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Here are the camera settings you need to take a picture of the final supermoon of 2019 with your phone

Image taken using the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Apparently, Thursday, March 21 will be the last night in which you can catch the supermoon phenomenon for this year. The best time to catch the moon is at 7.50pm.

Two supermoon events had already occurred in 2019, one in January and the other in February. Thursday’s event will be the last for the year. The phenomenon will not be seen again for another 11 months with the next one happening in February 2020.

Incidentally, the February 2019 supermoon was the biggest and closest that occurred this year.

What is a supermoon?

A supermoon happens when the full moon appears unusually large in the night sky. For this to happen the conditions need to be near perfect with a clear sky. It must be a full moon and the moon must be at its closest to Earth.

At this point, the distance between the moon and Earth is about 360,000 kilometres and it will be over 99% illuminated. For comparison, the average distance between the moon and the Earth is about 384,000 km and the farthest the moon gets from Earth is about 405,000 km.

With an average of just three supermoon events happening in a year, it’s clear that being able to witness one is a very special occasion. Naturally, you would want to capture the moment and post it on your Instagram right?

Taking a picture of the supermoon is going to be challenging

But taking a picture of the supermoon with your smartphone will be very challenging. One because there’s not a lot of light. Two, even at it’s closest to Earth, the moon is still so far away that you’ll need a pretty good zoom lens to be able to capture the details and three, you’ll need to have the camera mounted on a tripod to be able to take a sharp and clear image.

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You’ll have a better chance with a phone like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

If you own a Mate 20 Pro, you probably have a better chance to capture the moment using your smartphone than most. This is because of the 10x hybrid zoom capability and the phenomenal image stabilisation of the device but even with that, we still recommend using a tripod.

And so, here are the settings you’ll need

First, it’s all about location, location, location, and the weather. You’ll need to find a good spot to take your picture. The supermoon will be visible nationwide but you’ll have a better chance of that epic shot with clear skies and a high vantage point like a hilltop or a tall building. Not having any obstructions will obviously help as well.

Next, you’ll need to mount the phone on a tripod to eliminate camera shake that can make your picture blur.

Then go into the Mate 20 Pro’s camera app and select “Pro mode” after that zoom all the way to 10X.

In Pro mode, set the following camera values:

  • ISO 50
  • EV -4.0
  • Shutter speed set to 1/1250 (depending on the conditions)
  • Focus set to manual focus

You’ll want the focus to be set to manual so you can focus on the moon easily and quickly.

After that, you’re done. All you need to do next is to start taking pictures. Of course, you might have to tweak the settings accordingly, especially the shutter speed, to get the best results.

We even tried it for ourselves and it wasn’t hard to get a fairly decent shot of the moon. Here’s a sample. The picture was taken today (March 20 at 1040pm).

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro which we used to take the shot has a 3X zoom lens and this triple-camera smartphone is also capable of doing 5X Hybrid Zoom and 10X Digital Zoom. The upcoming P30 series is expected to do better in the zoom department.

So do have a go on Thursday night and share your supermoon shots taken using your smartphone with us.

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Amin Ashaari