Features

How to use your smartphone camera’s Pro Mode

Taking your photography skills to the next level

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I wasn’t blessed with a powerful camera to take high-quality pictures of people and places. It’s not just because standalone cameras are expensive, but also because some of them are pretty bulky. If I’m going out of town with my friends while packing light, the next best thing I have is a smartphone.

Within the past two years, there have been a long list of Android smartphones that sport at least two rear cameras that allow you to maximize the quality of your photos. One key feature that they possess is Pro Mode, complete with adjustable settings to achieve that quality and depth. I’m going to show you how you can use Pro Mode to take your photography game to the next level.

1. Understand the interface

You can access Pro Mode by opening your phone’s default Camera app and going through the list of modes available. Once you have selected Pro Mode, you will be greeted by a screen with several adjustable settings.

The different settings on the interface include: metering mode, ISO, shutter speed, exposure levels, white balance, and focus. Adjusting these settings is crucial if you want to take photos of any scene, day or night. Another feature on the interface is the horizontal level meter that helps you take steadier images — for people with shaky hands like mine.

In Pro Mode, you have the option to save your images in RAW files for post processing through photo-editing apps like Adobe Lightroom. You can also choose to disable this feature through the camera’s settings while in Pro Mode to save space.

2. Start with your metering

After you have understood how the interface works, it’s time to dive deeper into preparing the photo you want to take. The first setting you should pay attention to is the metering of the image. Metering ultimately determines how your picture will look given the amount of light that the camera detects.

If you want to take a picture of a whole scene, stick with the default Matrix Metering setting. Matrix Metering allows your camera to use the whole scene, and collects data on the highlights and shadows in them. It uses this data to determine how much light is emphasized on the image. Matrix Metering typically works in any scene.

But, let’s say you want to narrow down your subject when you take pictures. There are two other metering modes for you to choose from. One mode is Center Metering, which puts greater focus on the subject as long as it’s in the center of the frame. Another is Spot Metering, which allows you to focus on any specific object within the frame.

3. Adjust all other settings accordingly

Once you have your metering mode set, you can now proceed to tweaking all the other settings to suit your needs. Keep in mind that whatever metering you choose, all these settings are set to Auto, and will display values depending on the environment.

Here are things to keep in mind when adjusting these settings:

If you want brighter images, especially when taking them in the dark, increase your ISO setting. Broad daylight shots, meanwhile often require low ISO values because of natural sunlight. If you want to capture fast moving objects properly, adjust your shutter setting to how fast (freeze motion) or slow (motion blur) you want it.

If you still think that certain parts of the image should stand out (like the beach in the background), adjust the exposure value (EV) to offset the brightness (positive EV) or darkness (negative EV) of the image. Depending also on the environment, it is also good to consider changing the white balance settings for a warmer or cooler tone.

For the focus settings, you can use the default One Shot Autofocus for quick still photos of objects. If you want to take photos of moving objects, it’s best to use the Continuous Autofocus setting. Of course, there is a Manual Focus option if you want to take full control of the camera’s focus points.

Once you have all that down, go ahead and take your wonderful photo! For comparison, take the same photo with Pro Mode turned off and see what you get there.

Smartphones

Apple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing and Buyer’s Guide

Unboxing experience unlike the rest

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The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro is finally in our hands! Unlike the usual blue iPhone unboxing videos you see, ours come in white and gold respectively.

If you’re still confused which model to buy, this video discusses points that might actually help you decide which features are more important for you. I know you can’t wait. Quickly head over to our Apple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro unboxing and buyer’s guide by clicking this link right here.

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Reviews

Apple iPad Air (2020) Unboxing and Review

An iPad Killer!?

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It’s been a month ever since Apple announced the 4th-generation iPad Air 2020.

Its biggest change can be seen from its full-screen Liquid Retina display and flat edges. But there’s more than meets the eye. In fact, it’s power-packed with the latest A14 Bionic Chip and supports Apple Pencil 2 out of the box.

It may not be a direct competitor of the iPad 8th-Generation, but do you still think the newest iPad Air is a better option over its pricier sibling, the 2020 iPad Pro?

Head over to this link to watch our quick unboxing and in-depth review of the Apple iPad Air 2020.

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Features

How the Lenovo Legion 5Pi rekindled my love for games and arts

And helped me rediscover myself

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Lenovo Legion 5Pi

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? I was frantically searching for answers to this question, during my exasperating quarter-life crisis.

While I was losing hope waiting for directions, a monstrous laptop came to my house — the Lenovo Legion 5Pi. At first, I wondered how its arrival could mean anything in my situation. Surprisingly, having a gaming laptop helped me take the first step in dealing with my existential issues.

