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Here’s how to get the best from the BlackBerry Key2’s camera

You buy a BlackBerry phone for the keyboard, the security, or the battery life, right? Absolutely, but since the release of the KeyOne and the adoption of the Android operating system, the camera can be added to the list, too. The new BlackBerry Key2 takes it to the next level, and while it’s not going to challenge the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus or the Huawei P20 Pro, it’s definitely a capable performer ready to take some very shareable shots.

If the phone is in your hand, and you’re ready to go and take some photos, then it’s time to read our guide on how to find and use all the BlackBerry Key2’s best camera features.

The camera

The BlackBerry Key2 has a dual-lens rear camera to keep up with the current trend. Both sensors have 12-megapixels, but the primary lens has an f/1.8 aperture and a large 1.28nm pixel size, while the secondary lens has an f/2.6 aperture and a 1.0nm pixel size. Other camera features include a dual-tone LED flash, phase detection autofocus, and 4K video recording. Around the front is an 8-megapixel selfie camera. It’s all used with the standard BlackBerry camera app.

5 features you have to try

The BlackBerry Key2’s camera isn’t complicated, so don’t expect it to take hours to learn, or weeks to try out the different features. However, there are a few you need to try, and we’re sure several will become ones you use regularly. Ready?

Portrait Mode

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The dual-lens camera makes bokeh-style photos possible, where the background blurs around the main subject. BlackBerry hides the option to use the feature away, and it’s not immediately obvious where it is.

  • To the right of the camera shutter button in portrait orientation is a button that looks like a camera. Tap it and a menu appears, and the Portrait option is in the top right. Tap it to activate the feature.
  • Once it’s active, point the camera at a subject and when it’s in focus you’ll see a yellow notification saying Depth Effect appear. You can hit the shutter release now to take the photo. The camera will suggest moving further away from your subject if it can’t bring it into focus.

Zoom mode

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Portrait mode isn’t the only advantage a dual-lens camera brings to the Key2. It also adds a 2x zoom mode that doesn’t sacrifice quality like one would expect from a single-lens digital zoom. It’s easy to find and use.

  • Open the camera app and directly above the shutter release is a little circular button with a 1x inside it. Tap it and the camera jumps to 2x zoom, with that number appearing in the circle to confirm the change. Tap it again to return to 1x.
  • Don’t forget that you can also use the zoom feature from 1x to 2x by pinching the screen. This allows further tuning of the zoom to get the photo you want, such as a 1.5x zoom being preferred over the full 2x zoom. Careful though, as you can zoom in further than 2x, but the quality of your photo will steadily decrease.

Live filters

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BlackBerry’s camera app has live photo filters to enhance your photos while you take them. Finding and using them is simple.

  • With the phone in portrait orientation, look for the magic wand logo to the far right of the shutter release. Tap it and a series of filters appears. Each one changes the photo live on the screen, so you know exactly how the end result will look. Swipe from left to right to see different options.
  • When a filter is active, the magic wand icon will change from white to color. If you would prefer to return to a non-filtered view, swipe completely to the left and select the filter called None. Tap the magic wand icon again to turn off the filters.

Take a private photo

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If you would rather take a photo that is private, and won’t sit in your gallery for everyone to see, then the BlackBerry’s private photo feature is for you. Before using it, you need to learn how to use BlackBerry Locker.

  • With Locker all set up, instead of taking a photo using the shutter release, use the fingerprint sensor in the spacebar. However, it’s important to just touch the fingerprint sensor, and not actually press the spacebar.
  • Provided you get this step right, the photo will not be saved to your gallery or be uploaded to the cloud. Instead, it’s saved to your private gallery found inside the Locker app. This is opened only after fingerprint authentication, ensuring the photo stays private.

Activate manual mode

Proving the BlackBerry Key2 has a camera to be taken seriously, there is a manual mode, but like several other features, you have to know where to find it.

  • Once the camera app is open, tap the Settings cog in the top right of the screen, then in the menu that appears, tap Control Mode. It’s the first option in the list. In the next menu, tap Manual.
  • If it is the first time you’re activating manual mode, then when you return to the viewfinder, the camera will provide instructions on how to use the new mode. All the options run down the lefthand side of the screen (in portrait orientation) including focal length, aperture, ISO, and white balance settings.
  • Each setting can be adjusted manually, or some can be left in auto mode. To do this, we’ll use White Balance as an example. Look for the yellow marker next to it. This indicates it’s in auto mode. At the bottom of the settings list is a button marked Auto. Tap this to adjust the setting manually instead, or again to lock the mode in auto.
  • To return to Auto mode for the camera, you need to reverse the process and go back to the Settings menu, Control Mode, and then switch to Auto.

That’s it for our BlackBerry Key2 camera guide. Now all that’s left is for you to go out and take some great pictures with the phone.

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