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13 steps to perfect snapping

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LG’s latest flagship smartphone, the G5 gives users the opportunity to fully experience the joy of photography. Here are 13 ways to get you snapping like a pro.

Cartier-Bresson is widely regarded as one of the greatest photographers of all time and once said, “To photograph is to hold one’s breathe, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”

Here are 13 ways to get you snapping like a pro, provided by LG:

1. Accessing the manual mode

One of the best ways to start capturing those significant moments with the LG G5 is by accessing the manual mode.  To access the manual mode, you’ll have to tap the 3-dot icon at the top-left of the screen, which brings up the three main modes: Simple, Auto and Manual.

The manual mode allows you to control the white balance, focus, exposure, ISO, shutter speed and AE-L.  The white balance allows you as the user to alter the colour tone, compensating for unnatural lighting or to create skewed colour effects.

The purpose of the ISO is that it determines the sensitivity of the sensor. When choosing darker environments to take pictures, you will need to use a higher setting. The AE-L, locks the exposure, letting you use the light level as a creative effect, making shots either much brighter or darker than the G5 would normally use.

2. How to use manual mode to get noise free shots

All you’ll have to do is set the ISO to 200 (it goes down to ISO 50), then use the shutter speed control to see how slow you need to go for low-noise results. The benefit of using the G5 is that it has optical image stabilisation (OIS), you can make the shutter go fairly slow and still get sharp photos.

3. Shooting RAWs

RAW files are what you get when you take the ‘raw’ information from a camera sensor, before reducing the noise level and smoothing things out. Using RAWs allows you to do your own processing, often ending up with a finer detailed image.

The G5 allows you to shoot RAWs by simply accessing the manual mode and tapping the second icon from the bottom of the screen, over on the left column. This will allow for the shooting of RAW and JPEG files, rather than just JPEGs. RAWs come out as a file known as DNG (Digital NeGative file).

4. Using the second camera as “zoom out”

The G5 has dual cameras (16 MP f1.8 main camera has 78-degree angle view and the 8MP additional camera captures a 135-degree super wide-angle image) to take your digital photograph to the next level. It has a new, unique feature like pop – out photo, capturing more with the zoom out.

In the camera app you can switch between lenses via a button, and when using the digital zoom the camera switches seamlessly between the two modules. The autofocus is assisted by a laser that measures the subject distance.

5. Use the main camera for the best image quality

The 16MP wide angle camera of the LG G5 is the best Android camera on the market giving users a fish-eye effect in every shot. What it means for the users is that the camera allows you to fit much more of the scene into a single photo.

6. Changing photo and video resolution

Should users want to play with different size images for that perfect selfie, they can switch to 4:3 or 1:1 images by tapping on the cog icon at the bottom-left of the screen and selecting the top option in the menu that pops up.

As well as changing the shape of photos, they can also alter the video resolution.  The G5 normally shoots 1080p video users can level-up to UHD (the exact resolution of ‘4K video’).

7. Video stabilisation

For that perfect steady shot users can find the option for video stabilization near the bottom of the camera settings menu, which you access by tapping the cog icon. Tapping on this flicks between SteadyShot stabilisation and OIS, if you’re using the standard camera lens in Auto mode.

The former is what most phones use, a digital enhancer that uses the edges of the frame as a buffer to smooth-out any movements. This leaves you with a slightly more ‘zoomed-in’ view than you get when taking photos. That’s one reason why you might use OIS instead, which uses the little camera stabilisation motor to keep your footage smooth.

8. Simple mode is great for simple photography

Simple mode is found by tapping the 3-dot icon at the top-left of the camera app.

Simple mode takes away almost all custom features you get with the other options. All you do is tap on the object on which you want to focus and the LG G5 camera app both focuses and takes a shot as quickly as possible.

9. Shortcut key for instant photos

In the main phone Settings menu, go to the General tab and then select Shortcut key. In here you’ll see a flick switch for Quick Shot. Make sure it’s switched on. This lets you press the volume down button twice quickly when the phone is off to fire-up the camera and take a photo.

10. Timelapse + wide-angle camera = cool movies

The G5 has several ‘creative’ modes in its camera app and Time Lapse is one of the more interesting ones. This shoots video, but at 1/15 the normal speed. That means it takes two frames a second rather than the usual 30.

Use this with the wide-angle camera and you’ll get footage that resembles some of the stuff GoPros are used for in action sport footage.

11. Use the grid display for landscape photography

The G5 has a grid option to stop those uneven photos and help you align or center pictures properly. What it means for the user is that you get another reference point of where to line-up the horizon, as well as helping you work out what you want the focus of the picture/image/photo to be.

You’ll find Grid at the very bottom of the camera app Settings menu, accessed by tapping on the cog icon.

12. Use 30sec exposure to make something special

The G5 can keep its shutter open for up to 30 seconds.  What it means for the user is that it merges all the light information from that half-minute stint into a single image.

What one can do while using the 30sec long-exposure photography is shoot a road where car lights turn into streaming neon lines, and create noise-free night shots that almost look like daylight photos.

13. 360 Cam

The G5 is the only Android smartphone on the market that comes with a series of module accessories (Friends) that fit onto its bottom and one in particular where users have been raving about is the 360 Cam.

The LG 360 CAM provides 2K video and 5.1 surround channel recording on three microphones to help users effortlessly create high-quality 360-degree contents. Having secured a partnership with Google, images taken with the 360 CAM can be uploaded to Google Street View and YouTube360, adding the fun of sharing creative content with others.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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