Phone cameras have come a long way since they first appeared on our mobiles. Back in the old days, you were lucky if you could avoid pixilation, let alone expect anything close to a decent picture. But of course, the novelty of being able to point and shoot was what mattered most.
Today, things have certainly changed for the better. While it’s true that each generation of smartphone brings even better features, I was recently pleasantly surprised to learn just how much my Galaxy S2 could do… even without Instagram.
Before getting into some of the features on this phone camera, there are a few highlights to note first. Shortcuts you want to note include the digital zoom shortcut (this being the volume button), customisation of shortcuts, self-portrait mode (flicks to the front facing camera) and even a timer.
What else is worth noting on this camera?
Galaxy S2 Camera Features
With 8mp, it isn’t perhaps as fancy as the recently launched S4 (which sits at 12mp). But it’s a step up from a number of other phone cameras, and even a few very basic point and shoot digital cameras. Let’s take a closer look at which features you want to use to improve your photos…
- Tap To Focus. Tap anywhere on the screen, and you can focus on your target subject. The green square means that your focus is locked, while the red square means you are not quite in focus yet. This feature is good for shooting against a busy background, or in a crowd, allowing you far better clarity and less of those ugly blurred shots that you have to delete.
- Panorama/Action Mode. This feature enables you to create a stitched together panoramic image from up to eight individual action shots. Simply point in the direction shown on the screen, wait till the green square appears and then hit the capture button. You will need to move the camera over each frame during every shot. The phone will stitch the photos together to form one panoramic image.
- ISO Settings. In the mood to play around a bit? You can even adjust your ISO settings to your taste. ISO measures sensitivity of the image sensor – the higher the ISO, the less light is needed to expose the picture. High settings are good for night or darker light, but lead to a more grainy finish. Lower settings mean less contrast, but are good for brighter light conditions.
- Outdoor Visibility. This is a useful tool if you love to snap nature shots. It adjusts the screen brightness so that you can see the screen more easily in direct light. If you’re at the beach for instance, it removes the annoying glare so that you can review and take photos a lot more easily.
- Gridlines. Another feature you will want to try is gridlines. What these do is enable you to frame and centre your image to get that perfect shot. Centre your subject for a more ‘classic’ look, or play around with spatial relationships to add more impact. Also a good time to mention that using a 3 grid composition gives you the best result (for instance, left, centre and right).
While Instagram and other related apps have allowed us to play around with filters and frames, there is still no replacement for a really brilliant photo. Once you start using your Galaxy S2 camera to its fullest advantage, you may find that your snaps veer more towards the brilliant side all the time.