Should this be the next cool smartphone camera mode: tilt-shift for photos and videos

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

I was just looking through my old photos and came across some images I took a couple of years ago with my Olympus Pen camera that I owned for a short while before it got stolen. I have a thing for gadgets and photography: I get new camera gear more often than I should, and I usually play with it for a while, only to leave it gathering dust on some shelf. The images, though, do remain, carefully stacked in the comfort of the cloud, and the ones from the Olympus Pen caught my eye.

A non-pretentious mirrorless camera, the Olympus Pen (E-PL3 in my case) is not likely to go in the history books. In fact, some reviewers called it 'an almost great camera', which is not exactly flattering. But it did have one extremely cool feature: tilt-shift mode. And once I discovered it, I was hooked. The tilt-shift effect miniaturizes the world to make it look toyishly fantastical, and the effect is usually aided by boosted saturation and vivid colors. My photos with the effect turned all my friends and familiar landscapes into some fun and memorable avatars of themselves. And looking back through these photos, I wished I could capture such images with ease on a modern smartphone as well.

So here's an idea for you, Apples and Samsungs of the world: give us tilt-shift mode in your phone cameras! Modern day phones certainly do have the processing power and there are many third-party apps that offer this function (check out the links below), but fact is that unless a camera mode is built inside the stock camera app, it gets very rarely used. Time lapse, slow motion videos and most recently, live photos, are all illustrations towards that: it is important for camera features to be built inside the stock camera app in order for people to use them.

Right below, you'd find a few images from my good old Olympus Pen and a video showing the tilt-shift effect. Do you like this effect? And would you like to see it in the stock camera app of your phone? Let us know in the comments!

*Currently, you can achieve the tilt-shift effect with apps like TiltShiftGen2 for iPhone and Tilt-Shift Camera for Android.



1. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I can see it flooding Facebook

17. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

My Xperia phone already came with it... Have used it for 2 years now. It's nothing extraordinary. Instagram has it, Snapseed has it, almost all the image editing app has this feature. I'm not very sure if PA has gone through all the features Xperia camera has. Now if it were on video, that would be something new on phones but I don't see much use of it anyway.

20. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

My exact thoughts... this shows how "WELL" PhoneArena test every feature in each phone they REVIEW... specially Sony devices....

21. Victor.H

Posts: 1095; Member since: May 27, 2011

Sony phones have a miniature feature that is a compromise in many aspects: you can see that it adds a very basic blur that you cannot control, it does not add that saturation boost that makes most tilt-shift stand out (nor does it provide controls to do it), and when using it the live preview is inexplicably laggy.

23. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

YES thank you for the additional paragraph that should be in every Xperia review since the "Z" line... And you are correct, the "Miniature" feature is very simple however you can change how wide is the blur effect (with 2 fingers) and its position (1 finger)... This does not change the fact that the review process for every Sony device is lacking... most of the time you guys fail to mention specific cool features that, even if they are buried in the Interface, they should be covered (NOISE CANCELLING).... I am still waiting for the Z1 COMPACT battery life benchmark! WHAT A JOKE... One of the Cons for the Z3 Compact is that it was too small... and the iPhone 6 was perfect in size?!!! Common... you guys need to seriously establish ground rules for the Reviewing process... we get it that each one of you have preferences... but a review should be Objective, and currently PA is not

3. Shocky unregistered

Is this really a new camera mode? I'm sure I've used something similar, many times in fact.

10. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

snapseed have this feature

15. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Many social apps got that feature.

22. Victor.H

Posts: 1095; Member since: May 27, 2011

Snapseed is probably the best way to manually achieve this, agreed! Use Lens Blur and add some saturations to achieve this neat effect.

14. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Sony Xperia has this inside of its modes "Camera Effects" under the name "Miniature".... In general I almost never use camera effects but it has been there for a long while...

16. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

LG's camera app got it too.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

always wondered about what is this effect called :D here are some vids I found years ago (time lapse+tilt shift+singapore)

5. BobLawblaw unregistered

You can do tilt shift on android. I've been doing it for ages with Pixlr.

6. mixedfish

Posts: 1563; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Xperia phones have had 'miniature' mode since the original Xperia Z. But of course according to PA only Samsung and Apple exist in the mobile world.

7. josephnero

Posts: 785; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Sony phones had it for years now

8. Gulliver

Posts: 49; Member since: Sep 18, 2013

Keep CALM and enjoy (or not) this photo/video effect. Many people did not know about it others have been using it for quite some time now in various apps. And why should you always turn any topic into Apple/Samsung topic!!! Come on ... seriously!


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Pictures looks it has been taken with the Nokia Refocus app!

11. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Isn't this a software trickery and has nothing to do with hardware at all?

13. joevsyou

Posts: 1093; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

yes, thats why there is apps that allows you do it but the writer wants it to be a baked in mode into the camera app

12. joevsyou

Posts: 1093; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

really cool effect

18. SuperAndroid507

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

Does anybody know what is the place from the pictures? It's a beautiful landscape.

19. gmp009

Posts: 24; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Redmi note 3 have it :P

24. irbaaz

Posts: 175; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

Today I came to know that My Xperia has this feature and what it does really. Just tested it and it is good. :)

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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