. Grainy, but it’ll pick up much of the detail in a very dimly lit, almost dark, room. It’s not “amazing,” it’s “serviceable.” Very much so.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…What is #blogcrawl?My Profile


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