Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why would you want to do that

imageThere was a time when you bought a phone to be a phone, a camera to be a camera etc etc. Not any more, the technologies are converging to allow us to buy one device that does everything bar making the cup of tea that I desperately need right now.

High in the ranks of this “one for all” approach is the Apple iPhone. Sure it is still a phone but much more than that, it is a camera taking both stills and video, a game machine, a music player, a personal information manager, a web browser, a GPS tracker and for all I know a whole lot more via the readily available apps.

To a certain extent, the iPhone is a Jack of all trades and master of none. For example, internet browsing on a phone is not the best way to view the web. It is the same issue with our new “smart” TV. Without a keyboard and a mouse (or track pad), navigating your way around the net can be a slow and tedious process.

It is the same with the built in camera on these phones. Upping the resolution to millions of megapixels only serves to make matters worse because the inherent problem is always going to be the size of the sensor that records the image. In the slim confines of a phone, the sensor is tiny making each pixel site miniscule. Small pixel sites equals noisy images in anything but bright light. Processing the noise out, reduces the resolution so it is a Catch 22 situation.

This morning I found an advert from an American company who take the concept of the iPhone camera a step further into the absurd by marketing lenses you can attach to your phone to increase the zoom to 6x, or to give you wide angle shots (including fisheye) and even turn it into a microscope.

Those of us who have dabbled in photography for awhile know that add on lenses, no matter how well they are made,  degrade image quality. On a device that already has limited image quality, that is not a good thing.

In any case, smart phones are already cumbersome to carry, imagine carrying a supplementary lens or two in your pocket as well.  I don’t want to appear to be a luddite but I think I will stick to using an orthodox camera to take my pictures thank you.

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