Technology has come a long way from the days of Polaroids. A few years ago, cameras were introduced in cell phones and have been evolving ever since. Nowadays, some of the more advanced phones feature flash and several adjustable settings such as ISO, White Balance, Flash, and even effects.
Point-and-shoot cameras (P/S) are no different. They, too, have evolved as fast as phone cameras. The megapixel war has begun in both devices and, as a result, some now offer up to 18mp in select P/S cameras. However, the features in P/S cameras are a bit more advanced than phone cameras.
One disadvantage these devices have is the lack of interchangeable lenses. While some P/S cameras offer the grainy digital zoom option, it does little in helping with camera shake and really getting those tight shots in concerts. Interchangeable lenses offer a variety of depth of field options as well as zoom lengths, not to mention stabilizing technology to reduce shake. Of course, along with the high cost of a DSLR camera, lenses can easily burn a hole in your pocket or outright flatten your wallet. Lenses can be more expensive than the camera itself.
The blemish most often seen from either P/S or phone camera photos is the very noticeable noise. Noise is the grain that often appears in photographs. This is caused by the lack of the digital sensors in phone and P/S cameras in converting analog signals to digital. When the conversion does not take place, a colored dot appears instead of the true color in the image. Noise basically contaminates an otherwise clean shot.
So how does one reduce the chances of noise appearing in a photograph? Until P/S or phone cameras integrate larger image sensors into their devices, this will continue to be a problem. However, the most common culprit of noise can be easily avoided by the user. Using a high ISO amplifies the signal to the sensor, but it also increases the level of noise. A high ISO is usually present when shooting in the “sports/action” mode or in low light situation. One of the main differences between these devices and DSLR’s in the inability to control, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all at once. Phone and P/S cameras are automatic, and therefore, these settings are adjusted for the user according to what the device’s internal meter reads.
In low light situations such as concerts, one can easily use flash (if your phone includes one) to make up for the lack of light present. Depending on where you are situated in the venue, a flash may not be ideal. Too far, and the flash is cancelled out by the stage lights and/or it won’t have any effect because of the flash’s limited distance. Too close, and the flash may wash out the stage lights or faces of the artists. Keep in mind that even with flash, a high ISO may be needed. If the band on stage is very active, roaming from one end of the stage to the other, it may call for it.
Shoot a test shot of the stage when the stage lights are brighter than usual and then adjust your ISO accordingly, but start with a low ISO first. If the venue does not allow flash photography, you may not have any choice but to use a high ISO. If this is the case, you may have to edit the photos with noise ruction software. Nevertheless, enjoy the show and remember to have fun with photography.