Monday, September 9, 2013

Smartphone and Tablet Fixed Aperture Issues

The aperture or iris is the opening that controls how much light is allowed to enter your recording device. Most Smarphones and Tablet cameras have a fixed aperture. This means it cannot be changed or adjusted by a ring on the camera or by software.

Oh, dang it. Sony just released a new product that allows a lens attachment to a smartphone. This always happens when I make absolute declarations.

For most of the native cameras that appear on mobile devices you can't change the aperture.

What Is the Aperture on Mobile Devices?

Manufactures make educated guesses about where the majority of their users will take photos and videos. This is a quick sampling of Smartphones out in the wild:

Nokia Lumia 925

Nokia Lumia 920 f/2.0 aperture
iPhone 5 f/2.4
Samsung Galaxy S3 f/2.6
Sony Xperia S f/2.4

Hmm,  f/2.0 is a fast f/stop that allows a lot of light into the device. It will do a good job with daylight outdoor recording. Indoors you will need additional lighting to ensure a good recording.

The recording area that will be in focus will be limited; so items up close will be in focus those at a distance will be out of focus.

This is called Depth of Field. You will have to move closer with your feet (if possible and safe to do so) to ensure the video being in focus.

Your eyes can compensate, the camera cannot. 

Ideally, you want to record in well lit situation with your subject close to you. One more factor to consider; shaky video.

The Shakes

You are going to need to stabilize your phone. That can mean leaning the phone up against a wall or purchasing a stabilization device like the Woxom Sling Shot. You might have a software application that helps to stabilize video. You will need to use it.

To Recap:

You'll need to be aware of your lighting conditions. Too much light and your video will be overexposed. Too little light and folks will not be able to see what you have recorded. Smartphones and Tablet cameras like daylight the best followed by sufficient indoor lighting.

When recording in f/2.0  - f/2.8 you will have shallow Depth of Field. This means that subjects close to the lens will be in focus and those further away will be out of focus.

Stabilize your recording; either by bracing against a wall or chair, use a mobile stabilization device or the software stabilization that came with your phone or tablet.

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