Tizen offers basic camera features, including preview and capture. It allows you to capture still images with the device’s internal camera and keep images on your target device.

Figure: Camera image examples

Camera image examples

The main features of the Camera API include:

  • Configuring the camera and its callbacks

    You can configure the camera and set the camera and auto-focus callbacks.

  • Setting the display for the camera preview

    You can preview images in real time with the camera_start_preview() function. The feature provides:

    • Support for several pixel formats which are defined in the camera_pixel_format_e enumeration (in mobile and wearable applications)
    • Preview at the frame rate
    • Rotation and flip of the preview

    You can also customize the display settings for the camera preview.

  • Capturing and saving images

    You can start the camera preview and capture an image.

  • Setting camera attributes

    You can control the camera settings:

    • Contrast
    • Saturation
    • Sharpness
    • Gain
    • Exposure
    • Brightness
    • Effects
    • ISO
    • White balance
    • White balance temperature
    • Zoom
    • Flash
    • Focus
    • Focus level
    • Metering
    • EXIF tag (geo, orientation, software info and description)
    • Scene mode, HDR, theater
    • Image quality

    Depending on the camera device type, the device can support different orientations, resolutions, or preview and capture formats. You can obtain this information from the device using the camera_foreach_supported_preview_resolution(), camera_foreach_supported_preview_format(), or other camera_foreach_supported_xxx() functions.

    Since devices can have multiple camera sensors with different capabilities, create a Camera with a proper camera_device_e value, determining which camera sensor is used. Usually the primary sensor is located on the back side and the secondary sensor on the front side of the device. Once the camera sensor is selected, the selected sensor starts working.


    Simultaneous use of multiple camera sensors is not allowed.

    The target device often supports more functionalities than the emulator.

    The behavior of the shutter sound can vary depending on the legislation of each country.

  • Releasing resources

    When you have finished working with the camera, you can release the resources.

The following figure illustrates the camera state changes in the normal mode:

Figure: Camera states in the normal mode

Camera states in the normal mode


To enable your application to use the camera functionality:

  1. To use the functions and data types of the Camera API (in mobile and wearable applications), include the <camera.h> header file in your application:

    #include <camera.h>
  2. Create a structure for storing the global data related to the camera handle. In this example, the camdata structure is used to store the g_camera variable, which is the camera handle.

    struct _camdata {
        Evas_Object *win;
        Evas_Object *rect;
        Evas *evas;
        camera_h g_camera; /* Camera handle */
    typedef struct _camdata camdata;
    static camdata cam_data;
  3. Create 2 auxiliary variables for controlling whether taking photos (g_enable_shot) and auto-focusing (g_enable_focus) are allowed. These variables are used in the _camera_preview_cb() and _camera_focus_cb() callbacks.

    static bool g_enable_shot = false;
    static bool g_enable_focus = true;
  4. Create the camera handle using the camera_create() function:

    int error_code = 0;
    /* Create the camera handle */
    error_code = camera_create(CAMERA_DEVICE_CAMERA0, &cam_data.g_camera);
    if (error_code == CAMERA_ERROR_NONE)
        dlog_print(DLOG_INFO, LOG_TAG, "error code = %d", error_code);
        dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "error code = %d", error_code);

    The CAMERA_DEVICE_CAMERA0 parameter means that the currently activated device camera is 0, which is the primary camera. You can select between the primary (0) and secondary (1) camera. These values are defined in the camera_device_e enumeration (in mobile and wearable applications).

  5. Check the current state of the camera using the camera_get_state() function:

    camera_state_e state;
    /* Check the camera state after creating the camera */
    error_code = camera_get_state(cam_data.g_camera, &state);

    The returned state is one of the values defined in the camera_state_e enumeration (in mobile and wearable applications). If the state is not CAMERA_STATE_CREATED, re-initialize the camera by recreating the handle.

Configuring the Camera and its Callbacks

After setting up the necessary prerequisites, configure the camera and set the camera preview and auto-focus callbacks.

To configure the camera:

  1. Set the image quality using the camera_attr_set_image_quality() function:

    error_code = camera_attr_set_image_quality(cam_data.g_camera, 100);

    The image quality value can range from 1 (lowest quality) to 100 (highest quality).

