A camera is a device used to capture images, either as still photographs or as sequences of moving images (film or video). The term as well as the modern-day camera evolved from the Latin camera obscura for "dark chamber" for an early mechanism of projecting images where an entire room functioned as a real-time imaging system.
The first Grand Theft Auto game to feature an interactable camera was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, although, like later games Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, the player could only use it in one mission. Also in GTA VC tourists are seen with cameras even though when you kill them you can't get their camera. In GTA Liberty City Stories you can get a camera by doing the Tourist missions and when you get the camera you steal it.
The device was also available in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, albeit with more functionality, allowing the player to use it freely. It can be used in San Fierro to collect snapshots, which is required to achieve 100% completion. The camera has a capacity of 36 pictures per film, and pictures taken can be saved. If the player recruits a gang member, the player can give the camera to him by walking up to him and pulling the left trigger. After that, the game is viewed through the perspective of the gang member and pictures of CJ can be taken. The player can also aim the camera at a girlfriend and CJ will say something related to photo-shooting and she will wave. If you aim the camera at a gang member, CJ will say something like he says to his girlfriend, but the gang member will not respond or wave unless the player has recruited him.
In Grand Theft Auto IV, the player is equipped with a Whiz camera phone during the mission Photo Shoot. The camera is used in certain missions where a picture is required. Outside of missions, snapshots can be taken, but there is no way of saving them. Accessing the camera function of the phone when in a train or cable car allows for first-person view. In a player-controlled vehicle however, the car will stop immediately when the camera is selected, no matter what speed (this glitch was fixed in the PC version). In some tourist spot like Firefly Projects, some pedestrians are seen using the camera. When they drop the camera, you can pick it, however you are unable to use it (instead you can throw it like other objects). In Grand Theft Auto The Ballad of Gay Tony, in the first club management mission at Maisonette 9, where you have to save Clay Jackson from paparazzi, the paparazzi are using cameras with a different design to that of GTA IV. Although they can't be used by the player, they can be picked up and thrown like other objects.
In Grand Theft Auto V, the camera is replaced by the Snapmatic app on smartphones. Snapmatic has the same function as regular cameras, but allows users to take selfies or use filters. In the mission Paparazzo, Franklin follows Miranda Cowan's Limo so Beverly Felton can take pictures of the actress consuming drugs. Subsequent Beverly's missions also feature the use of cameras. Later in the game, in the mission Casing the Jewel Store, Lester gives Michael a pair of glasses fitted with a camera, to study Vangelico's vents and security systems.
Prominent appearances in missions
GTA Vice City
GTA San Andreas
GTA Liberty City Stories
GTA Vice City Stories
GTA IV: The Lost and Damned
- Casing the Jewel Store
- Paparazzo - The Highness
- Paparazzo - The Meltdown
- Paparazzo - The Partnership
- Paparazzo - The Sex Tape
- Scouting the Port
- Avispa Country Club - In front of the main entrance of the main building.
- Calton Heights - 2
- Behind a cathedral near a small parking lot.
- In front of a garage door in the third lowest curve of the Windy Windy Windy Windy Street.
- City Hall - In the middle of the "sculture" in the central plaza.
- Cranberry Station - On the west side of the "Tickets/Information" cabin.
- Downtown - 2
- Easter Basin - At the far end of the DUDE Crane rail.
- Easter Bay International Airport - On the southeastern green area in front of the airport portal.
- Esplanade North - 2
- In front of a door, behind The Well Stacked Pizza Co., near a tunnel that passes though some houses.
- On the last floor of a huge parking lot building.
- Foster Valley - At the end of a wide ramp, under a builing, that leads to two large metal doors.
- Financial - Under the Big Pointy Building on the side facing the Vank Hoff Hotel.
- Garcia - Near the Burger Shot door, beside the menu.
- Juniper Hill - On the higher end of an alley that leads to the Chinatown portal.
- Missionary Hill - On the west end of the Missionary Hill Radio Tower parking lot.
- Ocean Flats - Inside an area (possibly a parking lot) that has an open gate, behind the Cluckin' Bell.
- Palisades - Behind the Tuff Nut Donuts shop.
- Santa Flora - At the end of the covered parking lot of the San Fierro Medical Center.
- Aside from capturing a screenshot of the game, the camera also stops nearby vehicles, and temporarily slows down speeches (as they were heard on the slow-motion cheats of the game)
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the player can immediately switch to third-person view whilst the screen flashes. This can be done by hitting both mouse buttons simultaneously (PC), allowing the gamer to take a brief photo of CJ.
- If you look closely at the camera in GTA San Andreas, its lens slightly resembles an eye.
- In GTA San Andreas, if you are walking with a camera in your hand and you start tapping the aim button while walking, CJ will suddenly stop and will be stuck in the walking position. He will be floating in mid air with both his legs bent, as if he is in the middle of his walking animation, but he won't be moving. To start moving again, let go of the analog stick and CJ's stance will return back to normal.
- In GTA San Andreas, there is a glitch that if you accidentally fall or get pushed off of a boat and fall into water while aiming with the camera, you can swim while still in aim mode. You can even dive in the water (but it last only 2 seconds and you can't really move underwater), although you can't take photos while in the water, and releasing the aim button will permanently stop the glitch until starting it again. It is unknown if it works on any platform other than PC.
- During the final cutscene of The Green Sabre on GTA San Andreas, when C.R.A.S.H. drops CJ off in Whetstone, the camera Officer Pulaski gives to CJ is a different model to the one in the game. It is white with a detachable flash, and the lens is wider, yet shorter and is more detailed than the in-game model.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, if the player has the camera in hand, and enters the Hunter or Hydra and enters first-person view, the HUD will be that of the camera.
- This can make aiming with the vehicle's weapons easier as it gives the player a square in the middle of the screen which works as a makeshift sight.
- In GTA San Andreas, NPCs can be found taking pictures of certain places or landmarks (e.g. World's Largest Cock). If the player attacks an NPC that is holding a camera, the NPC will begin taking pictures of the player. This is because the camera is defined as a weapon in the game's handling files, and taking a picture is technically "firing" it.
- In GTA San Andreas, there is a suicidal photographer at south of a trailer park in Flint Intersection, appearing as a random pedestrian. When the player approaches the pedestrian, he will take photos of the skyline and then walk away into the water, drowning in the process.
- In GTA San Andreas, if the player tries to take a picture while he is on the Tram, the player will fall into Blue Hell for few seconds before the game teleports the player back to the world.
- In GTA San Andreas, if the player has recruited some gang members, they can walk up to one of the members and ask for him to take CJ's photo. The camera will then be stuck in one position (because a gang member is holding it) and CJ can walk around where ever he wants. Once you feel like you're in the right position, press the fire button and the gang member will take the photo and it will be added to the player's gallery.
- The Ballad of Gay Tony is the only game that doesn't have a mission featuring the camera but still feature the camera itself.