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  1. drfever's Avatar
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    Post BOLD 9900 CAMERA TALK - Learn The Camera

    Edited on Sept. 8, 2011 - after much debate and clarification, some of the information in this piece that I wrote may not be entirely accurate regarding the build and type of camera in the 9900. It wasn't my intent to mislead. I was under the impression that the 9900 had true continuous focus as the only default focus mode vs. the 9780 that allowed you to choose between autofocus and contniuous. Feel free to read the entire thread string and come to your own conclusions and add or contribute to the debate and for heaven's sake, don't base your decision to purchase or not purchase your device on the basis of this thread. I was only trying to help. Feel free to remove your likes or thank you if you wish, it appears some children count their thumbs up and use it as a way to guage social acceptance. I don't. Thanks for reading and contributing.


    There has been talk about the camera on the new device. I recently replied in another post but I felt the subject and my response deserved its own little thread.

    I've read some concern about how the removal of the autofocus feature on the new devices is somehow a downgrade in the camera. I made the analogy that people don't and shouldn't only by phones for the camera eluding to the fact pocket cameras don't have telephone call capabilities.

    The confusion lies with peoples' misunderstanding of cameras and the focussing systems used by cameras. Just because RIM removed the autofocus feature doesn't mean you aren't getting any autofocus in your images.

    We are all familiar with the 9780 or 9700 camera right? (I hope so). You've all encountered the pressing of the trackpad, the camera stalls as it is focussing and then snaps the picture. That delay is what is commonly referred to as shutter lag.

    It is unwise to suggest that the 9900 has an inferior camera because that feature is gone. Quite contrary in my view. Autofocus has not been lost. The camera is still focussing but in continuous mode.

    For the most part people don't yet realize the difference between autofocus and continuous focus. This leads to the confusion.

    Given that my hobby next to guitar is photography I will try to help in this regard.

    How may times in autofocus have you tried to snap a photo only for the subject to move as you were about to snap the picture?...the end result is an unusable image.

    Autofocus is the most widely supported camera focus mode, In essence it is one-shot focusing, which is best for still subjects. The autofocus mode as I just provided an example for is susceptible to focus errors for fast moving subjects or subjects that move before the shutter is fully pressed. Autofocus cannot anticipate subject motion. Auto focus is great when you have a perfectly still subject. The focusing requires a focus lock before the photograph can be taken. This is what people on their 9870 or os 6 devices notice when taking pictures. That slight freeze ....then "click" when the image is taken.

    Check your 9780 ... in camera options go to "Autofocus" tou will see there is continuous listed first then "single shot".

    The single shot is what has been removed.

    I'll bet you a dollar that most people didn't even realize they have been shooting continuous focus all this time with their 9780 but are now making an issue out of a feature that they never used not being available...ie the "single shot" focus. Continuous focus was always an option on the 9780 .

    Most people though barely used it and I'll bet never knew it was there.

    Most people don't even use the scene modes by the way ... believe me ... they help ... I can't tell you the number of times I've been a rock concerts and see people snapping images of the stage with a flash when they are 60 feet away from the stage! That's what night or party scene modes are for. Flash at that distance is going to illuminate the head of the guy standing in front of you...not the image. Get to know your scene modes for better images and don't blame the camera. I am veering off topic so my apologies.

    Bank on point.....

    Continuous focus, supports an autofocus mode which continually adjusts the focus distance for moving subjects.

    Nikon cameras refer to this mode as continuous focus which is what we see in the new Bold 9900. (Not Nikon’s focussing system though but they just called it the same). Those with Canon cameras notice this referred to as AI Servo focusing.

    Continuous focussing works by predicting where the subject will be slightly in the future based on an estimation of the subject velocity using focus distance and movement. The camera then focuses at this predicted distance in advance to account for the shutter lag (which is the delay between pressing the shutter button and the start of the exposure as we see in autofocus shots in the 9780). This greatly increases the probability of correct focus for moving subjects.

    There is no "downgrade" going on with regards to no autofocus in the 9900 device. The camera in the bold 9900 is still auto-focussing but doing so on in a continuous mode...continually tracking the subject.

    How many times have you tried taking a picture of someone blowing out a birthday candle with your 9780 only to get it blurry because the camera was trying to lock focus? During that lag, your subject blew out the candles and you missed the shot!

