Sunday, September 25, 2016

Huawei P9 (long exposures)

The camera of the P9 sports to modes for which a stable mount, such as a tripod, is required: Night Shot and Time-Lapse. Manual shutter settings allow up to 30s exposure in the pro-mode.

How to hold the camera

Of course there are some tripod options available for smartphones. However, those would form an additional piece of kit, which probably will stay home for the most of the time. Also, the ones that are a bit lightweight are also considerably flimsy and might vibrate a while when used with a bigger phone like the P9.

Here is my solution, use a wallet-type case:
Mine cost me €15.  The good thing is, the case will always be with the phone, and so will be the function as a stand. Of course one will need a conveniently shaped handrail, wall, table, window sill, etc., with view. Obviously, this arrangement favours landscape type photographs.
Pro: no extra part to loose... if you lost the case, I guess, you lost the phone.

How to trip the shutter

The next challenge, trigger the shutter w/o introducing vibrations. The built-in camera app offers some interesting alternatives to touching the display.
  • timer
  • audio control
  • volume bottom
Timer delayed shutter release is a technique often used in absence of a remote shutter release. There are some pros and cons with that method. For long exposures, the cons are essentially absent, in particular with a 10s delay. Pro: no extra part to loose.

Audio control, in my view, is only useful in the "above certain dB level"-mode.  With the P9 a finger snip works just fine. Certainly, this method requires a relatively quiet environment. Pro: no extra part to loose.

The volume bottom is mounted on the phone itself, so, what the point, you might ask. Well, I much prefer this as a shutter release over the touch-screen, during regular photography. For long exposure, however, you don't want to touch the phone, right? Well, firstly, think of the timer mentioned above.
But even better: use the headset provided with the P9. Not only do the earbuds sound great, the headset comes with a volume bottom. Guess what, when the camera app is set to releasing the shutter by the volume bottom, you got yourself a real cable shutter release. Con: don't loose the headset!

Tip

The autofocus can be confused, so, I do advise to use manual focus in the pro-mode, if possible.


Example

The following photo is shot from my roof-deck. Wallet case as holding device. Audio controlled shutter, autofocus set to the streetlight in the center. Shooting mode: Night Short.

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