I've been into photography for about 40 years. My first real camera was a Ricoh Singlex II - a sort of Pentax rip off. I bought my own photographic enlarger and spent hours in various improvised dark rooms printing mainly black and white images. In 1998, I went digital with an AGFA camera that ate expensive AA alkaline batteries morning noon and night. But I didn't have to pay to have the photos printed and spend the time scanning them into my computer. I could just upload them onto my own home web server and share them with the world....well my family.
I bought other, better digital cameras, but I still had to download the photos to a computer and usually had to resize them and then upload them. All very time consuming.
Then I bought my first feature phone with a 1.3mp camera - the now venerable Vodafone 715. With it, I could email pictures directly from the phone and post them on a variety of services that supported email uploads. What I found was that I barely touched my SONY HS5 7.2mp digital camera. It was too hard to get the photos off it. I had to go home or take my laptop somewhere where there was WiFi...and by then the "moment" was past. My core camera was now my phone because my phone was connected.
Moving along, in the past 2 years I've had an HTC Magic (3.2mp), a Nexus One (5mp), an Acer Liquid (5mp) and a Samsung Galaxy S (5mp). The cameras in the Magic and the Nexus One were Android basic. Not very many features. The Acer Liquid had a few more features and was pretty cool. The best of that bunch was the Samsung Galaxy S and its feature-loaded camera. My favourite was the panorama mode.
That's the background....
Now I'm using an HTC Sensation and its back camera is another big step up. At 8mp, it is easily the highest resolution phone I've used. The camera app includes a variety of effects - enhance, sepia, glimmer, grayscale, antique and several others - that you can set before the photo is taken or add to a photo after you take it. The "enhance" feature is especially good as it can take a pitch black image taken in very low light and extract something recognisable from it. Most of the effects are also available on the front camera, too.
You can customise the light settings and sensitivity or just set it to "auto". The same goes for enhancing, face detection, geo-tagging, widescreen format and focusing. Like the Samsung Galaxy S, you can set the lighting in a given shot just by touching different parts of the intended image and the camera adjusts the lighting to best suit that part of the image. This makes it really easy to take a photo with the light just the way you want it...and do it almost instantly with a finger tap or two.
If you want to adjust the zoom you can use the volume rocker button on the side of the phone or just touch the zoom slider on the camera display with your finger and drag it to where it needs to be. This is especially useful when the volume rocker has fallen out of the phone and been lost entirely somewhere....as happened to me yesterday. I have no idea where it went. But that doesn't stop me zooming my camera! (I now adjust the volume with an on-screen widget.)
The flash on the Sensation is two bright LEDs and is easily bright enough to be seriously useful. At the same time, the HTC Sensation's is so good at low light levels I rarely have to use the flash.
The camera app also does video and the two core "Yes!" features are the ability to record at Full HD 1080p resolution and do it in stereo sound. That's good magic and I like it.
I've taken about 700 photos since I got the HTC Sensation. Here is a public album that includes a good selection of images taken in a variety of situations. The only one's I've used the flash for are the pot plants on my front deck at night.
One the most recent cool things for me is the "Instant Upload" feature of the Google+ Android app. Every photo I take is immediately uploaded (settable - via Telecom XT and / or Wifi) to unlimited storage in Google's cloud and I can share it to Google+ more or less instantly. If my perfect camera was a totally converged, cloud-enabled camera phone on a fast network.....I'm there.
I'm not going to list every feature and function. My intention here is to share my experience as a user and talk about the features and functions I like and use the most.
But it's easy to say the HTC Sensation is the best camera I've ever owned.
About the author:
Steve Withers (LinuxLuver) has worked in IT in New Zealand (National Bank, Caltex, NZ Dairy Board, IBM, AT&T, Software of Excellence) for most of 30 years, moving from mainframes to mobile as technology has evolved and networks have become faster, cheaper and more accessible to everyone. An enthusiastic supporter of Open Source software and tools, in 2009 Steve embraced Linux-based Android as the way to go in personal tech for freedom loving peoples everywhere. Steve loves cool new stuff that makes him feel like he's living in the future.
Other related posts:
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HTC Sensation: The Story So Far
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