Focus on Photography
Photo of the Week: "Honey bee getting buzzed at the Nectar Bar"  by Bob Crum. Photo data: Samsung S10+ cellphone , lens @4.30mm. Exposure; ISO 50, aperture f/2.4, shutter speed 1/566 sec.
Photo of the Week: "Honey bee getting buzzed at the Nectar Bar" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Samsung S10+ cellphone , lens @4.30mm. Exposure; ISO 50, aperture f/2.4, shutter speed 1/566 sec.
Calling All Phonetographers!
Bob Crum
Bob Crum

Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions? As customary, I made one perfunctory annual resolution, one that I know I can keep: I resolve not to make any New Year's resolutions! See, I win all year.

A slice of Yogiism: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” said Yogi Berra. At the outset of 2020, I am confronted with a fork in the Focus on Photography road.

Photography is dead, proclaim the prognosticators. Some readers boldly suggest that I give more credence to phonetography because the majority of my column's 2,496,390 readers are 'phonetographers' . That might be true. Until recently, my cellphone was an ancient LG G3. A Samsung Galaxy S10+ replaced it and the S10 camera continues to surprise me. So, what to do?

New technology entails a learning curve. Oh joy! If I press this and click on that-uh, not what I expected. I quickly realized that making a photo with the S10 is dramatically different than my Canon 7D2. The S10 has a few interesting camera 'modes', but no knobs and dials! Nevertheless, what the S10+ does it does remarkably well, to my astonishment.

Camera modes include food, night, panorama, pro, live focus, standard photo, video, live focus video, super slow-mo, slow motion and hyper-lapse (time-lapse). Food mode? Great. Imagine a picture of one of my gorgeous hard-boiled eggs as photo of the week. Digital noise is minimized in 'night' mode. Oh yeah, mermaid boudoir phonetography by, ahem, candlelight! Pro mode permits the capture of both RAW and jpegs. Viva la RAW! Video mode is self-explanatory, but there's also 'live focus video' mode which initiates both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses to capture the subject and background separately, resulting in photos with near subjects in focus and the background out of focus. Sounds like 'auto bokeh'! My Canon 7D2 doesn't have that! Hmm.

Pro mode permits considerably more control over the picture-making process. I can adjust ISO, aperture, shutter speed, color temp (white balance), tint, contrast, saturation, highlights and shadows. All adjustments performed with on-phone sliders. But I want KNOBS & DIALS! Samsung says that these adjustments typically made during post-processing but can now be done in-camera. Yeah, sure, I'll see. BTW, Samsung, you forgot bracketing--maybe next iteration.

While the camera performs remarkably well, it has the same problem I have shooting videos with a dSLR camera: Form factor. Because of its physical design (form factor), making adjustments on the cellphone (and dSLR camera) while shooting video is cumbersome. Though the S10 (and my Canon 7D2) are capable of recording fantabulous video clips, they aren't the best tools in the shed for the task. The better tool for shooting video is a camcorder, in my opinion.

Regardless, this S10+ cellphone exhibits promise, so I will give due diligence and spend some time photographing with this marvel of technology. I'll practice until I'm proficient with this 'pricey' device. And I will either capture some fantabulous photos or, with a dash of melancholy, gingerly toss it into the Ventura Harbor. Stay tuned.

I used the S10+ to make the honey bee photo of the week. I saw the bee flitting from one flower to another so I grabbed by S10+ and quickly made several photos in the default 'standard' mode. Because I'm so used to my Canon camera's viewfinder, handling the S10+ while trying to pan and get it to focus on the fast-flying bee was a challenge, and frustrating. Out of several photos, I particularly like this one of the bee getting buzzed at the Nectar Bar.

Next, in-camera photo editors? Is anyone interested?

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