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Old Oct 10, 2012, 08:18 AM   #1
Bishwasher
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Why can't I take decent moving photos on my iPhone (Still)?

Just upgraded from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5... The 5 supposedly has a better camera...great I use it a lot. I help run the local Scout Group and as part of the new website I'm working on, I'm taking a lot of photos and rarely remember to take my camera with me. My ongoing problem is whenever I try to take pictures of the youngsters moving ( even at a normal speed) they come out all blurry and useless (no matter how much I edit them with Photoshop Touch on my iPad 3. Here is an example:





I have tried several different camera apps on my iPhone 4 and found them no better than the default one.

Does anyone know why this is and how I can take decent photos?

Thanks

Daniel
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 08:20 AM   #2
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 08:26 AM   #3
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Shutter spead needs increasing, though i dont know if that can be adjusted on iphone 5?
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 08:36 AM   #4
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Small lenses let in less light which require a slower shutter speed.

This is an area where "real" cameras are going to rule for quite some time. Just having a larger lens and a larger sensor is a huge advantage.

Basically, when not in sunlight you need to hold cell phone cameras still and hope your subjects slow down every now and then. It's not always possible, I know, which is why stand-alone cameras aren't dead quite yet.

(But also, you need to stop blaming your kids. The wall is blurry too which means this is a camera-holding problem, not a kid problem. Hold the camera still and the kids will be a little blurry, yeah, but nothing close to what you've got now.)
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 08:38 AM   #5
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Ehh, the ISO should compensate for any difference in sensor size (not from a quality standpoint), leaving the shutter speed around the same. Try stopping for a microsecond before taking the picture? I haven't noticed any difference between my 4 and 5 from a blur standpoint when walking and snapping.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 08:38 AM   #6
Aniseedvan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Small White Car View Post
Small lenses let in less light which require a slower shutter speed.

This is an area where "real" cameras are going to rule for quite some time. Just having a larger lens and a larger sensor is a huge advantage.

Basically, when not in sunlight you need to hold cell phone cameras still and hope your subjects slow down every now and then.

(But honestly, you need to stop blaming your kids. The wall is blurry too which means this is a camera-holding problem, not a kid problem. Hold the camera still and the kids will be a little blurry, yeah, but nothing close to what you've got now.)
this.. Some see the minimum aperture rating and think it will compete with say a f2.8 lens on a bigger camera. It won't.

Use siri to remind you to take the camera with you
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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In the picture you posted it is not the movement of the kids that is the issue, it is the movement of your hand while taking the picture. You can tell because the chairs are blurry along with the floor.

Are you using the volume button to take the picture? I've found the on screen button to work better stability wise. The physical button ends up shaking the camera at the last second causing blur in low light because it is too stiff.

Also try holding down the on screen button and when ready to take the picture just release it.

The kids may end up still being blurry, but it will be actual motion blur rather than camera shake resulting in a better picture.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 09:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jclardy View Post
Also try holding down the on screen button and when ready to take the picture just release it.
Didn't know you could do that, thanks for the tip
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 10:01 AM   #9
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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00894YWD0

There you go. Take the pictures you want.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 10:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jclardy View Post
In the picture you posted it is not the movement of the kids that is the issue, it is the movement of your hand while taking the picture. You can tell because the chairs are blurry along with the floor.

Are you using the volume button to take the picture? I've found the on screen button to work better stability wise. The physical button ends up shaking the camera at the last second causing blur in low light because it is too stiff.

Also try holding down the on screen button and when ready to take the picture just release it.

The kids may end up still being blurry, but it will be actual motion blur rather than camera shake resulting in a better picture.
The OP definitely is moving the camera like you say. Also, holding the screen button then releasing is a great tip. I learned about this a long time ago and it really helped me improve my pictures.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 10:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bishwasher View Post
no matter how much I edit them with Photoshop Touch
No amount of Photoshopping will fix the problem you're experiencing. Reasons are already explained above. If you need to take photos like this then get a suitable camera that can provide higher shutter speeds under these lighting conditions. The problem here is your expectation.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 10:30 AM   #12
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This has nothing to do with the iPhone's camera, its shutter speed, its ISO, etc. Static objects in the background are blurred means you aren't holding the camera still.

The iPhone takes the picture when you remove the photo from the glass so don't tap on the phone. Another trick would be to steady your arms by resting them on your chest.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 11:05 AM   #13
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I figured the OP was trying to track the kids which is why the background was also blurred.

Subjective, but i guess for a website having blurry kids and a crisp background isn't going to cut the mustard either.

Perhaps start by trying to take some photos when they're doing a static activity so you're not trying to keep up with the movement (and also trying to cope with any shutter lag or inbuilt stabilisation the phone might be trying to help with whilst you might be panning the kids a little!) to improve your indoor shots.

I'd still think a camera is the only winner for action shots inside. I did a shoot for a friend of her irish dancing class inside whilst they were practising and I was rocking something like 1000 ISO to get anywhere near fast enough shots on pro glass/camera combo.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 02:17 PM   #14
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Not a good example

As others have pointed out, the static objects are blurry as well, which means the phone is moving when the photo was taken.

The only good reason I can think of for the shooter to move the phone while taking the photo was panning to follow a constant object (a moving car, kid on a swing, etc.) to minimize the relative movement between the camera and the subject. But panning doesn't help in that photo: things are moving in different directions. My guess is that the result would have been a lot better had the phone was still when the picture was taken.

The iPhone 5 has a really fast lenses of f/2.4 at 35mm equivalent. Most people with an SLR don't own a lenses that fast, let alone most point and shoot camera. Sure, one can control the shutter speed and ISO with an SLR so in the same setting may be an SLR with a slower lenses can be shot at 3200 ISO and halves the exposure time, but that wouldn't improve the example shot by much.

