iPhone focus question

David Z

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Hi all. I hope you don’t mind an iPhone photo question.

I was wondering why I struggle so much with getting the phone to focus on either a small object up close (zoomed) or a landscape picture, zoomed or not.

That latter always seems to have such terrible definition, and anything close at all seems to be the object of attention.

I have “long-pressed” to specify where to focus, and yet this really doesn’t seem to help very much.

Truly, I think my iPhone 5 to better picture by far than all of my recent phones with their improved tech and lenses, for it would really get details of the mountainside, and also get a tree in the foreground.

I’m attaching a simple example of this, a close up shot, one of a spider crawling on the window of my car, clutching a fly. No matter what I tried to do, I simply could get no better focus than this. I found that each time it seemed like it wanted to at last fix itself on the subject, it would quick snap over to a different lens and I would lose the target again.

These phones have great tools, and while surely not pro photography cameras, I consider it seems I should be able to do better.

Sorry for rambling a bit. Really trying to enunciate clearly my point.

And of course, please ask me anything.

BFF191DD-E420-4CFA-8773-A822C9F1F879.jpeg
Thanks so much for the warm welcome!
 

weepete

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Looks like it focused on the widscreen and not the spider. My cell pone has a macro photography mode that can do ok, though sometimes I just use the automatic camera setting.

Queen Bee by wee_pete, on Flickr

This is one I took recently with my cell phone, I just got close, hit the focus on the bee then quickly hit the shutter button. I find that if you leave it too long between focusing and pressing the shutter the phone will re-focus.

Try pracising on a small, but static object, in decent light to see how close you can get, and how fast you need to hit the shutter after you focus before it picks another target.
 
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David Z

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Looks like it focused on the widscreen and not the spider. My cell pone has a macro photography mode that can do ok, though sometimes I just use the automatic camera setting.

Queen Bee by wee_pete, on Flickr

This is one I took recently with my cell phone, I just got close, hit the focus on the bee then quickly hit the shutter button. I find that if you leave it too long between focusing and pressing the shutter the phone will re-focus.

Try pracising on a small, but static object, in decent light to see how close you can get, and how fast you need to hit the shutter after you focus before it picks another target.

Thank you so much for your reply, Weepete. It is frustrating, for I recall in the past, and I mean like 6 years ago, my phone took so many pictures, seeming better than these much more advanced phones do today. It requires so much extra effort than it ought, for what seems so obvious. I mean, in my original "focus area", there is only one major object (to my natural reckoning, anyway), and yet it seems the very last, if at all, item the software will look to.

I will take your advice and see if I can get some of the timing down on the shutter, for I agree, the longer I permit it to "look about", it seems the less likely it is to focus on the object I am desiring.

I wonder what, if any, "aftermarket" apps would perhaps bring some control back into the human's hand (mine! :) ), and out of what is obviously a failing software algorithm.

I find this with small text, still and moving objects, etc... I mean, how are these "smart" phones so dumb.. lol. ) Truly, I do greatly value it, and am having a bit of fun here. Many photos are wonderful indeed. It's these near in focus, and "ridge-line" far off details that seem to simply be near impossible to get the phone to agree, that indeed, these objects are worthy to grab the details for.

Sorry again for the rambling. Have a terrific night!
 

weepete

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No problem mate, autofocus systems will tend towards the most contrasty thing in the shot, so it may be the camera's software was either hunting or telling it something was on a different plane.

It could be that you were too close as well, most cameras lenses have a limit, and if you are too close you won't be able to focus at all. I'm not familiar enough with iphones to be able to say spesifically, but normally you can get really pretty close.
 

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