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Camera Phone Tips

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the watch-and-learn dept.

Handhelds 286

Darren writes "It is getting hard to find a cell phone WITHOUT a camera in it - as a result millions are flooding the internet through moblogs with camera phone images - many of which are poor quality. I'm sick of seeing poor quality camera phone images being posted to moblogs and so have collected a series of camera phone tips and links that will hopefully help us all improve our camera phone images."

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286 comments

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Here is a good tip... (3, Insightful)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105483)

Hang up and drive!!!!

Re:Here is a good tip... (4, Funny)

zin (7049) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105710)

Hey check out this photo of a guy I hit cause I was too busy talking on my cell phone. Man camera phones are cool.

Re:Here is a good tip... (0)

Flabby Boohoo (606425) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105745)

Hang up and get a clue!

Want high-quality? Get a real camera! (5, Insightful)

LaserLyte (725803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105496)

It's always nice to see a photo of some random cat or an interestingly shaped rock from another continent. :)

The tips on the site seemed pretty obvious to me...get close, increase resolution, don't use digital zoom... the site even states they are obvious. From my brief look at the other linked sites, it looks like there are a few slightly more interesting points, but also a lot of repetition (between the sites).

I think if anyone is a budding photographer, interested in building a gallery on their site, they should get ahold of a "real" digital camera (a device whose primary function is as such). It seems to me that people running "moblogs" aren't going to be too bothered about having high-quality photos anyway.

Re:Want high-quality? Get a real camera! (5, Interesting)

b06r011 (763282) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105579)

i agree, if you want some good quality images go for a single function device - i.e. a digital camera.

but for mobility, i love my camera phone. the number of times i have my phone but no other camera seems to increase. but the real bonus of having a camera in my phone is that i get a good insurance policy from my phone company (orange) so i am never afraid to take it out with me when i go drinking. i'd never be that fearless with a camera costing lots more.

oh - and lets not forget that it's probably only a matter of time before mobile phones get camera compnents the quality of a good digital camera - it'll only get better!

Step 1... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105502)

Don't run your website from your camera phone..?

GOOD 2 KNOW!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105503)

If I ever become a useless waste of hydrocarbons, I'll be sure to keep your advice in mind!

Select the camera with most pixels (2, Informative)

Mr Europe (657225) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105510)

When the original pixels are few nothing can make it a good picture later on. The best camera/phone is the one with most pixels.

Re:Select the camera with most pixels (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105556)

Just because a picture is bigger doesn't necessarily mean it's better quality.

I'd much rather have a 1024x768 picture that was good quality than a 1600x1200 picture with image flaws.

Re:Select the camera with most pixels (1)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105781)

True but with camera phones at the moment it's generally the case that more pixels = better quality. It's not like there's much else to differentiate them anyway, and the lenses are all so tiny. I've seen some pretty decent images from some J-phone model (can't remember what brand it was) with a high-res sensor.

GOOD 2 KNOW!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105560)

Actually, I prefer MEGAPIXELS!!

Re:Select the camera with most pixels (3, Informative)

JamesD_UK (721413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105566)

A higher raw pixel count does not give better images. Larger CCDs, higher quality CCDs and the quality of your lens are all things you should be looking at in combination with the number of pixels. There's no single metric that will gauge the quality of an image produced by a camera. It's far better to have a try with a number of different cameras and choose which one you feel gives the best results.

Re:Select the camera with most pixels (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105624)

True to a point. Too few MEGAPIXELS and the picture will only have good resolution in a tiny size. But a 2MP camera can create 8x10 prints every bit as good and sometimes better than a higher MP camera. MP has to do with size of the picture you can print or display digitally. Quality of optics is very important consideration.

Re:Select the camera with most pixels (5, Insightful)

babbage (61057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105868)

There's more to it than that though. The cheap plastic lens on these phones isn't really capable of taking high quality photos, even if you had a high megapixel system behind the lens. This becomes especially true after the thing rattles around in your pocket for a while and you get lint, sand, fingerprints, etc on it.

Another poster had it right: if you want good photos, get a good camera. If you're not worried about being the next Ansel Adams, use your camera phone.

The beauty of camera phones isn't that the picture quality is worth a damn -- it isn't. The great thing is that you always have the thing with you, so if something interesting happens you've got the ability to capture it on the spot without having to run home for your Nikon, by which time the moment will inevitably have passed.

If you want spontaneous pictures that are also of high quality, lug around a nice Nikon SLR -- the D70 looks fantastic. If on the other hand you'd rather not lug around an expensive camera body and a bag full of delicate lenses all the time, then the Lo-Fi, cheap-o camera on modern phones or PDAs can do in a pinch.

But don't bother mixing the two -- I can't imagine wanting to carry around a phone that doubled as a high megapixel camera. Think about it: the image sizes will be far too big to send to other camera phone users, which is a big part of the appeal with camera phones. You could have some kind of removable media, but at that point you have a crappy, expensive camera-phone hybrid that is cumbersome as a phone and inept as a camera. Why bother?

