How to set up and use manual mode on camera on Android

The camera is an essential part of any current Android phone. Normally, when we are going to take photos, most users usually use the automatic mode of it. Features like scene recognition allow the own camera know how to adjust its parameters depending on the situation. Although for higher quality photos, manual mode may be recommended.

Most camera apps, like the popular Google camera app, have the option to activate manual mode or professional mode. This mode gives more control to the user, who will be able to configure all the camera parameters in this way to obtain the best possible result for their photos.

How to activate manual mode on your camera

The first thing we have to do to start using it is to activate it in the camera application of the phone. The vast majority of current camera applications have this mode, so in principle you should have no problem starting to use it on Android. Although if your camera does not have it, you can always install other camera apps that give you more options. So you can enjoy this mode.

The normal thing is that in the camera settings themselves You already have this option, so you simply have to look for it and proceed to activate it, in order to use it on the phone. The steps to do this (may vary somewhat depending on the camera app) are as follows:

  1. Open the camera.
  2. Click on the More option.
  3. Look for manual mode (in some apps it is called Pro or Professional).
  4. Press in said mode to activate it.
  5. Start using it.

By having this manual mode already working on the camera, we can manage a series of parameters, as you can. Aspects like ISO, aperture and others are now customizable or adjustable, so that it is possible to take full advantage of this mode to take photos.

Parameters to configure

When we have activated this manual or professional mode on the camera, we see that there are a series of parameters that we can configure, so that we can obtain in this way the desired result when taking photos. On some occasions we have already told you that this mode is a great option when it comes to taking better photos on Android, so mastering it is something important. We tell you more about these parameters.


ISO stands for “International Organization of Standardization”. Responsible for standardizing sensitivity ratings for camera sensors. When we take a photo, modifying said ISO will determine how sensitive is the sensor to light. So adjusting this ISO will allow better results.

Lower ISO makes the sensor less sensitive to light, so the aperture may need to be made larger, or the shutter speed slowed. This will allow said image to be cleaner and sharper. A higher ISO will allow you to capture more light more quickly, allowing you to speed up the shutter or widen the aperture. Although as a consequence, the image will have more noise. As ISO is expanded as quality decreases.


The opening of the camera is another aspect of importance, and that we are going to be able to configure in the manual mode of it. The cameras have a diaphragm, which is a small hole through which light has to pass, in order to reach the sensor in this way. The opening takes care of control how wide or narrow the hole is.

By expanding the opening, exposure is increased, although depth of field is decreased. This causes the background or foreground to be more blurred. If you want to maintain a greater focus, a narrower aperture will be better, although you have to compensate for the loss of exposure by adjusting the ISO or shutter speed.

On the subject of openness, a larger number means a narrower opening. That is, an aperture f / 1.8 assumes that it is wider than f / 2.4. Therefore, it is good to look at the opening of the sensors of the camera, which is fixed in most phones, although there are some with dual or variable aperture, which will allow good results.

Shutter speed

The cameras of our Android phone have a shutter, which covers and discovers the sensor. The speed of the shutter determines the time it will remain open for thus allowing more light to reach the sensor. A fast shutter speed results in lower exposure, making photos sharper.

If you bet on increase shutter speed, motion blur can be created, although more light is allowed in longer, giving more exposure for such images. Again, adjusting the shutter speed in manual camera mode is accompanied by adjustments to ISO or aperture.

RAW photos

An option that we also find in the manual mode of the camera, on many phones at least, are RAW photos. The great advantage of RAW photos, which we already told you about, is that allow you to save all the photo information. So we have all the details, which is going to allow a much more precise and professional edition. Although these images take up a lot of space on the phone.

Keeps all the data that the sensor has captured, without there being also loss of quality. Although it is an option that is recommended to use only if you intend to edit said image, since the space they occupy is remarkable. To take a photo that you will upload on Instagram or Facebook you will not need to take RAW photos.


You have probably noticed that when you use the manual mode of your camera, you get a button with «+ and -« signs. This is the button that will allow you to control the exposure. Most camera apps on Android have such an option, especially when using manual mode.

The camera is going to measure the amount of light there is, to get the correct exposure. Although it is not always possible to get what you want to capture. There are times when you want something to look brighter or darker. Therefore, compensating for such exposure using this feature allows you to tell the camera that you are capturing exposure incorrectly, and will compensate for this by adjusting other parameters, typically ISO.

Exposure compensation is generally measured by f-levels as follows: –1.0, –0.7, –0.3, 0.0, +0.3, +0.7, +1.0. In this case, -1.0 would be one level lower, while +1.0 is one level higher.

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