iPhone Camera: Focus

The iPhone camera is a great way to take photos even when you've forgotten your camera. The latest version of the iPhone is currently the 3GS which sports a 3 Mega-pixel digital camera without a flash. Although this is poor compared to most modern digital cameras, for a camera phone it's acceptable.

In ideal conditions the photos taken with the iPhone 3GS will be of a reasonable quality and should be good enough to print or view on a computer screen. How does the focus work with the iPhone and is it any different to a normal digital camera? There are 3 major versions of the iPhone so far with each one being a marked improvement on the others.

Auto Focus

The iPhone offers true auto-focus, which is unlike many other camera phones with a fixed focal point. Auto focus should ensure that a much better quality photo is taken because the camera can guess what you are taking a photo of and actually focus on it.

The auto focus feature is surprisingly quick and it doesn't create any noticeable lag. Of course the camera is slightly slower than a normal digital camera.

Thanks to auto-focus it's possible to use your iPhone's camera like a point and shoot camera. You can simply aim at whatever you want to take a photo of and press the shutter. This will focus the camera and take the photo. In under 2 seconds your photo will be visible on the screen.

Improved Software

On the original iPhones, a simple 2 Mega pixel camera was used which would be fine normally. However, it also used a fixed lens rather than auto focus which made the photos terrible when compared to many other phones. The iPhone 3GS however supports improved software which not only auto focuses the image but also allows you some manual control.

If you want to focus on a certain part of the image then you can touch that part of the image using the touchscreen. This is an extremely simple way of focusing on a certain part of an image and is actually much easier than the majority of compact cameras.

Once you have selected the area of the photo that you want to focus on the camera will automatically adjust the focus, white balance and color balance. With the help of computer software it's even possible to use this focus feature to take three different photos and compile them together to create HDR photographs.

Effects on Photos

The fact that the iPhone 3GS is capable of focusing itself means that it is capable of taking some very high quality photos. The photos taken by an original iPhone looks like it came from a cell phone, however a 3GS can take photos which compare with some digital cameras.

Photos taken with an iPhone 3GS can easily be uploaded to the Internet and shared with everyone. It takes high quality photos which are actually worth downloading to your computer and maybe even printing out. The camera on the 3GS may be good compared to the original iPhones, however compared to some more modern phones it's still out of date.