Everyday Camera

Does anybody remember the first days of camera phones? We probably thought to ourselves “They would never beat a proper camera, what a gimmick!” Well indeed, the camera then was more of a gimmick than a tool. Who would have thought then that with the rapid improvement in mobile phone technology over the last 10 years, phone cameras are slowly turning into a worthy substitute of a compact. I remember Sony Ericsson releasing their modern classic W800i a few years ago. It became an instant hit as it was one of the first phone with decent MP3 and camera functionalities. Thus, it wasn’t surprising that the iPhone – with a built-in iPod and a brilliant camera in the latest version – has won over the masses.

Whilst it’s great that more people are getting into dSLR cameras and taking interest in photography techniques, sometimes we do forget the whole point of photography. So engrossed we are in achieving the perfect technique, getting the sharpest lens or the cleanest ISO performance that we have missed out many of the priceless moments of our lives.

Imo photography doesn’t have to be expensive. Nor should it be exclusive. With a modern phone, anybody is able to paint their own Mona Lisa. All it takes is being at the right moment and remembering to take your phone out. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s what in the picture that counts. And if you’re able to tell your story through it, even better!

This post is a collection of what I think are my best mobile shots. They’re not the sharpest. Nor are they framed perfectly. Yet they are far more satisfying than my average D90 shots.

HTC Desire HD
Camera 360 Lite


125 thoughts on “Everyday Camera

    1. And, I have no doubt, it won’t be the last Likey either, based on this post. Cellphones are extreme wide-angle lenses and therefore we can take just about anything, and frees us to take what we FEEL like taking, rather than overthinking it! I like their Holga-like effects. Keep up the explorations!
      :< )

      1. Correct, however strangely on the Desire HD, the lens isn’t as wide as most phone cameras. There are many times where I had so take a few steps back for a group party shot and the poor LED flash couldn’t cover the scene.

        I think the iPhone 4 and Nokia phones have superior cameras, HTC has some catching up to do. =)

  1. There are some great shots there.. I have an Htc HD2 with only 5mp that I find to be a great companion when I’m out and about. The shots these phones take ARE pretty good for a multi tasking device. I would not compare it to the quality of my 12mp Olympus, but sometimes the outcome can surprise. Sometimes I wish I didn’t put money into a fancy camera and just bought a better phone (Htc Evo w/8mp).
    Anyway, Great shots.. Happy shooting, JMilano

  2. Great post! I completely agree with what you said. Only last week I made a decision NOT to get a DSLR, despite many friends encouraging me to get one. My justification was that the by the time I get out my DSLR and have it set up, I would probably have missed the “perfect moment” that I would have captured with a simple point-and-shoot or even a phone camera. Glad someone thinks on the same wavelength!

  3. There are a lot of nice pictures… Unbelievable that you took them with a phone camera! I especially like the first picture with the birds! And you know what: I’m sure that from now on you’re getting a lot of likes in the future 🙂 Congrats on beeing FP xD

  4. Thanks everybody! I’m still new to WordPress and just discovered the term “Freshly Pressed” tonight. I’m very, very surprised and feel honoured to be on the front page. =)

    hearttypat, if you intend to replace your phone, the Desire HD/Evo is a good choice. =D

    JMilano, I’m sure your Olympus has served you well. There are some situations where a camera phone would disappoint, such as poorly lit parties etc. Nevertheless, the HTC is a brilliant phone. =)

    mkismkismk, hahahah. Did you know that my dad works for the company as well? I shall issue an invoice soon. =P

    Annie Bananie, thanks though I also own a Nikon D90 and an old Canon film SLR. They all serve a different purpose and have a place in my arsenal. I would advise not to shy away from dSLR and give it a go (Borrow or rent) to see if it’s your cup of tea. Who knows where it would take you. =)

  5. I’d agree with oldereyes (not being that young myself.
    In part it’s about opportunity. Like most people these days, you have a phone with you just about 24/7, but only take a ‘proper’ camera when you actually want or expect to take a picture. So often the pictures you just come across are so much more satisfying for having been taken serendipitously, and if the phones what you’ve got with you, that’s what it’ll get taken on!

  6. Favourite lines: “All it takes is being at the right moment and remembering to take your phone out. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s what in the picture that counts. And if you’re able to tell your story through it, even better!”