******

Composition, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the image. Look at the ways movies & magazines do photography, and copy what they do. Random examples off the top of my head:

  • If a photo is of a person, fill up the image with the person. Don't stand 15 feet away so that the person is just this little vague sliver down the middle of the frame -- get close, or zoom in! With traditional SLRs, my favorite lens for portrait photos is 105mm, which is roughly a 2x zoom. This is nice, because you can stand several feet away from your subject (which generally allows the person to relax & look more natural), but you still get a nice close-up effect that looks really good.
  • If the photo is of a person, center the whole person in the image. That is to say, don't make the standard snapshot error of putting the face in the middle, then the torso (and maybe feet) at the middle of the frame, and then have the top half of the photo filled with ceiling or sky. If you want a picture of something in the background, then get what you want of that background into the frame and then find an interesting place for the people to get in front of it; on the other hand, if the picture is of the people and not the background, then don't give 70% of the frame to the background!
  • Be aware of, but not necessarily a slave to, the rule of thirds [photo.net] . For those not familiar with it, the idea isn't very complicated: if you imagine a 3x3 "tic tac toe" grid over your composition, then you end up with a box in the center of your image. The rule of thumb is that the "interesting" bits of the image should be aligned with one or more of the edges of this center box. For example, if you're taking a picture of the horizon, don't put the horizon exactly across the middle of the frame; if you want to emphasize the sky a little, put the horizon along the bottom third of the photo, while if you want to emphasize what's going on on the ground, put the horizon along the top third of the photo. Likewise, shifting the subject of the photo from the center to the left or right thirds often makes a photo more interesting.
  • As a corollary to the rule of thirds, when taking portrait shots, never ever put the person's face right in the middle of the image. It's boring & unflattering. It has long been taught in fine arts classes that great portraits almost always shift the subject at least a little bit to the left or right of the center line of the photo. More interesting was a study a few years ago that pointed out that not only are the faces in paintings like Mona Lisa always shifted off to the right or left a little bit, but the artists doing these paintings (and now, photos), whether conciously or not, were almost always putting one of the subject's eyes at or very close to the center line. That makes sense, when you think about it: we're used to making eye contact with other people, so on some level we "expect" the eye to be the central thing in an image of a person. It's a subtle thing, but it generally works well if you try to follow it.

There's obviously way more to it than that, but simple rules like this are a good start. The original article isn't accessible right now, but my hunch is that the advice he's giving isn't really all that different from this.

My tips (5, Interesting)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105511)

Can't read the article at the moment, but here are my tips for using a mobcam.

- Take a lot of pics in different modes
- Don't be afraid to throw away the crap ones
- Don't trust the display on the phone, your monitor has a lot better quality.

Just a few simple but handy tips I use :)

Re:My tips (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105584)

One word:

upskirt

Is there any other reason these camera phones even exist?

Re:My tips (4, Funny)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105599)

Here's my guide for taking good quality pictures:

1) Find a subject in a well lit location
2) As far as subjects go, the shorter the skirt the better
3) Without acting too suspsicously, get as close as you can to your subject.
4) Discreetly aim the lens perpendicular to the floor level and directly between the legs
5) Snap!

Escalators can be a very handy tool.

Oh wait, you mean people take normal pictures with these things?

Lint (5, Insightful)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105513)

I know so many people that just shove the phone in their pockets, then wonder why their lint-filled aperture gives them crappy results. Great for sending a quick pic to your mates, but not for anything else. Quality digital cameras they are not.

Re:Lint (0)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105635)

They get lint in the aperature or on the lens?

Too many features, (5, Insightful)

orion41us (707362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105519)

If I wanted a PDA, I would get a Palm or PocketPC, If I wanted a digital camera I would get a Olympus or Kodak, How about just a plain phone where the battery actually works through the day and does not cut out every time you order Chinese takeout?

Not mutually exclusive (3, Informative)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105595)

My phone t610's battery lasts for at least a week AND it has a (crappy) camera.

Re:Too many features, (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105611)

But what if I do not want to carry my camera with me? Better yet, what if I needed a camera on the fly? What if I do not feel like carrying a camera AND a PDA (cumbersome, especially in nice weather when wearing shorts with no pockets).
I have used my phone to take many pictures where I did not have my camera - for amusement (this one girl had the words "Animal Liberation" tattooed on her back...she let me take a picture of it, my friend in CA got a good laugh. I am in PA) and real practical purposes (I took a picture of a broken parking meter that I tried shoving money into.)
They have their uses - luckily there are many choices, and you can still get a "free" phone with the cell phone companies that has minimal features. When I bought my phone I only wanted it for the blue tooth; I thought the camera was a waste....the camera is a nice feature though.
-Avi

Re:Too many features, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105623)

A SonyEricsson camera phone (at least the ones with the crappy camera) can easily do 5-6 days on a charge.

Re:Too many features, (2, Insightful)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105672)

I'll second that - in fact, I preached that gospel myself before.

A phone is for making phonecalls with, allthought I'll be happy to point out that an SMS (or text-message if you prefer) is a nice way to convay a fair chunk of info in a fast way without having to talk to the answeringmachine.
A camera is for taking pictures with - or short videos.

A PDA is for pretty much everything else - reading ebooks, to do lists, calendars, list of numbers and adresses and so on and so forth.

My portable gameconsole (ie; my GBA) is for short bursts of simple fun

A portable computer is for serious working - or serious gaming if you prefer.


Yes, it does mean I have to carry around two or three devises instead of one. It also means I can leave the functionality I don't need at home, and that each of my devices are optimised for it's intended role - meaning the camera takes very nice pictures, the PDA has a nice big screen and fits my hand comfertable, my portable game consolle has easy to change games and so on. It also means that if one device breaks, the rest of my gizmos are in perfect working order.

Re:Too many features, (1)

Kombat (93720) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105741)

Yes, it does mean I have to carry around two or three devises instead of one.

I feel the exact opposite. I don't want to carry a pager, a phone, a gaming console, a radio, a PDA, a camera, and an MP3 player. That's too many devices to buy, too many to carry, too much money to spend, and too much to worry about getting stolen. I just want one device that can do all those things well, and cost less than $500.

