Optimize Your Surface Camera

I already told you that I believe that my Surface is great for travel, see Five Reasons Why Surface Is Best Tablet For Travel; in fact, we just got back from Puerto Rico (see Puerto Rico Picture Tour)and my Surface 2 LTE was the only device we took with us (besides our phones). And once again it proved to be awesome.

Keeping with the spirit of travel, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about your Surface camera and how to optimize it.

The Surface actually has two (video/still) cameras, a front-facing 3.5 megapixel and a back-facing 5.0 megapixel – in case you’re wondering, yes you can use both when you travel. We used the front-facing camera when we Skyped with our family back in mainland U.S. and we used the back-facing one for taking pictures.

If you plan on using your Surface camera to take pictures while you travel (or on remote jobs for that matter), you may want to consider saving your files to OneDrive.

By default the pictures you take with your Surface are saved to your Camera Roll folder (locally), and a smaller copy of each photo is automatically backed up to your OneDrive.

However, since the Surface tablets have a finite amount of local space, unless you expand it with an SD card, see post on How To Add an SD Card to Surface Tablets, I recommend that you save all your pictures to OneDrive. It is an easy change to make in your PC Settings.

Here is how:

1. Go to Settings \ Change PC settings

2. Tap OneDrive

3. Make sure that your files are already set to save to OneDrive by going to File storage.

4. Next tap Camera roll

5. Select “Upload photos at best quality

Notice that I do not have video upload selected but you can do so if you choose.

Now you may be thinking: “great but won’t this use up all of my data plan from AT&T with all these uploads and downloads of pictures and videos?”

It is not a problem, you can customize those settings as well:

  • Under OneDrive setting (in step 2 above), tab Metered connections

  • Here you can tell your Surface whether to upload and download files over metered connections (i.e. for-pay connections like your AT&T data plan). If you choose not to do so, it will simply do the sync while you’re on WiFi.

Now that you have set your Surface camera to save everything on OneDrive, let’s take a quick look at your camera functions…

When you launch the camera app on your device, you will see the following options:

  1. Video
  2. Still Camera
  3. Panorama

These are all easy to use. You switch between each one by tapping the corresponding icon. I won’t go into details on how to use each of these features here because Microsoft does a good job of doing so, see Surface cameras and the Camera app.

Go ahead and play around with the options and get comfortable with them before you have to use them.

Tip: To snap a screen shot on your Surface hold down the Windows button (on screen, not on keyboard) and the Volume down button.

That’s it for your Surface camera optimization. Now all your pictures (and videos if you so choose) will be saved to OneDrive and you understand the options and settings on your Surface camera.

I’d love hear from you on what cool ways you’ve found to use your Surface camera.

If you’re interested in seeing a few pictures from our Puerto Rico trip, see our Picture Tour of Puerto Rico – many of these were taken with the Surface.


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