User Review: Phonetography with Galaxy S5 and VSCOcam

Taking a photo of me taking a photo of her.
I know a tutorial on black and white processing was promised, but it has been busy offshore with dolphins plaguing my nights. So instead, I wanted to write a short post about the Galaxy S5 and VSCO cam for phonetography. The phone boasts a 16mp camera, but this is only true when shooting a 16:9 aspect ratio. I wasn't used to this at first and when I switched to a more conventional 4:3 it dropped down to 12mp. In the end, I just decided to stick with 16:9 and crop after the fact if I feel it is necessary. Honestly, I have enjoyed the more cinematic field of view and shooting 16:9 has helped to change my perception of this aspect ratio.

16:9 is nice for landscapes
While using the camera for the first few times, the more serious photographer in me longed for more control over things like the shutter speed and aperture. After a while, I gave up and reminded myself that my EM5 offers control when I need it. However, what the EM5 does not offer is constant accessibility and using my phone as a back up camera has worked great for those times when I see a "moment" happening, but do not have my primary camera on me. I have had a great time practicing a more simpler form of photography this way and enjoy the challenge of applying some of the principals of photography I have learned to my phonetography.

Great for those moments at the pet store.
The Galaxy's 16mp camera is pretty good and in the right conditions it is even able to produce some pretty attractive bokeh (for a phone camera). It is also surprisingly sharp and really for what it is, I have found little to complain about. 

Phone bokeh
The only think I would recommend is to turn off the auto iso when shooting at night and adjust this manually. I usually start at iso100 and if the image comes out too dark, I will bump up the iso until I am satisfied with the image. Once you get to iso800, however, the noise is pretty bad. See comparison below.

Original size, iso100
Original size iso800
The camera is decent especially in a bind, but what I have found truly awesome is editing my phonetographs with VSCO. I love how you can choose a preset and then make further modifications on top of it to truly make a unique image. All the photos here except the two noise examples above were processed with VSCO and it has replaced Snapseed as my primary "device" photo editor. All I can say is that if you haven's used this app, its definitely worth a shot =) Hope you enjoy some of the additional photos below.

Sam D.