You’re never too old to learn

posted in: Life and things, Photography | 0
Win 10 screen for the Your Phone app

I’ve had a mobile phone (cell phone if you’re American) for years. And years. I had my first one before 1990, back in the analogue days when a phone was a phone was a phone. I seem to remember regularly buying Nokia phones. I also remember when broadcaster Alan Jones was ranting on the radio about Japanese firms, citing Nokia as an example. You all know it’s a Finnish company, don’t you?

Although I worked in IT for many years, I’ve been a conscientious objector when it comes to the current crop of phones. I never wanted to read on the phone, if I wanted to take pictures I got out my Canon, I certainly don’t want to watch movies or TV on a phone, and I don’t use the phone for any financial stuff. I have been known to look up a map on rare occasions but I don’t remember using the phone to look something up on a website, not even Facebook. For all of the above, I have a tablet running Win 10. I do admit to sometimes listening to music on my phone. I found a great app for that 😊.

Which means the little computer sitting next to my right hand on my desk is a rarely-used, expensive item. It’s very hard to buy a relatively simple, cheap phone which can be operated by fat, arthritic fingers but I tended to buy the cheaper Samsungs which were more than adequate for my needs.

All that has changed. I blame covid-19.

You see, these days you have to sign in whenever you go anywhere. So I gave in and started to actually take my phone with me instead of where it usually resides, on my desk in my office. I downloaded the Australian Government’s covid-safe app which was meant to help with contact tracing. Then I found signing in was easier if I had a QR code reader, so I downloaded an app for that. Then the Queensland Government decreed that all businesses had to use a covid app especially developed for contact tracing in Queensland. Okay, then. I downloaded that. All of which meant I had to carry the phone with me.

Then Samsung introduced a new phone with four (count them, 4) cameras. Feel free to read the full specs for the A72 here. Please note: the main camera’s resolution is 64MP! Compare that with the Canon 7D mk2 at 20.2MP. Although the phone isn’t cheap, the price is on a par with a reasonable Canon lens or even a mid-range camera. The phone cameras come with a range of built-in options, including macro and 30x zoom, or you can go full-on pro, setting white balance, ISO, shutter speed etc etc yourself. But it doesn’t save photos in RAW format.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I like to take photos, especially when we travel. I’ve always taken my Canon with me, sometimes I took two lenses, all in my camera bag. That’s fine when we go on road trips, but it’s a bit of a pain when we go overseas (we live in hope). I rarely swapped to the 70-300 zoom when overseas and soon didn’t even bother to take it. Peter uses his tablet when he wants to take pictures but that’s still a bit cumbersome. I thought taking happy snaps with a phone with a decent camera may be the way to go. Less stuff to carry, which is always a plus OS.

So, we bought the A72 and received a pair of ear buds as a bonus offer. They’re great – terrific sound and no wires.

I’ve been playing with the camera (is the pope a Catholic?) but I have been impressed with a few other features. The QR reader comes standard which is nice. And there’s a great interface between the phone and my Windows PC (see header photo) which removes all the drama of trying to send a photo via Bluetooth. Just have the WIFI turned on, fire up the app and you can see what’s on your phone without using cables.

The phone won’t replace the Canon. It’s a clever piece of kit but I can’t see it taking a decent picture of a flying osprey. On the other hand, it will be just perfect for the interiors of churches or night lights in Amsterdam or Budapest. I can see it being my overseas camera.

Who knows? This might be the start of a whole new adventure. You’re never too old to learn.

Here are some comparison pictures, not necessarily of exactly the same shot – but the same plant at about the same time.

Taken with the Canon 7D camera using a telephoto lens at 300mm. Look carefully and you’ll see reflections in the water droplets hanging from the petals left of centre.
Taken with the Canon 70D camera using a shorter telephoto lens at 110mm (not quite so good)
Phone image (not macro)
Phone image (macro) Looks good here, but the resolution is poor.

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