  2. Set the display for showing preview images by using the camera_set_display() function with 1 of the camera display types (CAMERA_DISPLAY_TYPE_EVAS or CAMERA_DISPLAY_TYPE_OVERLAY). These values are defined in the camera_display_type_e enumeration (in mobile and wearable applications).


    Depending on the device, the application must set the display preferences using the elm_config_accel_preference_set() function.

    The following example code sets the display according to the display_type parameter, whose type is camera_display_type_e. The create_base_gui() function must be called before previewing and thus the camera state must be CAMERA_STATE_CREATED.

    int error_code = CAMERA_ERROR_NONE;
    Evas_Object *g_eo = NULL;
    static void
    create_base_gui(camdata *cam_data, camera_display_type_e display_type)
        /* Window */
        /* PACKAGE contains the package name's character info */
        cam_data->win = elm_win_add(NULL, PACKAGE, ELM_WIN_BASIC);
        evas_object_resize(cam_data->win, 240, 320);
        evas_object_move(cam_data->win, 0, 0);
        elm_win_autodel_set(cam_data->win, EINA_TRUE);
        cam_data->evas = evas_object_evas_get(cam_data->win);
        switch (display_type) {
            /* Set the Evas image object for drawing */
            g_eo = evas_object_image_add(cam_data->evas);
            evas_object_image_size_set(g_eo, 240, 320);
            evas_object_image_fill_set(g_eo, 0, 0, 240, 320);
            evas_object_resize(g_eo, 240, 320);
            cam_data->rect = evas_object_rectangle_add(cam_data->evas);
            evas_object_resize(cam_data->rect, 240, 320);
            evas_object_move(cam_data->rect, 0, 0);
            evas_object_color_set(cam_data->rect, 0, 0, 0, 0);
            evas_object_render_op_set(cam_data->rect, EVAS_RENDER_COPY);
            evas_object_size_hint_weight_set(cam_data->rect, EVAS_HINT_EXPAND, EVAS_HINT_EXPAND);
            /* Show the window after the base GUI is set up */
        case default:
    error_code = camera_set_display(cam_data.g_camera, CAMERA_DISPLAY_TYPE_OVERLAY, GET_DISPLAY(;
    if (error_code != CAMERA_ERROR_NONE) {
        dlog_print(DLOG_DEBUG, "camera_set_display failed [0x%x]", ret);
        cam_data.g_camera = 0;
  3. Set the camera preview resolution using the camera_set_preview_resolution() function. You must call this function before previewing.

    To find out which resolutions can be set for the camera preview on a specific device, use the camera_foreach_supported_preview_resolution() function. The foreach function invokes a callback for each supported preview resolution, and, as all foreach functions, stops when the callback returns false.

    The following example code sets the camera preview resolution to the first found supported resolution:

    int resolution[2];
    static bool
    _preview_resolution_cb(int width, int height, void *user_data)
        int *resolution = (int*)user_data;
        resolution[0] = width;
        resolution[1] = height;
        return false;
    /* Find a resolution that is supported by the device */
    error_code = camera_foreach_supported_preview_resolution(cam_data.g_camera, _preview_resolution_cb, resolution);
    /* Set the supported resolution for camera preview */
    error_code = camera_set_preview_resolution(cam_data.g_camera, resolution[0], resolution[1]);
  4. Set the capture format using the camera_set_capture_format() function:

    error_code = camera_set_capture_format(cam_data.g_camera, CAMERA_PIXEL_FORMAT_JPEG);

    The camera_pixel_format_e enumeration (in mobile and wearable applications) defines the available capture formats.

