Ewan around America with a $250 phone budget - part 5

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Some say he can shout across the Forth Bridge and be heard on the other side. Some say he can't pronounce the word "badminton". All we know is, he's called Ewan Spence. Part 5 of a series of short videos from Ewan is embedded below, along with some of his 'diary' commentary, as part of his gaming and blogging spring trip to San Francisco (GDC) and Austin (SXSW). We set him a series of challenges (also known as a real world test of the Nokia 5230/Nokia Nuron), all delivered by the Stig. In part 5, Ewan accepts a photographic challenge and goes seeking tips from a 'pro'.


From Ewan's diary:

"They’ve been on pretty much every Symbian powered smartphone since the first 7650. With some notable exceptions, if you pick up a high end phone you’re going to have a camera on it. While Nokia have made a lot of fuss about their Carl Zeiss lenses and five megapixel cameras, that’s only for the high end phones. Move down into the medium and low end, and the cameras start to lose [box] brownie points.


The Nokia 5230/Nuron, which I’m currently carrying around America as part of my "do everything for $250” challenge, carries a fixed focus, plastic lensed, 2 megapixel camera. Not stunning in any way, shape or form. But it is the camera that’s always with me, and that makes it the most important camera to me in the world.


But how good are the pictures? My third challenge was to take some “sexy and stunning shots of Austin and SXSW" using just this ultra-budget smartphone – I think Steve took great delight in issuing this one, knowing just how skilful I am with a digital camera [ahem - Ed]. Still, the great thing about SXSW is the huge number of people here. I must know at least one photographer who can help.


Step forward Brian Solis, author of "Engage" and a noted commentator on social media. He’s also a keen amateur photographer, and was happy to give me some advice on taking pictures with the Nokia 5230.


With that under my belt, it was off round Austin to take a variety of pictures, from outdoor landscapes of buildings and nature, to trade show floors, lit up hotels in the middle of the night, to friends singing karaoke with a live rock band straight out of a Whitesnake reunion tour.


Here are the pictures:

Sample photo from Nokia Nuron

South Congress Bridge - download full 2MP image as March2010nuron051.jpg


Sample photo from Nokia Nuron

SXSW interactive Trade Show Floor - download full 2MP image as March2010nuron061.jpg


Sample photo from Nokia Nuron

Radisson hotel lights at midnight - download full 2MP image as March2010nuron089.jpg


Sample photo from Nokia Nuron

”LC Rocks” Live Band Karaoke - download full 2MP image as March2010nuron086.jpg


Sample photo from Nokia Nuron

Lakeshore Walk - download full 2MP image as March2010nuron052.jpg


So does the 5230/Nuron take pictures? Yes. Does it take good pictures? Well.... Yes, you have to be aware of the conditions, yes, you can't focus on close-up objects, and the lack of a flash means you have to be really careful taking pictures indoors or at night, but you can get some excellent results out of this small, low priced phone.

I think I can count this challenge as passed. Do you?"

Editorial notes:

1) Not bad, Ewan, within the limits of the Nuron's cheap sensor and lens. We'll make a photographer of you yet. Of course, you've yet to master focussing(!) 8-)

2) the original challenge - which Ewan truncated somewhat - was to take some promo video as well - maybe Ewan can take on a sub-challenge, as a follow-up?