Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Phone Cams - The New Normal?
Here I go again, with musings that must seem to most people to be exactly 55 months behind the times! Why 55 months? Because technology is racing ahead so quickly that one month of new developments now represents what it would take one full year to accomplish not so long ago... and that I'm a retired, semi-technical-illiterate old fart of 55 years who would still rather twist dials than use a touch screen.
So the big news is I finally picked up a decent phone, at my wife's insistence - now that I'm retired she obviously wants to keep tabs on me at all times. So, I thought I might as well get a phone that has a decent camera. I won't come out and say which phone I got, because I'm not in the advertising business here, but you should be able to figure it out from my deliberately blurred picture above.
Already, I hear all you elitists wondering out loud why I didn't pick the iPhone 4S instead. Easy - two reasons 1) Cost - this one was free on my Service Plan, and it's hard to argue with free, and 2) as the owner of two iPods, I'm already familiar with the Apple universe, and immediately wanted to break away from that black hole, and found several great Linux ways to manage my iPods with the music that I alone want to hear. I reasoned, what's true for music management is probably also true for photo management.
Now, if all you know is the iPhone universe, you're probably thinking I'll regret my decision immediately, because I can't have "Instagram". Again, I have two things to say - 1) Wrong! This was just announced today. And 2) Who cares? - The Android Play Store has plenty of photo apps available, free or very cheap, that offer a lot of the same functions as Instagram. Besides, I can still get super creative by using GIMP, which I would be more likely to do anyway.
What about picture quality? I really can't comment on that yet. I know the iPhone camera is excellent, I'll never argue with that. But mine is made by a well known Korean maker of pretty good digital cameras who's name starts with "S". I used it to take that yummy looking Pub-Food picture - straight from the phone, it appears to offer great focus, reasonable colour (a bit on the yellow side perhaps, or was the dill pickle really like that, I don't remember...), and near perfect flash control. I also know that the iPhone is not the be-all for quality - the Finnish company who's name starts with "N" has created a camera phone which is not only the "game changer" for phonography, but I think is going to establish the "new normal" for digital photography! Right now, it's only available in Europe (how come they get all the truly great stuff?) I'm pretty certain however, that when it's time for me to upgrade in 3 years on my Service Plan, it will be the "N" phone I'll go for (wait - that's 36 years from now, right?)
The thing is, all of the premium phones available right now with 8 MP sensors, take far better pictures than you'd think they ought to - does that make sense? As it was with the Olympus Trip-35 from the 1970's, which also took far better pictures than it should have done, we now have available a very low cost and even more convenient way to take really great snapshots, and I'm excited about that - can you tell?