We have the technology. Yes, I understand your point about how the individual devices can be "optimised" to do their own thing well, but technology is not static, and as we learn more and more about usability and integration, manufacturers become more adept at creating devices which fill multiple roles just as well as the separate devices would.

Incidentally, I don't own ANY of the devices listed above, precisely because I'm holding out for an "all-in-one" device, which should be along any year now.

Chinese takeout - Re:Too many features, (1)

Godot (20106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105689)

Duh! Calling China uses more battery power since it's further away!

Other problem... (5, Interesting)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105520)

For those of us in the defense industry, it's mandatory that we get a phone without a camera on it. If you are working in an Open Secret area, you will be fired on the spot if you don't. I suspect that while that rule is in effect, phone manufacturers will always produce a camera-less version, lest they lose defense industry contracts.

Re:Other problem... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105557)

So you're the guy who took those prisoner abuse photos! How did you get such good resolution from a phone camera?

Re:Other problem... (1)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105605)

You don't know how good you have it. In our open storage area you aren't allowed to have a cell phone at all.

Think that is bad . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105711)

We are not allowed to have any radio signals at all, . . . am . . fm . . etc. Why I have to use the public terminal at the library disguised as a woman just to access /.

Re:Other problem... (4, Informative)

halftrack (454203) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105643)

You're allowed in with a regular cell phone at all? In Norway, AFAIK, you leave your cell at the door due to tempest security. Apparently even an switched off cell phone can be tapped.

(Leaving your phone at the door was taught at a security course and has been implemented at the places I've been.)

Re:Other problem... (2, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105671)

even an switched off cell phone can be tapped

Yeah? but I bet they'll be listening in for ages before they hear anything interesting...

Re: Other problem... (5, Funny)

Punk Walrus (582794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105713)

A friend of mine at NASA shares this story that was going around the labs in the early 1990s.

Apparently, one of the research scientists working at a secured site. When he came to the gate and was inspected, they saw his beeper, and asked if it was a radio device. Now, on this site, beepers were allowed, and by "radio device," they really meant any kind of broadcasting or recording device. But being a scientist, he said, "Yes." And it got confiscated. He tried to reason with them, and explained how a beeper worked, but they said it was not allowed on site.

So after he passed through the gate, he took out his ballpoint pen and said into it with a stage whisper, "They got the radio device!"

The guards were not amused and detained him for several hours until some supervisors and management got it sorted out.

Funny but true. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105882)

Funny but true.

Most beepers send back a received signal to acknowledge the receipt of a page.

If someone paged him they could triangulate his position from the origin of the ACK his beeper sent back. This signal is often ignored by the transmitting company but sign up for a confirmed notification service and they will send you the page until they get the ACK from your beeper.

Also it is common knowledge that ALL ballpoint pens have secret voice recorders built into them.

-5 Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105753)

-5 Wrong!

I have done contracting for Lockheed Martin and we were not allowed to bring any of our personal communication equipment on sight when we were working on classified military projects. No cell phones, no PDA, no cameras, NOTHING.

Your misinformation shows you are either a liar or so ignorant as to believe you have ever worked on classified military projects.

LHM told us if anyone ever asked they never heard of us and we were never officially there although that after the project had been announced they would admit to our existence and employment status with the company although not say if we ever worked on the project or not.

Re:Other problem... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105826)

I don't think they'll give a fig about you, sorry to say. They'll make camera-enabled phones lest they lose market share, which is all they care about. They' only produce a camera-less phone if it means its cheaperr to make and therefore targets the low-end market.

I know there are many other places where you don't want hidden cameras - swimming baths for example (too many paedophiles taking pics of half dressed kiddies apparently, according to the popular media).

Well, is it that bad? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105522)

In my bugzilla list of global threats, this issue didn't get it into first 2 millions.

Google Cache (4, Informative)

RobertTaylor (444958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105523)

As the page is using the Nokia Webserver technology (running the site from a mobile!) here is the google cache

google cache link [google.co.uk]

Re:Google Cache (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105729)

running the site from a mobile!
Now *that* is cool.

Next up: webserver tips (3, Funny)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105526)

Sick of servers being linked to that are of poor quality? Next up: webserver tips to help you survive a slashdotting within the first comment!

Re:Next up: webserver tips (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105715)

A websites quality isn't measured by how fat the pipe is. Not everyone spends wads of cash on /. proofing their website.

These tips will work for all digital cameras (2, Informative)

Phoenix-kun (458418) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105530)

These are all good common sense tips that you could use no matter what kind of digital camera you have.

But most especially, DON'T USE THE DIGITAL ZOOM! You can crop the final photo a thousand times better with a desktop application after the fact.

Re:These tips will work for all digital cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105665)

Not if thirty seconds after you take the picture, it is already on your web site.

Wanted: (2, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105531)

I'd like to get a small camera with a belt clip. I have no reason to take crappy quality camera-phone clips but I would like something that is ready when I need it. Perhaps something with a switch on the clip that automagically powers up the camera when I pull it out. I know that there are small cameras out there but I haven't seen one with a plastic, non-zippered belt clip out there.

I know that most slashdotters can't help me but this is just something for that someone who may be in the right place at a camera manufacturer.

Re:Wanted: (2, Informative)

javatips (66293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105700)

I have the Minolta DImage X. It's one, if no the, smallest camera with a 3X optical zoom. It's very light. While I don't have a belt clip for it, I carry it all the time using a belt carrying case which is made for this model.

