The Not Smart Phone Series

I have been encouraged in photographic efforts by various others’ blogs. This is where one such adventure has led me. Not from all those who use their cell phones as cameras, but from discussions about using simple cameras vs. complex ones. Well the simplest camera I’ve got is the 2 MP unit in my Samsung Rugby flip phone. It has only the ability to point and click. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. It’s like using an old box Brownie.

Pause for a rant: I do not have a ‘smart phone’ and never will. For oh-so-many reasons, most based on being an engineer and having large hands. They’re fine for them that wants ’em, but not for me. I prefer my technology in separate entities with physically defined barriers between them. Do you know one of the biggest problems with hacked equipment is due to having things connected to the Internet that do not need to be connected to it? I don’t want wifi and blue tooth and GPS in my camera either. Rant over.

Now about cell phone cameras in general. Some of them are quite high-quality, with abilities no doubt beyond the ken of the average user. That’s true of many cameras too, of course; most of us never use all the functions built-in to our DSLRs or whatever except perhaps to try them out.

But there is another quality to phone cameras you may not have considered: they are stealth units. If you wander around a populated area pointing a lens in this and that direction it inevitably draws attention to you. It has ever been thus. Back in the early days of photography they even had cameras that took pictures 90° from what you were seemingly aiming at. And the realm of ‘spy’ cameras is long and famous. I had a couple of real ones (Minox and Tynar) and the cheap back-of-magazine toys as well.


(Hit “real camera” sold from the back of magazines, often as a “spy camera”.)

Now consider the cell phone. It is ubiquitous these days, and as such no one thinks anything of a person pointing it in any direction and taking a snap. ‘Selfies’ not withstanding, the things are practically a license to spy on everyone else. I’m sure the modern burglar uses his smartphone to case prospective targets without raising the slightest bit of alarm: “oh it’s just some guy sitting in his car talking on his phone” (can’t drive and talk legally in many places now). Scared yet?

Anyway, all that off to one side …

The plan here is to us my cell phone as a camera on purpose and see how good the results might be despite the severe limitations of the instrument. Ordinarily the only use it gets in this field is for taking shots of things I’ve seen when I don’t have a ‘real’ camera with me:


(That’s a last year Studebaker, still driving around up here.)

I possibly wouldn’t have gone ahead with this were it not for the reception this phone shot received (so you’ve only yourselves to blame):


So on Monday I will polish up the lens before heading into town and doing something I almost never do; take pictures with my phone, in a city, with the idea of making good, if not artistic, shots.

Talk about a challenge!

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