Great idea BUT
I tried one of these lens attachment thingies with my Razr and the hardest thing is HOLDING THE FRIGGING PHONE STEADY
If you're an iPhone owner who's disappointed with that oh-so-popular device's oh-so-limited camera, there's good news from Hong Kong gadgeteer USBfever: stick-on lenses. Thanks to the sharped-eyed trend-spotters at MacNN, we learned today of this trio of magnetically mountable lenses for the myopic iPhone. Three are available …
Lenses matter. There is a reason why cameras don't use the 2mm wide lens you find on the average mobile .
If you want a high quality picture, buy a fucking camera. If you want reasonable snapshots of wherever you are, buy a camera phone that's designed to be a camera phone. If you just want to take pictures of your friends pissed in the local dive, buy a phone that happens to have a camera on it.
As Graham says above, all camera phones have rotten quality, and it need not be so. Vendors are running down the same pixel count driven stupidity that beset compact cameras. This just yields a poorly designed camera that works less well than the same money spent more carefully will achieve. The optics, sensor size, and typical use made of a camera phone mean that the maximum number of pixels should be about 2 or 3 Mp. It would be so good if some sensor vendors would produce a 1/3" format 2Mp sensor with the attendant interface support needed by a phone-camera. Don't try to kid anyone that simply adding more pixels makes for a better image. It doesn't. The only reason 8Mp cameras look better than the 2 or 3 Mp cameras is that they have the bigger sensors, and so they get some of the advantage of the bigger area - but throw a lot away again with the extra noise inherent in such small pixels. Even after pixel agregation.
It would be possible to create a camera that achieves quite acceptable quality under a wide range of lighting, rather than a camera that provides noisy, poor colour, and bloated sized images.
In truth a 1Mb sensor on 1/3" format, a reasonably wide angle lens with better than usual quality optics would make for a perfect match. Nobody is going to print the pictures out, but such a camera-phone would produce great images under a wide range of conditions, and they would look really good on computer screens and other phones - which is where the images are going anyway.
"And please don't take offense at our pointing out their webmaster's occasionally fractured English. We hasten to admit that it's infinitely better than our Cantonese."
When did this start becoming common-place as an argument? I've seen it loads of times this year.
It misses the point that I'm not the one attempting to speak Cantonese (in this example).
I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but there are some phone cameras that can achieve very respectable results from, what is in theory, a very restricted design. My 5Mpixel N95 has actually rendered my little compact digital camera obsolete (so I gave it to my father). The phone is always in my pocket and it's always charged. The only thing that lets it down is the weak flash.
Having said all that, there will never be a substitute for a "real" dedicated camera, which is why I have a couple of grands worth of Nikon gear in my rucksack whenever I go anywhere interesting :-)
Anon cos I don't want to get mugged at the airport!
what makes a good camera on a phone is will it work in poor and varied light, something they have missed for years, my w900 sony has been with me since its uk launch, i have just this month replaced it (with i8510) as its taken that long to get a new phone that works in low light well.
even sony went backwards, the 3,2mp in phones after mine do not perform nearly as well.
I did not need the new phones 8mp, in fact for web shots my old and now battered olympus with its 800*600 camera is still a winner on contrast and colour balance.
horses for courses etc.
Megapixels are not everything by a long stretch. My old FujiFilm Finepix 2800 Zoom, a 2 megapixel camera having the benefit of an excellent sensor and lens, used to take better pictures than most 4 mpx cameras of the day. I've blown them up to nearly A4 size (240x180, I think) and you can't see any evidence of pixels, nor that awful banding phenomenon where the sky seems to be made of about six distinct shades of blue (I'm sure there is a proper name for this).
The mm² of the sensor would be a most revealing statistic, if anyone actually bothered to disclose it; since a physically large sensor can hold more charge in the first place, and so accept more light before saturating -- and therefore will give better contrast between light and dark, and less noise (since not every photon striking the sensor successfully liberates an electron, and not every liberated electron was actually due to a photon of light; the more actual light entering the sensor, the less noticeable these random effects will be) than a smaller sensor.