I carry an extra battery, cause battery life with this camera suck, which is lightweight too and fit in the carrying case.

When this camera came out, it was the camera with the fastest boot time (less than 2 sec.).

The other advantage of this camera is that the zoom is inside the camera body and the lens is automatically covered with a little door whenever the camera is turned off. So the lens is kept cleaner for a longer time.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this camera. The photo quality if good enough (expect in low light condition - which is to be expected with the size of the lens). I bought it because I wanted something that I can carry all the time. It fullfill that purpose very nicely.

Re:Wanted: (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105893)

I'd like a teeny camera like that with bluetooth so that I can take a picture with it and then send it using email on my phone (which is also used as a wireless modem with my laptop).

That poor australian webhost... (-1, Offtopic)

Placid Lake (715942) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105532)

For like $100 a month you get 2gb of bandwidth and 20meg of space for local hosting here in australia. That site will/went go down faster than a server on a C64. I hope someone has mirrored this!

Poor Australians.... (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105620)

For like $100 a month you get 2gb of bandwidth and 20meg of space for local hosting here in australia.

My hosting package gets 20GB of transfers and 400 MB of storage, unlimited MySQL databases and 99 email acounts for about $15.00 a month. You're getting screwed Australian dudes!

Re:Poor Australians.... (1)

chrome (3506) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105721)

No shit. I moved to Japan because of the sucky/expensive net access, and now pay less than $100/month for an ADSL line with more bandwidth than most hosting companies in Australia ..

Re:Poor Australians.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105822)

Which is lucky, 'cause now you're paying more for other stuff. It all evens out (usually).

edit-orial (1)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105537)

...editing pictures later on your computer produces much better quality images...

...especially if (as in the movie-industry) "editing" means tossing the vast majority of your shots.

GOOD 2 KNOW!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105670)

I TOSS the vast majority in my SHORTS!!

How did I ever survive without one... (2, Informative)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105541)

Web site seems slash dotted already. :(

I just got a samsung x600 (capable of 640x480 pics) and for the first time ever have a camera phone (or for that matter a phone that does anything more than sms and phone calls).



Its amazingly good, as long as you're in sunlight. If you're not in sunlight, then the pictures only look decent when displayed on the tiny phone screen.

Re:How did I ever survive without one... (2, Informative)

Molina the Bofh (99621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105666)

How does the picture look in the dark ? Blurred ?

If so, it's because of the camera optics. See, the lenses are small, so they receive a small ammount of light.

So either the image gets too dark or the exposure time must increase to compensate. The problem with it is that any movement or camera shaking will blur the image.

This problem will most certainly disappear once sensors gets enough sensitivity. Then they'll show a nice image, even though they receive little light.

GOOD 2 KNOW!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105684)

By eating FOOD, drinking WATER. THAT'S IT!!

Re:How did I ever survive without one... (1)

acceber (777067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105820)

Camera phone? It seems these days that everybody needs a camera phone, or you're just not cool. People like David Beckham and his Vodafone advertisements get all the teenage girls lured in for a camera phone, then of course all the tweens want to copy and get a camera phone...and in the workplace, "No moustache, no promotion".

Except today, you would replace "moustache" with "camera phone".

There are plenty of payphones around and they are probably cheaper than the rates some mobile phone services provide, not to mention it's a little more difficult to steal than a mobile.
You can buy a decent camera for about the same price as a camera phone, any day. Plus, mobile phones become obsolete almost as soon as they become the trend. In my opinion, a couple of bucks and a camera when I need one will do the job just as well, if not better than a camera phone.

Camera phones are silly (1)

dark404 (714846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105548)

The resolutions on camera phones are less than or equal to those really cheep crapy barbie and hotwheels cameras parents buy for their children to play with.

It's a fad, like anything else. First it was text messages, then it was webbrowsing, now cameras. Considering how small digital cameras are now, anyone who actuallys needs to take pictures will just carry around a normal digital in their pocket. The vast majority of cell phone users use neither text messages (you're sending a text message from a fricken cell phone, call them or leave a voice mail jackass), nor cell-webbrowser (eyestrain anyone?), nor phone cameras. It's only a matter of time before everyone is looking for the next major fad in camera "technology."

GOOD 2 KNOW!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105590)

Why don't you go back to living in caves, PRIMITIVE CAVEMAN!!

Re:Camera phones are silly (-1, Flamebait)

Troed (102527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105626)

You must be american.

In the civilized world text messaging (SMS) and web-browsing on the phones that can handle it (Sony Ericsson P900 with Opera is one example) is used quite a lot - and works splendidly.

The cameras in the phones will soon rival cheap digital cameras - and no - people don't want to carry two devices when they can carry one.

Re:Camera phones are silly (1)

n0nsensical (633430) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105860)

I've never quite understood the rest of the world on this one--I like real football, I don't like American imperialism, I like Scandinavian death metal, etc. But I cannot fathom why anyone would want to send text messages rather than TALK on their PHONES or browse the web on a crappy display with no mouse or proper keyboard. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Re:Camera phones are silly (3, Informative)

b06r011 (763282) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105648)

i'm sorry, but AFAIK, text messages really are not a fad. i suspect you are from the US, i heard that text messaging hadn't caught on there, but in the UK it is very popular. as for WAP - it's not perfect but it is very useful for some things, like checking the train times, or cinema times etc.

some things are fads, but text mesages (and to a lesser extent WAP) are not

Re:Camera phones are silly (5, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105676)

The vast majority of cell phone users use neither text messages...

Pardon?

