Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The last days of Point and Shoot Digital Camera.

“The best camera is the one that’s with you, when you are standing close to that special shot, coz you don’t take pictures, you create them”

Before I begin, just ask yourself that in the last 2 years, how many times have you taken your point and shoot digital camera to take pictures as compared to your cell phone. All of you know the answer very well, coz the later is always with you in your pocket.
Nikon Coolpix point and shoot digital camera.

When I first saw the point and shoot digital camera in front of my eyes the first thing that came to my mind was “wow, no need to buy those 36 shot film roles and then preserve the negatives, in case if a reprint is required, now a memory card would take care of all the pictures and what's more, you can view all the pictures you take instantly on the digi cam display”. Point and shoot cameras were nothing short of a revolution in digital photography when they first hit the markets. Everyone went bonkers about them. They were compact, they carried with them enough zoom for day to day stuff, and we no longer had to purchase those clumsy KODAK roles (100, 200, 400). Well, now we have ISO settings in built.

But then, at the time when the digital cameras were making waves, another device was slowly and steadily catching up and had caught everyone’s imagination. Today it would be right to say that we can’t just live without it. Yes, it was the cell-phone. What was considered a luxury became a necessity with time. By the time cell-phone had spread to the masses it was not just a cell-phone anymore, not just a device to make calls or send messages. The cell-phone had evolved in every aspect. It brought with it a whole lot of improvements and features as it evolved. It could now play your favorite tracks, act as a GPS, play high definition games, play high definition movies, tune into favorite radio station, browse the World Wide Web, send emails, record high definition videos and yes, CAPTURE high resolution pictures.

Digital cameras obviously did not stop improving. They now had better sensors, better lens, a host of new features, better memory and most importantly they packed in a lot more megapixels than what they did around 10 years back. Digital cameras were doing good until a guy named Phillipe Kahn took the first cell-phone camera picture of his first child on June11, 1997 and shared it instantly. And rest as they say was history.
First cell phone picture taken by Phillipe Kahn after his daughter's birth.

Digital camera shook hands with the cell phone, which was a defining moment of the last decade. People no longer had to worry about not having a camera with them whenever they wanted to capture that special moment. Memory cards grew in size, higher resolutions were introduced, new features were added and camera phone could now take full high definition videos too.

So would it be fair to say that the cell-phone cameras are now on par with point and shoot digital cameras in almost every department ?? Or may be even better than them in some departments... Let’s have a closer look……

·        Cell-phone manufactures have now started introducing cameras with Xenon flash, which is comparable to point and shoot cameras
Sony Ericsson C905 Cybershot Phone equipped with Xenon Flash, the one found in point and shoot Digi Cams..

·        Cell-phone cameras come loaded with tons of features like Auto Focus, face detection, image stabilization, smile detection, macro mode, panorama mode and so on.
·        Cell-phone cameras these days are loaded with megapixels as compared to first cell-phone cameras which just had a VGA resolution (less than one megapixel !). Nowadays, It is very common to see cell-phone cameras with 5 and 8 megapixels. Recently at the mobile world congress held in Barcelona, Nokia announced a monstrous camera phone, NOKIA 808 pure view, which packed in 41 megapixels, that’s more than any current D-SLR . Icing on the cake was that it also comes with Xenon Flash and Carl Zeiss optics.

Nokia Pure View with 41 Megapixel Sensor, Carl Zeiss Optics and Xenon Flash

·        Cell phone cameras come with image editing software these days – All the basic corrections that you wanted to do with your not so good image to make it look better can be done on your cell-phone itself. Whereas hardly any point and shoot cameras come with this utility. You can also combine all your favorite pictures and make a slideshow to view on your cell-phone with your favorite tracks playing in the background.