  5. To register callbacks for handling the camera preview and auto-focus:

    • To receive notifications about newly previewed frames, register a callback using the camera_set_preview_cb() function. The callback is invoked once per frame during a preview.

      error_code = camera_set_preview_cb(cam_data.g_camera, _camera_preview_cb, NULL);

      The following example code implements the _camera_preview_cb() callback, which starts auto-focusing using the camera_start_focusing() function:

      static void
      _camera_preview_cb(camera_preview_data_s *frame, void *user_data)
          int error_code = 0;
          if (g_enable_focus == true) {
              error_code = camera_start_focusing(cam_data.g_camera, true);
              if (error_code == CAMERA_ERROR_NOT_SUPPORTED)
                  error_code = camera_start_focusing(cam_data.g_camera, false);
              g_enable_focus = false;

      The camera_start_focusing() function takes as parameters the camera handle and a Boolean flag defining whether the camera must continuously maintain focus. The function is initially called with the continuous mode set to true. If the function call returns CAMERA_ERROR_NOT_SUPPORTED, the function is relaunched with the continuous mode set to false.

      The g_enable_focus flag is set to true at the application startup. When the _camera_preview_cb() callback is invoked for the first time, that is, for the first frame of the preview, the camera starts auto-focusing and the flag is set to false. Subsequent calls to the callback (for the remaining frames of the preview) do not provoke any action, since the if block that checks the g_enable_focus flag and runs the auto-focusing is skipped. This prevents the auto-focusing process from restarting after the first previewed frame.

    • To receive notifications about auto-focus state changes, register a callback using the camera_set_focus_changed_cb() function. The callback is invoked every time the auto-focus state changes.

      error_code = camera_set_focus_changed_cb(cam_data.g_camera, _camera_focus_cb, NULL);

      Before auto-focusing starts, the auto-focus state is CAMERA_FOCUS_STATE_RELEASED. After the camera_start_focusing() function is called, the camera starts auto-focusing and the state changes to CAMERA_FOCUS_STATE_ONGOING. If the auto-focusing finishes successfully, the state changes to CAMERA_FOCUS_STATE_FOCUSED. If the auto-focusing fails, the state changes to CAMERA_FOCUS_STATE_FAILED.

      The following example code implements the _camera_focus_cb() callback, which starts capturing focused frames using the camera_start_capture() function:

      static void
      _camera_focus_cb(camera_focus_state_e state, void *user_data)
          int error_code;
          if (state == CAMERA_FOCUS_STATE_FOCUSED && g_enable_shot == true) {
              /* Start capturing */
              error_code = camera_start_capture(cam_data.g_camera, _camera_capturing_cb, _camera_completed_cb, NULL);
              g_enable_shot = false;

      If the camera is in the CAMERA_FOCUS_STATE_FOCUSED state and the g_enable_shot flag is set to true, the callback starts the capturing process. The g_enable_shot flag is set to false to prevent the capturing process from restarting after the first captured frame.

Setting the Display for the Camera Preview

Before displaying the camera preview on the screen, check the camera display settings. You can use the default display settings provided by the Camera framework, or you can customize the display settings to meet your needs.

To customize the display settings:

  • Camera selection and orientation

    Before you can correctly customize the display settings, you need to know which camera is active (front or back) and at what angle the physical camera is being held (orientation).

    • To determine the active camera, check the camera_device_e enumerator:

      enum {
          CAMERA_DEVICE_CAMERA0 = 0, /* Primary camera */
          CAMERA_DEVICE_CAMERA1 /* Secondary camera */
      } camera_device_e;

      The back camera is usually the primary camera, and the front camera is usually the secondary camera. If, for example, you created the camera handle for the primary camera, the camera preview shows the back camera view.

    • To determine the current camera angle, use the camera_attr_get_lens_orientation() function:

      int angle = 0;
      int error_code = 0;
      error_code = camera_attr_get_lens_orientation(cam_data.g_camera, &angle);

      The returned value of the angle variable is in degrees.

    Once you know the active camera and its current orientation angle, or tilt, you can calculate how to rotate the display to match the camera orientation, and whether and how to flip the display to create the mirror effect if the front camera is active.

    To correctly rotate the display as the camera orientation changes, think about the orientation and direction of the physical camera lens relative to the display. If the camera faces away from the display, the camera orientation is calculated clockwise across the display. If the camera faces the same way as the display, the camera orientation is calculated counter-clockwise across the display. For example, if the camera and display face in opposite directions, the right side of the image is at 90 degrees, and if the camera and display face in the same direction, the right side is at 270 degrees (360 - 90).

