Take better photos with your smartphone – Lumia action in Australia

Matt Glastonbury is a mobile phone photographer.  To clarify; that doesn’t mean he takes photos of mobile phones, instead he is an expert in taking photos with mobile phones.

Matt started snapping away on an iPhone in Hong Kong a number of years ago.  He began to specialise in photos that could be used by tourism businesses to promote themselves on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.

Before long he graduated from iPhones to Lumia devices, having heard that the quality of the camera and importantly, the power he had over the controls, gave him more flexibility to achieve great shots.

We met Matt earlier this month on a fact finding trip to Sydney, facilitated by Microsoft Devices.  Over two days Matt showed the assembled media how to better use their Lumia devices in order to get professional quality photos.

It’s often said that the best camera is the one you have with you, but using it correctly is an advantage.  For example we were shown how to take better food photos.  One tip -take the camera off of auto and using manual focusing to ad depth of field to your food photos.

Another top tip was to look for ways to play with water and light, using the reflective power of water to enhance the composition of your shots.  And of course with the Nokia Camera app in the Lumia phones, it was easy to adjust the exposure controls to add saturation.

Matt also gave us tips on using Nokia’s living images which add a touch of animation to an image, and the Storyeller app to build a short video from your still images.

But enough with the writing, let’s have a look at the proof; here are some of the photos Matt took on a Lumia 930 during our two day tour of the Blue Mountains.

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That’s what a professional’s shots look like.  Meanwhile, here are some of the pics I took using a loan phone (including the best #animalselfie featuring Bandit the horse and yours truly – I’m the one on the right).

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About the Lumia 930:
Running on the latest Windows 8.1 operating system, the Lumia 930 offers a seamless experience across your phone, tablet, Windows PC and Xbox devices – making it easier to access your favourite shared files in more places – as well as Live Tiles so you can quickly and easily stay connected to the things that matter most.The new addition to the premium Lumia line-up brings the best of Windows and Lumia including:

Stunning screen – the crystal clear 5-inch Full HD OLED display lets you watch your favourite shows, movies or video clips in any condition, and thanks to a 2420 mAh battery and built-in wireless charging, there is no need to worry about running out of battery.

More from every moment – integration of the new Microsoft Enterprise feature pack, Microsoft Office, OneDrive, Nokia Camera, and HERE Maps and Drive+, all of which work seamlessly to make the Lumia 930 a great tool for work and play.

Your apps, your way – The apps you want, all certified by Microsoft in the only app store that learns what you like and makes suggestions based upon what’s most important and personal to you.

Best for business – With the world’s most popular productivity tools, like Office and Outlook built-in, coupled with a host of new enterprise features like; VPN, SMIME and MDM support, Windows Phone is built for both personal productivity and enterprise deployment.

Class leading imaging – an advanced 20MP PureView camera with optical image stabilization and high quality ZEISS optics makes capturing and reliving amazing images and videos fast and easy.

More from your memories – with the enhanced Nokia Camera with Living Images, it’s easy to add movement and emotion to static pictures, while imaging apps such as Nokia Storyteller, Nokia Creative Studio and Nokia Refocus bring even more levels of creativity to any photo.

Incredible directional audio, HD video – with four high-performance microphones and Rich Recording, the Lumia 930 captures HD video like never before, with support for surround sound capture and playback.

Processing even faster and richer – A 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor to enhance activities like Xbox gaming, image capturing and video processing

Low power motion sensing – The new SensorCore helps people track their activity all day without using up the large 2420 mAh battery – perfect for exercise and exploration using apps like Bing Health and Fitness.

The Nokia Lumia 930 is available exclusively through Vodafone for an RRP of NZ$999.

Windows Smartphone Review: Nokia Lumia 930

wp_ss_20140809_0002[1]The Nokia Lumia 930 is the latest flagship smartphone from Microsoft and what a classy little device it is.  It’s designed to provide a high-end alternative to the current crop of Android and iOS suspects and it manages to do that really well.

The phone is quite a good looking beast, with a 5 inch full HD display with a Gorilla Glass 3 touch-screen on the front and a polycarbonate panel on the back.  The aluminium bezel that encircles the phone adds to the premium look and feel.

The Lumia 930 comes with the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, giving business users easy access to the productivity tools that they use most such as Office and Outlook.

But it’s not all work, work, work; the Lumia 930 offers a seamless experience across your phone, tablet, Windows PC and Xbox devices – making it easier to access your favourite shared files in more places.

Hands On Testing
Windows Phone 8.1 gives you the option of customising the home screen with your own background image.  Depending on your configuration you’ll get a series of opaque and see-through live tiles on the home screen.

The 5 inch full HD screen is bright and vivid and it even managed to look good outdoors in the late winter/early spring sunshine.

If you’re considering moving to Windows Phone you might worry about the perceived lack of apps.  I was pleasantly surprised however to find a lot of the apps I regularly use were available in the Windows Store.

I was quickly able to find and install Shazam, Instagram and even a pretty good Snapchat client. The Windows phone version of Facebook is much better looking in my opinion than Android or iOS. That was a surprise – but a good one.  If you’re looking for newer, hotter apps though, you might have to put them on your wish list.

Camera
Nokia phones are renowned for their quality cameras and the Lumia 930 has a great 20mp PureView camera.  As a OneDrive (Windows cloud storage) user I was happy to switch on the photo sync setting but I was surprised to find that only low resolution photos were being backed up.

The phone captures both a high and low resolution version of every shot so after a bit of digging around in the settings I was able to turn on automatic syncing of the larger pics via Wi-Fi.  Why Nokia didn’t make it easier to save the large lovely photos from the phone I don’t know.

Storage and Battery
As with most smartphones there are some small compromises to make. The Lumia 930 has 32 GB of storage but no micro SD card slot.  In this day and age with cloud storage and streaming music services that’s not such a big deal, but I personally like being able to swap files between devices via removable media.  It’s much tidier than having to use USB to micro USB cables and simpler than Bluetooth.

Also, there’s no removable battery so you’ll need to keep an eye on your power levels.  While the phone has wireless charging capabilities, the charger is an optional extra.

Final View
Within a couple of days of moving to Windows Phone I was more than happy to use the Lumia 930 as my main phone.  Rather than find the software a compromise, I found it a pleasure to use – the personalisation abilities and the live tiles make it fairly personal and immersive experience.

While not all of the apps I would normally use were available (no ANZ banking app for example) many of the native Windows Phone apps such as Bing Translator were great to use.

In summary – if you’re in the market for a top smartphone and you haven’t given Windows Phone a try, the Lumia 930 deserves a test drive at the very least.

RRP of $999 from Vodafone
Website: http://www.nokia.com/nz-en/phones/phone/lumia930/

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Nokia Lumia 930 with Windows Phone 8.1 OS. You can use a background image which “peeks through” some of the home screen’s live tiles.

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Indoor shot with the Nokia Lumia 930

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Indoor shot with the iPhone 5s

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Daylight shot with the Nokia Lumia 930

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Daylight shot with the iPhone 5s