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Old Sep 1, 2004, 8:43 PM   #1
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Am thinking of getting a cellphone with camera for using when I just need a photo of something. How good are the photos? Can you use editing software like FxFoto or Elements with them? Was thinking of using it for field (biology) work when I just need a quick shot of something so I can identify it later. I'm using a Toshiba 3.2 now but it's really too thick to carry around in my pocket. Any experience?
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Old Sep 1, 2004, 9:21 PM   #2
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Most of the cellphone cameras are 640x480 or 0.3mp...it's designed for the purpose of being able to send pictures over the cellphone spectrum...you don't want to spend 5 minutes sending a picture and costing you money.

Also the cellphone cameras have tiny optics...it's a fixed focal length, fixed focus lens...good for snapshots but that's it. Nothing more than a toy.
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Old Sep 1, 2004, 9:46 PM   #3
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Mikefellh wrote:
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Most of the cellphone cameras are 640x480 or 0.3mp...it's designed for the purpose of being able to send pictures over the cellphone spectrum...you don't want to spend 5 minutes sending a picture and costing you money.

Also the cellphone cameras have tiny optics...it's a fixed focal length, fixed focus lens...good for snapshots but that's it. Nothing more than a toy.
Plus their actual usefullness may be severly limited very soon. It seems that highschool students are using them to send pics to their friends from showers & locker rooms.
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Old Sep 1, 2004, 10:04 PM   #4
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Just found a higher quality one...it's a 3.2mp with 3x optical zoom (& 4x digital zoom), white balance, 100, 200, & 400 ISO, and other goodies found on other normal digicams:

http://www.yenra.com/samsung-camera-phone/
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Old Sep 2, 2004, 12:03 AM   #5
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I've had two different Sanyo camera phones with Sprint PCS..

For the most part, it's worthless (pics not high enough resolution for printing, terrible white balance, no zoom lens, not useful in poor light,very high JPEG Compression to keep the file sizes tiny, etc.). It's more of a gimmick.

If you have bright enough light, and your subject occupies a large percentage of the frame (so you can actually recognize whatyou took a pic of), then you can e-mail it to someonevia the phone.But, that's about all it's good for. I haven't even used the camera part of my phone more than about a dozen times, just to play with it. The last time I used the camera was months ago (it's just too poor in quality).

In Asia, higher resolution phones are shipping now. However, I'm not sure the other issues will be addressed with them any time soon (lens quality, zoom capability, a flash that actually works, lower JPEG Compression, decent color accuracy, etc.) -- at least in one small enough to fit in your pocket.

Even if they do come out with better ones in a more compact size, the carriers may not allow them in the U.S. due to bandwidth issues over the wireless networks. I think that's the main limiting factor now (as far as why you're not seeing more higher resolution phones). They want to keep their bandwidth utilization down (because the networks won't support higher resolution images being transmitted by tons of users -- especially if the phones don't compress the heck out the images).

You're better off just buying a pocketable camera. That's what I did. I've got a little Konica KD-510z that I carry with me everywhere in my pants pocket (with my Camera Phone in the other pocket, but I don't use the camera part).
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Old Sep 3, 2004, 4:11 PM   #6
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Thanks Jim and Mike - very useful info. I think I'll look into the pocket ones. Low resolution would be a huge issue for idenifying species. Thanks!!
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Old Sep 3, 2004, 4:18 PM   #7
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My teenage daughter tells me that cell phones with cameras are banned at high school this year. Seems that last year some enterprising students were taking photos of exam pages and selling them! Haven't heard about any locker room shots......yet.


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