  • Display rotation

    The display rotation setting is preset to a default value for each camera.

    Before changing the display rotation value, retrieve the default value using the camera_get_display_rotation() function:

    camera_rotation_e rotation = 0;
    int error_code = 0;
    /* Get the default display rotation value */
    error_code = camera_get_display_rotation(cam_data.g_camera, &rotation);

    Calculate and set a new display rotation value based on the current camera orientation:

    int lens_orientation = 0;
    int error_code = 0;
    camera_rotation_e display_rotation = CAMERA_ROTATION_NONE;
    int display_rotation_angle = 0;
    /* Get the recommended display rotation value */
    error_code = camera_attr_get_lens_orientation(cam_data.g_camera, &lens_orientation);
    display_rotation_angle = (360 - lens_orientation) % 360;
    /* Convert the display rotation value to an enum type */
    switch (display_rotation_angle) {
    case 0:
        display_rotation = CAMERA_ROTATION_NONE;
    case 90:
        display_rotation = CAMERA_ROTATION_90;
    case 180:
        display_rotation = CAMERA_ROTATION_180;
    case 270:
        display_rotation = CAMERA_ROTATION_270;
        display_rotation = CAMERA_ROTATION_NONE;
    /* Set the display rotation */
    error_code = camera_set_display_rotation(cam_data.g_camera, display_rotation);
  • Display flip

    The display flip setting is preset to a default value for each camera. For example, to support the mirror mode, the secondary (front) camera is set as flipped by default.

    Before changing the display flip value, retrieve the default value using the camera_get_display_flip() function:

    camera_flip_e flip = 0;
    int error_code = 0;
    /* Get the default display flip value */
    error_code = camera_get_display_flip(cam_data.g_camera, &flip);

    Calculate and set a new display flip value based on the direction the camera is facing and the current camera orientation:

       If the camera is facing in the same direction as the display,
       apply flip to the front camera because of the mirror effect
    int lens_orientation = 0;
    int error_code = 0;
    camera_flip_e camera_default_flip = MM_FLIP_NONE;
    /* Get the recommended display rotation value */
    error_code = camera_attr_get_lens_orientation(cam_data.g_camera, &lens_orientation);
    display_rotation_angle = (360 - lens_orientation) % 360;
    /* Set the mirror display */
    if (display_rotation_angle == 90 || display_rotation_angle == 270)
        camera_default_flip = MM_FLIP_VERTICAL;
        camera_default_flip = MM_FLIP_HORIZONTAL;
    /* Set the display flip */
    error_code = camera_set_display_flip(cam_data.g_camera, camera_default_flip);

    The system applies display flip after display rotation, so you must always calculate the correct display flip value after determining the display rotation.


    For an overlay surface, when the device orientation changes, the displayed camera preview does not rotate automatically. If you want to rotate the display according to the device orientation, use the camera_set_display_rotation() function within the app_device_orientation_cb() callback used by the application.

    For an Evas surface, the Evas object for the camera display is rotated by the window manager used by the application, not by the camera_set_display_rotation() function.

Taking a Photo

To take a photo:

  1. After configuring the camera, start the camera preview using the camera_start_preview() function:

    error_code = camera_start_preview(cam_data.g_camera);

    The camera preview draws preview frames on the screen and allows you to capture frames as still images.

    After starting the camera preview, the application flows as follows:

    1. To handle the camera preview, the application calls the camera preview callback.
    2. The camera preview callback calls the camera_start_focusing() function, which starts the auto-focusing process.
    3. To handle the auto-focusing process, the application calls the camera auto-focus callback.
    4. The camera auto-focus callback calls the camera_start_capture() function, which starts the capturing process.
    5. To handle the capturing process, the application calls the camera_capturing_cb() callback.
  2. To capture an image:

    1. Implement the camera_capturing_cb() callback.

      This callback is invoked once for each captured frame, and is used to get information about the captured image. The image is saved in the format set by the camera_set_capture_format() function.