    Now do that in continuous focus and chances are you have a clear shot. Now, drop the preview picture setting down to as low as possible (I believe you can turn it right off on the 9900) and then you can snap away even quicker!

    I shoot photography as an advanced hobby. I can tell you that even when shooting still subjects I utilize continuous focus (this is a $2,000 camera body) just in case I get some movement.

    So to answer your question...you are not getting an inferior camera. With all due respect, people just need to know how to use the camera. As the old saying goes, the cost of the gear doesn't make you a better photographer...it is what you do with the equipment you have that does.

    By the way, my $2,000 camera still doesn't make telephone calls or accept incoming email or BBM messages.

    The excuse has been used many times before yes ... that other devices offer better cameras. Oh well ... the buyer needs to realize what he/she is buying the device for. Will they be buying it for the RIM reliability, security and fastest push services in the industry or are they buying it for entertainment purposes?

    I hope this clears the air.

    I have taken great shots with my 9900 .. clear and crisp ... arguably better than the 9780 on which I too used continuous focus extensively.

    Learn when to use the proper scene modes and don't sweat the absence of "autofocus" or single shot focus as was known on the 9780. The camera is still focussing!! It is just focussing differently.
    Last edited by drfever; 09-08-2011 at 12:32 PM.
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  2. ibigberries's Avatar
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    Nice post. I agree with a lot of what you said. And thanks for explaining continuous focus
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  3. CranBerry413's Avatar
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    Agreed, this is a Great post on this subject and I for one commend the original poster on this. Great Work.

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  4. papped's Avatar
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    The low shutter speed is pretty awesome. Normally I'd have to take 2-3 shots on my 9650 to get non blurry pics that I get on the first shot on my 9930
  5. bcbbanga4l's Avatar
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    I agree. Thanks for this post. I am going to reference it when I do my review on this phone if thats ok
  6. drfever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcbbanga4l View Post
    I agree. Thanks for this post. I am going to reference it when I do my review on this phone if thats ok
    You sure can!
  7. Got2bBold13's Avatar
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    @drfever..can you post some pictures you took with your 9900? Great explanation by the way helped me every step of the way.
    8320 > 8220 > 8900 > 9700 > 9780 > 9900
  8. gingertonic's Avatar
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    But they took away auto focus! How will we survuve without something we've passively been using?

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  9. swishhh's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification - much appreciated

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  10. CavemanOOGA's Avatar
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    Thank you for this post. Seriously, awesome job. Personally, I've been incredibly impressed with the shots I've been able to pull off with this camera. Its still a camera phone... But a pretty damn good one.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9930 using Tapatalk
  11. congeetime's Avatar
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    I think the 9900 has a great camera however, the biggest thing that IMO makes my old 9800's camera better is the ability to macro shoot/close up. Even tho the 9900 has an option to shoot "close up" the range and detail on the pictures aren't as great.
    I dunno, maybe my camera is broken but whenever I try to shoot sometime simple close up such as a picture of a water bottle, the only thing focused is the back of the subject. When I did that with my 9800, you can read all the letters and words on the bottle. 9900 on the other hand, you can't and only thing focused are things behind the water bottle.
    chiefbroski likes this.
  12. xBlackBerry's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification on the different types
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  13. fkfs9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drfever View Post
    There has been talk about the camera on the new device. I recently replied in another post but I felt the subject and my response deserved its own little thread.

    I've read some concern about how the removal of the autofocus feature on the new devices is somehow a downgrade in the camera. I made the analogy that people don't and shouldn't only by phones for the camera eluding to the fact pocket cameras don't have telephone call capabilities.

    The confusion lies with peoples' misunderstanding of cameras and the focussing systems used by cameras. Just because RIM removed the autofocus feature doesn't mean you aren't getting any autofocus in your images.

    We are all familiar with the 9780 or 9700 camera right? (I hope so). You've all encountered the pressing of the trackpad, the camera stalls as it is focussing and then snaps the picture. That delay is what is commonly referred to as shutter lag.

    It is unwise to suggest that the 9900 has an inferior camera because that feature is gone. Quite contrary in my view. Autofocus has not been lost. The camera is still focussing but in continuous mode.

