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Using your camera on BlackBerry OS 6

By Joseph Holder on 11 Nov 2010 11:23 am EST
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Capable of capturing both still and video images, your phone is truly many devices in one. There are really quite a few features of the native BlackBerry camera, and with OS 6 things really start to shine. With multiple shooting modes and loads of new options, you can do much more with your BlackBerry camera now than in the past. While this walkthrough can’t tell you how to take great pictures, it will show you the many features of your camera and what all those buttons and icons really mean.

Still camera

   

Geotagging is the addition of location data to your photos. Simply put, your photos will be tagged with the exact location where you took a photo.

Other programs can use this to map where you were. For example, with this information, Flikr can map your photos and the photos of people who took pictures near you.

 

Your camera comes with a powerful flash in the form of a bright LED. Automatic mode allows the camera to decide if a flash is needed. If the light levels aren’t sufficient, the camera will know to use the flash.

Sometimes, the camera doesn’t always know best. You can manually turn the flash on or off using the next two options. Different lighting situations require different flash settings. Experiment to find your best options.

You can change the flash mode by going to the camera options (BlackBerry key -> Options) or by clicking/touching the icon. Each time you click the icon, the flash mode will change.

Scene modes allow your camera to operate in a variety of different scenarios.

Need to capture the action on the football field? The Sports mode takes pictures instantly, so you won’t miss a moment. Want to take pictures of little Timmy’s first snowfall? The Snow mode keeps all that bright, white light from overwhelming your camera. There are eleven different modes, each Ideal for specific circumstances.

Depending on your model of BlackBerry, your camera may support up to a 2X digital zoom. Digital zoom is not the same as an optical zoom. You’ll need to experiment with the zoom for best results; as the picture stays the same size while the resolution becomes less.

To zoom in, you can slide your thumb up on the trackball/trackpad; zooming out is a similar process except in reverse. You can also zoom in and out on your phone’s touchscreen (assuming your device has one). Simply touch the screen and slide your finger up to zoom in and down to zoom out. Keep your finger on the screen until you’ve finished setting the zoom level.

Now that you’ve seen many of the cool ways to use your camera, it’s time to take a picture. Sadly, it’s all rather anti-climatic. Your BlackBerry uses continuous auto-focus, so you don’t have to worry about keeping your subject in focus. The Automatic scene mode chooses the best settings for your picture. The camera even decides when the flash should be on.

All that’s left to you is to hold your hand steady, select the camera icon at the bottom of the screen and click the trackpad/trackball. You can also touch the camera icon using your touchscreen device. Your new photos are stored the Camera Photos folder.

After you take the photo, you have 3 seconds (this can be changed in the camera options screen) to review the photo. In that time, you’ll have the option to delete the picture completely. No one wants a gallery full of blurry images. In the lower left-hand corner, you’ll see a thumbnail of the last picture you look. Use this as a quick way to access the pictures taken on your smartphone.

Video camera

 

The video light uses the same bright LED as camera uses for flash, with one important difference. Rather than strobing like it would to take a picture, the light stays on to brighten your subject.

The video light can be turned on/off in the options menu (BlackBerry key -> Options) or by pressing the space bar on the keyboard. Oddly, the Video light cannot be turned on or off by touching the icon.

The video camera supports a 2x digital zoom to allow you to focus on subjects a little further away. It can also be useful when you’re trying to capture close-ups of small objects. There is a limitation. Digital zooms, unlike optical zooms, lose resolution as they zoom in. Experiment to find the best balance between zoom and clarity.

The amount of zoom cannot be changed while recording or paused between recording sessions. It must be set prior to recording a new video. To zoom in, scroll up or right on the trackpad/trackball. To zoom out, scroll down or right. Touchscreen users can swipe up to zoom in and down to zoom out.

This is the amount of time you have been recording. It includes all time in the video, no matter if you paused recording or not.

Obviously, this is most important button in the video camera app. It’s where the magic happens. Touch or click this button, and your video begins to record. As you are recording, the indicator LED will flash red and the record icon will shift to a pause icon.