Traveling back to past

When I set up the Lenovo Legion 5Pi, I was taken back to my tranquil past. It felt like I was fourteen-going-fifteen again, cocooned in my bedroom.

Headphones in, keyboards lighting, chips and soda on the side, electric fan buzzing — life back then was untroubled. All I ever worry about was how to finish my homework so I could play online games all night.

At that time, I was stuck between two worlds: my character’s adventures in Grand Fantasia and other titles, and of course, the real world. But now, all I have is this sickening reality unraveling before me.

I’ve thought of playing games again, seeing the laptop as an opportunity to escape my current frustrations. But at some point, I realized escaping wouldn’t help me fix my issues nor provide answers.

What I did instead was sit in my emotions and used the laptop to navigate how I’m feeling — and possibly find out where I’m going next.

If you’re thinking if I went to Google to search for answers… you’re damn right, I didn’t.

Yes, I didn’t. I may be questioning my entire existence and the path I’m supposed to take while my friends are settling down and getting married, but I still believe I’m going to find the answers in a different way.

Honestly, my life felt like I was a character stuck on a puzzling quest. In between my thoughts, somehow it sunk in that maybe, this laptop was just what I needed.

Seeing and using the Legion 5Pi helped me remember how much I loved playing games. How I would spend my hours diving in different worlds, building and developing my character’s skills and personality — and even socializing with players across the world.

Games were my favorite escape

I’ve met several friends from all walks of life through gaming. Looking back, it gave me the advantage to power through this crisis.

I remember Paula, one of my online game BFF turned actual BFF for 10 years and counting. She taught me about going after my passion and what sparks joy in my heart. Surprisingly, I followed her advice until life got in the way.

Reminiscing, I logged into a dear, old game before I dropped gaming as part of my life — League of Legends, if you’re wondering. Previously, I was in my hellish college years; losing myself in depression, suffering from abuse, and other existential crisis I was facing.

Lenovo Legion 5Pi

But playing it this time around didn’t spark any pain from the past. Instead, I felt relieved clicking through the mouse and smashing buttons on the colorful keyboard. I was glued to the Legion 5Pi’s large screen, consumed by the stunning graphics and gameplay like I was living in the world I used to enjoy.

In this brief experience, I recalled who I really am before I decided to drop parts of myself  in order to fit in, to be accepted. Truth is, I really liked playing games. It has been my escape from the hell that life put me through. More importantly, it helped hone my skills and personality in life — something your education won’t usually provide.

Going back to making art

Recalling what my friend said about pursuing your passion, I realized how I wasn’t creating art anymore. I also remembered Gabriel, a mentor-slash-guildmate (who’s ten years older than me) that I really admired, especially with how he balances his life. Work, gaming, hobbies, relationships… and he even had the time to make art.

During my stint with the Lenovo Legion 5Pi, I enrolled in an online course to pursue some art classes I’ve been meaning to take for years.

I had fun learning through this gaming laptop, and I continued creating art both on this machine and on paper. It was an amusing experience to rediscover parts of myself. How I dropped arts and games to fit in and follow society’s mainstream culture; partying, feeding into wanderlust, crazing over trends.

Using the Lenovo Legion 5Pi reminded me to be true to myself. When the realizations hit me, I started building a stable ground for myself. I considered how I forgot to make my inner child happy — something that we should be doing no matter the age.

Older people used to nudge us to never forget the things that fill joy into your heart since it’s the key to living a happy life. In my case, it was always creating and playing.

Recollecting all these thoughts, I took the first step in dealing with my quarter-life crisis. Having a stable self can help you survive all these life problems, and it’s what I’m actively trying to do.

And maybe, I’ll get a gaming laptop like the Lenovo Legion 5Pi, so I can ensure I live a happy and balanced life, without forgetting who I really am.

Lenovo Legion 5Pi

The Lenovo Legion 5Pi is a competitive gaming laptop, carrying the latest Intel Core H-series processors. It focuses on extreme performance, sporting up to 32GB of RAM, 1TB of NVMe SSD, and an NVIDIA RTX 2060 for a powerful gaming experience.

Lenovo Legion 5Pi

It also comes with a 15-inch IPS HDR display with a 240Hz refresh rate for buttery-smooth gameplay. The display comes with 100% sRGB color accuracy, making it perfect for gamers, artists, and creators.

The Lenovo Legion 5Pi retails for PhP 74,995. It’s available in Lenovo’s official stores and authorized retailers.

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