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Hidden Treasures: Getting More than Comic Relief Out of the Treos' Cameras

Mon Apr 3, 2006 - 11:04 AM EDT - By Jay Gross


Take a look at your Treo's digital camera. No snickering. Whether 650 or 700w, the SmartPhone's dumb camera isn't much. Okay, especially in the 650 it's awful. That same focus-free, flash-deprived implementation in the 700w boasts higher resolution, but it doesn't help much.

Alas, I know of no whiz-bang ten-dollar attachment you can snap onto the lens and go on safari shooting pictures for National Geographic. Yet I proclaim that it is possible to get useful images out of Treos. That is, with conscientious care in taking the shots and a visit to the magic shop for some digital image whittling after the click. This means you, operating your computer's mouse in an editing program, a.k.a. an image processor, pointing at problems and fixing them, one horrid blue blob at a time.

The results from this simple fix-em-up process can be dramatically better than the original images. Maybe the Museum of Modern Art won't come calling, but with some learning and a bit of work, you can get downright acceptable results from your Treo's mediocre-at-best efforts.

As proof, I submit the before/after images that accompany this article. I put my Treo 650's camera to the test while our illustrious editor, Harv, snapped a palm--as in tree--with the 700w for comparison. Sick, aren't they?

Note: The photographs shown are resized thumbnails that may not accurately reflect the original picture. Jay's pics are on the left, Harv's are on the right. Click the thumbnails to see the full-size photos.

Now inspect the "after" versions. I don't hear Madison Avenue screaming--at least not for them--but they're acceptable for emails, corporate or otherwise, boardroom or not, and many other purposes. In fact, I confidently pronounce them "better than nothing."

To compare real cameras' results, Harv clicked the same tree with his 7-megapixel Olympus C7000 Zoom camera (list price around $600). I snapped the palm across the street with my 6.4-megapixel Canon Digital Rebel with EF-S 18-55mm zoom (list price around $1,000). Here are those results, greatly reduced from the original camera size in both cases.

Again with the before/after. I went on a flower safari around the block, and found early spring camellias abloom in the shadow of a building.

All of these examples originated in the testing world. Consider one from the cold, damp real world.

Next Page: A gray and rainy day >>

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