Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Photography with Digital Camera A-Z

Until recent time the Digital world of photography was highly analogue. I still remember my dad’s old camera which used a simple expose and click mechanism for photographs. Times changed since then. My first version of digitized photograph came with the scanning of some old school photos with a friend’s scanner. I posted the pics here. Soon I realized that the world is going to change with the widespread of the Internet Phenomenon. I was an Internet user since 1998 and thus realized that with the increase in internet usage will come the age of Digital media (Photos and videos).

As of now, I stand at a time when video calling is being offered as a part of 3g plan. Mobile phones come with a good camera at least 3MP.Alas there was a time when the first camera phone used to come with VGA Camera. After 6 years the camera has boosted up to 12MP or even 16 MP with the phone, able to challenge a good camera of same MP(Not SLR Cameras-they still rule).

So I decided to write this mini guide which helps an individual to asses/buy a camera phone and tips on how to enhance the photo. Please note the price and camera phone model is reflecting for the Indian subcontinent thought the tips holds good for everyone.

Buying a Camera Phone

There are many camera phones available from market. The cheapest standard I say will be Nokia X2(around 5000/-).Comes with a 5MP camera and Flash. Please note that this is not a Smartphone and will only be loved by Camera Phone lovers. It’s not a touch screen and is just another Candy bar Phone with 5MP camera. Now that’s the selling point. Remember since the base camera can cost lesser than the touch screen and screen display matters little less as the photos will be finally viewed and edited in PC, the camera makes an excellent choice(once again to those who fancies a good camera and not much in a phone).

Once we move a little up in the tier, Nokia X6 comes with a Carl Zeiss Optics 5MP and Dual LED Flash(around 15000/-).Unfortunately the 8GB Version is over and they have launched the 16 GB owing to the high price. Behold the cheapest Carl Zeiss optics phone.

For a little high end choice Nokia N8 is the best option (around 21000/-), with 12MP Carl Zeiss Optics and Xenon Flash this is a monster that will dominate the market for a long time....apparently not. With the Megapixel race, Nokia is coming up with 16MP Carl Zeiss Xenon Flash equipped Nokia N8-01 phone.

Why should we go for such a high priced phone and not some other 8000 Rs phone or for that matter the Nokia X2 phone which also has the 5MP Camera?

An honest question that might come to your mind. Yes very true that the working mechanism inside each camera phone is the same .The real players are the following things that make a camera.

  1. CMOS Chip. Though I am not an electronics engineer but needless it doesn’t takes much intelligence to figure out that the high end CMOS chips can produce better image form the lights and shadows. Though the CCD Chips are more suited for SLR Cameras but due to the high cost factor, CMOS has become more popular. 
  2. Megapixel. With the MP race, the top notch MP camera is around 16MP.Why do we need so much MP. Frankly speaking since the usage is normally limited to posting in facebook or maybe Picasa account. And since the person viewing the image does so from his normal 15” or say 17“monitor (rarely form a 21” monitor unlike me).The highest viewable resolution is mostly 1366X768 which comes easily with a 3MP camera. So why such a high MP is required. The answer lies in a phenomenon called cropping. Cropping is cutting the pics into desired size and focus. So ideally with lesser resolution the cropped photo might not be very proper. 
  3. Lens. So what’s the big deal about it? Well it’s the lens that captures the lights reflecting back from the subject to the camera. Carl Zeiss lens comes into picture in terms of capturing detailed image and dynamic color lens. Who are they? The company who makes lenses for Satellites and has been in the business for whooping 160 years. Yes it does make a real difference. Apart from Nokia Sony Ericson is the only other company who used to pack Carl Zeiss lens until recently dropped. 
  4. Flash. The common myth says that flash is only necessary when in Indoor and low light. But the truth is a good flash can sometime lessen the whitish background even on a sunny day. But yes true that the flash is mostly used in nighttime. So unless your camera is intended to shoot only in daytime with sunlight...make sure that the flash is present in the phone. There are two types of flashes.LED Flashes comes with two one flash while the Xenon flash is the more costly and better option for the users. In summary the Xenon flash is more flashy and costly than the LED counterpart because of more light it produces with more intensity.

However please note that a lousy photographer with a 10MP camera can lose to a good photographer with a 3.2 MP camera. No matter how big the camera resolution is ultimately it’s the photographer that is in charge.

The next section covers the basics for those who already have a camera phone or has just bought one.

The Art of Photography

The Photography is a unique art which covers both your imagination and the technicalities. So let’s take a quick look into the mystic art that helps us to capture moments into the frames.

Instead of just copying the same material from the website, I choose to give the links for the same.

Needless to say the website offers various tips on photography which finally can enhance the photos you take.

My Small Tips

  • Never face towards the light or sun while taking picture. Goes opposite for the subject. Always face the subject towards the sunlight or light source. 
  • Prefer portrait mode (holding the phone normally upside down) for taking pictures of solo subject or when the scenery is not important. Landscape mode(holding sideways) is the best for taking sceneries or when multiple subjects are there in focus. 
  • Take more than one picture. You never know which one turns out to be the best.

The website pretty much covers up the techniques. Now let’s talk about the Imagination part. Although my personal belief was that in India camera is best to be used in Social occasions or vacation. Otherwise there is not much to take a snap. But my recent experiments show that it was my lack of vision not the lack of subject. My experience says start taking snaps and eventually your inner eye will show up to reveal the real image…..that’s the true photography.

Etiquette in Photography

With the rapid growth of mobile phones with camera…it has somewhat been a very idiotic and stupid habit of people taking pictures of everything and anything they find anywhere. They sometime feel proud of the pictures taken. Sometimes within the No Photograph zone to unsuspecting ladies and perhaps in institutions taking snaps of not so funny moments of faculty and students without their consent.

Please remember that with Great power comes great responsibility and so while you have the power to capture a moment, freeze the time in frame, misuse of the power may not result in happy moments after all. While the law is not very strict against photographing a person without his/her consent, but the fact that the public is unaware of this makes the whole situation very difficult. Even though the intentions are good you might end up in a hospital or Jail depending upon the public response.

Best way to approach is perhaps to ask the person if he/she is the main focus or if it’s a place of interest...Read the rules before snapping.


And always remember that it’s your vision what matters most that the equipment you are using. So open your mind’s eye and start snapping. Surely one day won’t make a difference but with practice and determination you can master the art to a great extent.

Just to add the mood.I ve included some pics taken with my Mobile Phone...Enjoy

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