Nokia Pro Camera was first introduced on the Nokia Lumia 1020, but has since become available for the Nokia Lumia 925, Lumia 920 and the Lumia 928 – once you’ve installed the Amber update.
Want to become a better photographer? Follow our five-part series on how to use Nokia Pro Camera – part one, focus and bokeh.
Taking any picture requires that you focus on your subject. If the focus is out, you’ll lose not only the detail but also a moment that might not happen again.
With Nokia Pro Camera, there are three ways to focus on your subject.
Auto focus – camera shutter key
For the most part, whenever you take a regular photo the auto focus will be perfect for the job.
When we say regular, we’re referring to taking photos of friends in the park, a landscape, that sort of thing.
To use auto focus, centre your subject in the middle of the screen and half-press the camera key; this will lock-in the focus to what’s in the centre. A sound, and a circle in the middle of the viewfinder will indicate that focus was attained.
Once the focus is centred, press the camera key fully to take the photo. The result will be a photo that’s perfectly focused on the centre.
If you want to experiment with the focus a little, to highlight another section of the scene, half press (and hold) the camera key to “grab focus” of your subject and then reframe by moving the camera until your subject is correctly positioned. This will remember the original focal point as you take the final shot – by continuing to fully press the camera key.
Auto focus – tapping on the screen
Rather than half pressing the camera key and moving the phone around to find the right focal point, touching anywhere on the screen will enable you to focus on that point.
If you tap the screen somewhere in the distance, the foreground will become blurry as the background becomes more focused.
The same, of course, can be said about the foreground. If you want to focus on something relatively close, just tap on it on the screen to see it become crystal clear.
If you use auto focus by tapping on the screen, the camera system will also adjust the exposure automatically so that the selected focal point is exposed correctly. This is most visible in situations with a lot of contrast. You can see this by holding the camera still, and then first touch and focus on a dark area and then touch and focus on a bright area, and see how the exposure changes.
Manual focus – on-screen controls
While auto focus does a great job at capturing everything in detail, sometimes you get the best and most interesting shots when you get in close and use the manual focus.
To activate manual focus, tap on the focus icon that sits in the dashboard at the top (the third icon from the left), or pull in all of the controls by pulling the on-screen camera shutter key in from the right.
Grab hold of the focus controls with your thumb and start to slide the icon up and down to move the focus closer or further away.
Sliding the controls right up to the top activates infinite focus, i.e. everything beyond 10 meters will be in focus, and moving it right to the bottom sets it back to auto.
It’s at any stage in-between those two points that you can begin to focus on exactly what you want using a simple method of sliding your thumb up and down the scale. It’s also the only way to guarantee that you’ve set the absolute closest focal point.
The final shots
Foreground focus: click for full-size image
Background focus: click for full-size image
The controls are so intuitive, that you might prefer this method for taking photos going forward.
Try it for yourself and let us know how you get on, using the comments section below.
Next up, low light and long exposure tutorial with Nokia Pro Camera – stay tuned!
All photos here taken with a Nokia Lumia 925 and Nokia Pro Camera.