[Tips for WP] Koci Talks Focus & Exposure
Focus and Exposure on a Windows Phone by Koci
I love a challenge, especially one that provides insight win or lose. By now, you’re all familiar with the We Are Juxt/WP collaboration. I was lucky enough to participate and I’ve taken the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone for a spin in the concrete jungle doing some street photography. A lot has already been said from other Juxters and I’m providing my ‘two cents’ from a pure street photographer’s perspective. We’re a picky bunch, or as they say high maintenance. Overall, it’s on the edge of greatness. For everything that’s not ready for street shooting there is something equally brilliant. Some things I loved off the top, the weight. Seriously, it feels so solid in the hand and provides some nice balance when shooting. Also, I feel in love with the dedicated shutter button, great feature. Finally, the tiles interface won me over. So, below you’ll find my impressions, tips and tricks. It’s been said repeatedly, once the shutter-lag is fixed and we hear it’s going to happen, then I’m sold!
Tip #1: In terms of street shooting and a really good piece of advice in terms of dealing with shutter lag, is to pre-focus the camera by trying to anticipate where your subject might be and holding the camera shutter button only half way down. So basically you’re pre-focusing and pre-locking the focus on a particular area and then when you’re ready to snap only press the shutter. This greatly increases the camera’s ability to shoot almost instantaneously. Of course the sharpness of the image will depend on where you decided to lock the focus but it was certainly a helpful technique for me to use in terms of dealing with shutter lag. So in simple terms, hold the camera button halfway down to pre-focus, wait for your subject to enter the area you’ve locked on, and then completely press the shutter.
Tip #2: This tip is for those who really want to shoot vertically. Now this piece of advice may only be relevant to those coming from another device, like an iPhone, who are used to shooting vertically despite the Windows Phone really being constructed to shoot horizontally. I attached two images, one from the front view and one from the back view of how I hold the phone for an optimum vertical shooting experience. The key is to take three fingers and firmly place them on the right of the phone using your middle finger as the camera trigger. Also, you rest the left side of your phone deeply in to the palm near your thumb and you balance the bottom of the phone with your pinky. This placement keeps the rest of your fingers and hands away from the lens, as demonstrated in the opposite backside image.
Tip #3: I find that in the camera application ProShot, the exposure compensation to be extremely helpful. I have also found that Windows Phone performs best or gives optimum image quality when the images are all generally exposed about one stop under. You can see in the image that before I start shooting I take the exposure meter down to almost one stop. This technique allows images not to be overexposed. It’s always easier to lighten up an image in post processing as there is information in the highlights. Remember if you overexpose your highlights you will never get back detail.
Tip #4: Finally, another wonderful feature of the phone and the application ProShot, is the ability to manually focus the camera. This is absolutely brilliant as it allows the camera to be pre-focused on a defined area or almost zone-focused as many street photographers will appreciate. I’ve attached two images as examples of what I’m talking about here. Again this frees up the camera from having to focus before you shoot as it is already free defined by the user. Simply you can pre-focus on an area in front of you and leave the focus point there and shoot away.