Low light photography – On the Phone

As they say,

“the best camera is the one that you always have with you”

Ok, I believe I’ve heard that before Chase Jarvis came out with his book of iPhone photographs – which is why I’m not citing him as the source of the above fact! Anyway the point is,  try taking pictures with your mobile phone. No, everybody cannot have an iPhone – go around taking pictures, quickly procesing them with apps and posting them online. The iPhone is cool device to capture quick images and do some snazzy edits and publish them, but you can still learn something from your non-iphone (crappy) images. I shot the above images with my Samsung Soul U900 (Samsung just doesn’t get mobile phone cameras!) which does “ok” in good lighting but is pathetic in low light. The above images were shot under seriously low light conditions which allowed me to think more on the lines of light ofcourse but as well as shape, composition and dozen other things which I never would have thought about had I carried my SLR along with me.

Shooting images with a very limiting device lets you brainstorm concepts you know and think about those you’ve never given much thought to, that’s what matters when you’re looking to get better images. Features and choice tend to lead you on a different path of creativity which is good! but keeps you off “the road not taken” or less taken. Try it and you’ll know what I mean. I have no illusion that the above images show skill and creative thinking – but hey, they helped my though process about photography itself!

Indeed if you’re looking for something that demonstrates skill and creativity using a “not so good” camera then check out the iPhone Fashion Photoshoot by Lee Morris below.

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Samsung U900 Soul Review

I wouldn’t call it serendipity, but i haven’t found an equivalent for the experience i am going through. Its that time of the year, to look for new phones. My contract with O2 will be ending in a month or two and should be looking for greener pastures. And ofcourse the new iphone is out! 😉

I still made up ma mind as to whether it would be a worthwhile investment, first things first – the job of a phone its to serve its user to communicate in the most efficient and cheap manner as possible. Well that isn’t going to be possible with the T-Mobile phone contracts..so i’ll put the iphone on hold for a while now.

My choice with the 02 phones weren’t anything exciting. The Nokia N82 looks promising but I’m still recovering from my 2 years with the N73 symbian OS which was life in slow motion and infrequent freeze ups! so this time my choices were for non symbian handsets. The samsung soul U900 was an attractive handset that caught my attention immediately. Fifteen minutes later i was busy charging and getting to know the “soul”.

U900 soul is a slick slider phone with all the standard features and more;

* 5 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, face-detection autofocus, image stabiliser and Power LED flash
* Video camera (MPEG4 / 3GPP) / 3G video calling
* Display: TFT, 16 million colours, 320 x 240 pixels
* Music player (MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+ formats, OMA, WM digital rights management)
* FM radio
* Bang & Olufsen power amp
* Ringtones: MP3 ringtones / 72-voice polyphonic tones
* Messaging: SMS, MMS, email
* Voice memo & voice mail
* Speakerphone
* Java games
* Document viewer
* Offline mode
* WAP 2.0, GPRS, EDGE, 3.5G (HSDPA 7.2 Mbps), web browser
* Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB 2.0
* Memory: 100 Mbytes plus MicroSD memory card slot
* Personal organiser functions
* Triband GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz) plus 3G
* Size: 106 x 50 x 12.9 mm
* Weight: 112g

U900 soul appears to have a full metal chassis, which doesn’t make it a light weight phone for its looks — sure feels sturdy and solid when you hold it. It’s definitely slim and attractive. The slider mechanism is pretty well made and doesn’t feel cheap. The body with a lush metallic finish attracts a lot of fingerprints (get a invisible shield to cover it). The package includes standard charger, stereo headphones and the battery. The phone is pretty fast for surfing, when you manage use the really pathetic browser that’s bundled in. Its a pain to navigate with the bundled in browser, I tried opera mini which worked effortlessly.

The 5mp camera is a treat, picture quality is better than my older nokia N73. Advanced features such exposure, white balance, autofocus, face detection are also thrown in. I have no complaints regarding the camera. The mp3 playback is also good though lacks playlist organization and file browser could have been better, but then the samsung interfaces were never great in the first place. The audio is supposed to have powered by Bang & Olufsen power amplifier but i haven’t noticed anything special. I must also say a word about the battery life, eventhough there are mixed views regarding the battery life, mine has been running great – infact its so good that i can afford to leave the bluetooth feature on for the whole day with no noticeable effect on the phone’s standby time!

The other attractive/most talked about feature of the phone is the “Magic touch interface”. The navigation key or the rocker is replaced by a touch sensitive pad which changes contextually and is a breeze to use. Of course you’ve to get used to the interface first, at least i did not have much trouble with it. The only difficulty i faced is the quick switching between the touch and the normal button interface. Sometime i forget where to do what and keep touching the buttons and pressing the touch pad! may be that’s just me but i would have preferred all the buttons on the touch pad 😉 (what a geek!) The volume levels aren’t very comfortable to hear, its a little on the low side even when the volume levels are cracked up to the maximum. This problem is for the incoming all alerts, the audio and call clarity are just right and i couldn’t notice a difference between my N73 and the samsung. I am not sure of the inbuilt memory but if i m right its about 100Mb ( which is generous), anyway my o2 handset came with a 2gb sd card (mini) which is more comfortable. Yes the memory tops of at 2gb! there’s no way to add more 😦

All in all the u900 soul is good balance of features and looks and is sure to get everybody’s attention when you flip it out!