(weekly giveaway winners will be posted later today)
Ms. Oles is one of our favorite photography writers with a voice that is friendly ,conversational and, well, engaging. The best part? great useful info.
At the end of the article we have a special offer for you also.
Camera Phones: A Cautionary Tale
Lisaâ€™s life was a bit like a sitcom in that it seemed she was forever a victim of orchestrated mayhem. Her four children had more social engagements than Laura Bush, and she always forgot something of importance each time she loaded up her car to run an errand or take one of her kids to what felt like an endless stream of athletic events.
GoldfishÂ® crackers were nestled in every nook of her car, and each week meant finding something suspicious under one of her car seats. While sheâ€™d regularly forget sporting gear, important paperwork, or even her first name at times, at least sheâ€™d never forgotten one of her kids!
She would also never forget her cell phone. It was her lifeline to managing the countless details in her life. It was her American ExpressÂ® card; she never left home without it.
One of the things that frustrated her most was the fact that, while sheâ€™d been witness to so many great events in her childrenâ€™s lives, she had almost no photos to chronicle the events or to save for them when they got older. Her digital camera almost always remained tucked in its carrying case in a desk drawer. Listening to her friends talk about their elaborate scrapbooks made her wince; she could never remember to bring her camera, let alone print the images and adorn them in an aesthetic way for posterity.
Just when she thought all was lost, she discovered the camera phone. She would no longer be burdened with the guilt of forgetting her camera because she always had her cell phone with her.
The euphoria was short-lived. It wouldnâ€™t take long for Lisa to realize that her camera phone wasnâ€™t quite as simple as sheâ€™d hoped. Sure, she could take a picture. But she couldnâ€™t figure out how to send them to other people or how to get them off the phone and onto her computer. Adding insult to injury, she learned that her carrier would charge her for every picture she took and sent across their network. She had to pay to get access to her own pictures!
Sheâ€™d also been warned by a friend that camera phones only took â€œthrow-awayâ€ pictures and that they wouldnâ€™t be good enough to print. Not one to rely only on the opinion of others, Lisa decided to test it for herself. Sure enough, the pictures were fuzzy and dark — nowhere near the quality sheâ€™d come to expect from her digital camera.
Suddenly, the camera phone became yet another source of frustration at a time when Lisa thought sheâ€™d finally found the solution to her picture-taking problems.
–Excerpted from Digital Photography for Busy Women
Doesnâ€™t anyone use a phone to call people anymore?
It seems that todayâ€™s models have more features than many cars. Your phone doesnâ€™t just connect you with another through conversation; it now helps you manage your calendar, entertains you through games, helps you surf the web, send email and take photographs. In reality, our todayâ€™s multi-tasking lifestyle requires these job-juggling tools to keep us current with our career and family issues. Iâ€™ve also found several occasions where Iâ€™ve forgotten my digital camera but had my camera phone handy, and Iâ€™ve taken many photos that I otherwise would have missedâ€”including my daughterâ€™s first trip with her grandparents.
If youâ€™re in the market for a new cell phone, consider one that includes a camera lens, but make sure to check out a few things before putting down your hard-earned cash.
Resolution: Nope, weâ€™re not talking about the New Yearâ€™s flavor. If youâ€™ve ever shopped for a digital camera (or even set foot in a consumer electronics store), youâ€™ve likely heard the term â€˜resolutionâ€™ thrown out as the ultimate method of measuring the quality of a digital camera. While more pixels does translate into a higher quality printed photograph, the returns begin to be less noticeable when you go beyond the three megapixel mark (for printing 4×6 digital photographsâ€”enlargements and commercial printing require higher resolution images).
When it comes to camera phones, however, more resolution can make a significant difference in image quality so it pays to consider a camera phone with a megapixel or higher resolution. This is particularly important if you think youâ€™ll want to print the pictures at some point.
Flash: More of todayâ€™s digital camera models now include a flash. While you need to be pretty close to your subject for the flash to be of use, this feature can really help in low-light conditions. The flash on your camera phone may not hold a candle to the one on your digital camera, but, in this case, every bit (often) helps.
Howâ€™s Your Memory? Most of the early model camera phones didnâ€™t include removable media cards as part of the handset but this trend is changing, and that translates into benefits for you. If your camera phone doesnâ€™t have a removable media slot, it means that youâ€™ll likely need to email any favorite photos to yourself in order to use them for other purposes, and carriers will charge you for each MMS (multimedia message). Having the ability to write your digital pictures onto your removable media card means it will be much easier to share, protect and print that picture later.
Bluetooth or IR: If you want to be able to send pictures wirelessly to other devices such as your computer, another cell phone (short range), a PDA, a home printer or one of the digital printing kiosks you find in your local drug store or retail shop, youâ€™ll need to have Bluetooth and/or IR (infrared) capability.
Take Time To Play: When shopping for a camera phone, feel free to play with it. Hold it in your hand. How does the weight feel? Push a few buttonsâ€”do the menus make sense, or does it take 36 commands to get to the camera feature? Youâ€™ll find that once you have a camera phone, youâ€™ll start depending on it more during those times when your digital camera is still at home. One added benefit: as soon as you get that great shot, you can send it to loved ones right away!
–Laura Oles is a photo industry journalist and the author of Digital Photography for Busy Women: How to Manage, Protect and Preserve Your Favorite Photos (Compass Trade Press, ISBN 0-9774727-2-8). She offers free information, checklists and tips on her website
Oh yeah, we did say there was a special offer. The 5th person to email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Laura” in the subject line will be sent a copy of her book. Cool?