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Improve your mobile photography

Most high-end mobile phones have good cameras. So, why do the photographs still come out blurry or less than perfect? Read on to find out how to take better snaps with your cellphone.

Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: February 24, 2008

Nokia N82
Nokia N82
If you have recently bought a new mobile phone, there is every possibility that it has a camera. But very often images on your mobile phone camera look washed out, over-exposed or blurry. And this isn’t a problem that affects just cameras on cheaper phones, but also cameras on devices such as the SonyEricsson K850i and Nokia N82.

Both feature 5-megapixel shooters and, in theory, both should be better than many low-end digital cameras. Plus, because they are phones, they can multi-task as well. Yet, even on phones with such fancy cameras, the pictures are often listless.

They need not be, though. Some basic tips on mobile photography can dramatically improve the quality of images that you take on your mobile.

Tip[1]

Don’t always use a flash at night.
Some of the latest imaging phones like these two feature xenon flashes. In close quarters, a flash might make a picture too white. Sometimes to diffuse a flash you can hold a small piece of white paper above the camera; a visiting card works very well. This takes out some of the harshness from a flash.

Tip[2]

In low-light conditions, you can increase your camera’s light exposure.
What this does is to increase the amount of light the camera sensor picks up. In harsh bright light conditions, you do the opposite and reduce the light exposure. Many mobile device cameras have this feature now. Most cameras also have “Night” mode for this type of a situation. However, in night mode, the camera keeps the shutter open for a bit longer as well, so you should make sure not to shake your hand too much; otherwise you can get a blurry image.

SonyEricsson K850i
SonyEricsson K850i

Tip[3]

Some more advanced mobile device cameras can also adjust to different light conditions—sunny, cloudy, fluorescent (white light) or incandescent (yellow light).
“Auto” is not always the best setting on a mobile device camera. While the device might have a bigger processor than a standalone point-andshoot camera, it is also doing a lot more. That said, the K850i does wear the “Cybershot” badge, which is also there in Sony’s standalone digital cameras, and does have the better processors.

Some cameras are very slow. Therefore, there is “shutter lag”, the lag between the time you press the shutter and when the device records the image, so instead of your friends what you end up shooting could be the floor as you move the camera away.

What we like

On the SonyEricsson K850i, there is this cool feature called “Best Shot”, which allows you to choose the best shot out of nine different images the device clicks.

Prices

The N82 has an MRP of Rs 28,000 and the SonyEricsson Rs 22,495. While the Nokia device is more expensive, it does come with satellite navigation and a big memory card. The camera on the device is fairly good, but we preferred the SonyEricsson’s camera.

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