Recent Features - How To

The workflow - and hidden cost - of Rich Capture under Lumia Camera 5

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So Lumia Camera 5 has arrived, along with Lumia Denim for your Nokia Lumia 930 or 1520? What exactly is going on under the hood when you turn on 'Rich Capture'? Is there a downside? What about limitations? And why can't you go back to edit a rich capture photo from the Photos app later on? In this in-depth feature I answer all these questions and much more...

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How to: tilt shift a photo in Creative Studio on Windows Phone

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Tilt-shifting a photo is a relatively modern effect and, it's true to say, rarely approaches truly 'tilt-shifted' photos, done the 'proper' way (see below). However, it can be very effective with the right subject and, best of all, it's something you can do for free, right now, using the 'Lumia Creative Studio' application that's almost certainly installed on your Windows Phone right now. No need for extra software, no need to pay, no need for special skills. Just pick the right photo, adjust the effect and then knock everyone's socks off with the results...

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How to: get album art (from iTunes) onto your Windows Phone

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If you're anything like me, your digital music collection is something of a mish mash. Even collated into iTunes on your PC or Mac, it's still a mix of stuff you've ripped from your CDs, stuff you've bought online, stuff you've downloaded for free legally (and occasionally from less official sources), and so on. Some tracks are encoded in MP3, some as .m4a (AAC), some even Windows Media Audio, and all in a wide variety of bit rates and encoding schemes. Little of which matters as long as the music sounds good on your phone, right? Except that the chances are that at least a handful of albums of music copied over from iTunes haven't got album artwork and it's annoying seeing black, empty squares where there should be creative art.

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Simple pleasures, a weekend colour change in the mid-range and low end

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I do realise that simply changing the colour of an item of technology is utterly trivial in one sense, but it's also very satisfying when it's you that has to live with it day to day. Back in the mid 2000s, Nokia introduced the idea of Xpress-On covers for many of its Symbian smartphones, changing the look and feel 'according to your mood'. And, with Nokia's/Microsoft's Windows Phone low and mid range, the same is now true for almost every handset. You just have to know where to find the various colours... Me? I ended up with a Lumia 830 that looks altogether more classy...

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How to save battery, increase responsiveness, by disabling unnecessary background tasks

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In installing a popular Windows Phone application, I was brought to a crashing halt by a worrying error message. Happily, the message was clear enough about what to do and, as it turns out, quite a few of my third party applications had quietly been installed with 'background' capability. Disabling these permissions could result in increased battery life and phone responsiveness.

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The PDF (Acrobat) Reader round-up for Windows Phone

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Something that we all need sooner or later, on any computing platform, is a way of reading through Acrobat (PDF) files. To my knowledge, no mobile OS has ever supplied this by default, though many manufacturers often opt to include a viewer in shipping firmware. For Windows Phone, we're actually spoiled for choice, so I thought I'd round-up your options and proffer some opinions.

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How to: Avoid burned highlights in (Nokia) Lumia Camera

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There is one aspect of Nokia Camera (soon to be just 'Lumia Camera', of course) which has been catching me out, despite all my smartphone camera experience. I know what I'm doing wrong, I just never remember to correct it when taking photos in the heat of the moment. Most users will know what I'm talking about when I refer to 'burned highlights'. Here's how to avoid them.

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The Phone Photography Plateau + experimenting with LED flash to freeze motion

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I noted from yesterday's lengthy Apple announcements (of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus) that the cameras in each had been upgraded, to (allegedly) 1/2.6" sensors and, in the Plus's case, OIS as well. Which, in imaging terms, brings the iPhone at last up to near the top of the Nokia photography tree - the Lumia 1520/930 camera is very similar in size and specs (even if the image processing techniques are very different). Have smartphone cameras plateaued? And can anything be done to improve LED flash results?

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Where does Denim and the new Lumia Camera leave the 1020?

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We've heard a lot about PureView imaging, a new, faster Lumia Camera application, Moment Capture, Dynamic Flash and Rich Capture, buzzwords aplenty over the last few days at IFA 2014. And the mix of all of this in the upcoming ultra-slim Lumia 830 does looks very tempting. But I thought a few words about what will and what won't happen to the existing imaging flagship, the Lumia 1020, might be in order.

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