Great Swamp Tech Stuff

Lumia 900 Camera with Instacam

Yesterday the daughter and I went on a photo safari to the Great Swamp. We picked the wrong time of day to go — strong bright sunlight tends to flatten things out, and makes the kinds of panorama shots I favor just about impossible to pull off. I did get a few nice ones with my Nikon, which I’ll try and post tomorrow. But I took it as a good opportunity to test the camera on my Nokia Lumia 900 phone.

June’s “Wired” magazine gave it a very high rating, and since I find my Samsung Stratosphere’s phone to be kind of crappy, this is worth an audition.

It is just a camera phone, so I’m aware that I’m nitpicking. Here’s a raw (just resized) image from one of the observation blinds. I like how it pulls gets color into the sky without making the foreground go to black.

I played with the levels to give it a little more depth.

Here’s one looking in another direction, down the boardwalk.

I increased the contrast a little bit here:

This one had very strong sunlight coming from the right. A lens flare extravaganza.

Tweaking the levels hard in Photoshop gave me this:

This one didn’t seem worth torturing any more.

Here’s a shot from a different blind.

And after working the levels. Clearly, I find working with levels to be a good time.

In shady spots, the color balance is way off. I didn’t quite know how to get rid of the violet cast to this:

Darkening the red and blue and desaturating them at the same time:

My darling purple daughter:

And after:

The highlights in her face are blown out in the original, just like the cloud shapes in the wide-angle shots above.

There’s no Instagram app available for Windows Phone, and there may never be. But some good-hearted soul put out an app called “Instacam,” which does some of the same things. Before we left in the afternoon I took a photo of a tree in our sunroom and applied a couple of the built-in filters.

Here’s another shot looking towards the living room, with a different kind applied.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t record which filters I used, so I can’t tell you what’s what. But here are some post-processed ones using the app through the phone’s photo gallery. Hover to see which filter.

I counted 28 different filters, plus 11 framing styles.

The interface is pretty straightforward, though it does warn that they can’t directly interface with Facebook. Once you save an image, you can do that from the phone’s photo gallery. You also can’t open an image you’ve already taken into Instacam directly. Instead you have to find it in your gallery, then swipe upwards and select “apps.” Then you can tap on Instacam and do your editing.

Tom

Tom McGee has been building web sites since 1995, and blogging here since 2006. Currently a senior developer at Seton Hall University, he’s also a freelance web programmer and musician. Contact him if you have the need for a blog, web site, redesign or custom programming!

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