Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus is now much better

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus feature had a very annoying behaviour when taking selfies, but it has now been fixed in the Android Pie / One UI update. Using Live Focus in the camera app is so much more pleasant an experience now than it used to be.

I love the new One UI. I love the Night Mode that it comes with. But one of the best improvements that the Android Pie update brought to the Galaxy S9+ has to do with using Live Focus. Let me explain what the problem was.

First, just to be sure you are on the same page with me, let me explain what Live Focus is. It is a camera feature that allows the cameras to capture the subject and background separately, keeping the focus on the subject while keeping the background out-of-focus. In other words, Live Focus is what Samsung calls what you probably know as Portrait Mode.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus

So, what was the problem that I had with it? 9 out of 10 times that I used the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus, the camera app would tell me to “Move farther away from subject”. The big problem is when I use it in the selfie camera. I would extend my hand some more, yet the app would still tell me to move further away from the subject.

At some point, I began to wonder if Samsung thought I was the bionic man. I have long limbs – fingers, arms, legs, and… nvm. You do get the picture. I wonder how Samsung users with short limbs coped with that behaviour.

Anyway, I just stopped trying to take Portrait pictures with the selfie camera. Apparently, my hand was not long enough for it.

But Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus Got Better

After the Android Pie update weeks ago, though, one of the first things I did was check to see if the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus issue was still there. You can imagine my excitement to find out that it had been sorted out in the update, and I could now take portrait pictures with the selfie camera without having to try to detach my arm.

samsung galaxy s9 plus live focus in selfie camera
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus live focus works much better now in the selfie camera

Taking portrait pictures with the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus’ selfie camera is so much easier now. Guess who is a happy bunny.

But Live Focus is even better in the main camera

Of course, the best portrait pictures are taken when you use Live Focus in the main camera, which takes advantage of the dual camera on the back of the phone.

The main camera uses both lenses to produce more stunning background blur effect, and also provides an on-screen slider to adjust the level of blur. Even after the photo has been taken, you are able to adjust the background effect. This extra feature is available in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus only if you use the main dual camera.

samsung galaxy s9 plus live focus main camera mobilityarena

The above portrait picture was taken using Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Live Focus in the main camera, and then I adjusted the background blur to its maximum effect.

On the whole, being able to capture photos conveniently in portrait mode or with Bokeh effect like this makes mobile photography much more interesting.

I have a rich history with Bokeh, dating back all the way to the Nokia 808 PureView, and Lumia 1020, both of which were pioneers of the effect years before dual cameras arrived on smartphones.

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