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iPhone: The Missing Manual, 6th Edition by David Pogue

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Chapter 7. Camera, Photos & Video

This chapter is all about the iPhone’s ability to display photos copied over from your computer, to take new pictures with its built-in camera, and to capture videos. You’ve probably never seen pictures and movies look this good on a pocket gadget. The iPhone screen is bright, the colors are vivid, and the super-high pixel density makes every shot of your life look cracklin’ sharp.

With each new version of the iPhone, Apple improves its camera—and on the iPhone 5, it’s unbelievably good. There’s no optical zoom, but otherwise, the photos can look every bit as good as what you’d get from a dedicated camera. And the hi-def videos are indistinguishable from what you’d get out of a camcorder. They’re even auto-stabilized.

Taking Still Photos

The little hole on the back of the iPhone, in the upper-left corner, is its camera.

On the latest iPhones, it’s pretty impressive, at least for a cellphone cam. The iPhone 5, for example, has an LED flash, takes excellent 8-megapixel photos, and does amazingly well in low light.

The earlier iPhone models’ cameras aren’t quite as good, but they’re still fine as long as your subject is still and well lit. Action shots may come out blurry, and dim-light shots come out rather grainy.

Now that you know what you’re in for, here’s how it works.

Firing Up the Camera

For years, the usual ritual for opening up the Camera app was tapping its icon on the Home screen.

And that still works. Unfortunately, photographic opportunities are ...

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