How to take better photos with your Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is among the best cameraphones money can buy. Its snapper is fast, easy to use, and it captures pretty photos with little effort on the photographer's side.
But tapping into the camera's full potential requires knowing how to use its camera application and how the app's settings affect image quality. Of course, a user who isn't an expert in photography would most likely be unaware of that, which is why we decided to come up with this guide. Ladies and gentlemen, here's how you can make the most out of the camera on your Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
By default, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is set to shoot 9.6MP photos at an aspect ratio of 16:9, which is simply wrong. Go ahead and change the resolution setting to 13MP at 4:3 if you want to go for best quality, or 8MP at 4:3 if you wish to save storage space. What's wrong with widescreen photos? Well, 16:9 photos may seem wider, but they aren't. They are just crops representing a fraction of the camera sensor's area. In other words, 16:9 photos use only about 70% of the camera's potential.
You do want to have instant access to your Note 3's camera, don't you? Well, then go ahead and set a lock screen shortcut. You enable these from the Settings > Lock Screen menu.
The camera UI allows you to set your own shortcuts to frequently used settings. Feel free to arrange these to your liking by holding your finger for a couple of seconds on one or until the shortcut menu appears.
The Note 3 Camera application comes with a dozen of built-in image filters. You're not limited to using only these, however. Slide to the very end of the list and hit "Download" to get more of them.
In a recent post, we introduced you to the rule of thirds, which helps you compose better-looking photos. You can enable the Camera app's built-in guidelines and use them as a guide when composing the frame with this rule in mind.
By default, the volume rocker is set to control the digital zoom level. Since digital zoom is something you shouldn't be using anyway, you may use the volume button as a shutter.
When using the camera's auto mode and when burst mode is not enabled, you can lock the focus and exposure of the image. You do that by pointing at the area, which you want to be in focus and exposed right, after which you hold down the shutter button. Then you compose the image to your liking and lift your finger to shoot.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can take time lapse videos and 720p slow-motion videos. You access these modes by tapping the small camera icon from the expandable row of shortcuts on top. You will also find the "Smooth Motion" mode there. In technical terms, this mode allows you to shoot 1080p video at 60 frames per second. Smooth Motion videos look much better because of the higher framerate, but the mode is usable only in daytime or when there's plenty of light. In most cases, using Smooth Motion at night would have a negative effect on footage quality.
Speaking of video modes, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the few smartphones that can shoot 4K video (3840 by 2160 pixels) at 30 frames per second. Shooting in 4K, however, is kind of pointless, unless you are going to watch the video on a 4K television, or if you'll be editing the video. Besides, 4K videos take up a lot of storage space. That's why our advice is to stick with 1080p.
The Galaxy Note 3 gives you the freedom to lock the focus while a video is being recorded. You do that by holding your finger on the area that you want to be in focus until an "AF" button appears on the left. The focus will remain locked until you tap on the AF button - doing so enables back the camera's continuous auto-focus.