Camera-Phone Tricks


Camera phones outsold regular digital cameras in 2003. According to the respected research firm IDC, that trend will probably continue. Camera phones are wildly popular in Japan, where they were introduced a few years ago, and the U.S. market has recently caught fire too.

It's true that camera-phone lenses and features leave much to be desired. But what they lack in quality they make up for in portability. The best camera is the one in your hand when something happens. And these days, the odds are good that a camera phone will be the one that gets the unexpected shot.

I've read stories about camera phones being used for everything, such as reporters monitoring election fraud in South Korea and real-estate agents forwarding pictures to their clients, helping them close deals quickly. Camera phones are infectious little devices that send the mind reeling with possibilities.

This chapter is designed to help you cope with the limitations of these tools while leveraging their unique advantages. For the time being, at least, we don't enjoy our digicams' resolution or features on camera phones. But progress is on the march. Texas Instruments, for example, has developed new processors that will lead to resolution as high as four megapixels on camera phones. Other chipmakers are also innovating. Indeed, this year, the U.S. and Europe will see some of the first-generation megapixel camera phones; some will even sport a flash.

In the meantime, I'll show you how to improve the images you take with your sub-megapixel model, including stitching together pictures to create bigger ones, capturing and editing video, and stirring your creative juices with a few fun tips.

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