    You got a point here. I easily underplay the idea of taking shots with phone cameras, but like you pointed out- perhaps my faithful Nokia Express Phone just doesn’t cut it! Now, I gotta go get that ‘modern phone’! 🙂

  7. I love that cameras on phones have moved on. They were always convenient but now they can take some really good shots.

    Generally I love old photos (I hate to plug but I write a blog about it if anyone’s interested) I think you’re right in that aiming for perfect technique is as much a detriment as a benefit.

    There’s a lot more to photography, all too often it’s seen as an art form that aims to simply record, but imo, it should interpret.

  8. Great shots for a mobile phone! I actually work part-time at AT&T now and we just released a phone that comes with a built in 8 megapixel camera. Before we know it there won’t be a need for those DSLR cameras anymore.
    Thnaks for reminding us about content-based photography!
    – Nate

  9. Cell phone photography really change all the traditional mind set of photographers. Great photos are created by good eyes and good thought, not an pricey equipment.

    Nice pic, thanks for sharing

  10. Great phone photos! Especially the ones with the dogs! I would RATHER use a regular camera than the phone but sometimes the phone is more readily available for those perfect moments to catch something special.

  11. That Yes shot is awesome. Besides in stores, it is hard to wield a DSLR and not look dodgy. I don’t own an iPhone and my mini Samsung mobile is horrible for photography. I’ll stick to my Nikon for when I go on walks because I prefer it for my serious pictures and take my simple digital camera for those clubbing moments!

  12. The colors are so vibrant in the gas station pic. Love all of these pics. I sometimes forget that I have a camera in my phone, and every once in a while it comes in handy. It’s great looking back through my phone’s album, too, and seeing stuff I forgot about. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Interesting post — I’m not a lover of camera phones, but I do admit they’ve come in handy a time or two. Loved the pic of the ‘yes’ signs. Congrats on being FP’d.

  14. I agree to what you said that we are much focused in achieving perfection in our pictures not knowing that there are still moments we missed achieving this satisfaction in us, great post and great photos! 🙂

  15. thanks for this paragraph:

    “Imo photography doesn’t have to be expensive. Nor should it be exclusive. With a modern phone, anybody is able to paint their own Mona Lisa. All it takes is being at the right moment and remembering to take your phone out. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s what in the picture that counts. And if you’re able to tell your story through it, even better!”

    You just made me content with my point-and-shoot camera.

  16. The abilities of camera’s in Smart phones are amazing. Now we find ourselves catching picture of amazing events that we used to miss all the time.

  17. Nice pics! I was a big critic of camera phones…until I got an HTC Evo. Occasionally the color can seem slightly askew, but I’m constantly amazed at the detail and high quality it can bring. I’ve posted a number of them on my blogs, particularly 365of2011. Thanks for posting these. btw – I particularly like the YES signs.

  18. I agree! I have an HTC evo, and have been taking my blog pictures with that. No, they’re not better than my DSLR, but my phone is much more mobile, and adds to the “i was here factor”. great post!

  19. Great photos and great article.

    Technology continues to accelerate and change our lives, sometimes subtly, sometimes very blatantly. Most people have forgotten that the LCD they sit 40cm from is larger than the initial family sized black and white televisions. When the iPad was released I visited a dealer, picked up the iPad and said to myself “wow, this is quite heavy!” then laughed as I realised… “compared to what; an IBM 370 Mainframe?”

    There was a time when we used to actually visit our local bank (provided we could make it before it closed mid-afternoon); we used to go and see the second hand cars for sale instead of firing up e-bay on our Android phone; we used to take photos and develop them a year later (only when we had used the whole film, of course) and then discover that many of the images were blurred or out of focus (but we kept them anyway because we’d paid for them).

    Last year I purchased a Sony Ericsson Xperia and have been stunned by the image quality … just like you!

    The other startling discovery was that the phone could record very usable video and sound, refer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymgWiLd12oY for a beautiful example.

    Thanks for your blog, wonderful to see someone else enjoying the benefits of new technology.