All I can think of is that you must be in the US. In Europe, I would go so far as to say that the primary use of many mobiles sold is for text messaging. I know I send far more texts than I make voice calls.

I can't speak for Japan, but I believe there's a similar situation there. I thought that the US was going the same way, but I'm prepared to be corrected on that.

As for cameras being silly, I disagree. I often take around ten a week, and I imagine I'm only in the midrange. The reason? I have children, and I very often don't have my full-blown 5mp digital camera with me but do have my mobile on me. Snaps of my kids playing in the park are good fun for those who are interested, and utterly dull for the rest of the world. Some get kept, most get discarded.

I have other uses too. For example, on Friday an A4 sheet had been left at a railway station detailing proposed changes to the timetable and who to get in contact with to protest them (the changes are bad from this town's point of view - Maidenhead). There was only one sheet left, so I took a couple of photos with the phone and left the sheet there for someone else to pick up. I read the information later on my laptop after transferring the pictures there.

The combination of a camera phone which is bluetooth equipped and having a bluetooth'n'wifi equipped laptop (that works - I use a Powerbook, I've heard of terrible problems with MS's stack and Nokia phones) immediately opens up a world of fast snapping, fast editing and fast publishing. Don't knock camera phones - they're useful things.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Camera phones are silly (2, Insightful)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105692)

I disagree.

The problem is that people misuse it. They seem to think the camera phone is there to replace your camera. Right now it isn't!
Since getting a camera phone I have enjoyed taking pics. But at no point did I think they were going to be of high enough quality to be printed out and framed or put up on a web site. But, the ability to take a picture of something and MMS it to a friend (usually to find out if I'm looking at the correct thing), has proved invaluable a couple of times already.

My father bought a digital camera about 6 years ago. It's maximum resolution was 640x480. It was expensive, and little more than a toy. Look at the quality of digital cameras now. I bet within 3 or 4 year time your phones will be more than adequate for posting arb pictures on your website. Why carry around a small camera and a small phone, when you can carry around one camera phone.

As for SMS's and web browsing being fads. Maybe in america, but I know here in South Africa SMS's are huge (and cell phones are owned by almost everyone, well over half the population as far as I know). Maybe its because we're poorer and therefor the money saved is worth it. Given that I just got a camera phone free of charge when renewing my cell phone contract, and even a cheap digital camera costs decent part of a salary here, I think its worth it.

Re:Camera phones are silly (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105801)

As others have pointed out, in Europe texting is a huge part of the popularity of mobile phones.

As for cameras, there have been several incidents I've heard of with people using them to take photos at the scene of road accidents, very handy if someone drives off/moves things around or whatever.

Re:Camera phones are silly (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105812)

As almost everyone else has pointed out, you can't be european...

An SMS is a cheap (at least over here) way to send condensed information - like phonenumbers, adresses, names and so forth (yes, I know that other uses it for pure comunication too, but I speak mostly for myself). Much better than leaving a voicemail, particulary since it's easy to backtrack thru the SMSs and make sure you actually understood it.

Mind you, if you really are from the US as other have guessed, I think I know one reason why it hasn't taken off in the same way as over here - y'all don't have a single standard to which all the providers adhere... as well we beeing screwed over by having to pay for incomming calls and messages (yes, I know this isn't true for all providers any more, but it's true for quite a lot of them). Complain all you want about GSM beeing 'french' (it ain't [wikipedia.org] ) or that it ain't 'free competition' between european telcos (it's as free or freeer as in the US btw - we simply have a level playing field)... and using an open, non-proprietary standard to cap it off.

This too will pass... (3, Insightful)

WordODD (706788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105554)

Have fun with these phones while they last. More and more buildings, both public and private are banning them in droves. Schools, libraries, court rooms and companies that develop numerous products are making people leave their camera phones behind for "security reasons". My local book store is also asking customers to leave them in their cars due to people coming in and taking pictures of articles and photographs in books and magazines with their phones . I can't imagine why you would want to have a crappy camera phone picture when a magizine is usually only 4 or 5 bucks but whatever. So enjoy while you can, I for one will be glad when this fad is phased out though.

Re:This too will pass... (2, Interesting)

chegosaurus (98703) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105691)

Amen. I fucking hate these things. They seem to appeal primarily to teenage boys who aim them up skirts and down tops as often as possible. Every good looking girl in the world is probably on a voyeur website or e-mail inbox somewhere by now. I'm not surprised, and very pleased, to hear places are starting to ban them. Though I'm not sure how effectively you can ban something that's so easy to conceal.

I don't know what's happened to make me so curmudgeonly. I used to love new technology.

More tips (5, Informative)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105559)

Original site is /.ted but here are some tips:

* Get close. Camera phones don't have telephoto lenses so if you take a photo of a person or building that's far away, the main subject will be tiny. For most photos you'll get a much better shot by filling your phone's screen with a close up of the subject.

* Send from a good cellular coverage area. If you're transmitting a photo in an area where the cellular signal is weak, it could take longer to send the photo than when you're in a strong signal area. If you're paying for airtime to send a photo, it could make a difference in the price. Although photos generally are transmitted in under a minute, if it goes over 60 seconds, you will pay for another minute.

* Beware of distortion. I just mentioned that you should move as close as possible to the main subject of your photo. You should be aware that moving very close could produce some distortion, something like a "fisheye" effect. The effect could be fun, or your subject might not like the fact that his/her nose appears much bigger than in reality!

