Whether you're a beginner, intermediate or advanced user, you'll find something worthwhile in our Ultimate iPhone User Guide. Today we look at using the camera.
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Using the camera
The iPhone’s camera is deceptively simple to use. Launch it, then press the camera button at the bottom to snap the photo. But don’t let the lack of options fool you - there’s a lot more to the iPhone’s camera than meets the eye. You may know about the tap-to-focus feature already; rather than letting the camera decide where the focal point of the image is (the part of the photo that appears the sharpest), you can tell it where the focal point is by tapping on it in the viewfinder.
But you can go even further than tap-to-focus by locking the auto-focus and auto-exposure to a particular point, leaving you free to re-compose the image without the auto-focus changing the focal point automatically when you move the viewfinder. To do this, press and hold on the place in the viewfinder where you’d like to set the AE/AF lock to until you see the auto-focus square enlarge and flash twice. Once it’s locked in, you’ll see the AE/AF Lock text at the bottom of the screen.
You may have noticed that there’s no slider for zooming in and out. The function is there - it’s just hidden. To zoom in on an image in the viewfinder, do a reverse pinching gesture, and then vice versa to zoom back out again. Note: this is a digital zoom only, so you’re actually getting less detail on the image by zooming in, reducing the quality and sharpness of the image. You’re better off “zooming with your feet”, that is, taking a couple of steps closer to the subject, if possible.
Under the Options button, you’ll see a HDR setting. Unless you’re very short of storage space on your iPhone, we suggest turning this on, as it gets around the limited dynamic range of the iPhone’s camera sensor by taking three shots in quick succession and merging them into one image, so that both the light and dark areas in the image are properly exposed. This will result in a better-looking image almost all the time, and if not, you still have the original, non-HDR image in your camera roll as well.
iOS 5 also introduced a few camera shortcuts to make it quicker to snap photos. To get to the camera quickly while the iPhone is asleep, press the home button twice, and you’ll see a camera icon next to the unlock slider that you can tap on to launch the camera. To take a photo without touching the screen (a manoeuvre that can be tricky if you’re trying to keep the iPhone steady), you can simply press the volume up button to snap the photo. If you have the iPhone headphones connected (or a third party set of headphones with iPhone-compatible volume controls), you can also use the volume up button on the headphones to trigger the photo, essentially turning it into a remote trigger.Need to know more?
Check out the rest of our Ultimate iPhone User Guide