The smartphone won’t replace my SLR just yet

Josh has been talking on the blog in a couple of posts of late about photography on smartphones and it happened to be aptly timed. Just last weekend I put a post on my own personal Google+ profile page about how I am not ready to drop my digital SLR yet and rely solely on my smartphone.

Since 1st January 2013, I have been taking a photo each day and publishing it to my personal blog.  I intend to do this until the end of the year, as a personal challenge/diary for the year.  I am not aiming to be creative or have any professional tact about it, its just something I wanted to do. Some people think it is silly, but it is my personal challenge and has got me using my camera more than before.  If you are interested you can see them here.

However for this project I have been using my smartphone.  It works well because my phone is always with me and can allow me to capture those moments that sum up my day. They do say the best camera is the one that you have with you, which is very true.

Yet I feel compelled on occasions, despite the size, weight and annoyance to carry my digital SLR.  It is a fairly basic one costing around £400 and I have a couple of lenses but the Samsung Galaxy S4 that I use does not compete with the clarity and richness of colour.

With lots of tweaking of the settings maybe I can capture a very good image, but with my digital SLR I can without too much hassle point and shoot and capture results like the following:

I am not saying a smartphone camera can not do this, but few will get these results with so little effort. The Nokia devices probably stand the best chance currently but things are always changing.

I do find carrying an SLR a hassle.  Its bulky and heavy and well just awkward, but the results justify the hassle.

It is also not as integrated meaning removing memory cards or connecting USB cables to upload and share photos.  It takes time and is also more expensive to run a smartphone and an SLR. But. it will only be a matter of time; 2 years I reckon before I can ditch my SLR and rely on the smartphone camera.

How it will happen I am not sure.  I would envisage accessories will make a smartphone camera better (as shown with the Nokia 1020) as it will be very difficult to get it all into one device otherwise.  Even a good SLR is made great by lenses. I am sure manufacturers are planning this already

I really look forward to that day, it will make for a simpler photography option.

HTC One X–low light photography

ENDEAVOUR_Grey_Back_300_RGB_MediumWe all want to take a good picture in low light with our smartphone, but often you will find the subject is too dark or there is too much light.  It can be hard to get it right. 

Newer phones are always improving to provide that better image and Sony’s Xperia range of handsets have always been pretty good when it comes to low light.

The HTC One X is their best camera yet for low light.

It has an F2.0 aperture to allow more light into the camera sensor, which is a good start but an automatically adjusting flash goes one stage further, adjusting the flash power depending on the distance from and the light around the subject you are photographing.

Add to this HDR Backlight mode and you should get the best picture possible in a whole range of conditions. It automatically takes 3 shots (one at high, one at normal and one at low light levels) and combines them for the best result.

This technology can be found on the One X, one of the growing number of phones that we can use to replace our dedicated camera.

Instagram Now Available for Android

In case you haven’t seen already – popular photography app Instagram is now available for Android. The app has been a huge success on iOS and therefore its release on Android much anticipated. Click here to download it from the Google Play store.


Up to 99 photos in succession with the HTC One X – sports/action photography

We have all gone to that sports event, or wanted to capture that moment, which you can wait a long time for but have literally seconds to capture.

It has sometimes been a bit of a hit or miss scenario and that isn’t great.

You could just record the subject on video, but that isn’t that great if you just want a picture.  Yes you could freeze frame the video on a PC and then create a picture that way but it is a bit of a fiddle.

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Clove Vlog #32 – HTC ImageSense


The 32nd vlog from -This vlog talks about the benefits and drawbacks of HTC ImageSense found on the new HTC One Series.

For more information visit:

Clove Photo Competition – 1 Week to Go

WE HAVE ONE WEEK TO GO! The competition closes August 12th 2011!

The competition closes August 12th 2011. You or anyone you know who has taken a picture on their mobile phone, smartphone, PDA or other mobile device can submit an entry in this competition with the chance to win the main prize, or one of 5 runners up prizes.

1 x 1st Prize -

Over £600 worth of smartphone equipment 

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Smartphone Photography – How cameras and multimedia facilities can be used in other ways – barcode scanning.


One of the secondary functions of a smartphone camera is its ability to scan barcodes and QR codes using free applications such as Barcode Scanner.

