There is a fantastic full moon tonight, with a perfectly clear sky. The moon looked fantastic, so I decided to see which mobile phone could take the best shot of the full moon. I used a Samsung Galaxy S4 and an iPhone 6. The Samsung has a higher resolution camera than the iPhone, so the expectation was that it might produce a better moon shot, but did it?
My first attempt with the Samsung Galaxy S4 with it set to auto mode was not very good:
I was zoomed in to the maximum for this shot. I then fiddled with some settings, and they are very fiddly to use. I tried different ISO values and reduced the exposure. These are basic functions that should be a lot easier to use than they are, but eventually I got it sorted. However, the result was not much better.
Next up was the iPhone and the first shot was taken in automatic mode, without adjusting any settings. It was not much different to the Samsung:
The moon in the iPhone shots is bigger than in the Samsung shots and this is because the iPhone appears to zoom in further. I then tried reducing the exposure on the iPhone. This is really easy to do and after tapping to focus, you drag the light control that appears next to the focus rectangle.
This is pretty awful for a photo of the moon, but it is clearly much better than the Samsung. You can almost see some features.
The camera zoomed in and out all on its own, alternating between this second shot and the first as it desperately searched for something to focus on. I just managed to take a photo at the right time to get the shot above. A second later and it was gone.
It was a nice idea to take a photo of the moon, but the point-and-shoot cameras on mobile phones just aren't good enough. The winner of this test was the iPhone 6, but I won't be keeping any of the images.
Has anyone had any better results shooting the moon on a mobile phone? What phone and what settings did you use?
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 05 November 2014