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Capturing Better Photos With Your Galaxy Tab

Although far from being the ideal camera, the Galaxy Tab is equipped with some of the same helpful features found in dedicated photo cameras. In this article, Lonzell Watson shows you some tips and tricks for capturing better photos with your Galaxy Tab.
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Along with transferring images to your Galaxy Tab from other sources, such as from your computer or a USB drive, your Tab is capable of capturing good quality photos. Equipped with a 3.0 megapixel rear-facing camera, along with a 2.0 megapixel front-facing camera, taking a photo can be as simple as selecting a subject, composing the shot, and pressing a button.

Although automatic settings make the Galaxy Tab’s photo capabilities easier to use, because they are relatively hands off, they are also limiting. For this ease of use, you sacrifice flexibility and have to shoot in more controlled environments. You will have to pick and choose your shots much more carefully in terms of lighting and shooting moving subjects. To capture the best image possible with your Tab, you should get to know your Tab’s camera settings. The Galaxy Tab is equipped with some helpful features commonly found on dedicated photo cameras, including shooting modes, scene modes, manual exposure, white balance, flash, and manual exposure.

Exploring Shooting Modes

The Camera application for the Galaxy Tab is chock full of features that can help you capture higher-quality images. Tap the Shooting mode icon to select the Smile shot mode to focus the camera on the face of your subject. After the camera detects the person’s smile, it takes the picture.

The Panorama shooting mode enables you to take a picture and then use the onscreen guide to move the viewfinder and take seven more shots. This is a great mode for capturing wide vistas, such as landscapes and cityscapes.

Use the Action shot setting to enable the camera to detect movement within a framed scene, and then create a panorama of the moving object.

Timer Settings

Tap the Timer icon to designate a time for how long to wait before your Tab takes a picture. This is great for allowing you time to set up the shot and then place yourself in the frame.

Adjusting Exposure Level

An image that is too light or too dark degrades the appearance of your photos. To take full advantage of your Tab’s camera, you can manually adjust the exposure level for various bright or dark lighting conditions. Although, by default, the Galaxy Tab automatically adjusts for the proper exposure, you can take matters in to your own hands and drag the exposure level up or down to achieve a proper level.

Under the Settings

Tap the Focus Mode option to change the focus mode from Auto Focus to Macro. Macro focus enables you to pull a sharp focus on close-up subjects, such as flowers. This setting can help you showcase the fine detail in a close subject.

The Scene mode options, located under Settings, optimize your camera for special shooting situations. For example, if you are taking a picture of a person from her shoulders up, you can use the Portrait mode. Portrait mode automatically optimizes your Galaxy Tab’s camera to use the largest aperture setting, which shortens depth of field and slightly blurs the background, emphasizing your main subject.

The Landscape mode uses the smallest possible aperture setting for the great depth of field to help ensure that everything you frame is in sharp focus.

The Night mode uses a flash in combination with a slow shutter speed to brighten dark backgrounds. The Sports mode uses a fast shutter speed to capture moving subjects without blurring and you can use Dawn to capture better sunrises.

Adding Camera Effects

You can also find in-camera effects under the Settings options. Keep in mind when you use any of the photo effects, such as Grayscale (Black and White), Sepia, and Negative, they become a permanent part of your pictures. To give yourself more choices in the future as to how you use your images, consider purchasing a photo-editing program that enables you to perform such effects but still maintain your original photo.

Centre-Weighted and Spot Metering

The default Metering setting is Centre-weighted. Your other choices are Matrix, which measures light intensity in several point to achieve the best exposure, and Spot, where only a small area in the scene is measure. Matrix metering is usually considered the most accurate form of metering because it measures the entire scene then sets the exposure according to an average. Spot measuring is generally used to capture very high contrast scenes, such as when a subject’s back is to the sun.

Dealing with Shutter Lag

Shutter lag is the amount of time between pressing the shutter release button and the moment the picture is taken. A longer shutter lag is common among most compact cameras and also the Galaxy Tab. What this means for you is that you have to be particularly mindful of timing your shots when recording moving subjects. Shutter lag can cause you to miss out on a key action if you do not anticipate the shot.

One important thing to know about your Tab is that the shutter does not fire as you place your finger down on the Camera button; the shutter fires when you lift your finger off the button. Use this knowledge to your advantage to anticipate the shot. Press your finger on the shutter button and hold it while you frame the shot and focus on an object about the same distance as where the subject will pass, and then lift your finger. Hold your Tab completely still for a little bit longer to ensure the Tab has time to capture the photo. Anticipating moving subjects to capture dynamic, moving shots can take some practice.

The Galaxy Tab’s slow shutter makes it prone to producing blurry photos if you do not remain perfectly still during capture. Even the smallest movement can have an adverse effect on your photographs; this is especially true in low-light situations. A photo might appear fine when you review it on the Tab display, but when you download the photo and view it on a larger display, problems may become visible. When capturing photos, keep in mind that bright, evenly lit, scenes will help you capture the best photos with your Tab.

Lonzell Watson has been fascinated with technology ever since he disassembled his first Commodore 64 computer in grade school and then attempted to put it back together. He went on to work a 100-mile paper route for an entire year, just to buy his first Apple computer, and he has been writing about technology ever since. After paying his way through college by creating his first mobile computer service named CompuClean, Lonzell went on to work as an IT consultant for clients including the J. Peterman Company, Time Warner Communications, and Verizon Wireless.

Lonzell is the award-winning author of Teach Yourself Visually iPad, for which he won the 2010 International Award of Excellence from the Society for Technical Communication. This work also earned Lonzell the Distinguished Technical Communication award and Best of Show 2010 from the STC. Lonzell was also presented the Award of Excellence for Teach Yourself Visually iPhoto '09 in 2009. He is the author of other popular titles, including Teach Yourself Visually iPad 2, My Samsung Galaxy Tab, My HTC EVO 3D, the Canon VIXIA HD Digital Field Guide, Final Cut Pro 6 for Digital Video Editor's Only, and Teach Yourself Visually Digital Video.

Currently, Lonzell is the owner of Creative Intelligence LLC, an instructional design and technical writing company , whose courseware is being used to train the CIA, FBI, NASA, and all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. He holds a master's degree in Instructional Design and Development, and teaches Digital Asset Creation to graduate students at Bellevue University. Lonzell is a frequent contributor to StudioMonthly.com, and an author for Lynda.com. Lonzell's writing has been syndicated, with hundreds of published tutorials and tips that help demystify consumer electronics and software.

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