·       Instant image share/transfer – As we all know once we are done with clicking pictures with our point and shoot cameras, the first thing that comes to our mind is take out that USB cable, turn on your PC, transfer pictures to your PC and mail it to your friends. Pretty tiresome process!! What do you do with your cell-phone if you clicked a picture with it and want to share it with your close ones ?? Just power on your Bluetooth and share the picture instantly. The latest tech for instant file transfer being NFC (Near field communication) technology which supports high transfer speeds. Just tap your phone with another NFC device and that’s all you need. The file gets transferred almost instantly.

·       Cell-phone cameras can do geo-tagging, which means your photos can be tagged on a map with help of a GPS in your cell-phone and can be viewed later to see where exactly the photograph was taken.

A picture Geotagged...

·         Video calling – This is one feature that is non-existent on Point and Shoot cameras.

·       Picture sharing over social networks – One click is all that is required to share a picture taken from your cell-phone cameras over your social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter. There are very few point and shoot cameras capable of sharing pictures instantly over the social networks.

·         Cell phone cameras have bigger and better displays to view pictures.

Cell-phone camera attachments – The digi cam killer..!!

These days a new revolution is taking place. Various attachments for your cell-phone cameras are now available in the market, which makes the cell-phone more value for money product. These attachments ensure that your basic cell-phone camera lens becomes a full-fledged picture clicking monster.

      Lets have a look what these accessories can turn your ordinary lens camera into.

Telephoto lens for Samsung Galaxy S2 with Tripod Stand

Various lens attachments for I phone are available in the market.

Underwater Camera Kit to take pictures while diving.

Telephoto Lens Attachement for I phone

     And finally invading the SLR Territory......
They came, they saw and they conquered....

Cell-phone cameras have certainly invaded into point and shoot camera territory. In the coming years it would be hard for the point and shoot camera manufacturers to convince a cell-phone consumer to buy the point and shoot digi cam. No matter whatever the features might be loaded in the digi cam, the cell-phone will always win this battle in the coming years. Point and shoot camera has to bring something out of the box to reclaim its position in this very important and decisive camera market otherwise it should start counting its last days….


Tuesday, 8 May 2012


“What ?? You had a budget of Rs. 40,000 and you still did not buy an i Phone ?? but why.. ??”.. asked a die-hard APPLE fan to someone who had purchased a SAMSUNG Galaxy S2 when I was standing at a mobile store looking for a cover for my cell phone the other day. The Customer, a man in his forties took a pause and replied back “Kyon, i Phone mein aisa kya khaas hai (What is so special about the i Phone ??). The Die hard Apple fan replied in a very high tone (As if Steve Jobs was his Mom and the other guy had just abused her in front of a million people),” It’s an i PHONE sir..Don’t you get it” (obviously without mentioning what all it could do in Rupees 44,000 which other phones in the market simply cannot), replied the die hard APPLE fan….
The above conversation makes me think over and over again there must have been something that late Steve Jobs did which led the entire planet to think that i Phone is the best smartphone ever. If you have to have a smart phone look no further than an i Phone, as if other phones are a piece of junk and wasting their time competing with APPLE.

Recently a story was doing rounds on the internet and leading newspapers of the world. It was about a guy from China who sold his Kidney to get money for an i Phone and an i Pad. The guy suffered complications after the procedure. The guy was simply riding on the Apple wave which has taken the world by storm, without being aware that there are devices in the market which are far better than an i Phone and you don’t even have to sell your Kidneys to buy them.

One thing that I really admired about late STEVE JOBS was his ability to innovate better than his competitors in the market and the way apple devices are so simple to use, that any one from a kid to a man in his nineties would take minutes to get used to. Even a child knows that APPLE is not just a fruit anymore. It is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. You don’t have to be a tech geek to use an i device. However, Apple does not make phones for all the budget segments as Apple’s competitors like Nokia, Samsung, Sony, Motorola do, and that’s where the game changes. You just have one i Phone and that’s it. Of course it comes in different memory options like 16GB or a 32GB and so on…

One would expect that after paying more than 40 grand (you could buy a decent laptop with that amount) you would get a device packed with all the features under the sun, however that is not the case.

