Windows Phone for photog fun

Darren Humphries
Columnist from  Oshawa, ON Canada
| April 1, 2011

Windows Phone camera

I’ve been bitten by the shutterbug!  After a trip to South Korea last year to visit LG’s headquarters I got the urge to take a LOT more pictures than I had been.  There was so much to see in South Korea that I snapped and snapped the whole time.  Now I am hooked on taking photos, and lots of them!  I do have a nice digital camera but it can’t come with me everywhere and while a slim digital camera would work well there is nothing quite so convenient as a decent smartphone.

The camera we have in smartphones these days are all pretty good but not always great.  They’ve certainly improved immensely in the last few years though, so it should be interesting to see what the next few bring.  To be clear, pixel count should NOT be a top priority for manufacturers or users and we should demand a shift away from it.  Improvements need to be made in the quality of the sensors and capabilities of the onboard software.

Microsoft hasn’t done a particularly good job with the camera interface for Windows Phone 7.  It isn’t a horrible camera to use but it’s not great, by any stretch.  A huge frustration is that setting will always go back to the default each time you launch the camera.  Despite the problems the cameras are still usable and the number of apps available to have even more fun is increasing all the time.

One of the most popular apps for photography on the iPhone is Instagram, a combination of photo filter and social media app.  It’s a ton of fun...and not available for any other platform, including Windows Phone.  Still, there are alternatives that aren’t too bad including Colorize, Photo Stylist, Photo FX FREE and more.

The one I seem to play with the most right now is Photo FX FREE.  It has filters for sepia, black & white, vintage, hipster, lomo, emo, color and a manual setting to adjust brightness, contrast and vignetting.  Once you are done you can save the photo and share it as you would any other photo.  It’s certainly not as fun as Instagram, but it can help you spiff up otherwise boring images.

One of the apps available for Windows Phone 7 is flickr from Yahoo.  This one is actually pretty nicely done, giving you the ability to see all your own flickr photos as well as explore others.  You’ll have to do any editing you need on your phone first but can then upload and edit the information on your photo.

Cameras and services on Windows Phone have a long way to go still but that shouldn’t stop you from snapping lots now.  As our lives become more transient it’s nice to have increasingly more proficient mobile technology to record memories.  Don’t be shy, share your life!