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Subject: Are cell-phone cameras a waste of time? rss

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Michael Hopcroft
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I have a camera on my LG Razor2 cellphone that I have yet to figure out at all. I think it requires a memory card I don't have yet.

Anyway, I'm wondering whether I should bother to pick up the card. The reason I ask is that I have this big convention coming up in March and I'd like some pictures. I can't afford an SLR, but I don't know if I can trust my phone's camera to do anything worthwhile at all.

I also don't trust my battery....

 
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Daniel Kearns
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Not a waste at all.

How else are you going to take pictures of your pockets?
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Some cell phone cameras are quite good quality. Look for iPhone cam photos on flickr and check out the hot ones.

But the main point is: cell phones are convenient. You won't want to drag an SLR with you everywhere, but your cell WILL be with you. You won't get tip-top quality photos, but I doubt you'd want to take the time to set up great photos in the midst of a convention anyhow.
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David Boeren
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The pictures are OK. Not great for making prints, but good for posting online where low-to-moderate resolution isn't a problem since you'd have to size it down anyway.

What they're going to be noticeably bad at is low light pictures. The lens isn't big enough to capture a lot of light and the flash (if any) is going to be pretty small.

Should be good for taking pics of boardgame stuff though.

I'd figure out how to use the camera before buying a memory card though, most likely it can operate without one, it would just have room for fewer pictures in the internal memory. There's likely a way to set lower resolution if you need to hold more of them.
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Chris Ferejohn
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All pics here from an iPhone 3GS (which is actually back a generation - iPhone4 pics are better still): http://everythingiplayed.tumblr.com/

Apologies for shameless plug.
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Johan Haglert
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Since it's often the only camera people have with them it's also often the best they've got.

LG Rumor 2?

Motorola Razr2?
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William McCarroll
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If you have a better camera, then I would say use that. Most phone cameras don't allow for changing ISO, aperture, or exposure time which really limits what you can do with it. If you want snapshots, then go for it, but it's hard to get really good pictures from a phone.

I use mine for posting pics to twitter when i want to document something in real time, but I've never really liked them enough to post to BGG. (but I've seen people do amazing things with the phone, so I suppose much of it depends on talent.)
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Alex Vandertol
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My nephew is a photography / design major, and he sold his point-n-shoot after he got his iPhone 4S. He also has a $2000+ SLR, but feels the 4S' lens and optics are good enough for casual pictures.
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Alex Bourne
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If my phone has anything that doesn't directly relate to me making a phone call, then I consider it a waste of time. That is why I purchased this phone for $9.



Win.
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Bradley Martin
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huh, and yet, i find something that basic is just extra space in my pocket, if i have a phone, i'd want it to do other things as well.
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Michael Hopcroft
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Rumor2. Sorry. I got them mixed up.
 
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Dan Edelen
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The camera on my wife's Samsung Infuse is outstanding.
 
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roger beatson
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You should ask Kodak the same question shake
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Jordan Booth
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I think it is a very good idea for you to get a dedicated camera especially considering your concern about battery life. If you are going to be taking so many pictures that your device runs down you don't want it to also be the device you need for emergencies and business. Also I agree with Alex Bourne, I find in general the more types of hardware a device tries to cram into a pocket sized case, the less focus any individual type gets and therefore they all suffer and come out sub-par. Lastly what happens when you want to use both functions at the same time? You'll find it annoying to have incoming calls interrupt setting up a shot (maybe even missing the chance) and what about long calls that tie up your device while you could be taking pictures simultaneously with another device?

I'm confused as to why you ignore the vast market of products between camera phones and SLRs. That's like saying the only available seats in a baseball stadium are nosebleeds and bleacher seats. Many simple digital cameras between $50-100 will give you adequate resolution (8-12MP) and let you control the same attributes of a shot without the clunky pretentiousness of a multi-hundred dollar SLR.

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Virre Linwendil Annergård
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I agree with the advice to go with a point and shoot camera, possible one of the litle more advanced models if you can afford them. Most places I played boardgames in, even at cons have had big issues with lighting so flash and good white balance would be a thing that most phone cameras fail. Look into a point and shoot that can use raw (or one of the canon ones that have a firmware hack that fix that)
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If you do end up getting a point-and-shoot, be sure to get one that's small enough that you'll be willing to take it with you. There's no point in having a camera that's so bulky and inconvenient that you never want to carry it.

