I've always been very dismissive of camera phones and could never understand why they became so popular. The picture quality was consistently awful and transfering the images to a computer was tedious, but in spite of this many people still chose to record some of the most important moments of their life with photos that made the Kodak Instamatic look like the Hubble Telescope. Why?
However, I have now discovered a phone that has a half-decent camera:
This morning I was driving back from a particularly awful car boot sale that would have made a street market in Burkina Faso look luxuriantly decadent. I don't what I hated most: the piles of used shoes that looked like something out of 'Schindler's List', or the dew-soaked DVDs of low budget horror films like 'Satan's Little Helper'.
After such a depressing experience, I decided to lift the spirits with a visit to the Long Man of Wilmington. It was a beautiful morning and as I got out of the car, I regreted not bring a camera with me.
Then I remembered my new phone:
It's not a great photo. The saturation's not right and the zoom has affected the sharpness, but compared to the old VGA images that I was used to, this was a revelation. It's almost good.
This image was taken without the zoom function:
Not great, but not bad either.
This lacks sharpness, but the colours are far richer than the washed-out, grainy sub-CCTV images on my old phone.
A decent camera would have been able to cope more effectively with the contrasts of light and dark, but it's still perfectly acceptable.
As I fiddled with the phone's touch screen, The Long Man looked on impassively. He'd seen it all: Roman centurions, Saxon thanes, medieval pilgrims, Victorian farmers and, today, people in garish fleeces walking their oversexed dogs along public footpaths.
I shall be seeing a lot more of the Long Man in the future. I think we're going to get along very well.