How to max your phone camera

Published: Dec 02, 2012, 09:27 IST | Nimish Dubey |

It might not match a DSLR or a digital camera when it comes to image quality, but your cameraphone can still deliver memorable photographs if you follow a few simple rules of thumb

Highest res is best
For best results, always (yes, always) shoot at the highest possible resolution. Most cameraphones are set on this by default, but in some cases (generally 12.0-megapixels and above), the default mode is at a slightly lower resolution. The higher resolution you shoot at, the more detail you capture. It’s really that simple.

Never zoom in digitally
The Nokia PureView excepted (in some modes), all cameraphones tend to butcher quality and resolution the moment you get into digital zoom mode. Be ready for levels of pixelation and noise to go up as you zoom digitally. Our recommendation — use the best zoom of them all — your feet, and get a step closer to the subject.

Let there be light
No matter what flash your cameraphone packs and no matter what sort of night mode it boasts, the stark fact is that it will yield best results in well-lit conditions. So, if you are looking for really good pictures, make sure the light is good.

Get close to your subject
The closer you are to a subject, the better the results your cameraphone will yield. Step away further, and loss of detail starts seeping in. Also, group shots using a cellphone camera are not the greatest idea if there are more than four people — you will lose some detail. Of course, this does not apply if you are shooting landscapes.

Try everything, and get back to auto
A very famous photographer once said, “Play around with all the settings and dials on your camera, and then just switch to auto.” That advice applies to your phone’s camera too. Yes, it is a fair chance that it comes with a stack of settings and modes, but none will work as well as the Auto mode. So unless you are really a master of lensmanship or are in an experimental mode, stick to Auto mode.

Snappy ending, appy ending
The one area where cameraphones make specialised cameras eat the very humble pie is in the app department. Most cameraphones come with a number of image editing apps and if you don’t like them, the likes of Instagram and Pixlromatic are just a download away. While we would not advocate going crazy with adding effects to every picture, using filter-based apps like Instagram can indeed add a whole new dimension to what initially seems like a plain image. Our advice — experiment liberally.  

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