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Camera Phone Tips 286

Posted by Hemos
from the watch-and-learn dept.
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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Camera Phone Tips

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  • by j0nkatz (315168) * <anon@memphiCHICAGOsgeek.com minus city> on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:32AM (#9105483) Homepage
    Hang up and drive!!!!
    • by zin (7049) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:58AM (#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.
    • on the rare occasions that I drive, and that I get a call, I usually say right off the bat that I'm driving, and that I might be distracted while talking on the phone, due to having to pay more attention to the road and other cars.

      The other person usually opts to call back later unless it's something urgent, in which case the message is stated, then the conversation stops.
  • by LaserLyte (725803) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:33AM (#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.
    • by b06r011 (763282) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:41AM (#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!

      • by crayz (1056) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:57AM (#9106231) Homepage
        [b]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[/b]

        I'd actually say that's unlikely. Part of the problem with current digital cameras is that their sensors aren't big enough, and thus you wind up having a lens focusing a tiny amount of light onto the sensor.

        Now, in 5 years I'm sure that you will have cell phone/PDAs with fairly high resolution cameras. But there's still going to be a lot of situations where it will be difficult to take a decent picture because:
        - lack of light and no flash
        - lack of ability to control aperature/shutter speed
        - problems focusing

        If this was all about megapixels, the 2MP camera-phones wouldn't take pictures far shittier than my years old 1.3MP digicam could.
    • Obvious to you, but not obvious to the millions of clueless "photographers" that take the same bad habits from their Single-Use cameras into the digital world.
  • Step 1... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:34AM (#9105502)
    Don't run your website from your camera phone..?
  • by Mr Europe (657225) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:35AM (#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.
    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:39AM (#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.
      • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 lon
    • "The best camera/phone is the one with most pixels. "

      No, it's the one with the best optics. I'll tell you right now, I'm not getting full use of the 640 by 480 CCD I have right now. A better lens would do me wonders, but increasing the CCD resolution would give me higher-resolution blur.
    • The best camera/phone is the one with most pixels.

      And I suppose the best processor is the one with the most megahertz?

      Serious photographers have known for years that fewer cleaner pixels beat more, noisier pixels every time. That's why Nikon sells a 4MP D2H to pros and Sony sells an 8MP F828 to consumers. Megapixels, like megahertz, only tell a fraction of the story.
  • My tips (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@NospaM.remco.palli.nl> on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:35AM (#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 (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:43AM (#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?
    • Re:My tips (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mysticgoat (582871) on Monday May 10, 2004 @12:33PM (#9107780) Homepage Journal

      Don't be afraid to throw away the crap ones

      YES!

      The biggest improvement an amateur photographer can make is a simple matter of self-discipline:

      Throw away 8 of every 10 photos you take, before showing them to anyone.

      There are many reasons why this works. If you adopt this practice now, by the end of the summer you'll have discovered several of those reasons on your own. You'll also have taken many more pictures than you would have otherwise, yet have fewer to show for it. OTOH, you'll start getting more compliments on your work.

      Later on, if you decide you like this and want to go to the next level, you can start reading about digital photography and throwing away at least 9 of every 10 shots.

  • Lint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tttonyyy (726776) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:35AM (#9105513) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Too many features, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orion41us (707362) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:35AM (#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?
    • by BorgDrone (64343)
      My phone t610's battery lasts for at least a week AND it has a (crappy) camera.
    • 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 (i

      • 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 "o
        • "All-in-one" (Score:3, Informative)

          by sparkchaser (594964)
          If you want pager, cell phone, game console, radio, PDA, digital camera, and an MP3 player all in one, then go buy a Handspring Prism. You can buy them used on eBay for around $50 or less. You can pick up springboards for them that do all of the functions you listed plus some you didn't (GPS, language dictionary, WiFi card, and more).
    • by kev0153 (578226) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:23AM (#9105909)
      I agree. I work for a large U.S. Government Contractor and I'm required to enter secure buildings around Washington DC. Security at these buildings is not requesting that you check your phone at the front desk if it has a camera in it. Some military bases just take them from you if you are caught. Having a camera phone is not an option for me. I ended up going with a Siemens S56. It may be a niche market around DC but I bet non-camera phones sell like hotcakes around here.
      • by ptbarnett (159784)
        It may be a niche market around DC but I bet non-camera phones sell like hotcakes around here.

        It's not a niche market. Most of the technology and financial companies for which I do consulting and training have prohibitions against cameras on the premises. I read somewhere that Samsung employees cannot carry many of the phones that Samsung manufactures on company premises due to a similar policy.

        If a government contractor is doing work that requires a secured area, carrying a camera phone into it can

    • 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?