Why pause? You can pause recording rather than stop it. For example, let’s say you’re using your BlackBerry to record your nephew’s birthday party. In between Zippy the Clown’s balloon animals and blowing out the birthday candles, there are probably some bits you don’t want to record. Rather than record one video of Zippy and another of the birthday cake, pressing pause will allow you to pick up recording right where you left off, creating just one video of little Timmy’s birthday party.

Video recording paused

After pressing pause, you’ll be presented with a great deal of information, options, and buttons. Don’t let all those circles and tags overwhelm you. Here’s what each of them means.

File Size: The total size of the recorded video in kilobytes (KB) and megabytes (MB).

Video Name: The file name of the video. This can be renamed to something less cryptic.

Recorded Time: The total amount of time for the video, includes all of the video recorded during pauses

Record: After pausing, pressing record resumes right where you left off. Using this, you can create a video with multiple clips.

Finish Recording / Stop: This stops all recording and finishes your video. After pressing stop, you can no longer record additional clips for a video. You will need to start recording a new video.

Play: Review the video you just recorded. After clicking Play, you will be unable to record additional clips for a video. Click Stop to return to the recording screen.

Send Video: You can send your video via a number of different methods. You can post it to YouTube and Facebook. Your video can also be sent by email and BBM. Keep in mind that some of these services limit the size of the file you can send.

Rename Video: Instead of the cryptic, VID-20101013-00024, you can rename your video to something more memorable (and searchable) like The Up Close Keyboard.

Delete: Delete all segments of the current video. If you have recorded multiple clips by clicking pause and then record, these will be deleted as well.

Reader comments

Using your camera on BlackBerry OS 6

18 Comments

I cannot tell you how great this blog entry was, it is going to be very helpful to everybody who views it and reads/follows all of the steps.

Video recording is awesome and even if zoomed, the resolution doesn't get affected, nor goes the file size. This is a plus. Digital zoom only affects the Camera app.

A++, also the first to post :)

Awesome post, Joseph. I'm definitely going to keep this post in a safe place to refer back to it when I need to check out a certain part of the cam functionality out.

I particularly like how you mentioned the Sports mode, as I was looking for that, remembering Kevin showing it to us at AT&T's Torch announcement, but couldn't remember which one it was since it's been so long since I saw that vid.

I don't have all these options for camera modes on my Bold running OS 6. I only have 4.

And I miss B&W and Sepia :/

Thank you for this article, it is extremely helpful. Does anyone know of a free way to mute the sound within the camera in OS 6?

Thanks!

But it doesn't work optimally. As long as you set it to mute everytime you start camera it will work. Google Cameramuteapp and you should find a free ota somewhere. It has saved me and others at weddings/ and family dinners in restaurants the anoyance of the camera sound.

wow, if you don't understand the features on the camera please return your blackberry and stop wasting your time.

Thanks for your input, I'm sure everybody that visits Crackberry has spent a hundred hours playing with the camera and knows it inside out.

My geotagging doesn't work on my 9700 running .358. It didn't work on .344 either. Does anyone have a suggestion?

My OS 6 leak .333 on my 9650 doesn't have all 11 shooting modes either. Hopefully, they'll show up in the final release.

Except Flickr doesn't work on OS 6 - and if you know how to please tell me. It's one of the apps I used most on my 8900

Useful, thanks.´Especially to find out that the zoom is now up or down, not left and right like on the 8900.

I have a tmobile bold 9700 using leaked 6.0.0.448 when I set my pics to go to my . 32gb micro sd card it goes to camera pics..Then I have to move pics to my micro sd card .Am I doing something wrong because when I was using 5.0.0.714 it would go directly to my micro sd card.It does this on all leaked 6.0 o.s.I have used .Is this normal or is this just a bug in 6.0 leakes.

Sorry for asking, is there any Black & White or Sepia Colour Mode?
OS 5 have them so why not?, is rim that stupid >___>