Monday, April 6, 2009

Experiment With a Cell Phone Camera

Last night - no clouds - just orange! But, even then, I'm usually so intently focused on taking my sunset pictures, running around looking for the perfect composition, and racing the clock - since the whole thing really only lasts a few minutes - that I don't think of anything else.

I've been wondering just what I'd do if the sun was going down and I didn't have a camera with me. But, then it dawned on me that I always have my cell phone with me. I've been wanting to see how good a job my cell phone could do with a sunset, but, like I said, I'm usually too busy trying to take good pictures, to spend some of the available time taking shots with just a cell phone.

I have a new cell phone, a Motorola Hint, that has a 2-M pixel camera built in. It can take some very nice pictures of normal stuff, but I hadn't yet tried aiming it at the sun. So, since last night was just another one of those plain orange things, I'd decided to give it a go.

This first shot is how things looked with the Fujifilm camera (well, of course I had it with me - I always do!!). Like I said, it was just another plain orange sunset ...

Now, here is the same thing taken with the Hint. I notice several differences; The sky is more blue. The sky is brighter. The sun is a brighter spot.

More blue - because the phone camera's white balance was set to 'auto.' When I am shooting sunsets with my normal cameras, I set their white balance settings to 'sunset' or 'shade,' which enhances the reds. Therefore, the Fujifilm camera makes the sky look more purple, and the Hint makes it more blue.

Brighter - I'm just guessing here, that there are two things working here. One, the metering in the phone camera is full averaging, which, when shooting a very bright spot, like the sun (!!), causes the the bright spot to be overexposed, and the rest of the shot to be brighter. And two, perhaps the phone camera simply can't shoot fast enough to handle shooting the sun!

And that gets us to this morning. When I got up I looked out and saw clouds!!! So, I grabbed the Canon and went running. Here a couple of these shots.


  1. I am really really like your picture.. I find you through the Picasa..

  2. nice post, thanks for sharing.