Photo not focusing using SEEK app and new iPhone 12

Just purchased an iPhone 12. I am now having trouble getting my phone camera to focus on a close up of a wildflower when using the SEEK app. Is there something in Settings that I should look at? Thanks.

Same setup and same issue here. So far, the best fix has been to tap on the screen, exactly where I’d like it to focus. It causes me to miss opportunities though, by the time I focus on an insect, it’s gone.

Cell phones in general seem to want to focus on the ground behind a subject rather than the subject. Placing one hand immediately behind the flower forces the camera to focus on the foreground. You can leave your hand in the photo (provides scale) or take it away at the last moment. It’s not easy to take the photo one-handed (holding the phone and tapping the shutter) but it can be done. Or if you have a fellow iNatter handy, even better - have then provide the hand.

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The Seek camera is not very good. I’d recommend taking a photo on your phone’s base camera and then uploading it to Seek.

A few tips with iPhone

  • Put your hand behind the flower to aid the focus
  • Move the camera farther away and crop later
  • Use “live photos” for critters then pick the best frame and freeze

An example of the last tip working is this observation of a fast moving bee

@egordon88 gave some good advice. Don’t forget to tap on the subject when the Seek camera is open, the Seek camera won’t autofocus as well as your phone’s standard camera app.

Are you using an Android device? Unfortunately the Seek camera is often not great on Android, there are too many implementations of Android OS and cameras in the Android world and it’s tough to program for them all. Works pretty well on iOS, in my experience.

Yes, indeed. Funny that the iOS iNat app is lacking, but for the Seek app it’s vice versa.

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I’m not sure that comparison is really apt. We have a dedicated Seek developer and Seek was written in React Native to work on both iOS and Android. The issue with Seek’s camera on Android has less to do with our development and more to do with the fractured nature of the Android platform.

The iOS iNat app had to be rewritten from the ground up over the last few years becuase it was based on really old code, and our iOS deveoper not only does iOS but also does a lot of our computer vision work.

Yeah, I wasn’t really being that serious. I understand the differences.

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