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cameraphone

Stop whingeing about how you used to take great photos w/your DSLR but are now mired in a morass of bad cameraphone photos - get a cheap point & shoot and an Eye-Fi card & you will have great photos again w/out the DSLR weight

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2012-12-23 22:51

There are countless geeky, nerdy, folks in late 2012 "whingeing" :-) about

  1. how they used to take great DSLR photos but  it was too heavy & inconvenient to post photos,
  2. so they switched to a cameraphone
  3. but are tired of its bad photos.

Simple solution:

  1. buy a $150 dollar point and shoot like the Canon Powershot A2400 which you can get for $70 (or a $200 Olympus E-PL1 or EPM-1 with the  Olympus bodycap lens for $59 if you want something even more awesome for $260 instead of $150 or less),
  2. a $99 Eye-Fi card.
  3. Carry the camera in your pocket at all times.
  4. Post photos from the Eye-Fi via your cameraphone's WIFI access point

This makes it convenient and quick like your cameraphone but gives you much better image quality that doesn't require filters of doom to make the photos "interesting"!

Another reason to turn off the touchscreen on the N8: I have often switched WiFi & 3G off by accident

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2012-06-03 09:49

subject says it all: Symbian is prone to accidental touch screen disabling of WiFi & 3G while moving. Touchscreen interfaces assume you will be using them while stationary. Not true :-) Especially for cameraphone picture taking you don't want inadvertent touch screen touches while moving!

(this blog post is aimed at the 3 people in the world who still use N8 as their main cameraphone :-))

Bicycle Commuting Picture Workflow - N8 in lanyard around my neck, take a shot, drop the phone

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2012-04-29 09:11

As a followup to WANTED: Two N8 Cameraphone apps with settings locked: default + hyperfocal street photography, here's my N8 cameraphone picture taking workflow (I have been doing this since 2008 and as a result have far over 50000 cameraphone pictures :-) !) while bicycling to work:

  1. N8 is on a lanyard around my neck
  2. I see something interesting
  3. I take the picture using the N8 built-in cameraphone app custom setting (my custom mode is the default settings with flash turned off)
  4. I drop the phone gently and it bounces harmlessly on my chest
  5. I continue bicycling
  6. Goto step 2

I would like an app with the touchscreen off because sometimes I accidentally trigger the photo editor.

I would like an app that locks out other apps because sometimes I accidentally quit out of the camera app. During my ride I don't use any other apps.

 

Nokia Pureview 808 - 41 Megapixel sensor downsamples to superior 5 Megapixel images

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2012-02-27 00:26

If the Nokia Pureview 808 hype (Nokia, Engadget, Verge, AAS) :-) (Xenon flash, continuous focus 1080p video, 34 megapixels for still images, pentaband HSDPA, Symbian Belle) is to be believed, the Nokia Pureview 808 has a 41 Megapixel sensor which downsamples 7 pixels into 1 which means awesome images. 5 years in the making! Anyhow as somebody who as taken over 50000 photos with Nokia cameraphones since 2004, I need to review this immediately :-) ! Glad to see that Damian and the rest of the Nokia cameraphone team are still having fun and producing kick a*s cameraphone modules!

iPhone4S overall beats the N8 & N9. Unbelievable but true that Nokia the cameraphone leader in 2007 is behind Apple in all fronts except the Zeiss lens

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2011-10-04 22:09

With the iPhone4S, Apple is now the leader in cameraphones. The only advantage left to Nokia is the Zeiss lens. They have fallen behind in everything else! Sad but true! I hope Damian Dinning and his fab team at Nokia have an even better Nokia cameraphone waiting to be introduced before the end of the year. Fingers crossed!

The iPhone4S has a camera processing chip, the so-called image signal processor aka "ISP" and it has over 6000 cameraphone apps and a f2.4 lens and HD video. The N8 and the N9 lose in all areas except when it comes to raw megapixel count (the N8 has 12 megapixels) and perhaps in the lens quality: the N9 has 8MP and f2.2; the N8 has 82MP and f2.8; both are Zeiss optics which are better lens (methinks) than the iPhone4S 5 element "no-name" design.

