How To: Priv Camera Settings


Most smart phones these days have a pretty decent camera and the Priv by BlackBerry is no exception. But if you’re anything like me, understanding the settings and features can sometimes be a nightmare. So today I will attempt to provide some insight into the camera settings on the Priv.

The PRIV’s camera integrates technologies commonly found in high-end DSLR cameras. It’s equipped with a range of professional settings that you can apply as you frame the scene, including live color filters and exposure control. It’s the only smartphone with a dual-color (white and amber) flash, which enables better color balancing, delivers more natural, realistic images and performs better in low light, contributing to the color/image quality, especially when taking pictures of people.

The dual-color flash complements features like phase detection auto focus (PDAS), commonly used in high-end DSLR cameras to dramatically increase focus speed & accuracy; optical image stabilization (OIS), which ensures pictures and videos are not blurred from the slightest movement; and multi-frame HDR, which takes multiple pictures at different exposures and combines them for more beautiful images.

You’ll also be able to take amazing panorama shots with both the front- and rear-facing cameras. The rear-facing camera captures a 360-degree arc around you in stunning detail with 130+-megapixel panoramas, while the front-facing “selfie panorama” allows you to have your friends and your surroundings in the picture with you.

If stills aren’t enough to capture the action, you can tap the PRIV’s video camera feature. It takes 4K resolution video at 30 frames per second (fps), plus you can record video and take pictures at the same time. You can also record 60fps video in 1080p (great for fast-moving subjects or scenarios with lots of motion like kids, pets or sports).

Jump right in and open the camera app on your Priv. At the top you will see a bar with settings such as HDR, Timer, Aspect ratio, Flash settings and the menu (three dots).


HDR stands for high dynamic range, and it essentially takes a series of images, each shot with a different exposure from darkest to lightest. HDR combines the best parts of the three overexposed, underexposed, and balanced shots to create a dramatic image with beautiful shadowing and highlights. The settings available are HDR Auto, HDR On and HDR off.


This is pretty self explanatory and also contains three settings, Timer off, 3 seconds delay and 10 seconds delay. This is useful if taking a portrait or group shot and you want to jump in the picture yourself.

Aspect Ratio:

The aspect ratio of an image describes the proportional relationship between its width and its height. It is commonly expressed as two numbers separated by a colon, as in 16:9. Here there are three settings: 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1.


Three settings, Flash Auto, Flash on and Flash off. I generally leave in Auto but sometimes switch off if flash is reflecting of a surface in the image.

Menu (Three vertical dots):

*Manual Mode: Selecting this will open up a menu down the left hand side of your screen giving you options to change numerous settings such as shutter speed (Find more info here ), ISO sensitivity (more info here ), focus, white balance (more info here ) and exposure (EV) compensation (more info here and here ) . Select any one of these and then use the horizontal bar at the bottom to adjust the setting.

untitled2*Settings: Selecting this opens the camera settings page with the ability to change things such as Photo Quality, Geolocation (storing GPS Location in the photos you capture), Video resolution/frame rates and Enhanced Video Stabilisation, Mute camera sounds, Grid lines (displays grid lines in view finder) and Media card storage (select to save your photos and videos to media card).

Down the bottom there is a thumbnail view of last picture/video taken (tap this to view the picture/edit/share or delete), camera switch mode (to change from front to rear camera), the Capture button (to take the picture or start/stop video recording), Mode button (to change modes from Panorama, Photo, Video or Slow Motion Video) and the colour settings button (change from normal to give different colour effects to your pictures).


The recent updates to the camera app on Privs running Marshmallow adds Physical keyboard shortcuts for camera controls:

  • Swipe horizontally on keyboard to adjust the setting currently active
  • Swipe vertically on keyboard to change the active setting
  • Press the A key to return the active setting to Auto
  • Press and hold the A key to return all settings to Auto
  • Press the spacebar to take a picture

Recording a Video: The Basics

To record a video with your PRIV’s front-facing camera:

  1. Open the PRIV’s camera app, then tap MODE and priv_vid_icon.
  2. You can zoom in or zoom out by sliding your fingers together or apart on the touchscreen, respectively.
  3. You can also turn the video light on or off by tapping priv_vid_light in the top left corner.
  4. Recording settings can be accessed by tapping priv_vid_3dot and opening the Settings menu.
    • We will discuss this more later in our tutorial.
  5. For now, you can tap priv_vid_icon to start recording, and take a photo while recording by tapping priv_vid_camera
    • Tip: You can also start and stop recording with the Volume key.
  6. To stop recording, tap priv_vid_stop.

After capturing a video, go to your preferred Photos / Video app to view the recording, or use the Peek option described further down this post.

How to Record in Slow-Motion

You can also record slow-motion video with your camera, to capture those especially epic (or serene) moments:

  1. While in the Camera app, tap MODE and then tap priv_vid_slowmo.
  2. Tap the priv_vid_slowmo button in the center of the screen to start recording.
  3. Stop recording with the priv_vid_stop button.

How to Customize the Frame Rate of Your Video Camera

Depending on what type of scene you want to capture, you can modify the frame rate and quality of your PRIV’s video in a number of ways. For action shots, 60 frames per second is the best choice. Meanwhile, 30 frames is suited to professional-looking video, while 24 frames is better for film-like video. You can also change the resolution/quality of your videos – 4k, 1080p, or 720p.

To see the different customization options you can choose from:

  1. Tap priv_vid_3dot at the top right corner of your screen, then tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down to the Video Resolutions / Frame Rates option, and tap the box next to it to open a dropdown menu.
  3. Tap your Video Resolution / Frame Rate of choice.
    • Note: When using 4K, you can select 24 or 30 frames per second only.
  4. You can also enable Enhanced Video Stabilization to reduce shakiness in your recordings.
  5. If you scroll down again, you can also add Grid lines to your camera, allowing you to frame your videos more effectively.

To read more about frame rates, click here or here. You can learn more about video resolution here.

Peeking at Your Latest Video/Photo

Want to see if your latest video/photo turned out the way you wanted it to? Tap and hold the thumbnail of it that appears at the bottom of the screen (once you’ve finished recording) to preview the video/photo.

While pressing your finger on the thumbnail, optionally drag your finger to priv_vid_share to share the video/photo, or priv_vid_trash to delete the video/photo.

Sharing Videos/photos

Finally, you can share a video/photo in one of two ways:

  1. From the photos app, tap the video/photo you want to share, then tap the priv_vid_share  icon.
  2. From the camera app, hold your finger over the thumbnail, then drag it to the priv_vid_share  icon

So there we have it folks, a bit of a basic explanation of the camera features on the Priv. Play around with the settings and don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings for different scenarios. Feel free to post any tips or findings in the comments below. Enjoy!