Monday, April 23, 2012

[P/D] Don’t let a sensor limit your photos


We can’t always carry a DSLR with us, sometimes not even a P&S. The best camera you have is the one that’s on you at that moment; which is probably the one on your phone.

While camera on phones lack hardware to produce truly good images, we are very lucky that there are apps that add functionality and help make our photos look better.

Filters are nice, but when the image you started with is lackluster, no amount of post processing will help . I much prefer the technical: changing aperture, shutter speed and area of focus; these make the raw photo you get better. Things like this don’t really exist on smartphones. The aperture is fixed and there is a limitation of how slow or fast the shutter speed can really go. Luckily, where we lack hardware, developers have filled the gap with software. Here are some apps I really like on my smartphone:

Camera FV-5

This by far is the most advanced camera app I’ve found in the market (so far) for photography. There are the usual exposure compensation and ISO settings (some phone have settings for this, others don’t). Some rarely seen features like AF-L and AE-L are also available. Auto settings produce decent photos, you can potentially use this as your main camera app (thought I personally like the stock ICS one because it’s faster).

DSC_0026                       IMG_20120421_135409

I’ve attempted to keep subjects the same, on the left is an image taken by Camera FV-5, the right, stock camera app. The colours on FV-5 look more correct and it seems to capture a bit more detail.

DSC_0027                      IMG_20120421_135551
The stock camera app does better with focusing (on the right), this is because it has “touch focus”. FV-5 has focusing too, but not "touch focus”. It just focuses itself, I chose the macro setting here. Colours and detail still seem to favour FV-5.

DSC_0013                                      DSC_0014
The most interesting setting is the shutter speed settings. Realistically, it’s not really the same thing on the DSLR you are used to. I’m not quite sure how it works, but to me it seems like it is just taking lots of photos quickly and stitching them together (as you can clearly see in the pictures above).


The following pics are also long exposure pics, the images made are done by “Aurora bulb”. It’s like Penki for IOS.

“Sleeeeeeeeppppppp…” This image looks rather creepy…
I have yet to learn how to master making nice blocks of words. Maybe this is better done with a proper DSLR?

It works well, you get a viewfinder of what you are capturing (unlike the next app I will mention). I think these long shutter settings would serve light painting the best. However, a few things I don’t quite like (just minor annoyances):

  • You get an option to save in PNG “raw”. The files take longer to save, which is fine, but it doesn’t show a preview like the Jpeg option.
  • It would be nice if you get told if the setting you have chosen will produce over or under exposed photos (though after a few tries you get some idea of the settings you need)
  • For long shutter speed photos with low ISO, it seems to lack colour (unless you are doing light painting). Higher ISO seems alright, with 1-2 second pics work alright.


Most camera phones have bad aperture, they range from f2.8 to f2.2 as far as I’ve seen. You CAN get some nice background blurring naturally, but sometimes, you want that extra blur.

Problem is, even with things like touch focus, sometimes it can be hard to get the area of focus right. That seems like less of a problem now that we have this app! What this app does is basically allow you to post process a photo to produce image blurring like DSLRs.




It works extremely well and the best bit is, you draw the areas you wish to be sharp, less sharp and blurred. You can also apply… yes… filters. Some people like that oversaturated punch colours, I think if the original is vibrant enough, those are uncalled for. But if you insist:



With some vignetting…


Sometimes stock is better Winking smile. Choose wisely. So as you can seen, even with a mobile phone camera, you can take and make some beautiful pictures. All of these are taken on a Gnex (“Only 5MP”)

pixel me

COMMENT… (That’s a creepy picture isn’t it… It’s pixel art… it’s a 32*32)


betraya said...

Sony Xperia S FTW

Falken said...

Near 20,000 views! Keep it coming!

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