I’ve got a new mobile phone. It makes calls, texts and happily WhatApps, but the camera module and its software are worlds away from my previous mobile. It has a Leica-branded double camera setup and has, it seems, a 27mm f1.8 Summilux-H lens. The software is also powerful. It can do the fancy “fake-bokeh” thing, and the amount of the effect, and the focus point, can be altered after you have taken the image. Impressive stuff.
The image quality, made up of combined data from a 12Mp colour sensor and a 20 Mp monochrome sensor, is very good. This sunset from yesterday evening shows the “wind harp” at the entrance to the Watchfield wind farm. Taken in HDR mode, and with a bit of in-camera post-processing, the sky is fabulous. I like the contrail going to one of the pipes. as it looks like a washing line. Ansel Adams called them “sky worms”; he was not a fan.
The camera has some light trail modes. You will know from previous posts that I am a big fan of light trails. One is called “silky water” and is set up to render moving water as mist and assumes the camera will be held still. It’s a bit like Olympus’ “Live Composite” mode. So what happens if you move the camera instead? Well, this hydrangea is now an abstract pattern of colour and texture. I increased the contrast in post-processing. I think there’s lots to explore with this mode.
It doesn’t focus very close, but I can fit my clip-on macro lens. The phone does moan about me covering one of the lenses but it still works, as this shot of a perfume bottle shows. It will focus very close with the clip-on lens fitted, and the ring light that is part of the lens kit helps light the subject. Lens quality is not bad for a £4.99 Aldi Special Buy. Keep an eye open for it next time you are there; it may come back into stock.
With the macro lens fitted you can make the phone do bokeh circles. These are LED lights taken in the studio. I set the camera to manual focus and made sure the image was very out of focus. There are all manner of artefacts in the circles, probably caused by dust somewhere in the system, but it makes for an interesting image.
Five years ago mobile phone cameras were simple devices with limited power and not too wonderful quality. Now they are sophisticated, powerful devices that you can get great images from. You still need to know about photography and need to explore all the menu options to get the best from them. It’s fun trying!