App Deep Dive: Camera PRO Mode



2018-03-27 18:22

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Hey guys! It's the long-awaited App Deep Dive column again!
Today, we're going to dig out the parameters behind the camera's PRO mode. After knowing what are these parameters, I'm sure next time you will be able to use this mode to Shoot Like a PRO!

First, let's select Pro Mode in Camera app, and we will see several options:
PRO Mode.png

From the top the parameters are: Exposure time, ISO, Exposure compensation, Saturation, Contrast and White Balance.

1. Exposure time
Exposure time means the interval between the shutter opens and closes, during which CMOS will capture all lights and form an image. The length of exposure time is mostly based on the environment lighting conditions and the subject.
In Auto mode, the exposure time has certain limits based on the consideration of both image quality and hand shaking factor. Therefore in some cases, users might need to set their own exposure time to get better images.
For example, when taking photos of kids or pets or other moving subjects, the image might be blurred because of the constant moving status of the subject. Therefore users can set a shorter exposure time (1/100s~1/5000s) to capture an ideal image.
Another example is shooting photos in a low-light environment. When you have a tripod or other fixing tools, you can set a longer exposure time (1s~20s) in a dark environment to get an image of better quality. The photo will appear to be more pure because the longer exposure time allows more lights to enter CMOS, and thus the photo will have lower noises.

2. ISO
ISO is film's chemical reacting speed towards light, and digital camera's ISO is a parameter that resembles film's light sensitivity and it's an index to show the light sensitivity of the CMOS. When ISO is low, the noise on the image will be less, but the image brightness will also be lower; and naturally when the ISO is higher, the image will be brighter whereas the noise will be increased.
To ensure a relatively high brightness in Auto mode, the ISO will be set as higher so users can take photos even in a dark environment. If you want a high-quality image, you can use a tripod to fix the phone, set the ISO to a lower standard (50 or 100), together with longer exposure as well.

3. Exposure compensation
Exposure compensation is a way of the digital camera controls exposure, which means the algorithm will calculate a 'suitable' exposure level to make the image brighter or darker. This feature enables you to adjust the image brightness in a very direct way by adjusting the exposure compensation level to make the algorithem to auto-calculate the target brightness's exposure time and ISO.
If your photo is dark, you can increase the exposure value (+1EV, +2EV) to brighten it up, and vice versa.

4. Saturation
Color saturation can be easily understood as the brightness and pureness of the colors. The higher the saturation value is, the more colorful your photo is.

5. Contrast
To make it easier to understand, the parameter 'Contrast' is the contrast degree between the dark and the light in an image. It works on the image with great effect. Normally when an image has a high contrast, it looks more clearer, and naturally if an image has low contrast, the dark and the light has no visible difference, the image gives a gray impression to the viewers. However, although high contrast might deliver a clear image, overhigh contrast might lose details of highlights and shadows. So remember to use it well.
Sample - contrast.png

6. White Balance
Camera white balance takes into account the "color temperature" of a light source, which refers to the relative warmth or coolness ofwhite light. Therefore by choosing different scenarios you will have true colors on your image. For example, when you're under a sunny sky, the white balance will give you a warmer view so the image looks more natural and reflects the real colors under the sun.

These are the parameters of the the PRO mode in Camera. Do you find it useful? Try it out and share your images with us!

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