* Enter a title for each photo. If you're not used to entering text on a keypad, it can be a frustrating and slow process. But don't skip this step or you'll have to click on each photo to determine if you wanted to see 006 or 022. Title the photos before you send/save them or wait until you go home and enter names for a bunch of them.

* Make sure you know all the file quality settings. For example, cameras phones often have three quality setting: Low, Medium and High. Snap the same photo at all the different resolutions and look at the size and quality on your phone and your computer screen to determine which resolution you prefer to use. It's easy to change the resolution, but you'll probably set it at one resolution and not change it often.

* Shoot at the highest resolution. Camera phones generally top out at 640 x 480 (except for some phones with one megapixel in Japan), and that quality is good enough for viewing on the Web. The lower the resolution, the worse it looks. Assuming the cost of transmitting a photo is the same regardless of the resolution, go for the highest resolution. It will look better.

Photos with higher resolutions produce larger files and take longer to transmit. If you're paying by the minute and/or by the number of packets, you need to compare the value of higher quality with higher costs to you.

* Clean the lens. Camera phone lenses aren't immune to dust, dirt and fingerprint. Periodically clean the lens with a lens cloth, which is easily obtainable at photo shops.

* Create "quick phrases." Most cellular phones with messaging capabilities enable you to create and store phrases that may be used for the subject or text of your messages. If you know you're going to be taking photos at, for example, Yellowstone Park, create a phrase that reads, "Yellowstone -- 8-8-03" and store it in your phone. That way you won't have to enter the same phrase for each photo.

(If you're going to Yellowstone, please take a good digital or film camera in addition to a camera phone!)

* Avoid using the digital zoom. Some camera phones include a digital zoom feature. Digital zooms employ software to increase a photo's size but they also decease the quality by merely "blowing up" a segment of the picture. Even people with multi-megapixel digital cameras typically use the optical zoom, not the digital feature. Feel free to check out digtal zoom, but you'll probably dislike the result.

* Explore the white balance. If you've never used a digital camera, you should be aware of the "white balance" feature, which changes the photo color based upon the lighting conditions: Sunny, cloudy, dark, etc. There's also an "auto" feature that works fine most of the time. But if you have time and you don't like the way the photo looks on your LCD, change the white balance to see if it makes a difference.

* Turn on the lights indoors. If you're shooting indoors, it's easy to get more light by raising the shades and/or shining a light on the subject of the photo. The type of light, by the way, could change the white balance from, for example, indoors to tungsten. Most camera phones today do not include a built in flash and, even if they do, the flash isn't very powerful.

* Assign photos to names in your address book. Your phone includes "text" caller ID (where the name of the person calling is displayed), but it also probably has "photo" ID where a photo or graphic pops up when a person calls. It's more than just fun; it's useful if you can't match a name with a face.

* Send photos and graphics to your phone. Your phone should be able to accept photos and graphics sent via e-mail. If you want to link a photo of a friend to his/her phone number but haven't snapped a photo from your phone, you could send a photo that's stored on your desktop or laptop computer.

But make sure the photo's file size is small. If it's from a typical digital camera -- with a megapixel or higher resolution -- reduce the photo's pixel count by using a photo editing program before you send it to your phone. If the photo is too large, your cellular operator's system might reject it.

You also should be able to use photos and graphics sent to you phone as wallpaper and screensavers. Remember that if you receive the photos from your computer to your phone via cellular, there will be a charge.

* Back up your photos online or via e-mail. You certainly may save photos in your phones memory. But what if the phone crashes (yes, it can happen) or you run out of memory and have to delete some photos? There are several ways to back up photos.

One way is to send a copy of the photo to your own e-mail account. Another way is to sign up for your cellular operator's online photo album service (which is probably free) and/or for a mobile Weblog (moblog) from such companies as Textamerica, Phlog.net, Buzznet or Eachday. Some phones also have removable storage options, such as a Sony Memory Stick, for saving photos.

If you're going to send a photo to a friend and, with the same message, you also send a copy to your own e-mail address, you might not have to pay twice. Many cellular operators will charge you only for one transmission rather than for multiple recipients of the photos if you send it as an e-mail. Check with your cellular operator about its pricing regarding MMS and e-mail photo transmissions.

* Special photo effects from your phone versus computer. Many camera phones offer special effects, such as changing a color photo to black and white or sepia, as well as adding colorful borders and frames around the photo.

This can be fun (especially if you're a kid!) but you also can send a photo to yourself and use your photo editing program to create borders, frames and special effects. Of course, this defeats the spontaneity of sending a photo from your phone, but a photo editing program offers much more powerful features.

* Keep track of your battery. Camera phones use lots of power. With their internal and external color screens, animations, polyphonic ringtones and other fun and useful features, these phones drain your battery much more quickly than less feature-rich phones. If you take lots of photos during the day, make sure to keep track of your battery level and recharge it frequently. It also wouldn't hurt to purchase another battery.

what we need is Kodak... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105561)

Kodak should come out with a camera that has phone features tacked on.

camera phones (-1, Redundant)

TaoBear (663707) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105569)

"I'm sick of seeing poor quality camera phone images being posted to moblogs..."

Um..then don't view moblogs?

Gym (3, Interesting)

liam193 (571414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105573)

What really bugs me about the cell-phone / camera combo is that most gyms won't allow you have a cell-phone because they could be a camera in disguise. Makes it a little hard to go to the gym while on call when you can't take a cell-phone with you. All because someone can't wait a few minutes to download photos from a real digital camera.

Re:Gym (1)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105657)

I don't give my gym the chance to not let me have my phone (I am on call one week in 4) however what I could do with is a waterproof one because it always stops working when I go in the pool.