Time will tell if Nokia can regain its cameraphone crown but back in 2007 (the time of the "laughable" iPhone 2G; I didn't laugh; I had an iPhone 2G as well as my Nokia N95 and N82 which combined I used to take tens of thousands of photos and I loved the original iPhone web browser and knew back then the iPhone wouidn't be a toy cameraphone in 2011) nobody in the land of Nokia watchers and enthusiasts would have thought that that Apple would produce the iPhone4S that overall beats Nokia cameraphones and not only that will ship in volumes that dwarf the N95 and N82 sales: Every single deficiency that the original iPhone had compared to Nokia cameraphones in 2007 has been corrected and surpassed by the iPhone4S in 2011

There is no substitute for a hardware shutter button for "real" cameraphones

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2011-10-02 22:24

So perhaps the iOS 5 hardware button option will make the iPhone a truly usable cameraphone; the missing hardware button is the only thing keeping the iPhone from being a "real" cameraphone (6000 cameraphone apps CHECK! acceptable 5 megapixel sensor CHECK!). As the germans say, mal sehen!

X7 review: It's hard to use another cameraphone after you have used the N8

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2011-08-03 23:02

At Nokia Unfenced II in Canmore, Alberta, Canada at the beginning of July (a fun event consisting of horseback riding, a challenging ropes course and other mayhem and hijinx which was impeccably and beautifully organized by Donna Suffling and Tom Hall of Womworld Nokia; my thanks to Donna, Tom and Womworld for paying for the whole shebang and providing us review Nokia X7s!), I received the Nokia X7 for review. I tried to love the X7 but after the N8 I think it's really impossible for me to love another cameraphone fully unless it beats the N8's picture quality. It's all about the pictures for me and the N8's pictures are the best in spite of Symbian's many unfriendly eccentricities (check out the my X7 pictures for yourself: X7 Set 1, X7 Set 2).

Loved:

  • X7 build quality
  • Symbian Anna is getting easier to use (the eccentricities are very nearly all gone) but is it too little too late? Probably in my estimation but time will tell;

Not loved:

  • No lanyard slot (but I realize that most people don't carry their cameraphones around their neck for quick camera access)
  • Probably no lanyard slot because it's too heavy for wearing around your neck :-)
  • The EDoF EOF i.e. fixed focus  camera. Sorry but when you can get an iPhone 3GS with macro and real focusing for  free on contract, why would you settle for a fixed focus camera ?
  • Disappointed to find that the Symbian Anna Browser doesn't run my HTML5 map mashups made using the CloudMade API e.g. my map of Vancouver flickr photos taken the day the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks to advance to the 2011 Stanley Cup final (but Android Web Kit browser, Firefox Mobile and Mobile Safari do and my guess is Opera Mobile on the X7 would work). When will Symbian get a real HTML5 modern built-in browser? Symbian Belle?

Das Blinkenlights - Vancouver and San Francisco Video Style!

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2011-05-25 00:08

As promised, videos of my San Francisco and Vancouver real-time HTML5 geotagged photo mashups driven by the great flickr and CloudMadeAPIs (each time a geotagged photo to the city is uploaded to flickr, a dot is posted on the map; the dot does a reverse blue fade-in and then alternates between green and red and the map alternates between orange and pink). Next up, add music driven by the neighbourhood (i.e. a different tune for each woeid, which means 26 different tunes for Vancouver).

Vancouver real-time flickr cloudmade html5 mashup:

Code:

github.com/rtanglao/rth5/blob/master/vancouver-emerges...

Try it out yourself! (may take some time for photos to appear since dots are only added when photos are uploaded to flickr geotagged in the city of vancouver):

dl.dropbox.com/u/361757/CCC/vancouver-emerges-d3.html

San Francisco real-time flickr cloudmade html5 mashup:

Code:

github.com/rtanglao/rth5/blob/master/sanfrancisco-emerges...

