Telephone Zoom Lens for Smart Phones

This new 58mm lens for iPhone, pixel, and Samsung galaxy camera phones provide 4x optical zoom from moment. Camera phones have become very good for what they do. The biggest problem I see is the lack of decent zoom options. Even this 4x optical zoom is limited but it provides a decent tradeoff of a quality zoom lens in a small package. You just don’t get the great zoom capabilities of full cameras like the 65x optical zoom I have on my Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Digital Camera.

photo of phone with the lens attached

You need the proper phone case to mount the lens to your phone (like this case for an iPhone X.

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Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Digital Camera

I am fairly cheap. I bought a Canon Powershot SX-60 HS camera today (with 64 Gb card, backup battery and comfortable strap) for $550. I think that is the 2nd most expensive thing I bought this year (an iPad mini I think was more expensive). In the last 5 years the only other thing I can remember buying that was more expensive was a MacBook Pro.

I am very happy to have a new camera. I started looking more than 6 month ago, at that time the updated version of the Powershot was already 6 month overdue (with no explanation from Canon) so I decided to wait. I am glad I did (though I was annoyed not to have a new camera for my trip to Hong Kong, Guilin, Yunnan and Shanghai earlier this year.

The old camera was ok, if you don’t consider how much better things have progressed in the last 5-10 years. But that is a big thing to ignore. I think the Canon SX line is the most awesome camera for people that want something better than a smart phone (by far the biggest issue for me is zoom though it is also better for various things such as low light, taking lots of photos and video without running out of room on your camera…).

photo of the Canon ax-60

The photo shows the LCD screen extended which is actually a nice feature at times (normally I just fold it into the back of the camera).

The Powershot SX 60 has an amazing 65x optical zoom (21mm–1365mm). This is just amazing. Much more expensive cameras can’t come close to competing with this. The Canon SX 60 is DSLR-like but not a DSLR. It looks like one but isn’t. It really straddles the area between DSLR and non-DSLR in my opinion.

You can watch at Curious Cat Travel Photos and see if you notice a big leap in the quality of the photos now that I have a new camera.

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Polaroid Cube Camera

Introducing the Polaroid Cube lifestyle action camera—water resistant, shockproof, mountable (1080p HD video, 3MP CMOS sensor and 124° wide angle lens).

The Mobius Action camera is another option (that doesn’t look quite as cool, but has good video quality in a small package at a cheap price – $90).

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Macro Lens Band for Phone Cameras

Easy Macro Cell Lens Band [link broken so it was removed] is a neat tool to let you have macro photo capabilities on you camera phone. Only $15.

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This lens will transform your cell phone photos from meh to awesome by giving you stunningly sharp details. See the curious detail of your own eye, get a close-up of the sprinkles on your ice cream cone or see what an ant’s face really looks like!

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Storing and Sharing the Photos You Take with Various Gadgets

Cell phone cameras have greatly increased the number of photos most of us have to share. Once you have them how to share them is the next question. There are various options that are pretty good for those that like them but also with some limitation: facebook (I don’t use it), Google’s Picasa (I don’t at all like how rigid Google is in how things are handled), Flickr and Smugbug (along with many others). I ran across a new site that seems like it might be nice: OpenPhoto.

The easiest way to signup is to use your dropbox account, for storage. If you don’t have a dropbox account yet, sign up (it is free).

  1. Get an invite code (they are in an early, limited release right now). You can just email them or follow them on Twitter and send them a request.
  2. Sign up (select the option to “Store originals in my personal Dropbox account”)
  3. You will then be prompted to login to Dropbox to complete the integration
  4. Then follow very easy add and upload photo process, that you are taken to.

If you have dropbox already, it should take less than 2 minutes to be up and running.

Good job, OpenPhoto. One feature I would like is to be able to edit the date of the photo (I have photos from the 1970s saying they are 5 months old (when converted to digital images) and I don’t see a way to edit it yet. This project is new, so that isn’t surprising. It would be nice to see that updated at some point.

Overall, it is very easy to use, and I really like how it keeps the photos in your control (to the extent your dropbox [or whatever you use] space is in your control). Very easy to assign rights (all rights reserved – or various creative commons licenses or your own license); on a per photo basis. You can also make photos public or private (for viewing over the web).

Unless you are sharing originals so other can print them out, for archival purposes (or something similar) you are probably wise to save the images in a much smaller file size. There is really no reason to upload 2 Mb images for people to look at on their monitor (unless there are going to zoom in like crazy). You can reduce the file sizes dramatically and what people see on their monitor will not change.

Here are my photos. It took me less than 10 minutes (and most of that was finding the photos and editing the text) for the first 2 I uploaded.

You can make groups, which is nice. Hopefully this allows you to share photos with groups (or will, at some point). I haven’t figured that part out yet. The software is open source, which I like. The idea behind it is to have something like wordpress that provide software that you can run for your own blog but this time it is to manage your own photos.

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