Re:Gym (2, Interesting)

cozziewozzie (344246) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105717)

I don't understand people who take a phone to the gym :-) I guess you might need to be contacted in the case of an emergency, or whatever, but I find it distracting when people start babbling on the phone in the gym, and I certainly have other things to concentrate when I'm in there. I usually leave the phone at home for the two hours or so I spend in the gym.

Being on call is one thing but I think some people are owned by their mobile phones instead of it being the other way around. They interrupt their training, conversation, shower, anything, whenever the phone rings. Then they shout into the phone with the entire city listening. Really, sometimes you need to shut the damn thing off and enjoy some privacy.

Re:Gym (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105818)

Seems like more of a problem of the attitude towards technology of gyms and some of their customers. Camera phones are not going to go away. Video cameras are slowly becoming ubiquitous in many places. Image capturing devices are going to eventually become an unavoidable part of modern society. Just wait until people with poor vision routinely wear electronic vision correction/enhancement devices. Even people with normal vision may choose to wear devices that enhance their vision and provide visual interfaces to computer networks. If you don't want your picture taken, you may have to wear burqa at all times.

Re:Gym (1)

MC_Cancer_Pants (728724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105859)

Sorry, that was me.

I have a bad habbit of taking pictures of people on the treadmill. Hot stuff.

I like the lowtech charme of camphones. (3, Interesting)

Lispy (136512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105594)

Actually I think about the poor quality as a new form of art. The pics from my Nokia7250 may not be great from a photographers perspective but they give me the ability to spice up stuff on my homepage. Personally I like the weird colors and built in blur that the pics show off. ;-)

Btw: Here's my "moblog" [blissx.co.uk] , more pics here [blissx.co.uk] .
Please feel free to ignore the mistakes in the lyrics. I am german and not a native speaker! ;-)

Re:I like the lowtech charme of camphones. (1)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105854)

You know, that series of pictures is actually rather artistic and good. freaky.

Re:I like the lowtech charme of camphones. (1)

Lispy (136512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105895)

Hey, thank you...

s/moblog/asshat/g (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105600)

Title says it all. Nobody cares about making quality "moblogs" anyway, they're just a bunch of pee-pee touchers who talk about their cats, the weather, and what they had for breakfast.

s/you/asshat/g (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105663)

Learn to be civil with other people. Till then, welcome to -1, Troll hell.

Fine to a point (2, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105604)

Camerahpones are fine for serendipitous picture taking; you always have the camera with you, after all. However, a camera phone is no match for even low-to-mid end consumer digital cameras. The phones have fairly low resolution (around 1mbit or less, usually), pretty crappy optics, usually no optical zoom, no way to manually adjust parameters, and so on.

As a neat toy or way to document sudden events, the phone is certainly good enough, but if you find yourself bitten by the photography bug, you really should take the plunge and get a semi-serious camera. No need to get some hideosuly expensive, huge monstrosity with removable lenses or anything; a mid-price camera with good optics, good resolution (5-6 megapixels) and decent control over the image taking will go a very, very long way. It is of course true that equipment never is a substitute for talent, but, on the other hand, lack of decent equipment certainly doesn't help either.

need non-camera phones (4, Interesting)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105606)

Camera-enabled devices are not allowed on company property where I work. It is difficult to obtain a mobile phone with decent features that doesn't have a camera. Since a lot of companies are implementing this security policy, when can we expect the mobile phone companies to meet this need for non-camera phones?

Re:need non-camera phones (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105769)

Does everyone on /. work on top secret Defence Industry contracts or something?

Either that or US companies are even more paranoid than I had imagined.

Don't forget... (1)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105629)

Make sure you get a phone that has a cover for the keys ...

While an image of the inside lining of a pocket may be original, having a dedicated pocket-cam isn't my idea of value for money. Although at least I know where I left my keys...

Camera phones suck (now) (4, Interesting)

jcostantino (585892) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105642)

I have a Motorola V400 and the camera sucks on it. Open note to all who are looking to buy one: Unless you just want it as an emergency back-up camera like I do, don't get one for now.

The quality of camera phones out there now is way worse than the quality of very cheap digital cameras 6 years ago. Granted, the Kodak DC120 swimming in my desk drawer could probably whoop my V400's ass, it's also enormous.

Back to my point; there will be better camera phones in the next year, I've seen some (Samsung?) which will have macro mode and "real" flashes. The closest I've seen to a camphone with a flash was one that used white LED's and that was only as a framing aid.

Bottom line: don't waste your money now unless like me, you don't care about the quality of the camera because the phone is the primary function. If you want good quality, give it till the end of the year.

I'm surprised that there isn't a website (like www.imaging-resource.com) that reviews the actual camera of the phone and gives concise reviews based on quality, light sensitivity and optics. I guess camphones are still too much of a niche market for that.

Re:Camera phones suck (now) (1)

jcostantino (585892) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105744)

Oh yeah, if you try to use a camera phone at night or in low light, expect your picture to come out at least blurry and at best extremely grainy.

One other thing that I forgot about my V400 - if you take an "action" picture, even if it's properly framed on the viewfinder and the resulting "frozen" picture still shows up correct, the ACTUAL picture that is stored to flash memory is 1/2 second behind! It would seem that the V400 updates its camera memory independent of its viewfinder memory, very stupid and makes for even more difficult to acquire images.

It's really weird... (4, Funny)

Phidoux (705500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105656)

... how many of those pics seem to be of a person's ear?

