Some games require a camera – and you have one that you probably didn’t know about
What is camera in Nintendo Switch for
While you won’t notice the camera lens on the front or back of the Nintendo Switch console, there is one-two – hiding on the Joycon controllers.
Each motion-sensitive controller has an infrared (IR) camera on the bottom. It doesn’t look like a camera, again, it’s not a traditional lens, but you’ll notice it by the black spots on the bottom.
These cameras were not often used when the Switch was first released, but Nintendo’s Labo cardboard kits made the camera and its capabilities clearer.
An infrared sensor or camera works as if it’s capturing invisible dots, which are then displayed on the subject of the hit. This isn’t far from how sonar works. This allows Joycon controllers to “see” objects and motion and use them as an input method.
The Nintendo 1-2-Switch game uses this camera to detect motion in one of the minigames.
The image detection is probably much better than you would expect. However, it’s not high quality or has a very good camera. You also currently can’t access the IR camera part of the camera without the Labo kit, and even then it doesn’t work as a regular camera.
Although Nintendo has demonstrated a cardboard-style camera, you can’t buy one. That may come in the future.
You can’t yet point the Joycon remote at any image and take a picture. Nintendo detailed Joycon’s technical skills when Labo was first released and showed what the camera sees. The IR sensor can also detect a heat map.
Nintendo has detailed some details about the IR motion camera on its website, though this interview is for developers.
How to take a screenshot via Nintendo Switch
It may not be a camera in the traditional sense, but the switcher can take screenshots of everything that happens on the screen, both during the game and in the menu system.
To take a screenshot, press the camera button on the left Joycon controller. This will instantly save a capture of what is shown on the screen.
The button is indicated by a square with a circle inside under the D-pad.
To see screenshots, you’re taken to the system menu:
- On the main menu screen with a horizontal view of the games, go down to circle the icons in the bottom row
- The photo album icon is a blue rectangle with a tree outline pointing to an image
- Clicking on this icon will display your photo album
- You can then view, delete or filter your screenshots
There is a microSD card slot on the back of the switch console under the cradle. By default, the Switch will not display images or videos that aren’t screenshots of the Switch itself.
MicroSD cards can be used to store downloaded games or upload screenshots you take on the console. It’s not entirely clear why this functionality is so limited, but it’s nailed down.
Even if you rename the JPG image to Nintendo’s custom format for screenshots, it won’t fool the system.
There is a software tool that an enthusiast has developed to set up your images to read on the Switch.
All the hardware is set up to make the Nintendo Switch a photo-shooting and viewing machine, but until the circuits break, it’s just a gaming system.
In the end, most switches have cameras on them, and Nintendo Switch is. However, these cameras aren’t for recording but to detect infrared, ensuring the sensing process takes place in the middle of the day to bring the best user experience.