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. Pictures taken with the camera 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, however when they dropped the camera, you can pick it but unable to use, 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 paparazzis, the paparazzis are using cameras as well but with another design, though they can't be used by the player, but they can be used to pick up and throw like other objects.
Prominent appearances in missions
GTA Vice City
GTA San Andreas
GTA Liberty City Stories
GTA Vice City Stories
GTA IV: The Lost and Damned
- 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.
- You can save photos on the camera without saving the actual game only in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- 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 walking, but he won't be moving. To start moving again, just move.
- In GTA San Andreas there is a glitch that if you walk backwards and fall over from a boat 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. drop 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 final 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.
- In GTA San Andreas, if NPC use the camera and player attacks them, they will try to "shoot" the player with the camera.