So far on All About Windows Phone 'imaging' has all been about the rear-facing cameras on our smartphones, i.e. taking a photo of something. But what about the other camera - the one that points back at you? Now that 'selfies' are officially a thing (though I draw the line at special 'sticks'!), I thought a comparison, in terms of specs at least, of the front-facing cameras on Windows Phone hardware was in order - though it quickly becomes apparent that there's a 'sweet spot', beyond which it really is a case of diminishing returns. There is precisely zero point in a 13MP front facing camera. Really.
Recent Features - Software
The idea of grabbing stills from video footage has taken on a new trendiness in recent times with the likes of the Lumia 930 and 1520 able to shoot 4K video and take out useable 8MP JPG photos - shoot a kid or pet or sporting moment and then worrying about the exact frame to use as a still later on, etc. The 830 gets in on the act with 2K video and 2MP stills, but what about the older hardware? It turns out the Lumia 920, 925 and 1020 can match the newer 830, extracting images of similar quality.
Late last week, a stylish new Twitter client was launched for Windows Phone - Aeries. It's in my review list, but I'm waiting for the application to stabilise before delivering a full verdict. In the meantime, though, I caught up with its developer, Brad Stevenson, chatting about his new Twitter app and all things Windows (Phone). See the video below.
Just to clarify, I'm talking about the Microsoft-written Podcasts client that ships alongside Windows Phone 8.1 and above - not the generic class of podcatchers, rounded up last year. Unless you're a podcast power listener, the 'official' client may be all you need, so I thought a quick set of tips might help a new Windows Phone user get going and comfortable with Podcasts.
With the Windows 10 Technical Preview now out for phones - at least, for a variety of mainly lower end devices, and with the chance to play with it at AAWP Towers, I wanted to assess its state and what is and isn't included. Find below a handy reference table, plus screenshots and comments. More from us on this in the podcast!
Now, don't get me wrong - I love fiddling with alpha and beta builds of anything as much as the next geek, plus I'm already using and enjoying the Technical Preview version of Windows 10 on my laptop, but I'm having serious doubts about Microsoft's wisdom in releasing such an early build of Windows 10 for phones. Why? Because there's little to be gained at this stage and a lot to lose in terms of time, effort and confusion. In the face of much whooping in the mobile blogosphere, I beg to disagree....
With the arrival of Lumia Camera 5 on the UK Lumia 830, we get a chance to look at the pre/post Denim controversy from the perspective of a conventional 10MP camera phone, i.e. with no oversampling. Previously we'd looked in detail at the dramatic changes in image processing preferences on the Lumia 930 and 1520. See the differences here too on the Lumia 830, especially in low light, with contrast and sharpening now cranked right up to match the 'excesses' of Samsung and the rest of the industry. Do I sound a little unhappy? See the PS. for the silver lining. And see the PPS. if you're really feeling adventurous!
I know, I know - more imaging. But this one's a bit of an exclusive. In the last of this series of features (in theory) looking at Lumia Denim and Lumia Camera 5, I compare the same shots taken on Lumia Cyan and the old ex-Nokia Lumia Camera with those taken under Lumia Denim and Lumia Camera 5. Microsoft claims significant image processing enhancements - and there are certainly big differences, but I don't think the changes will please everyone.
The tying of the hardware shutter button to 4K video capture in Lumia Camera v5 (as seen on the Lumia 930 and 1520) was done with the best of intentions, I'm sure - it certainly creates an 'instant' way to start capturing everything in ultra-high quality, all the while that shutter button is held down. But most people would also like to use the shutter button to take photos in the traditional way. Is there a way to restore the latter, while not losing the 4K 'moment-grabbing' video completely? Pretty much!
Yes, I've already given the game away in terms of the mechanics of how Lumia Camera 5 works and why you have to reframe PureView oversampled photos in another application now - but just to be clear, I wanted to break this down into an illustrated tutorial, as I suspect it's going to be a Frequently Asked Question in the Lumia world.