The camera app aboard the Archos 50 Diamond is the default KitKat app which Google replaced with its Google Camera app - which you could download on the Archos 50 Diamond too.
You need to hold a finger anywhere in the viewfinder to get to the quick settings. Using swipe gestures you can toggle the HDR mode, exposure, settings for picture size, white balance, timer, geo-tagging, scene mode, flash on or off and switching to the front-facing camera. While it's feature-rich, it doesn't strike us as the most useful of way of navigating the camera app in our mind.
Quick settings can also be triggered by touching the corresponding icon atop the virtual shutter button. You can choose Camcorder, Panorama and Photosphere through the underlying shortcut.
The viewfinder is annoyingly thought-out. It shows you a 16:9 feed while snapping photos in 4:3 aspect. So in essence it's a real task to frame your photos right and you cannot opt for the native aspect.
Panorama can also be found on the Archos 50 Diamond but there's no Photosphere but again you can get that through Google's own Camera app.
You do get a heap of settings on the Archos 50 Diamond that will shape the photos you want to take with the device. Aside from the confusing naming scheme of the camera settings - there are separate labeled More Options - they give a comprehensive amount of control - picture quality (Jpeg from 55% to 100%, Normal, Fine and Super Fine), ZSL (zero shutter lag, although we didn't really see a difference), timer, burst mode, auto HDR, face detection, exposure and focus lock, levels for saturation, contrast, sharpness, exposure metering (center weighted, frame average, spot metering) and compensation (from -2 to +2), anti-banding, ISO, white balance, focus mode (auto, infinity, macro, normal and continuous autofocus), and finally red-eye reduction.
The list a bit redundant and although we appreciate the effort in bringing so much control, the settings are buried in three different settings menus that aren't convenient to navigate.
And all of this means nothing if the sensor output isn't good. Luckily it is - the photos from the 16MP camera are quite good in capturing the scene details and offer sharpness almost through the entire frame.
White balance proved spot on and produced true whites but the overall color representation could be a little warmer. The only true issue we spotted was a fair bit of noise, especially in mono-colored areas like the sky - the noise is blotchy and unpleasant.
Dynamic range is above average but far from class leading. There is a lot of highlight detail in the images but shadows aren't as impressive when the lighting conditions are not ideal. Still the Archos 50 Diamond offers above average dynamic range as we said.
Macro shots came out on par with the good light ones - plenty of detail to go around and very sharp objects. There is a bit of desaturation behind the object which accentuates it further.
HDR mode didn't impress us in the least. For starters you'd need to drop the resolution from 16MP to 13MP and to add insult to injury the software doesn't mention this anywhere - we needed to guess what the problem was. High dynamic range shooting didn't produce better results which is the bigger grief here - highlights received a slight bump in exposure but shadows remained the same for the most part. The Archos 50 Diamond also took a lot of time to snap an HDR shot.
Another place where Google's Camera could be beneficial is panorama mode - the stock camera on the Archos 50 Diamond just doesn't cut it. Panoramas come with a very low resolution and little to no detail whatsoever. It would be better to just take series of regular 4:3 16MP shots and stitch them yourself as they would have more resolution.
Finally here's a sample taken with the front-facing 8MP camera of the Archos 50 Diamond. As with every front-facing unit we've tested so far we don't see much to praise here - the resolution is there but the detail is not suiting for it. But the front-facing camera does get the job done.
The camera of the Archos 50 Diamond is good, despite its lackluster HDR performance and useless panorama mode. In good light you'll get great photos with above average detail. Processing keeps things sharp but not oversharpened and the toned-down saturation could be easily dealt with via the dedicated settings in the camera app.
The Archos 50 Diamond was reasonably fast to capture a photo too.
The camcorder shares the interface of its stills counterpart. The Archos 50 Diamond is capable of video capture at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080px at 30fps from the back camera and 720p from the front-facing 8MP one.
There's also an option for timelapse video and you can choose the number of seconds, minutes or hours you want a photo taken and then the duration of the video and also the resolution.
The videos captured with the Archos 50 Diamond don't shine with great detail. Objects are grainy with low sharpness and the focus was constantly hunting to get a better lock.
The dynamic range is also way lower compared to stills and the scene came out overexposed. Otherwise videos are fluid and retain a constant 30fps throughout. Colors are also a bit warmer too. Here goes a sample.
Here's a 1080p@30fps (00:15s, 31.5MB) video sample for direct download.