MOBILE PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY


I continue to be knocked out by the quality of the photographs I get from my Nokia N95 mobile phone. It’s an old model now (being a bit over a years old) so only sports a 5MP chip instead of the latest 8MP. God, and Nokia, alone know how big the chip is, but coupled to a tiny Carl Zeiss f2.8 5.6mm lens it delivers the goods. In photographic terms that is, it is a fiddly telephone and choc full of stuff I don’t need.

The photograph of the ruined blast furnace at Lithgow is a case in point. The lens was only a few centimetres from the Vulcan firebrick and concrete wall in the foreground and it is sharp and clear and the exposure (automatic, of course) is just about right on. The lens is wide enough to include all of the building behind which is probably 20 metres or so high.

Framing was bit hit and miss due to the loathsome EVF  finder blanking out in the bright sun. I’d fit an optical finder if I could. The file is as it came from the camera.

Until yesterday, I hadn’t experimented with its black and white mode. After all it couldn’t be very good. Could it? No proper photographer saves b&w in jpegs in the camera, do they? (Not true. Check out the work of Chris Fiels in the UK).

My first attempt at a monochrome with the Nokia was of my feet in repose. The available lighting was an almost  normal overhead room light being a 23W energy-efficient spiral lamp (equivalent to 125W incandescent) and the camera hand-held. The picture is straight from the N95. No tweaking.

I took this photograph just after dawn this morning. I used levels to open up the heavy shadow in the foreground, but did not alter the file in any other way. No unsharp masking. I could improve it a lot in either Photoshop or Lightzone.

It is not what I’d have gotten with a DSLR, but it is a perfectly satisfactory image. For an in-camera black and white mode is quite amazing.  In my view the Nokia N95 (and presumably its successors) is a wonderful “notebook” camera and a hell of a lot better than no camera at all. It’s always in my pocket with the camera mode on Standby. Battery life is good. I love it.

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