Try it out yourself (may take some time for photos to appear since dots are only added when photos are uploaded to flickr geotagged in the city of san francisco):

dl.dropbox.com/u/361757/CCC/sanfrancisco-emerges-d3.html

Das Blinkenlights w/CloudMade APIs of Vancouver & San Francisco real-time geotagged flickr photos: use map.removeOverlay()

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2011-05-20 00:35

To the three :-) people in the world who care about blinking lights on a CloudMade Map : Evidently CloudMade and the web browsers can't handle  large amount of overlays i.e. 1000s of them :-). So the solution is to map.removeOverlay() before map.addOverlay(). If you don't remove the overlay before you addOverlay() then the browser slows down and leaks a large amount of memory.

I'll post a video later of the incredible Das Blinkenlights :-) but you can try it yourself. Just click on one of the following URLs to try it yourself (the map will be all black until somebody uploads some geotagged photos which could be anywhere from 1 second from now until an hour from now):

 

I have Nokia Cameraphone Stockholm syndrome, the N8 continues to rule!

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2011-05-01 16:33

fern! - 043020116311 043020116308 A dandelion between the cracks 043020116231 Purple flower of Cedar Cottage - 032720114585

I have Nokia Cameraphone Stockholm syndrome :-) which means I neglect the (un)usability of Symbian in order to get fantastic photos like the ones above! I can't stop taking photos with the Nokia N8, and I can't repeat it enough, the photo quality is amazing, thanks again to the Nokia team responsible for the N8!

My question, who will top the Nokia N8 in cameraphones? Will it be somebody on Android, Windows Phone 7, WebOS, or will Canon and Nikon or some camera upstart like Panasonic do the right thing and incorporate 3G connectivity with software programmability (I love Eye-Fi but unless it's built in it's a kludge! And the built-in WiFi in various Nikons and other cameras from traditional camera manufacturers is unusable since it's not programmable and not flexible) so that an ecosystem of cameraphone apps can spawn around a fantastic cameraphone (the iPhone4 has an excellent ecosystem of cameraphone apps but without a dedicated camera button, I can't use it as my goto cameraphone).

My guess it will be be an Android cameraphone with a dedicated camera button that will top the N8 but I'd love to be proven wrong by HP, or Panasonic or other upstart. (And feel free to think that my obsession with cameras with built in connectivity that is programmable is crazy but I think there are many 1000s of people like me!)

Cisco Flip débacle: Social Cameras must have wireless connectivity & magic fairy dust won't turn Enterprise companies into consumer companies

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2011-04-14 19:42

Cisco Flip débacle lessons:

  • Social Cameras must have wireless connectivity (I like Dave Winer's crazy good Social Camera idea but there's lots of room for innovation here that Cisco, Nokia and many others have missed and that companies like Color, Eye-fi et al are trying)  &
  • Magic fairy dust won't turn Enterprise companies like Cisco (or the late lamented mismanaged Nortel) into consumer companies :-)

The Revolution is not YET geo-tagged camera blogged aka In search of Das Blinkenlights

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-11-03 00:49

tl;dr: Surprised by the paucity of real-time geotagged photos on flickr. People seem to upload in batches many hours after the fact. Still looking for a cool real-time geotagged picture feed so I can do some Blinkenlights info visualizations in a web browser near you!

Real Time Average Colour of Geotagged photos of 18 cities after a few minutes

12:43am 27Oct2010 Snapshot of 18 Cities Real Time Average Color of Geotagged flickr

Real Time Average Colour Geotagged photos of 18 cities after a few hours

8:16am 27Oct2010 Snapshot of 18 Cities Real Time Average Color of Geotagged flickr

Since 2007, I have over 50000 21000 (29000 non geotagged) geotagged photos uploaded on flickr from cameras most in real-time or near real time (a few minutes to a few hours after they were taken). I expected in 2010 that there would be many real-time geo tagged obsessive :-) photo uploaders like me. Enough to power a cool Blinkenlights info visualization.

