Mar 15, 2011

The Best Camera Is the One You Have With You

I took a week off of blogging due to being on a school field trip with my son to Washington, DC and the historic Virginia cities of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.  During that time, I took a lot of pictures so my next couple of posts will have to do with photography and iOS devices.

They say, whoever "they" are, that the best camera is the one that you have with you.  One camera I always have with me is my iPhone 4, which takes just about as good a picture as a point-and-shoot camera.  On this trip, I took my iPhone 4 and a borrowed 10-year-old DSLR. My son took a point-and-shoot.  We took a lot of pictures with each.  There were a number of times, such as when it was rainy or when I was not allowed to take a camera inside (such as at the White House), I only had the iPhone 4 with me though.

Here are some pictures I took with the iPhone 4.

As you can see, the ones outside come out pretty good, but not as good as a DSLR.  (Click each picture to see it in more detail.) The picture of Lincoln, which was taken in the monument at night with only a little light, was a little more grainy.  How do you maximize the potential of your iPhone 4 as a camera?  Here are some things I found helpful:

  1. Prefer HDR to flash in lower light conditions.  The flash will sometimes make pictures look washed out and, generally speaking, HDR pictures will provide a lot more detail, especially in the shadowy areas.  If you're not sure how to use HDR, Mac|Life has a good post explaining it.
  2. Have your phone set to save the original photo, not just the HDR photo.  Sometimes the original photo will look better and you'll want to keep it and delete the HDR photo.  The Mac|Life post mentioned earlier explains how.
  3. The iPhone has the ability to zoom, which you'll see once you tap the screen before taking a photo.  Don't expect much from it, however.  Because the iPhone has digital zoom, not optical zoom, you are essentially just cropping the picture as you take it and, therefore, have a lower resolution for the "zoomed-in" photo.  Unless you plan to send the "cropped" photo right away and are trying to save yourself time, don't bother with zoom on the iPhone.

Do you have any other tips for taking pictures with an iPhone 4?

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