Mercatur and her bountiful bosom (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105661)

The big breasted Mercatur has moved back to Texas to live with her father.
Send her your best folks. She'll goddam need it in Hickton, Tx.

www.mercatur.net

So you're sick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9105690)

I'm sick of seeing poor quality camera phone images being posted to moblogs ...

If they make you sick, then stop looking at them! Why are you looking around for things to whine about? These people are enjoying what they're doing.

I see phones w/o cameras all the time (2, Informative)

bludstone (103539) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105694)

Was at the store last week, and half of the phones there didnt have cameras. And all of those were less then 100$

Perhaps Im missing something, but I dont need the latest whizbang stuff on my cellphone. All I want is caller-id, contact list, and TXTing abilities. Hell, mine came with tetris... That was a nice bonus, but not required.

I mean, there _is_ a market for lower end, cheapie cellphones.

Re:I see phones w/o cameras all the time (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105714)

Certainly the cheap pay-as-you-go market will always have a budget phone with no camera....

Mirrors please? (-1, Redundant)

MabzKhan (645444) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105696)

Seems the site is Slashdotted already ! Mirrors anyone?

Camera phones (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105723)

The one thing I never got about camera phones is the lack of flash. They work Ok in daylight, but try taking pictures when you're out at the pub, or doing any other kind of activity where lighting is not optimal. Most people's houses are not sufficiently lit to get a good shot. I think that they are pretty useless features when you consider everything else they could put on a phone.

This is true of most technology (5, Insightful)

spidergoat2 (715962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105730)

I really doesn't matter if it's a cell phone or not. People will go out and drop $1000 on a video camera, but won't spend $15 on a book about how to properly film a subject. People will spend $1000 or more on a PC, but again, won't drop $15 on a book about how to use it. I don't think that it matters if it's a table saw or a gun, most folks won't spend the tiome to learn how to use it correctly.

invention disclosure (1)

curator_thew (778098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105735)


Just to place this prior art into the public domain, I hereby describe the following invention so that it may not be patentable:

a method and device for adaptive image compression

it is know that air time costs money, and it is known that compression techniques can operate at various quality levels and in return provide lower size of image.

the problem solved by this invention is the transmission of image with adaptive compression to ensure that the entire image can be transmitted within a certain time constraint.

the user specifies a time constraint, and a minimum quality level.

when the connection is established, the data rate of the connection, the quality level and the time constraint is input to the device.

if the quality level cannot be met, the user is presneted with alternate options, one of which may be termination.

the device begins compression at specified quality level, in such a way to incrementally deliver the entire image at levels of refinement: during the transmission, should the transmission rate fall, then the adaptive algorithm will adjust the compression quality level.

one embodiment of this invention is a computer program.

Uses for camera phones (1)

margam_rhino (778498) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105758)

I own a camera phone and find that when shopping for furniture having a picture of the space where the new item is to go helps greatly.

Also if you are buying an expensive item, taking a picture of it (with permission of the store) and mulling it over can also ease the purchasing decision.

If I want to take a quality photo I will use my film or quality digital camera. Having a camera with you for those spur of the moment times is great!

I find it usefull having a camera and as it is detachable (on my phone anyway!) I can put away the camera part and noone can be upset.

Check out the UI on the phone (1)

SteveX (5640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105777)

I have a T616 phone from Sony Ericcson and to email a picture to my blog is literally 13 steps. (here [zimoblog.com] is a camphone image from the T616, that's in it's 'high resolution').

People typically use a single service to post their pictures to, so make sure being able to send an image to an entry in your phone book is EASY.

Useful hints in another direction.. GPRS, webcams (3, Informative)

puntloos (673234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105831)

The author speaks of sending pictures through MMS, which is a VERY expensive service. With GPRS-enabled phones and ditto network, its quite likely you can 'email' your pictures to wherever you wish, at a fraction of the price of sending the picture in an MMS. (usually.. here in NL the imode prices art insane).

Also, with GPRS you can actually turn a few phones into a webcam. (yes seriously). How?

1/ get a phone running on Symbian OS (Nokia 3650, 6600, 7650 for example) and a GPRS provider so your phone can come 'online'
2/ get the 'RemoteS60' software (which is, as the name implies, a remote desktop controller)
3/ connect to the remote desktop with your PC and on your PC, run a program like 'luminosity softcam' that makes a webcam out of a screen area on your desktop.

presto.

Incidentally RemoteS60 now also comes with a 'webcam' feature but its not as useful as this.

Other than that the only tip I can give you is LIGHTING LIGHTING LIGHTING.. crappy mobile cams dont work in darker spots.

Phones I know to have decent camera's are again the nokia's, the Nec 400i and Panasonic S341i

In other news... (3, Funny)

HomerJayS (721692) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105847)

Nokia has announced that it will launch a new line of cell 'phones' that offer text messaging, web browsing, and digital photos, and walkie-talkie voice features. The traditional telephone voice mode feature will no longer be supported.

A Nokia spokesperson stated, "Our marketting department has determined that using cell phones like, well, a 'phone' is something that our target demographic's grandmothers would use. Today's generation is much more inclined to broadcast poor quality digital photos of the dog stuck in the sewer grate, text their buddy lists, and generally annoy passers-by with the 'beep-speak-beep' of walkie-talkie conversations."

Performance? (2)

kpogoda (580939) | more than 10 years ago | (#9105907)

What kind of upload time are you looking at with the average camera phone set to it's highest resolution? The bandwidth on these phones is not that high. I am not sure if the person posting this really thought about that. I am not going to sit and wait an extremely long time using my minutes up for a picture to upload.
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