  20. This is awesome! and so true. I’ve been doing Project 365 (taking a picture a day) and some days I just don’t have access to my DSLR, and film usually takes more than a day to develop, plus you have to scan it into the computer, so some of my images are from my camera phone (I have a Palm Pre) and I have to say I’m impressed with some of them.

    They’re all on my wordpress as well 🙂

    http://www.anscandraw.wordpress.com

  21. Once again, thanks everybody for the likes and comments. =)

    redcloudphoto, yes I do know what you mean about frustating times with dSLR. You do have to work for a great shot.

    Roz, I’ve checked out your photos and they look amazing! Inspiring stuff, thanks for sharing!

    lampoondish, yup I’m from KL.

    publicsp, agreed with your post. Though I think the iPad is a little on the heavy side. Let’s see what Apple has in store for their PR event.

    Ans, good luck with your 365 project! I can never start one as I don’t have the required dedication to snap a photo every day. Plus, during weekdays most of my time is spent in the office. On a sidenote, I notice you own an AE-1, sweet!

    1. Thank you! Well, some of my pictures probably come off a bit lazy. I try to have them signify an event or a thought i had that day but some times I’m so busy I will just take a picture of something random. It’s a harder project to dedicate too than I thought! ha!

      As for the camera… i LOVE it! It’s on loan (unless she manages to forget i have it) but I’m hoping to get my own. Well, it’ll be an A-1, but they’re fairly close and it’s free so I’ll take it.

      Have you ever played with a fish eye lens? they’re pretty interesting. I hope to have some photos of some of mine up soon.

      Thanks for checking out my blog!

      1. A fish eye? Never so far. I’m thinking of getting one for my D90 in the future but it’s so specialized that I could hardly find a use for it.

        The A1 looks great, looking forward to those pictures. =)

  22. Some of my favorite blog photos are from my phone cam, and I like your cell phone shots.

    Question: What’s the significance of the BHP gas station shot? All the other ones told their own stories, but that one seemed a little less clear what caught your eye.

    1. Thanks. With regards to the BHP station shot, I was waiting for the gas tank to be filled up at the opposite Shell station. The bright blue sky caught my eye and I thought it would make a great lomo short. True enough, the colours were great and it became my favourite.

      And yes, you may borrow the picture. =)

  23. According to me, it’s not perfection that counts in photography. It’s just being there and clicking pictures. I’m no photographer, in fact, I just use my iPhone 4’s camera to record video and click photographs, but I still enjoy it. It’s something that takes only a few seconds, clicking a photo. But by clicking that photo, you’re probably preserving that memory forever. And that’s what’s important to me.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser
    http://www.theeverydaymuser.wordpress.cm

  24. Well said! The ubiquitous nature of a camera in today’s world, irrespective of the number of megapixels or focus or exposure abilities, has (to an extent) helped us avoid statements like “oh how I wish I could capture this moment forever.” Obviously, you need to have an open eye to spot those special moments in the first place, and that is the tricky part. The artistic abilities, the personality of the photographer and the impulsive nature of the endeavor still matters though. Its what makes the difference between a ‘good’ and a ‘better’ shot, whatever the camera may be!

    Nice pictures, the first one showing the birds is mind-blowing! Congratulations for being featured on Freshly Pressed 🙂

  25. Great photos – I love the saturation. Also, the puppy is sooooo cute!!! You’re definitely right, photography is/and should be about more than the technology part. Creativity is priceless.

    Wondering what you think of Terry Richardson’s stuff? He started off using a very simple point and shoot camera. Here’s a great vid where he talks about being made fun of for that:

    http://bit.ly/cN5iwB (note – it’s at the bottom of the post)

    Would love to get your feedback.

    Keep up the great work!!!

  26. your photos are amazing! i love the main one at the very top and the puppies because thats just my taste. but overall they are amazing photos. I agree that camera phones are very high tech now. I’ve taken a few good shots myself but never as wonderful as yours 😀

  27. My main criteria for a new phone is the camera quality, so I love the fact you’re campioning camera phone photos and the real reason to take pictures. I have 2 small kids, so a camera to hand is important to me. Excellent photos, keep them coming!

  28. Great post! I like what you said about how we forget the whole point of photography as we become particular of the settings we used.

    To me, whatever camera or settings you used, you’ll always get good photos. The whole point of photography is to capture every moment you can.

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