Here’s a super cool trick: instead of buying a special macro lens for your smart phone, simply use a drop of water! Carefully place a drop of water over your lens, carefully invert the phone, and voila — instant macro shots with the cheapest lens you’ll ever own. Alex Wild over at Scientific American has more details on the technique and some great sample shots taken with it.
Here’s a great diagram by Mobot that shows how the 41-megapixel sensor inside Nokia’s new 808 PureView phone stacks up against other popular sensor sizes. It’s pretty clear that they didn’t just milk a small sensor for more megapixels as a simply marketing ploy, but instead came up with a sensor that’s significantly larger than those found in other smartphones. Engadget also has a photo showing a comparison of sensor sizes, while Digital Trends has published an article on five reasons why the 41-megapixels isn’t a gimmick.
Nokia dropped a bomb on the cameraphone market today by introducing its new 808 PureView phone — a phone that is capable of capturing 41-megapixel photos. The native resolution of the phone (16:9) produces 38-megapixel images measuring 7152×5368. The phone also allows you to capture 5-megapixel images by condensing every seven pixels into one, which dramatically reduces noise and improves image quality. Other features include a 4-inch screen, 16GB of built-in storage, a Carl Zeiss f/2.4 lens, lossless digital zoom (i.e. cropping a photo out of the giant image), and HD video recording. It’ll hit store shelves in May at a price of €450 (~$600). Read more…
Here’s a short and sweet video in which Chicago-based food photographer Stephen Hamilton shares some tips on how to take photographs of food using your smartphone. One tip is to use a white napkin as a makeshift reflector to fill in some of the shadows in the shot.
Add-on lenses for cell phones are pretty common nowadays, but usually they’re specifically made for certain models and are incompatible with others. The Macro Cell Lens Band is different — it’s a stretchable band with a macro lens baked right in. Simply slip the band onto your phone, place the lens over your phone’s camera, and voila! Instant macro shots. When you’re not using it, you can also wear it around like a gel bracelet. They cost $15 each over at Photojojo.
Want to made giant prints of your tiny phone photos? Instead of doing the enlargement purely with Photoshop, Photojojo suggests using a scanner for high-quality enlarging. Simply resample the small photo at 360dpi, print it out on high quality matte paper, and then re-digitize it using a scanner at 360dpi and the print size you want. It’d be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison of this technique versus simply resizing in Photoshop and printing that image directly.
Apparently Annie Leibovitz is a proponent of the idea that the best camera is the one you have with you. When asked by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams about her camera recommendation to friends, the famed portrait photographer made a surprising pick: the iPhone. Read more…
Earlier today we shared an interesting video comparing 1080p video shot with the iPhone 4S with footage from a Canon 5D Mark II. Here’s another short video demonstrating the quality of the new f/2.4 lens and Sony-made sensor, created by photographer and filmmaker Benjamin Dowie. He says,
Got an iPhone 4S yesterday and got up this morning to go for a surf. No surf, so thought I’d shoot some stuff to see what the new camera is like on the 4S. Got home, looked at the footage, and couldn’t believe it came out of a phone. Was so excited so thought I’d quickly cut a vid to share the goodness.
It’s actually amazing. The automatic stabilisation seems to work wonders, and gets rid of most the jello. Depth of field is flipping awesome. Colours are really good straight out the camera, but I did give this footage a slight grade. [#]
For a comparison of the cameras found on the latest smartphones, check out this smartphone camera showdown published by Engadget today.
Here’s a test comparing the 1080p HD video recording capabilities of the iPhone 4S and the Canon 5D Mark II. Vimeo user Robino Films shot the same scenes at the same time with both cameras using a special rig, and then synched the footage together. They also tried to match the exposure, shutter speed, frame rate, and picture style as much as possible.
CNN recently published a pop-quiz with 10 photos and a simple question: was the photo taken with a phone or DSLR? The test is meant to open the public’s eyes to the fact that phone cameras are getting to be just as good as expensive DSLRs. It’s misleading though, and Neal Krawetz over at Hacker Factor has a great explanation as to why:
The implied rational is that, with the correct technique, you can take pictures on your cellphone that are just as good as an expensive SLR. However, they do it by showing you thumbnail images that were created using Photoshop. At thumbnail size, even crappy pictures will look good.
Next time, CNN should do a speed comparison between a bike and a car… while they’re both at a standstill.