Well I was wrong :-) Based on the info viz (geoTaggedAvg18.html ; github source - tested Firefox 4, Chrome, iPhone 4, Android 2.1 - each dot is the average colour of a geotagged photo uploaded to 1 of 18 cities, there are 24 dots per row and then it wraps around after over 24) that I did in Javascript and HTML5 even in geo-tagging mad cities like New York and San Francisco and Vancouver, people don't upload geotagged photos in real-time to flickr (and I doubt elsewhere but love to be proven wrong, if anybody has a real-time updated photo stream with lat/long and an API that has more photos than flickr, please let me know:roland AT rolandtanglao.com twitter:@rtanglao). They do it after the fact and they don't do many.

Probably because:

  • people are concerned about loss of privacy
  • uploading with GPS coordinates is too hard
  • GPSes are unreliable but getting more reliable every day
  • most people upload to social media ghettos like Facebook and Twitpic where most of their metadata including latitude and longitude is lost and/or not available via API instead of "full photos as social object with full-meta-data-preservation-and-APIs-to-get-the-meta-data" services like flickr

HD size with Street Chrome Version of 2010 Men's Gold Medal Hockey Day Geotagged Pics from Flickr

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-10-17 17:12

HD size with Street Chrome Version of 2010 Men's Gold Medal Hockey Day Geotagged Pics from Flickr

Each red, yellow or orange dot represents 1 geotagged cameraphone photo from folks on Flickr taken between 00:00 Feb 28 2010 PST to 11:59PM Feb 28 2010 PST. Over 2000 photos! generated by: dl.dropbox.com/u/361757/CCC/mens-gold-medal-hockey-game28... 

(Works on Firefox 4, Safari 5, Chrome, Safari iOS 4 but not Firefox 3., github source)

Observations:

  1. Granville and Robson truly were the epicentre of action that day!
  2. No photos uploaded from Granville Island
  3. No photos uploaded from The Drive - East Van was almost totally unaffected by the Olympics which corresponds with my experience. East of Gastown there was no Olympic visitors and not nearly as much buzz.

N900 Camera App Nits

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-08-11 00:21

I have switched over to the N900 for the moment for my cameraphone pictures. All in all the N900 seems better than the N82. Some comments and nits:

  1. Would be nice to be able to switch off the touch screen because sometimes in the middle of bicycling I realize the GPS has turned off or the setting is wrong for some reason:
  2. Does this happen because of a glitch / bug or because of an inadvertent touch while bicycling? I think both!
  3. The N900 camera is not much faster than the N82 (in fact the N82 might be faster). Anybody done any timing?
  4. The N900 lens is clean. After 3 years, the N82 has dust under the cover
  5. In silent mode, the N900 camera app doesn't make a noise. This is different from the N82 and N95 which didn't allow me to turn the camera sound off even in silent mode
  6. The N900 built-in GPS is faster than  the N82 + Bluetooth GPS that I was using before

Why do I continue to use the N82 instead of the N900 for my cameraphone photos? A: ShoZu

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2010-07-27 22:20

Tnkgrl brought up a good point today at lunch at Nuba. Why do I continue to use the N82 when the N900 is better (e.g. faster shot to shot, great macro, etc.) ?

The primary reason is ShoZu! There is no solution as far as I know on the N900 that will upload dozens of photos at once to flickr. If anybody knows of such a program for the N900, please let me know and I'll switch (I can't handle doing 12 at a time, it's a waste of time when you have taken 20-50 as I usually do!).

N900 finally gets some fun photo apps

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2010-07-22 07:24

The pre iPhone 4 camera is not as great as the Nokia cameraphones have been (the iPhone 4 finally has a decent camera that actually is better than most Nokia cameraphones) but because it is easy to use and to develop for there are many apps that make it fun e.g. hipstamatic. I am glad that the N900 finally has some decent apps like FCamera, low-light assistant and hdr capture that are powered by the research project FCam. Can't wait to try these. Expect lots of fun and weird pictures from these apps in my flickr stream soon.