RAW mode is a distant second to convenience, in this situation -- being able to mess with photos in post-processing is pointless if you never bother to take photos in the first place!
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Virre Linwendil Annergård
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Yeah I meant, it is a nice feature to be able to fix white-balance for it is going to be off but you don't nesecary need to fix it.
 
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Dan Edelen
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virre wrote:
Yeah I meant, it is a nice feature to be able to fix white-balance for it is going to be off but you don't nesecary need to fix it.


For the purposes of posting pics on BGG, PLEASE crop, fix the white balance, and sharpen the image, ESPECIALLY if the pic will be used as a representative image.

The majority of representative images on BGG need these corrections. Please take the time to fix the image in postprocessing (and cut the MB/KB size of the image with some decent JPG compression, as I'm sure BGGs servers will thank you for not having to serve some massive pic all the time).
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An Iphone or comparable phone is about as good as a $100-150 camera these days. Which is to say its as good as a $300-500 camera from 5 years ago. Not really so bad.
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William McCarroll
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cormor321 wrote:
Which is to say its as good as a $300-500 camera from 5 years ago. Not really so bad.


I'd have to disagree here. I bought our Canon EOS 350D about 5 years ago for around $500, and it's still way better than anything I could take with the iPhone 4. I use the EOS 7D for my review photos, but I'd go back to the digital rebel before I resorted to the phone.
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mateenyweeny
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The 4S has a significantly better camera than the iPhone 4 but I still wouldn't compare it to a dedicated camera. Even a $100 one would take better photos. Although the iPhone would take better photos than a $100 camera from 3-5 years ago maybe. Also the lack of a proper flash hurts it.
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William McCarroll
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To return to the OP's question though. If you don't have a dedicated camera, and the phone is your only option. By all means, use your phone. It will give you decent pictures, and photographic memories from your trip. That alone is worth it.

 
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Doug Faust
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There are a few cell phone cameras that have macro (close-up) settings. If you're going to go the cell-phone-only route, I'd suggest one that has that feature, especially for board game photography. Unfortunately, I don't know of any cell phone cameras that let you change the aperture or exposure time (common features on a point-and-shoot), which is really unfortunate as I use those settings all the time.
 
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hezkezl wrote:
cormor321 wrote:
Which is to say its as good as a $300-500 camera from 5 years ago. Not really so bad.


I'd have to disagree here. I bought our Canon EOS 350D about 5 years ago for around $500, and it's still way better than anything I could take with the iPhone 4. I use the EOS 7D for my review photos, but I'd go back to the digital rebel before I resorted to the phone.


The 350D isn't a $500 camera from 5 years ago. Its a $899 (+ Lens) camera from 7 years ago that you bought on clearance...

A Sony Cybershot DSC-S600 was $400 when it came out in 2006. A new iphone has better picture quality.

To the OP. You can probably take at least a few pictures on it without an extra memory card. Try it out around your house and see how it does. That will answer your question about picture quality and battery life better than anything else.
 
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William McCarroll
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Quote:
The 350D isn't a $500 camera from 5 years ago. Its a $899 (+ Lens) camera from 7 years ago that you bought on clearance...


I bought it new with a kit lens, I don't think it was on clearance, but regardless, it was a camera that was widely available at that price, at that time.

Even if you look at the Sony line though, The DSC h5 was a 7.2 megapixel sub $500 retail camera with a Carl Zeiss Objective. I'd almost guarantee that the size of the objective alone would allow it to outperform an iPhone 4s.

I'm not saying phone cameras are bad, I'm just saying that a dedicated camera is going to be more flexible, and present the opportunity for better pictures. If I want to manipulate depth of field in my image, I'm going to have a hard time doing that with a camera phone. Not to mention, the iPhone I have (admittedly is only a 4. I know the 4s has an innovative CMOS sensor) is pretty darn noisy under indoor lighting.
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