      I really don't understand these type of comments. How bad is the telephone system in the US? The past 3-4 mobile phone devices that I used over the past 6 years or so (which were _all_ free with a service plan, as I'm a cheap bastard), all had a battery that lasted at least 72 hours on average use (my T39m lasted for about a week) and the coverage (Greece & UK) was/i

      • by LinuxHam (52232)
        all had a battery that lasted at least 72 hours on average use (my T39m lasted for about a week)

        I really don't understand these types of comments. Although I've always heard no one actually TALKS on their "mobile" in Europe because everyone is sending millions upon millions of SMS messages. If that's all you're doing then, yes, I can understand how your phone can last a week on a single charge. We have better devices for that function over here. They're called Blackberries.

        Stateside, since we don't real
    • 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?

      You're not supposed to be able to understand the person taking your order at the Chinese place! It's not your phone causing that!
  • Other problem... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux@gm a i l . c om> on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:36AM (#9105520) Homepage
    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.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      So you're the guy who took those prisoner abuse photos! How did you get such good resolution from a phone camera?
    • 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.

    • Re:Other problem... (Score:5, Informative)

      by halftrack (454203) <jonkjeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:48AM (#9105643) Homepage
      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.)
      • 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... (Score:3, Informative)

        by rnelsonee (98732)
        It all depends on the level of security involved, but it is usually allowed. In the lab area at my job (a Dept. of Defense contractor), you don't need any clearance to enter, but you do need an escort. We are allowed to have cell phones on, but they aren't allowed to have cameras on them.

        For most secure areas in government buildings, cell phones are allowed, but conversations are prohibited, as are cameras. As far as I know, it's up to the person in charge of the building to determine if you have to le

    • by Punk Walrus (582794) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:58AM (#9105713) Journal
      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.

      • I had a music CD confiscated at a Naval Nuclear Prototype Training Facility. In 1990. It was in my bag. It was "recording media" (did they have home burners in 1990, much less portable ones?).

        They did let me have it back at the end of the day ...
    • 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).
    • It's not just employees. At most federal buildings in the U.S., camera phones are forbidden. You pass it throught the x-ray machine, it gets found, and the guards tell you to take it back to your car and leave it there. If you traveled by public transport, you can take it home or anywhere else, but you just can't bring it in. I've seen one half of a couple wait outside the building for lengthy periods of time, holding the cell phone, while the other half takes care of business.

      I'm an employee and I'll
    • Legal system, too. Lawyers can't bring personal cameras into court, whether they're part of a phone or not.
    • by Bazman (4849)
      Did you ever see Thunderbirds? Thunderbird One had a camera detector that alerted Scott whenever anyone tried to take a picture of Thunderbird technology. That's what we need... Where's Brains?

      Baz
  • Google Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobertTaylor (444958) <roberttaylor1234NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:36AM (#9105523) Homepage Journal
    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]
  • by rebeka thomas (673264) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:37AM (#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!
  • by Phoenix-kun (458418) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:37AM (#9105530) Homepage
    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.
  • Wanted: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swordboy (472941) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:37AM (#9105531) Journal
    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by javatips (66293)
      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 came
    • 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).
  • ...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.

  • 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.
    • 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.
  • by WordODD (706788) <wordodd@gmail.com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:39AM (#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.
    • 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.
    • by tgd (2822)
      Why would stores not want you having a phone with you?

      I take pics with mine a lot -- most of the time they're cutsie pics to send to my girlfriend of interesting things I see. The one real useful thing I do with it is snap pictures of things I see in a store I want to look up online later and get for cheaper.

      There have been more than one book I've snapped a photo of so I could look up later.

      Now, its kind of stupid to blame the use of the phone since I could write them down too, but maybe thats their logi
  • More tips (Score:5, Informative)

    by $exyNerdie (683214) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:40AM (#9105559) Homepage Journal
    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
  • Gym (Score:3, Interesting)

    by liam193 (571414) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:41AM (#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 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cozziewozzie (344246)
      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 tr
    • 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 interfac
  • by Lispy (136512) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:43AM (#9105594) Homepage
    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! ;-)
  • Fine to a point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JanneM (7445) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:44AM (#9105604) Homepage
    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.

  • by spoonyfork (23307) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [krofynoops]> on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:44AM (#9105606) Journal
    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?
  • 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...
  • by jcostantino (585892) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:48AM (#9105642) Homepage
    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.

  • by Phidoux (705500) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:50AM (#9105656) Homepage
    ... how many of those pics seem to be of a person's ear?
  • by bludstone (103539) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:56AM (#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.
    • Certainly the cheap pay-as-you-go market will always have a budget phone with no camera....
    • In the UK, the market has been saturated for 3 years. The manufacturers and re-sellers have resorted to running ads designed to embarrass consumers who have last year's phones.