    For the most part people don't yet realize the difference between autofocus and continuous focus. This leads to the confusion.

    Given that my hobby next to guitar is photography I will try to help in this regard.

    How may times in autofocus have you tried to snap a photo only for the subject to move as you were about to snap the picture?...the end result is an unusable image.

    Autofocus is the most widely supported camera focus mode, In essence it is one-shot focusing, which is best for still subjects. The autofocus mode as I just provided an example for is susceptible to focus errors for fast moving subjects or subjects that move before the shutter is fully pressed. Autofocus cannot anticipate subject motion. Auto focus is great when you have a perfectly still subject. The focusing requires a focus lock before the photograph can be taken. This is what people on their 9870 or os 6 devices notice when taking pictures. That slight freeze ....then "click" when the image is taken.

    Check your 9780 ... in camera options go to "Autofocus" tou will see there is continuous listed first then "single shot".

    The single shot is what has been removed.

    I'll bet you a dollar that most people didn't even realize they have been shooting continuous focus all this time with their 9780 but are now making an issue out of a feature that they never used not being available...ie the "single shot" focus. Continuous focus was always an option on the 9780 .

    Most people though barely used it and I'll bet never knew it was there.

    Most people don't even use the scene modes by the way ... believe me ... they help ... I can't tell you the number of times I've been a rock concerts and see people snapping images of the stage with a flash when they are 60 feet away from the stage! That's what night or party scene modes are for. Flash at that distance is going to illuminate the head of the guy standing in front of you...not the image. Get to know your scene modes for better images and don't blame the camera. I am veering off topic so my apologies.

    Bank on point.....

    Continuous focus, supports an autofocus mode which continually adjusts the focus distance for moving subjects.

    Nikon cameras refer to this mode as continuous focus which is what we see in the new Bold 9900. (Not Nikonís focussing system though but they just called it the same). Those with Canon cameras notice this referred to as AI Servo focusing.

    Continuous focussing works by predicting where the subject will be slightly in the future based on an estimation of the subject velocity using focus distance and movement. The camera then focuses at this predicted distance in advance to account for the shutter lag (which is the delay between pressing the shutter button and the start of the exposure as we see in autofocus shots in the 9780). This greatly increases the probability of correct focus for moving subjects.

    There is no "downgrade" going on with regards to no autofocus in the 9900 device. The camera in the bold 9900 is still auto-focussing but doing so on in a continuous mode...continually tracking the subject.

    How many times have you tried taking a picture of someone blowing out a birthday candle with your 9780 only to get it blurry because the camera was trying to lock focus? During that lag, your subject blew out the candles and you missed the shot!

    Now do that in continuous focus and chances are you have a clear shot. Now, drop the preview picture setting down to as low as possible (I believe you can turn it right off on the 9900) and then you can snap away even quicker!

    I shoot photography as an advanced hobby. I can tell you that even when shooting still subjects I utilize continuous focus (this is a $2,000 camera body) just in case I get some movement.

    So to answer your question...you are not getting an inferior camera. With all due respect, people just need to know how to use the camera. As the old saying goes, the cost of the gear doesn't make you a better photographer...it is what you do with the equipment you have that does.

    By the way, my $2,000 camera still doesn't make telephone calls or accept incoming email or BBM messages.

    The excuse has been used many times before yes ... that other devices offer better cameras. Oh well ... the buyer needs to realize what he/she is buying the device for. Will they be buying it for the RIM reliability, security and fastest push services in the industry or are they buying it for entertainment purposes?

    I hope this clears the air.

    I have taken great shots with my 9900 .. clear and crisp ... arguably better than the 9780 on which I too used continuous focus extensively.

    Learn when to use the proper scene modes and don't sweat the absence of "autofocus" or single shot focus as was known on the 9780. The camera is still focussing!! It is just focussing differently.
    Interesting explaination.

    Could you share an insight to how to take shots of my watch that is sitting on my wrist now?

