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Find your BlackBerry Z10 photos are too dark indoors? Try this neat trick to brighten them up

By DJ Reyes on 7 Feb 2013 04:07 pm EST
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If you've read our BlackBerry Z10 review or even if you own a BlackBerry Z10 then you'll know the camera doesn't take the best low light shots. However, CrackBerry Forums user BelfastDispatcher has a neat trick to share -- he's found that if you drag the camera focus to a dark spot, it readjusts the lighting and gives you a brighter photo. He shared an example and you can really see the difference.

 
I've tried this out myself and it is a pretty neat trick. Using Night Mode will also work but if you want to take a quick snap without going into settings this trick will do.

If you have a BlackBerry Z10, try it out and share your thoughts in the forums.

Discuss more in the forums

Reader comments

Find your BlackBerry Z10 photos are too dark indoors? Try this neat trick to brighten them up

32 Comments

The camera hardware has intrinsic light sensitivity, based on the sensor size and lens size and aperature opening, etc. It will capture an image at a big range of light levels.

The problem is the NOISE.

At low light levels, the signal/noise ratio causes you to get lots of noisy artifacts on your image. The software can only do so much... Sure it can "boost" the white-levels of all your pixels, but so will your noise, making it look grainy.

You can compensate for any of this by decreasing your shutter speed... Digital sensors don't really have shutters, but you can just "capture" longer like a movie of 1 second x 30 frames per second = 30 pictures. The problem is that you have to be PERFECTLY STILL or else things will blur.

When you combine 30 pictures into 1 picture (using software algorithms to add all the images then "average them out") you now have a much better signal to noise ratio.

NOISE should be randomly affecting all the pixels so it "fuzzes" out across the entire image. Meanwhile the real signal image should provide enough real contrast to let you increase white levels without the noise being as obvious.

So in short... Yes the software can compensate but only if you hold your camera really still..... You still need a good camera with lots of light capture ability to get a good shot.

For sure, bigger aperture require more "glass". Tohave a decent shutter speed.

Higer ISO require processing power, adjustable white balance, ...

Finally when it come to a smartphone, being smart is finding the right mix.

"You can compensate for any of this by decreasing your shutter speed..."

... or by having a bigger aperture. According to berryreview, the aperture size of the Z10 camera is f2.2, while the iPhone is f2.4 and the S3 is f2.6, so a larger aperture than the other two.

So, if the camera is not at full open aperture in normal mode, by forcing it to go to a darker area, it will open up the aperture, letting more lights in and therefore keep picture quality.

You have it backwards. The smaller the number, the more light is allowed onto the sensor (the larger the aperture). Not sure what the f/stop rating equivalents on those phones are, but technically an f/2.2 should allow more light than an f/2.6.

Your both right, the lower number 2.2, is a larger aperture, and allows more light.

But f/2.2 is fixed. With these smartphone lenses and sensors, there isn't a moving aperture. There are no blades!
So either "shutter speed" or gain/sensitivity/'iso' and metering compensate.

All three of you are right :) Sorry, I had to poke fun! LOL!!

Technically speaking, if the Z10 has a wider aperture, there are two things at play. Sensor light sensitivity and software. RIM can't change the sensor, but they can improve their software.

I personally don't see it as a problem that cannot be solved. I assume since they deployed a good quality lens in the Z10, they also used a quality sensor. The software should be improved in a later release.

There are several strategies. The cameras measurent window can be change easily by sfw, so it will calculate different ADC gains. But you will still have noise (which has been explained), and with higher gains, you Actually multiply the noise leve of the pixels. Cameras sfw can average out the pixel levels, then you will loose sharpness.

This trick presented, Simply means you are measuring a 'darker' (less light), so the the system is putting more gain which has the effect of having 'brighter' photos. Possibly, you also have more noise.

Another problem with higher gains, you get pixel saturated and loose data. You can easily check this, looking at the Last picture / left side, you loose all photo detail. Which is bad picture.

the first photo looks way better. The 2nd is way too washed out... but neat trick - I get what you're trying to show.

It was done like that to accentuate the difference, you can have more subtile results dragging he focus point to a closer shade not the darkest as I did.

Also, the built in editor is awesome with adding brightness to your pic. You can make the worst pics look amazing with these tools.

That's a frequent issue for Dslr users. But yes it's software.
Depending on how it's programmed the camera adujst the "shutter speed" . Aiming for darker areas if the metering is centered locking the autofocus and then panning to "compose" your shot is one of the basics of photography.

To solve that easilly Blackberry should add a +/- button on screen in order to force underexpose overexpose while shooting.

On top of being usefull, it may unleash the artist in you!

Not that this would matter in most of the phone-photo scenarios, but this solution could potentially make the camera focus on the wrong thing and blur out the main subject of the photo, right?

I'm assuming that the camera software doesn't allow one to set exposure and focus point separately.

Just so people know, the iPhone also does this so it's not a problem with the Z10. It's normal. Cannot wait to switch from iPhone to my first BlackBerry!

Not a professional photographer, not technical expert. But some 12 years ago i was a artificial vision developter, which I had to know a few things about cameras, ccd, cmos, digital processing, etc. I already provided some info on a previous post, so I will not repeat

The Last picture is really BAD because you loose data (picture detail)due to pixel saturation.

I do not see it as sfw problem, it is a compromise and I see this can no any camera. It can be tweeked easily if BB desires to. Though, pretty sure BB will give us diferent ways/methods for the cameras measurent window.

I knew this because the iPhone is the same way, and I wonder if all the people taking test new to try this or not. The z10s camera is actually quiet good.

SEE !

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It's not the camera. It's the photographer.

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Once you learn how to use the camera ..... you can take BEAUTIFUL pictures. This is the way that it works with my Canon camera as well.

PLEASE ....... LEARN HOW TO USE SOMETHING BEFORE YOU BASH SOMETHING !!!

Now apologize to BlackBerry. Do it ..... Do it Now !!!

i personally think the camera is excellent in the day time but very grainy in night situations the torch 9810 has really good camera in day or night scenes really hope a minor update can rectify it rite now the iphone 4 takes better pics at night and that's out dated

This is a good tip that doesn't involve a change in the software which could effect all your photos. I have to o look, but I think the included software also allows you to brighten the pictures in editing. I think he camera is terrific.

Maybe we expect too much out of a phone camera? For real pics that I put thought into, I still like my Canon Powershot S95. No phone camera can come near it.

Exactly! I was thinking the same thing. A phone camera is kind of the emergency camera. Don't expect to make a modeling portfolio using the BB10 camera or any phone camera at that. I think BB10's camera is really good. Not the best, but not too far behind

I'm no camera expert but this is a good trick. All cameras could be tricked into taking better pictures. And to fix everything all we need is a great photo editing app... that is built into the native camera app