      The following example code implements the _camera_capturing_cb() callback, which saves the captured frame as a JPEG image:

      static void
      _camera_capturing_cb(camera_image_data_s* image, camera_image_data_s* postview, camera_image_data_s* thumbnail, void *user_data)
          dlog_print(DLOG_DEBUG, LOG_TAG, "Writing image to file");
          FILE *file = fopen(g_fname, "w+");
          if (image->data != NULL)
              fwrite(image->data, 1, image->size, file);
    2. To receive a notification when the image has been captured, implement the camera_capture_completed_cb() callback.

      This callback is invoked after the camera_capturing_cb() callback completes, and is used for notification and for restarting the camera preview.

      The following example code implements the _camera_completed_cb() callback, which waits 0.025 seconds before restarting the camera preview with auto-focusing:

      static void
      _camera_completed_cb(void *user_data)
          int error_code = 0;
          usleep(25000); /* Display the captured image for 0.025 seconds */
          /* Restart the camera preview */
          error_code = camera_start_preview(cam_data.g_camera);
          g_enable_focus = true;

      By waiting 0.025 seconds before restarting the camera preview, the callback keeps the captured image on the screen for 0.025 seconds.

Setting Camera Attributes

You can set various camera attributes with the Attributes API (in mobile and wearable applications).

To set some attributes:

  • Camera preview attributes:

    The camera preview attributes are a group of attributes that you can set before starting the preview. The following example code sets the FPS and image quality attributes:

    error_code = camera_attr_set_preview_fps(cam_data.g_camera, CAMERA_ATTR_FPS_AUTO);
    error_code = camera_attr_set_image_quality(cam_data.g_camera, 100);
  • Camera zoom attribute:

    Set the zoom level using the camera_attr_set_zoom() function. Retrieve the range of available zoom level values using the camera_attr_get_zoom_range() function. The following example code retrieves the available zoom level range and sets the zoom level to minimum:

    int min;
    int max;
    error_code = camera_attr_get_zoom_range(cam_data.g_camera, &min, &max);
    error_code = camera_attr_set_zoom(cam_data.g_camera, min);
  • Camera brightness attribute:

    Retrieve the range of available brightness level values using the camera_attr_get_brightness_range() function, and the current brightness level using the camera_attr_get_brightness() function:

    int min;
    int max;
    static int g_bright_level;
    error_code = camera_attr_get_brightness_range(cam_data.g_camera, &min, &max);
    error_code = camera_attr_get_brightness(cam_data.g_camera, &g_bright_level);

    Set a new brightness level using the camera_attr_set_brightness() function:

    if (g_bright_level >= LEVEL_UPPER_BOUND) {
        dlog_print(DLOG_DEBUG, LOG_TAG, "Brightness is set to maximum level");
        g_bright_level = LEVEL_UPPER_BOUND - 1;
    } else if (g_bright_level <= LEVEL_LOWER_BOUND) {
        dlog_print(DLOG_DEBUG, LOG_TAG, "Brightness is set to minimum level");
        g_bright_level = LEVEL_LOWER_BOUND + 1;
    } else {
    /* Set the brightness level */
    error_code = camera_attr_set_brightness(cam_data.g_camera, g_bright_level);

Releasing Resources

After you have finished working with the camera, stop the camera and clean up the application environment:

  1. If auto-focus is switched on, switch if off using the camera_cancel_focusing() function:

    error_code = camera_cancel_focusing(cam_data.g_camera);
  2. Stop the camera preview using the camera_stop_preview() function:

    error_code = camera_stop_preview(cam_data.g_camera);
  3. Deregister the camera preview and auto-focus callbacks using the camera_unset_preview_cb() and camera_unset_focus_changed_cb() functions:

    /* Deregister the camera preview callback */
    error_code = camera_unset_preview_cb(cam_data.g_camera);
    /* Deregister the auto-focus callback */
    error_code = camera_unset_focus_changed_cb(cam_data.g_camera);
  4. Destroy the camera handle and release all its resources using the camera_destroy() function:

    error_code = camera_destroy(cam_data.g_camera);
  • Dependencies
    • Tizen 2.4 and Higher for Mobile
    • Tizen 2.3.1 and Higher for Wearable