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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Evolution of Cellphone Photography

So, I've had my iPhone for about a month now, and as is the way, this means I'm going nuts and taking a whole bunch of photos with the camera.  And that got me to thinking about how the quality of cellphone pictures has evolved over the years.

My very first cellphone with a camera was obtained 10 years ago.  It was shortly after I'd arrived in Japan, and I was looking for a cellphone.  I had a friend who was already in Japan, and he'd already been saying, "Dude, it's so weird over here!  The cellphones have cameras on them!"  And I started thinking, "Why the hell would someone want a camera on their cellphone?"

Of course, I wanted one.

And of course, being a tourist for pretty much an entire year, I found it to be an incredibly handy thing.  On a day of sponteniety, you hoped the train to see the sights in the town three stops down the line, but you forgot your camera.  Well, luckily, you've got your cellphone with you!

Sadly, this is my only surviving Japanese cellphone snapshot.  That's a Godzilla made of Christmas lights as part of a Tokyo department store holiday display in December 2002.  I still have my Japanese cellphone in the back of my closet...someday I'll figure out how to get the rest of the pictures off it.  And I feel like pointing out that that's not downscaled or anything.  That's the maximum quality my camera was capable of.

Flash forward four years to 2006 and Athabasca, when I got my first North American cellphone.  And it had a camera.  And right away, I was amazed at how the quality of that little tiny camera had changed.

There's one of my favourites from my 2006 flip phone.  That's a display at the annual open house for the Athabasca Pottery Club.  I've got a soft spot for that event...it was the first event I went out to cover when I started here as a reporter.  

Another one from the ol' flip phone, a chalk drawing on the sidewalk for Athabasca's Fringe Festival.  Obviously, I figured out how to turn up the settings for higher quality.

I figured that every three years is when I should upgrade phones, and in 2009, I got my first smartphone, a BlackBerry.  Once again, bigger, better pictures were capable of being taken.

That's a phone booth in my home town of Entwistle.  It's about the same as the flip phone...maybe a smidge bigger.

Mount Robson, from summer vacation 2009.

I don't know what it was, if it was just the age of my phone or whatever, but the pictures near the end of my BlackBerry's lifetime started getting this dirty haze over them.  Could never figure out how to clean a BlackBerry camera lens.

Some deer in a front yard in Athabasca.

And now I've got my shiny new iPhone 4S.  The camera built into it is almost as powerful as my Canon digital camera.  Some stuff I've taken while I'm out and about:

Steam tractor on the Athabasca riverfront.

Christmas decorations up far too early at Canadian Tire.

Batman wins the Stanley Cup.

And yeah.  That's how taking pictures with cellphones have evolved over the years.  Since I like taking these photos so much, maybe I should hop in the Instagram bandwagon.  But if what I read online is right, Instagram is only for taking pictures of food. 

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