I hear that pocket cams are over because phonecams have eaten that space; so let’s see if my Nexus 5 can convince me one way or another.

Back story · Google gave me a Nexus 5 for the holidays; three days later I dropped it from a fair height onto a sidewalk; sob. Hey, an opportunity to try something different!

I considered the iPhone 5c, the Moto X and G, and especially that groovy little waterproof Sony Z1. But up here in Canada it’s really hard to get any of the above in unlocked form except for the Apple, which felt overpriced. So I got another N5 from the Play store; it’s a lot of phone for the money.

The critics say that, with the December update, the N5 camera is in not-quite-the-best-but-good territory in terms of speed and quality.

What to expect · Don’t look for any insights about how this compares to other phonecams, because what do I know about that? What you can look for, in the near term, is lots of exploration of low-light capabilities, because it’s winter and I’m at roughly 49°N so I don’t have any other kind of light.

For example this, the first-ever shot I took with it.

pants leg

Taken in a dimly-lit room and really not terrible. I tried setting the white balance for a subsequent shot to compensate for the incandescent lights in the room and it turned my pants into blue jeans though they’re actually black; hmm. But the focusing effects are really pretty good for a lens this wide.

Not only is it dark here this time of year, it’s wet.

Main Street in the rain

I shot a bunch standing here by the road sampling the different reflections, and I’ve got the phone set to auto-upload, and Google+ grabbed them and did this thing it calls “auto-awesome”, producing a time-lapse rain-reflections video which is actually sort of fun. Hm, that link requires a G+ account; here’s a copy of the animated GIF.

Neither of these is processed in the slightest; which is how most people use the pix from their phone, right?

The real question at the end of this road is, can a phonecam replace the RX100?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Bram Stolk (Jan 11 2014, at 16:20)

The area where cameras like RX100 still outclass phone camera is shallow depth of field. Here the RX wins by a large margin. You need a large sensor and a large aperture to do shallow depth of field.

Without this you cannot blur away distractions nor guide the viewer's focus.


From: Norman Walsh (Jan 11 2014, at 16:36)

Coincidentally, I've also been playing with my new N5.


I concur; it's not bad.

Thinking I might do the daily pic thing exclusively with it.


From: Dave P (Jan 12 2014, at 00:13)

The G+ link doesn't work here Tim? Goes to a pic sequence, black, one of one?


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