      The network share has been static as people's social groups since most charged 4x more for calling another network than their own. Things are beginning to change now though, despite the regulator sitting on it's hands.
  • 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.
  • by spidergoat2 (715962) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:01AM (#9105730) Journal
    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.
  • 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.

  • by puntloos (673234) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:12AM (#9105831) Journal
    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
  • by HomerJayS (721692) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:14AM (#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."
  • by kpogoda (580939) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:23AM (#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.
  • all i want (Score:3, Informative)

    by NoGuffCheck (746638) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:26AM (#9105938)
    I'm sick of everyone saying "all i want is a phone that texts and calls, not a camera". GET USED TO IT. For a techy site such as /. seems like there are allot of readers that have a massive fear of new technology. I bet you were the ones who said "texting? what the f*%k do I need that for, I just want a phone so I can be contacted only in emergencies".

    Anyway, I am currently employed in the mobile industry, and I have some shocking news for you. Not only are the camera phones here to stay, but look forward to built in MP3 players, video recorders, PDA, online shopping and plenty-o-porn! All this is available now of course but in the next few years (with increased storage), these will become truly functional. Hey they've just bought out some 1.1 megapixel camera phones, so its only a matter of time.

    digital keys for home/office/car, payment systems (instead of swipe cards), the idea is that youve already agreed to carry a mobile with you, now why dont we add a few things to it so you dont have to carry your PDA, camera, music player, video player, keys, wallet etc etc..
  • by Little Dave (196090) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:30AM (#9105972) Homepage
    I got in on this a few months ago. I was suddenly struck by the simplistic charm of being able to share anything you see, any time you want, with 6 billion captivated viewers.

    So I fired up the old web-o-matic and cranked out an interface to allow me to upload pics and blogs with minimal effort. Bingo! Time to let the hits roll in...

    Shortly after putting it on the site, I realised that nothing remotely interesting happened in my life that was worth uploading and sharing with the world.

    I never came face to face with a yeti. Never saw a UFO. Never witnessed a daring bank heist. Never so much as saw a woodland animal doing a cute thing with a peice of bread.

    I'm now contemplating taking the moblog bit off, because it only serves to highlight to myself how deeply unexciting my life is.

    Bah!
  • I can't have a camera phone, you insensitive clod!

    Seriously though, camera phones are being banned by quite a few companies (including Samsung!) -- yet it is very difficult to find anything but the lowest-end (and largest) phone without a camera.

    Don't even get me started about color screens...
  • by ebbe11 (121118) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:38AM (#9106038)
    I work as a free-lance software developer. While it is not a problem with my current customer, I can easily foresee that I will get a job that involves a ban on cameras on-site.

    Have you tried to find a high-end GSM phone (Tri-band, GPRS and Bluetooth, decent contact manager and calendar, etc. etc.) without a camera lately? It's simply impossible if you want a recent model.

    So I ended up buying another Ericsson R520m phone [expansys.com]. It's gone out of production years ago but it still does the job I need done better than any other phone I've been able to find.

  • by weave (48069) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:45AM (#9106109) Journal
    I went out to buy a new digital camera last October with two big features in mind. Bluetooth and GSM so it could roam in Europe and picked a carrier based on cheapest European roaming rates (T-mobile). The phone happened to have a camera in it, which I dismissed for a while until I found mobog.com. I just have a real blast posting pics of my boring life and writing comments and interacting with the trolls who flame them. It's like a weblog but with a lot less writing required (pic worth a thousand words you know).

    Anyway, it's at www.mobog.com/weave [mobog.com].

    One of the nice charms of that site is that there is no censorship of content or comments by the site's owner (the infamous Pud of fuckedcompany). It does make it hard to share with some people though, even though I don't get into shoot pics of my dick like some people do...)

    My point, yeah, they suck as cameras, but I'm having fun and that's all I care about right now...

  • Don't Bother (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StormyMonday (163372) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:45AM (#9106110) Homepage
    Most personal snapshots are crap because the people who take them want them that way. They're personal mementos, not art objects. The traditional snapshot is as formalized as a Byzantine icon.

    As a sometime professional photographer, I've given any number of hints similar to what I expect is on this list (love the /. effect) and then watched people turn around on the spot and shoot a crappy photo that looks just like every other crappy photo you've ever seen.

    If people want good photos, all they have to do is look at their own photos as art and then work to make them look better.
  • by kkirk007 (304967) <kkirk007@yahoo. c o m> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:45AM (#9106113)
    foreign girls' butts.

    Mobile Asses [mobileass.nl]

    Mobile Asses [mobileasses.dk]

  • by pcp_ip (612017) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:51AM (#9106181) Homepage
    Here's a link [studio2f.com] to some basic tests of the color quality of popular cameraphones. As you can see- most of them suck

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