The professional mode, popularly known as the manual mode in Samsung S8 and S8 Plus smartphone is almost similar to the manual mode of a DSLR camera, as you can adjust the exposure as per your requirement. The manual mode in this phone allows you to adjust the settings of the camera such as the shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focusing mode and exposure compensation. By playing with these settings you can capture creative photos such as long exposures and light trails, which otherwise would not be possible using the automatic mode.
In this post, you will get to know as to how you can use these settings in the professional mode to get the best results possible using the Samsung S8 and S8 Plus smartphone.
Shutter Speed in Professional Mode of Samsung S8 Camera
Shutter Speed is the length of time for which the shutter in the camera is open to expose the image sensor. The shutter speed is denoted in seconds or fractions of a second, e.g. 2 sec, 10 sec, 1/50 sec, 1/250 sec, etc. A faster shutter speed can be used to freeze the subject in your frame, whereas slow shutter speed can be used to capture the subject in motion or a long exposure shot.
The Samsung S8 camera app allows you to manually adjust the shutter speed to as fast as 1/24000 sec and as slow as 10 seconds. You might think that the minimum shutter speed could have been slower, but trust me you usually do not need a shutter speed as slow as 8-10 seconds unless you are shooting in complete darkness.
Using the shutter speed of 1/500 sec or faster, you can freeze the movement of a fast moving subject such as a sportsman or a bird/animal. The fast shutter speed will ensure that the subject that is moving at a fast speed appears steady and sharp in the photo. As in the image below, I wanted to freeze the movement of the subject in my frame, so I used the fast shutter speed using the manual mode in my mobile camera app to avoid shake.
If you want to capture the same scene but want to show some movement, you can use a slow shutter speed in order to increase the duration for with the image sensor gets exposed for. By doing so, you would be able to capture a photo which shows movement, it could be a moving sportsperson or an animal.
There are situations when the moment lasts for more than fractions of a second and in order to capture such moment you need to slow down the shutter speed. For example, you want to capture the light trail of a moving car which would require you to use a shutter speed as slow as 4-5 seconds. Slow shutter speed is not all about capturing light movements, you can also use a slow shutter speed in low light conditions.
To know more about shutter speed, read: UNDERSTANDING SHUTTER SPEED
NOTE: It is advised to use a tripod or some kind of a stand while using a shutter speed of slower than 1/60 sec in order to avoid camera shake, which will affect the sharpness of the photo.
ISO in Samsung S8 Professional Mode
ISO is the sensitivity of your camera to the available light. This means that the lower the ISO number, more light the camera sensor requires to correctly expose the photo. Similarly, the higher the ISO number, less light the camera sensor requires to correctly expose the photo. As you increase the ISO number, the sensitivity of the image sensor increase which leads to noise/grains in the image.
The Samsung S8 camera app allows you to manually adjust the ISO value to as low as ISO 50 and as high as ISO 800. The upper limit of ISO is low and could have at least been 3200.
When you double the ISO number while using the manual mode on your mobile camera app, the light required by camera reduces by half. Similarly, if you reduce the ISO number by half, the light required gets doubles in order to correctly expose the photo.
In simple language, when you want more light in your photo, increase the ISO and when you want to reduce the amount of light entering your camera, reduce the ISO number. Suppose you are clicking a photo handheld using a shutter speed of 1/100 sec but your photos are coming dark while using ISO 100, all you have to do is increase the ISO number in order to let in more light.
Another example is when you want to click a long exposure using a tripod, make sure that you set your ISO at minimum number available in your camera app in order to avoid grains and to let in less light so that the shutter speed can be reduced to capture a long exposure.
But, there is an ISO range up till which a specific mobile phone camera performs well and it usually ranges from ISO 50 to ISO 400, beyond which you will start noticing grains in your photos.
Lower ISO number = More light required = You will have to use lower shutter speed = Less grains
Higher ISO number = Less light required = You will have to use faster shutter speed = More grains
Exposure Compensation in Samsung S8 Professional Mode
Exposure Compensation allows you to alter the exposure reading that your camera evaluates based on the metering mode that you select. Given that you are in manual mode and are using the shutter speed and the ISO on auto mode, your mobile camera will select these two exposure values on its own based on the brightness of the scene.
The digital camera meter in your phone is engineered in such a way that it exposes every object for 18% gray, irrespective of the object’s ability to reflect back the light. If you photograph a white car, your camera will try to under exposure the white car because it is engineered to see everything as 18% gray, thus converting it into underexposed frame. Similarly, if you point your camera towards a black car, it will try and overexpose the frame because your camera is trying to see the car as 18% gray.
If you are photographing a subject which is bright white, try and overexpose the photo by selecting a value above ‘0’ towards the ‘+’ side. The reason being that your camera will try to convert the white color into gray, thus underexposing the scene. So you will have to manually bring the exposure compensation scale towards the ‘+’ side of the scale. Similarly, if you are photographing a dark black subject then you will have to manually set the exposure compensation scale towards the ‘-‘ side. The Samsung S8 allows you to adjust the exposure compensation scale within the range of -2 to +2.
White Balance in Samsung S8 Professional Mode
The purpose of adjusting the white balance is to get the colors in the photo as accurate as possible. Different light sources have their own color temperature, a tungsten light source would add yellowing color cast to the photo whereas a fluorescent light source would add a bluish color cast.
The color cast being captured in a photo might not be visible to us as our eyes adapt themselves to adjust as per the light source, but the camera might fail to do so in auto white balance mode. This is the reason why it is important to understand how the light source will affect your white balance and how you can counter it by selecting apt white balance.
Every mobile phone camera might have different white balance temperature range, like the Samsung S8 has a range of 2300K to 10000K. By taking this temperature range as the sample, 2300K denotes the cool tones whereas 10000K denotes warmer tones. You can adjust the temperature depending upon the temperature of the light source being directed on the subject.
If you are getting a yellowing color cast in your photos, simply move the temperature scale towards left. If you get bluish cast in the photo, move the temperature scale towards the right to get the natural color tone of the subject.
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