    With the 9900, there seems like no way i could take a picture showing the brand name on the watch dial.
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  14. drfever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by congeetime View Post
    I think the 9900 has a great camera however, the biggest thing that IMO makes my old 9800's camera better is the ability to macro shoot/close up. Even tho the 9900 has an option to shoot "close up" the range and detail on the pictures aren't as great.
    I dunno, maybe my camera is broken but whenever I try to shoot sometime simple close up such as a picture of a water bottle, the only thing focused is the back of the subject. When I did that with my 9800, you can read all the letters and words on the bottle. 9900 on the other hand, you can't and only thing focused are things behind the water bottle.
    Go into options - scene modes - and select "close up"

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  15. drfever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fkfs9 View Post
    Interesting explaination.

    Could you share an insight to how to take shots of my watch that is sitting on my wrist now?

    With the 9900, there seems like no way i could take a picture showing the brand name on the watch dial.
    Go into options - scene modes and select "close up"

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  16. drfever's Avatar
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    And remember ... With any camera..... Lighting is important. Don't expect to take a crisp closeup without proper lighting. Use the camera how it was intended and you will all be just fine.
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    Nice post! I really think the camera on the 9930/9900 is way better than what I had on the 9650 hands down it's an upgrade!

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    the close-up option does not change anything. I tried taking a picture of my ring, but the ring never came into focus, but the background stayed in focused no mater what I did (different angles, different light, slowly moving into view of my ring)
    chiefbroski likes this.
  19. PagerRocka's Avatar
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    The continuous focus found on DSLRs is not the same as continuous on other cameras.

    On a DSLR the lens only focuses when you half press and hold down shutter, and never locks focus

    On a P&S or smartphone, CF and one shot basically the same thing. One shot doesnt attempt to focus until you half/full press the shutter button, and once focused it will then lock the focus in that position.
    All CF does is reduce/eliminate the time it takes to lock focus when you half/full press the shutter. By continuously adjusting the focus as you aim your camera at different objects (with your finger off the shutter), when you do half/full press the shutter, the camera can lock focus quicker as it had already focused beforehand. And like one shot, the focus will be locked in that position.
  20. j2hyphon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drfever View Post

    We are all familiar with the 9780 or 9700 camera right? (I hope so). You've all encountered the pressing of the trackpad, the camera stalls as it is focussing and then snaps the picture. That delay is what is commonly referred to as shutter lag.
    Sorry, but I must rebut.

    The stalling while focusing is generally called a "focus search" which can also be referred to as "focus lag".

    If the camera is already focused, shutter lag is the slight delay between when the shutter button is pressed and when the image is captured. For example - get a cuve 8500 or 9300 series. The camera is fixed focus thus has no AF, no EDOF or anything to lag the image from being captured.

    Press the shutter button to take a photo, there will be a short lag before the image is captured which is defined as "shutter lag". RIM seems to have tried to minimize this delay with what their marketing has deemed "zero shutter lag".

    Otherwise, decent post.
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    thanks for this great review...i for one hate auto focus i am too impatient. i don't take photos that often so when i do i want to launch the camera app and click and go. thanks for the how-to's as well.
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    thx OP !!! Really, really great, knowledgeable post. I feel like a Pro in photography now after reading your post. My Men !!!
  23. Lonestar's Avatar
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    A very detailed and informative post. Thanks to the OP and Commentors.

    On my current SD card i have pics from a 9700, 9800 and 9900. When i view them on my device i think the Torch is the best followed by the Bold 99 and the Bold 98. Also i seem to be of the opinion that the Torch had better low light performance but maybe it was just setting the scene...mode.

    IMHO the Torch far outclasses both Bolds. But the 9900 is not a downgrade.
  24. fkfs9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drfever View Post
    Go into options - scene modes and select "close up"

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    that never work in my case. I dont know how much light you mean. Broad day light? Ultra strong spotlight?

    I'm in a well lit office and there is no way i can do it. Could you maybe show a demo pic of a close up pic with no excessive lighting help?

    Just a quick and dirty pic to emphasize on your explaination? Please?
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    Disclaimer: I'm not a camera junkie
    From what I heard, the auto focus camera used by RIM has a small amount of mechanical movement that allows it to focus, thus the small delay. An EDOF camera has no movement, and thus is a thinner component, but can't have its focus changed and is not a continous AF.
    Personally, I like the EDOF setup on the 9900 I used in the store. The speed reminded me of the Pre, but with better quality

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