Scanning a code using your phone can give quick access to information without the need to enter search terms or navigate a website. For instance, say you are shopping on the high street and spot a product that you like, you can scan its barcode using your phone and automatically search the web for a price comparison. You will often find that there are cheaper alternatives online if you are willing to wait a day or two for delivery.  The Amazon UK app comes with its own bar code scanner, meaning that you can easily see if Amazon has a product available and then compare prices.

imageQR codes are another way to easily access information. Often they are a means of linking to a URL or another source of information. For instance, the QR code to the left links to the Clove website and is often used in our print adverts and on business cards. If you are using a touch screen only smartphone, it is much easier to scan a QR code than to enter a website URL into the address bar on your phone.

Should you wish to create your own QR code, there are plenty of website that offer this service for free such as

Smartphone Photography Apps – Google Goggles: Search the web using images

Google Goggles is an application that allows you to search the internet using images instead of text or sound. This can be useful for a variety of searches, as is shown in some of the videos below. The most impressive use of Goggles is probably its ability to solve a Sudoku puzzle, or search for contact details using a business card! The technology is still under development so no doubt there will be a few more great features that emerge in the future. Google Goggles is a free application and is currently available for Android 1.6+ and iPhone4.

Click here to view Google Goggles on the Android Market

Smartphone Photography Apps–Just for fun

Here’s a few Android and iOS apps that are more on the fun side of things. There is an extensive range of apps, so I’ve only included a few for each platform.



Pudding Camera allows you to apply a range of cool effects to photos that you have taken. There’s a visual interface for the effects, which is handy as the app is not entirely in English. The output resolution is full, so your photos are not scaled down once an effect has been applied.


Little Photo is rated 4.5/5 on the Android Market and considering its free you can’t really go wrong. Using little photo you can apply a range of effects to your photos, with a preview feature available so that you can see what the photo will look like before you apply a filter.

russ_trampolineAction Snap is a cool app that offers something different to the other apps that are already available for Android. The app takes 4 simultaneous pictures and combines them together in an action sequence. There are different options as to how the snaps are arranged and the mode that they are shot in.

For instance, the shot to the left has a lomo effect of someone doing a front flip on the trampoline. The picture quality comes out quite clear considering how quickly the app snaps the photos.



The following are some new camera apps for the iPhone that are quirky and offer something completely different. The list comes from a recent post by Mashable.


It’s a shame that WordFoto isn’t available for Android as well as iOS as it really is a great concept and can produce some incredible images. The image to the left is a sample from the WordFoto website, where there are also some great user-created examples. Using WordFoto, you can recreate an image using words of your choice. The image can be automatically filled with words for you, or you can set your own parameters for further customisation. There are 8 predefined styles to chose from, which you can then tailor to your own requirements should you wish to change them.


Lego Photo is a cool app that is completely free of charge. Using the app you are able to turn one of your photos into a Lego-style mosaic. As you would expect you then have the option to share the app on Facebook, Twitter and alike. Click here to view it in the iTunes store.



KaleidaCam is an app that you probably wouldn’t use on a daily basis, but offers good entertainment value and is bound to be one that kids will enjoy. Costing $1.99, KalediaCam allows you to turn your iPhone into a Kaleidoscope and generate funky images using the photos that you have taken.




Smartphone Photography – Geo tagging Photos


Geo tagging a photo is a means of adding data to a photo that contains information of where it was taken. Geo tagging works by adding the co-ordinates of your position to the media being recorded (e.g photo, website, tweet). Usually this is done by assigning latitude and longitude to your location, but can also include altitude and compass bearings. Geo tagging is useful not only to pin point the exact location of your own photos, but also as a means for people to share various images of a specific location.

imageNearly all smartphones now have geo-tagging capability built in, with the option to turn it off should you not want to add location data. Some manufacturers offer more sophisticated geo-tagging applications, such as HTC Footprints. Not only does Footprints store the location data for a photo, it also gives you the option to add details such as a phone number (for restaurants, shops, etc.) and will display the photo’s location on a map. Click here to see instructions on using Footprints.

A useful service for geo-tagging and sharing photos is Picasa. This is a Google owned service so it is automatically offered as a sharing option after taking a photo on an Android device. Picasa can be installed on your desktop PC, used to manage photos and also to search for other peoples’ geo-tagged photos (with Google Earth installed).