If there’s one rule that I’ve drummed into people over the last decade it’s that digital zoom in smartphone cameras is a no-no. You gain nothing and, if anything, actually degrade the image of what you’re trying to capture. And I bet that you’ve seen some horrendous examples of digital zoom in action in the past, with little more than VGA resolution images blockily upsampled to 5 megapixels because the user ‘wanted to get closer’.
Which is why I find myself, somewhat shockingly, pulling a slight about turn on the subject of digital zoom. Don’t get me wrong, it can still produce ugly results in the worst cases but, used wisely, it can help rather than hinder.
Here then is everything you ever wanted to know about when it’s OK to use the digital zoom built into every smartphone camera.
Earlier this year, Blackberry finally unveiled its new and re-written Operating System: Blackberry 10. After many years of being stuck behind the curve on touch-centric platforms and modern interfaces, Blackberry 10 promised a fresh look and, most importantly, several innovations that would carry it forward and help it keep the Blackberry-fanatics satisfied while also trying to bring some new converts over.
Along with the new platform, Blackberry announced two new devices: the touch-only Z10 that started shipping a while ago and the traditional keyboard Q10 that’s just starting to ship. I’ve had a Z10 in my hands for several weeks now, enough to get used to the platform and the device and to form my own opinion from extended use. As a Blackberry novice — I had never even tried a Blackberry device before — I’m impressed by what I’ve seen, enough to make me step away from my trusted Galaxy S3. Normally, when I get new devices, I try them for a while, feel excited for a bit, then move back to the S3, but that isn’t the case with the Z10. I’ve come to find several features that keep me going back to it. Read on to find out what they are.
This past Christmas, I bought my first DSLR — a Canon 550D. Since then I really haven’t put the camera down. And as well as experimenting with shooting, I’ve been constantly looking for apps on my Android device to link with photography. In fact, I found quite a lot of photography applications and each one services a different purpose. However, one caught my eye from the onset: DSLR Controller.
As the name suggests,DSLR Controller allows you to control nearly every element of your DSLR. This is one of the most exciting apps I’ve used all year, so read on to find out how powerful it actually is.
There’s no shortage of camera apps on Android, with multiple options covering almost every niche imaginable. But sometimes one breaks through the noise with impressive filters or awesome features to wow you.
Pencil Camera HD is one such app. Similar to the popular Paper Camera, it applies sketch-like, painting-style, or texture-overlay filters to your photos and videos, to sometimes-incredible results. Let’s take a look.
As we approach the Holiday season even more, one question has been recurring on my mind more frequently – should I get my Kodak camera out of its hiding place in my drawer and charge it up for the next few weeks, or do I simply keep taking photos with my phones like I have been for the past year?
See, my dilemma stems from the fact that I carry on a daily basis two really good cameraphones, a Samsung Galaxy SIII and an Optimus 4x HD, both with 8MP cameras, longer battery life and simple microUSB charging, HDR mode, always on availability, plenty of options, bigger screen, and most importantly easy bluetooth transfers, editing and internet uploads. The only two advantages my Kodak camera has are the Xenon flash for better pictures indoors at night, and optical zoom.
And I shouldn’t be alone in my dilemma. Cameraphones have gotten so much better over the last few years that we no longer question using them in everyday situations. But holidays and family gatherings remain a special event, and would normally demand better memory-keeping equipment. The question though is whether cameraphones have gotten to a point where they can replace a standalone camera even in the important moments of life.
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I’ll stick with my phones. For one, I can’t be bothered with another gadget to carry and charge, and for two the phones offer a lot more convenience. What about you?
I will be moving soon to a place of my own and since an empty or single occupancy house is a signal flare for burglars, I’ve began to experiment with the notion of a home CCTV system – or more specifically an IP camera system. The benefits are threefold. First, I can check up on the place when I’m not there. Second, I can record any burglars to help a police investigation. And third, I can see if the person ringing my doorbell is a friend or an Avon rep.
The IP camera system can be set up using a cheap webcam or two that are accessed using any browser as the camera feed is streamed over the Internet. There are dozens of Android apps available to view IP cameras but I will be incorporating TinyCam Monitor into my home surveillance system because of its features and free price tag.
The humble infographic has gone from the boardroom projector to online viral fame in the last few years. There’s no easier way to represent data to interest a person than by making it look pretty. Good infographics are simple to interpret and often cross language barriers effortlessly.
InFoto aims to tap into this, by converting the hundreds of photos you undoubtedly have stewing on your SD card into a pretty infographic that’ll probably get more likes on Facebook than your original snaps.
When I first heard the idea I thought it was a college student’s half-baked end of year assignment he decided to throw up on the Google Play Store, but it turns out photos actually have a ton of data stored within them. The question is: does the app make impressive use of it?
When was the last time you saw a new mobile phone without a camera? Tough one, isn’t it? From a mere gimmick just a few years ago, to a necessarily underpowered addon, to a full-fledged feature, cameras on mobile phones have come a long way. While the iPhone has graduated to become the most used camera amongst Flickr users, every new Android phone that comes out boasts of some new camera technology unique to itself.
Unfortunately, camera apps haven’t really kept in sync with the advances in mobile phone camera technology over the years. So although your phone may be technically capable of a lot of things, the app you use to shoot your photos is most probably showcasing only a fraction of its abilities. And even if it can take advantage of everything available to it, it hides all that control deep within its settings in an attempt to keep the user interface clean and simple to use.
Except for Shot Control, that is.
Most photos taken with phone cameras are grainy, blurry, washed out, dark or just plain boring. It’s sad, because they don’t have to be. People usually blame the quality of their cameras for the quality of their shots, but that’s actually not very important when it comes to getting a good picture.
So how does one get good pictures out of a phone camera? It’s really not about the megapixels. Let’s forget about the technical specifications of our cameras for a few minutes and check out some simple things we can do to improve our photography, keeping in mind certain scenarios we regularly come across in our daily lives. The real lesson here to be learned here is to adapt. Think about how your shots could be imporved before shooting them and you’ll be taking great pictures in no time.
The Consumer Electronics Show showed off many different Android devices, including a handful of new phones and new tablets. However, while those devices headlined Android’s appearance at the show, hardware manufactures also introduced new uses of the operating system on devices including watches and webcams.
Let’s take a look at those devices…