Let’s have look at where the Apple’s latest TOY i PHONE 4S disappoints….

·      No FM Radio – As we all know that Radio was invented by Guglielmo Marconi from Italy in 1895. The year is 2012 and the million dollar question is that why has a simple FM radio not made it yet to the i Phone. You pay more than Rs. 40,000 and you don’t even get a simple FM radio in built.

·  No Bluetooth File transfers – Another major disappointment. Bluetooth technology is useful in a lot of things that it does like support for Bluetooth headset for receiving calls, Bluetooth stereo headphones for listening to your favorite tracks, can be used as a modem too, wireless printing, phonebook contacts transfer is also supported by Bluetooth. As all of you might be aware that earlier Bluetooth used to be available in limited cell phones. Those cell phones were in the above Rupees 15,000 segment, but now Bluetooth technology is available to masses. Even a handset of Rupees 2,000 supports Bluetooth and icing on cake is that it supports file transfers too. Apple has come out with more than 4 different versions of i Phone till date and each of them being an upgrade of the previous version, however due to some odd reason Bluetooth file transfer is still not available even in the latest i Phone 4S.

·  FACE TIME Video calling will work only on WiFi – Facetime, an application in i Phone allows video calling. Some seriously dumb guy from APPLE thought that entire world is on a leave, sitting at home and using WiFi and would never in their lifetime require 3G services or any other data services on move. So APPLE decided to limit FACETIME to 2 things

1.      FACETIME will only work with another i Phone for Video calling and not with any other cell phone.

2.      Secondly FACETIME will work only on WiFi and not on 3G or 4G network.

This totally limits the functionality of what would have been a truly amazing application and makes me wonder that if this Application was developed by a Blonde.

·       Poor Loudspeaker Performance – Apple may have the best music clarity using their i pod interface which we know is stuff of legends now, but when it come to loudspeaker performance apple does miserably as compared to its competitors, on top of that there are also no stereo speakers in Apple’s latest toy, which is extremely disappointing in a device which costs above 40 grand.

·       No Flash support in the web browser – Apple’s web browser SAFARI is one the best browsers in the market today. Web pages load very fast and the browsing is super smooth, but omission of flash support in the browser is like a dish without salt and pepper. Flash support makes the browsing experience more enjoyable.

·       Limited video codec Support – i Phone does not support Divx/Xvid video codecs. The videos have to be first converted and loaded in the phone through i tunes. The whole process is very tiring and time consuming. Lack of codec support makes I Phone a very limited video playing device.

The shortcomings that I have pointed out are those things which an end consumer would want to include in their checklist before finalizing any device in Rupees 40,000 bracket. I Phone is nothing but a toy for which you pay so much and get so less. If APPLE has to be a true leader and connect to the masses in the cell phone market they have to have an I Phone in Rupees 15,000 range along with a flagship model so that no one has to sell their kidneys. APPLE should include all the features in the I Phone so that the hype is truly justified. (Remember the guy who slept the whole night in front of a store in the U.S. so that he is the first in the queue to get an I Phone the next day)

Lastly if you really have a budget in excess of Rupees 40,000 and are still lusting for that i Phone then you might wanna consider these options too.

·         Samsung Galaxy S2  - Rs. 28,000 Approx

·         Samsung Galaxy S3  - Rs 38,000 Approx (To be launched in first week of June, 2012)

·         HTC One X  -  Rs. 37,000 Approx

·         Sony Xperia S  -  Rs 31,500 Approx

·         Nokia Lumia 900  - Rs 31,000 Approx (To be launched in first week of June, 2012)

·         Samsung Galaxy Note  (Rs 32,000 Approx)

Well that’s about it folks. I would conclude with one simple question yet again.

Do you really need an i Phone  ?????






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