Calling the shots

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Copy of sa  Nokia Lumia 1020 . Nokia Lumia 1020

Durban - In today’s hyper-connected world, there’s a tremendous demand for devices that take pictures and videos, and allow you to post them to social-media services.

Most smartphones will do a pretty decent job of this, but if you’re after really good images – I’m talking near DSLR quality – your options are a lot more limited. The few gadget makers who’ve tackled this challenge seriously come at it from two directions.

One is to cram a good camera into a smartphone. The other to take a good camera and give it smartphone-like qualities.Today I’d like to share with you the best example of each of these approaches I’ve encountered so far.


Nokia Lumia 1020

In my round-up of best smartphones of 2013, I had no hesitation in rating this the top camera phone. With a huge 41 megapixel snapper built into a svelte and well made phone, the Lumia’s got the oomph to take on entry level DSLRs while still being small enough to slip into a pocket or evening bag.

iol scitech feb 7 Samsung NX300 Samsung NX300 AFP

The camera’s truly a marvel of miniaturisation, cramming a series of lenses, a gyroscopic stabiliser and a giant sensor – for a phone – into a space not much bigger than one of those chocolate coins your kids bug you for in the queue at Woolies.

If you’re worried about the effect on your data bill of sharing giant images, the default mode takes the full 41 megapixel image and combines the best bits into an astonishingly good, but data friendly 5 megapixel file, a process called oversampling.

It runs the Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system – an update is available that offers even more camera features – and while there may not be as many apps available as for Android and iPhone owners, if you’re serious about photography this is unquestionably the phone for you.


Samsung NX300

Mirrorless cameras are becoming increasingly popular among photography buffs looking for DSLR capabilities in a more compact package – a trick made possible by replacing the bulky mirror-based viewfinder with an LCD screen.

The NX300 is one of the better examples of this new breed and it has a nifty extra trick up its sleeve – internet connectivity. Although there’s no SIM card slot for linking to a cellular network, the built in wi-fi makes it a doddle to send pics to your web connected smartphone, or even e-mail them directly from the camera when on a wi-fi network.

The 20.3-megapixel sensor is built into a retro leather and aluminium body and comes with an 18–55mm zoom lens, with more specialised lenses available as after-market options.

If you own a Samsung phone, many of the features available from the top mounted dial and the stunning 3.31 inch, tiltable Amoled screen will be familiar to you, including the popular “Beauty Face” which, as the name suggests, gives your subjects a digital face lift.

For serious photographers, full manual control is instantly available at the flick of a switch on the zoom lens, so easily in fact that I flicked it by mistake a few times and wondered why my pictures weren’t focusing automatically.

If you’re in the market for a mirrorless camera, the Samsung NX300 is a great choice on its photographic merits alone. Factor in its connectivity abilities and it should jump to the top of your list. - Sunday Tribune

For more details and pictures, visit or follow @alanqcooper on Twitter.

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