Considering the relatively bright setting in the example photo, I would take a chance and guess that one can take a decent shot if holding the phone still.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 02:31 PM   #15
Bishwasher
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Thanks for the replies - you've confirmed what I already suspected...it's me not the kids/camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1080p View Post
Image
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00894YWD0

There you go. Take the pictures you want.
Nice camera,nice price tag too. I know you pay for quality but I'm never going to be able to afford to spend that much on a camera ( barring a big lottery win)
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 02:39 PM   #16
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One of the best point and shoots is the Canon S100 and the earlier ones S90/S95 are very inexpensive used. Moving up to the next level of P&S is the Sony RX100 which gives you a fast lens and DSLR sized sensor. But that is twice the cost of the S100.

It just sounds like you need practice, but indoor low light combined with fast moving kids, is something no cellphone camera will really nail.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 02:58 PM   #17
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Again, it's the photographer, not the camera

If it makes you feel any better, I own a nice SLR and some very expensive lenses. Each of my lenses cost more than the camera itself, some are twice as much. And I know how to use them.

Yet for most situation when I needed a snapshot under less extreme condition, about more than 95% of the time, I would not think twice about using the iPhone 5 camera. It's good enough, and I am quite picky.

Take the shot in the example, I bet I could take I decent shot with the iPhone 5. So in what situation would I use my SLR? A dimly lit theater for example. But then again those situations are far and few in between, and if I were there I would rather enjoy the play than trying to take photos.

I have used older and slower iPhones to take photos in more challenging situation because that was all I had with me at the time, but the iPhone 5 made things a lot less challenging. I bet that for most people the limitation is not the camera but their skills.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 03:56 PM   #18
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I suggest making a small investment ($2.99) in the ProCamera app. One of its many features is an "anti-shake" shutter control option that, once you tap the shutter, waits until the phone is steady before taking the shot. It will also show the shutter speed (and ISO) that the camera has selected, so you get an idea of how steady you need to be.

Regards,
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 04:07 PM   #19
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practice make perfect

Try taking photos in different situation: bright light, low light, moving object, still objects, different angle, into the front lit, back lit, with flash, without flash, after having a double espresso

It's not like shooting film: you get instant feedback so you can critique yourself. I bet if you pay attention, you will be much better after about 100 shots.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 04:14 PM   #20
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When you take pictures try to make sure the sun is behind you shining towards your target
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 04:20 PM   #21
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Why aren't you using your video function instead? IIRC, you can do screen captures from the video. Also, for certain fast moving action, video in a few seconds might tell more than a single picture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bishwasher View Post
Thanks for the replies - you've confirmed what I already suspected...it's me not the kids/camera.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 04:38 PM   #22
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you need to get a camera app which will let you adjust the shuter speed and ISO (the aperture is fixed). The only one I know of is 645 PRO (which lets you indirectly specify exposure and then lock it and set focus seperately.

The iphone does this because it reduces shutter speed to 1/15th indoors because they never thought you'd use the camera as an action camera. It's not designed as an action camera anyways because it cannot focus quickly and has a small sensor.

Anyways if you absolutly must use it as an action camera, get 645 PRO then indoors lock the exposure so that you get a faster shutter speed say 1/80th of a second (you can move it up if need be, just point it at or around a light source to bring the shutter speed up). This will make the images very dark, but that's ok because you're saving them in "raw" format. When you're done taking photos, just edit the TIFF files (you may need a computer to do this) to make them light again.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 05:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Aniseedvan View Post
this.. Some see the minimum aperture rating and think it will compete with say a f2.8 lens on a bigger camera. It won't.

Use siri to remind you to take the camera with you
Actually, it will, as far as the lens goes. Since it's a ratio, f2.8 is the same on any camera. The difference will be that because the sensor is so small, the sensitivity on the sensor cannot be cranked up as high without causing excessive noise in the picture. Because of this, they tend to be pretty conservative with the shutter speed and you often get motion blur.

Looks like the iPhone 5 camera is f/2.4 and will crank the ISO up to 3200. Unheard of a few years ago. The flash is still pretty poor though.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 05:11 PM   #24
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again, looking at the original photo...

I would say that you don't need any additional software to take a good shot under the condition of the original photo. If you can't take a sharp photo of a static chair under that lighting condition, then it's has simply to do with not holding the the phone still for 1/60 seconds or less.

If your hand is fairly steady (I have a friend who has this condition where his hands would shake so badly all the time), the rule of thumb is that you should be able to take a fairly sharp photo at 1/focal length seconds which turns out to be 1/35s for the iPhone 5.

Looking at the original photo, if I have to guess I would say that your exposure time should be less than 1/60s at ISO 200. So it's within the capability for a person with average steady hand to take a fairly sharp photo with the iPhone 5.

In photography, it's most often the photographer, not the tool, that makes the difference. Practice your skills before you need to use it. It's not rocket science either. You just need to pay attention. Take a bunch of photos in different situations and ask yourself why your photos turned out the way they did. I bet if you take 100 shots and analyze them critically, you will be a better photographers than you would be if you takes 10000 shots and not paying attention to the results.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 05:17 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by jclardy View Post
Also try holding down the on screen button and when ready to take the picture just release it.
I learned this when I had the iPhone 4. It really helps to not create a blurry photo because usually a tap on the screen or pressing the volume button on the iPhone will move the iPhone just a tad, resulting in a slightly blurry photo.

But holding and releasing when ready the phone is still since releasing the camera button on the screen doesn't move the iPhone.

A good tip that I like to tell people who takes photos on there iPhones
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