50000 photos & 6 years with a Camera Phone

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-07-19 06:35

Inspired by Jen's 2,045 Days with a Camera Phone:

  1. I have over 35000 (35823 as of this writing) public photos tagged "cameraphone" on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roland/tags/cameraphone since I bought my Nokia 7610 1 megapixel cameraphone back in June 2004
  2. Over 90% of those were with Nokia Cameraphones
  3. most of them were with the N95 (7643) and N82 (20, 554 as of this writing)
  4. Combine the 35000 public plus over 10000 on my private kid flickr account plus the ones that I didn't download and I have over 50000
  5. Needless to say I love my N82 :-) and its "triumph of the lofi" sensor
  6. I also love the non blurriness of my digital SLR and Lightroom but hate the fact that WiFi and GPS are not built into DSLRs (they both should be! All cameras including cameraphones and SLRs and point and shoots will be social cameras in 10 years or less!!!!)
  7. And like Jen I have tried the N8 under NDA and it's fantastic
  8. Therefore even though (like Jen), Symbian is not my fav operating system anymore:
  9. N8 + ShoZu + gravity = a winner so I am getting one (and an iPhone 4 as previously blogged; it would be silly for me not to use the awesome cameraphone power of the iPhone 4)
  10. And Jen, I assume when you write:
    1. " I will be purchasing a Nokia N8 and then tracking down a QT developer to help me flesh out the code of my mobile app idea. Here's to 2,045 more days of camera phone photography. ;o)"
    2. that python is ok? Right Jen :-) ? If so I'll help you write a prototype. I don't do C++ :-)

Nokia could win big with a social camera

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-06-30 07:36

Dave Winer has been writing for many years about a social camera. I have been writing for years about how ShoZu + Nokia Cameraphones are killer apps and built-in ShoZu would be a killer app (e.g. Nokia should buy ShoZu).

My current thinking is:

Canon or Nikon's sensors and lens +  Nokia phone with "comes with world wide connectivity and built-in easy to use app for uploading photos and HD video to all popular social sites e.g. flickr, facebook, picasa" + sideload to your Computer and OVI files (i.e. Eye-fi done right, not as an aftermarket kludge - don't get me wrong, unlike Dave I love my Eye-Fi card; it's done well but at the end of the day it's a hack!) for backup in real time using ShoZu-like technology to do it in the background and auto-resume if connectivity lost  =

an awesome social camera that would sell well

The current Nokia solution is Share Online which is:

  • a) hard to use 
  • b) hard to configure 
  • c) doesn't work in the  background and auto-resume like ShoZu  
  • d) requires folks to figure out the whole "3G/WiFi don't automatically switch to 3G when I am roaming" dance

As Dave points out if Nokia doesn't do it (and Nokia is the only company with all the pieces including camera hardware and software, ShoZu-like tech, etc) and the biz dev clout to do something like a "Comes with bandwidth" partnership like Amazon did for the Kindle), somebody else will do it e.g. Apple or Google or some social camera upstart.

 

iPhone4 HD Video is a killer app - James Burland's HD video's proof of the awesome sound & video quality - Game on N8 :-) !

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2010-06-25 07:55

James Burland's (a video and still cameraphone expert since the N90 and N93 days))  stunning video of a bee pollinating flowers shows the high quality sound and video of the iPhone 4 camera.

Total killer app for parents and aspiring film makers !! Who needs a Canon 5D Mark II? You could easily do something like the Blair Witch Project with shaky non stabilized video on the iPhone 4.

Don't believe me? Register for vimeo, download James Burland's iphone 4 HD video, put on your headphones and check it out.

Because I have tried an N8 prototype, I know the Nokia N8's stills are better than the iPhone 4 stills but not sure the N8's videos are going to be better than iPhone 4. Bring on the competition!

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