Is the Camera on your Smartphone “naff”?

Do you have a fancy smartphone? Android, iPhone or Windows Phone? Hopefully you’re making the most of all the amazing features your device offers but what are your photos like? I’ve had a number of people come to me recently complaining that the photos taken on their smartphone are pretty average or worse, always blurred and out of focus! Well, provided the problem’s not actually the operator, there is one other explanation that’s worth checking out.

IMG_0117Have you noticed that everything you buy these days has plastic stuck all over the shiny surfaces? Of course this is done to protect those surfaces until you take it out of the box but you’re also supposed to remove all that plastic immediately. For example, if you don’t take it off the main display on your smartphone, you’ll find that the touch screen doesn’t work very well and of course the plastic gets rather tatty after a while making your shiny new phone look terrible!

Now, back to that camera…IMG_0120
I’ve discovered that this protective plastic is also stuck over the camera lens on many smartphones but it’s often done in such a way that the new owner doesn’t even realise it’s there! – they just grumble about blurry photos! Here’s a picture of the plastic protector on a recently purchased smartphone. To make matters worse, this tiny plastic protector is underneath the backplate on the phone and often can’t even be seen. You can however do a quick check before removing the backplate. Just scratch the lens surface with your fingernail. If it feels a little spongy or wrinkles up then you need to remove the plastic. After I found this one, I checked my wife’s smartphone and sure enough, her camera lens was still “protected” too…and she’s had her phone for almost a year!!

IMG_0116Removal of the plastic is dead easy. Remove any external protector you have attached to your phone. Then just pop off the backplate by sliding your fingernails up and down between the plate and the front of the phone (or take the camera into the Vodafone, Spark or 2Degrees shop in the mall if you’re not comfortable). Please don’t use cutlery or garage tools for this job or you could damage the phone body.
Once the plate is off, you’ll see that the protective plastic has a little tab to grab and pull it off. Once the protective plastic is removed, wipe any fingerprints off the lens with a soft cloth and replace the backplate – it will snap back into place so you’ll know when it’s firmly reseated. Replace your external phone protector if you have one.

Hopefully, your smartphone photos will look much better than they did before. If they don’t then I’m afraid we’ll just have to assume that the problem really is the operator!!

Final Tip: The best way to extract photos off your smartphone (any brand) is to use Picasa. Sign up for our Managing and Editing Photos Course at SeniorNet Kapiti and we’ll show you how it’s done so you can save your lovely Christmas snaps on your PC permanently as well as sharing them with friends and family.

PS. If you do discover protective plastic on your smartphone, we’d love to hear from you. Just add a short comment in the box below.