The Nokia 9 PureView is here and what better time to get into the nitty-gritty of photography. There are just so many ways you can discover the photographer in you that it's difficult to decide where to begin!
In the coming days, I'll take you through the many concepts of photography, from composition and light to editing your photos.
First, however, let's kick things off with the very basic settings and how you can use them.
If you're just learning about the Pro mode on Nokia phones, the many customisable settings may be slightly overwhelming. You may also feel you would rather just point and shoot in 'auto' mode for faster results. However, if you truly want to get the best out of your Nokia 9 PureView, Pro mode is your best bet.
PSA time: The Pro mode on the Nokia 9 PureView brings with it a bunch of improvements – with a maximum exposure time of 10 seconds, opposed to 4 seconds on legacy devices. Plus, exposure value can now be set every 1/3rd stop, as opposed to 1 stop in previous devices.
Before there were digital cameras, we all shot photos on film, and ISO was a measure of the film's sensitivity to light. One roll of film would be rated with one ISO number (ISO 100, 200, and so on), which meant the photographer would have to shoot the entire roll with a fixed ISO. In the digital world, however, things are simpler. In DSLR or smartphone cameras, the ISO setting is used to adjust the image sensor’s sensitivity to light.
On the Nokia 9 PureView, the ISO setting ranges from 100 (least sensitive to light) to 6400 (most sensitive to light). To put it simply, the brighter the environment, the lower you must go on the ISO settings. And in darker scenarios, bump up the ISO setting to as high as you can. Beware: The higher you go on the ISO scale, the greater your chances of introducing grains in your photos and losing detail.
This collage above shows the same object photographed at ISO 100 (left) and ISO 6400 (right) in indoor lighting conditions. You can notice the detail on the bottle in the left picture, and near-complete loss of detail and the overwhelming amount of noise in the right.
The key takeaway here is that lower ISO settings result in sharper, cleaner images.
The second setting that is critical to controlling the outcome of a photograph is shutter speed. It is the amount of time you allow your camera shutter to stay open to let in light. The longer a shutter is open, the more the amount of light that reaches the sensor, and the brighter your picture will be, and vice versa. So, to photograph a fast-moving object, use short shutter speeds, and to capture those beautiful light trails, or silky waterfalls, use a longer shutter speed.
Like ISO, shutter speed, too, is tricky - short shutter speeds (anything shorter than 1/500th of a second) tends to lead to darker photos, whereas longer shutter speeds (anything longer than 1/60th of a second) will lead to blurred photos if the camera isn't mounted on a tripod or at least kept on a stable surface.
In this example, you can see the difference shutter speed makes in capturing objects in motion. On top is a photo shot at 1/30th of a second; at the bottom is one shot at 1/250. You can clearly see the difference between the blurred scooter and the sharper car.
Playing around with the shutter speed setting is a rewarding experience. I urge you, Fans, to try it out and find your comfort zone.
Ever notice the photos you take indoors tend to look orange-yellow? That's because you haven't adjusted the white balance setting.
Often misunderstood and thus overlooked, white balance is the most powerful tool most smartphone photographers rarely use. This setting removes unreal colours from a photograph - essentially ensuring that objects that appear white in person are rendered white on a photograph.
To explain further - light has a temperature. An overcast sky is "cool" so photos appear bluish, while a halogen lamp is "warm" resulting in yellowish-orange photos. The role of white balancing is to ensure white objects (and by extension all other colours) are captured correctly.
This photo shows how the same scene looks under the white balance settings on the Nokia 9 PureView – (from left to right) incandescent, fluorescent, shade, cloudy, daylight, automatic.
Now, none of what I've mentioned above are absolute rules. You can play with shutter speed to get lovely light trails. Or you could bump up your ISO settings to get gritty, moody portraits. Indeed, you can even go wild with your white balance. Want a blue sunset, tweak your settings!
However, the underlying point is this: know how everything works first before you go experimenting!
We hope this article has removed some of the apprehensions you may have had about using the Pro or manual mode on your Nokia smartphone camera.
Now, get clicking and share your photos!
If you have any questions or observations, please tell me in the comments below.