transmitting images via cell phone?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by beth_walter, Apr 14, 2003.

  1. I've read articles where photojournalists have referred to
    transmitting their digital images in via their cell phone. Does
    anyone have any specifics on equipment needed to do this and exactly
    how its done? Beyond the basics, that is (obviously you need a
    digital camera, PC & cell phone.) But, go from there. The digital
    camera hooks to a laptop via USB, to upload the images to the PC, but
    then what? How does the PC hook to the cell phone, what kind of cell
    phone is needed (some real-life brand & model #'s would be great) -
    what kind of wireless phone service is needed, and where would one be
    dialing to on the cell phone? An internet service provider or a
    network dialup connection at their office? What kind of software is
    used on the PC to do this? Would it then also be possible to
    send/retrieve email and do internet browsing on the PC (that somehow
    is using the cell phone rather than a traditional modem)?
    Any specifics on how this works from someone who is currently doing it
    would be greatly appreciated. thanks !
  2. How do you send photos via your modem?

    The rest is trivial.
  3. Hi Beth, I'm currently able to this with my laptop and cell phone. I have Sprint PCS phone service with an option they call Vision. It costs an extra 9.95/month and allows my web-enabled phone (Samsung A500) to browse the web and send/retrieve email. I also have a cable (from Radioshack) that plugs into the phone and has a USB plug on the other end. I got some software off the Sprint PCS web site that allowed me to load drivers that configure the phone as a modem. Another source for the software and cable is FutureDial. You don't need a separate ISP to do this--Sprint acts as your ISP.
  4. When I drove trucks over the road, I had a Motorola StarTac that you could hook into a laptop by either serial cord or PC card. Aside from a dialer program that's a free download, I used my normal browser and e-mail programs, and though I didn't use it much my FTP program also worked. Within the Sprint network this gave me a wireless 14.4k modem. Now I believe there are "broadband" cellular modems with 144kbps. Since I had free nationwide long distance with Sprint, I just dialed one of my home ISP's local numbers and went from there. 14.4 was plenty to check my e-mail and pay some bills online. Not great for web-browsing. News agencies probably have a dedicated call-in line their photojournalists use.

    My phone also has limited browser and e-mail capabilities(it's just your standard $99 phone)but it's really too bothersome to use.
  5. Get a phone and adapter that are compatible with both your cell provider and computer. Windows folks have it easier from this standpoint than do Macs. Nokia phones seem to be the most troublefree; the 6310i is nicely capable. If you are in the States, look into WiFi. Gat a Hotspot account with T-Mobile, and you can transmit from most major metro areas, including the ever-present Starbucks outlets.
  6. If you're not in the US or intend to travel outside the US, you'll want a GSM-GPRS phone (eg. Nokia 6310), a GPRS account from the phone company and a kit from the phone manufacturer to hook up the phone to the computer. At least here in Europe, phone companies usually offer quite complete packages, so you only need to worry about getting the hardware and making your computer talk to your phone.

    Then there's always MMS-messaging to send photos in your "SMS", but I doubt you meant that... :)
  7. As David G. mentioned, all you need is a cable for your phone. The phone then becomes a modem, and will connect to the net like any other modem. With my Verizon plan, the connection is billed as regular minutes, no extra charge. I can't vouch for other providers. However, it only works on digital cell phone circuits -- not on analog circuits like when you're out in the sticks. The speed is only 14.4kb/s -- not real good for transmitting pictures, unless they're small. It's adequate for typical website pictures, though. Most phones support this, and all you need is the cable. If your phone is old and can't get the cable from your provider anymore, there are plenty for sale on eBay.
    As a step up from that, some providers are now offering 144kb/s service -- cellular broadband (or mid-band, anyway). It's not offered everywhere, just in major cities and towns. You do need a newer phone to take advantage of it. Otherwise it works the same way -- all you need is the right cable to connect the phone to your laptop/PDA. This service also costs extra. Verizon calls it Express Network. Other providers have similar plans.
  8. A bluetooth enabled phone (Nokia makes many) and a bluetooth PDA or camera would work well and without cables. I looked into a PDA and phone combo and will probably buy one soon. The PDA / notebook will connect wirelessly through bluetooth to the phone, dial it and transmit the photo. You can also email, connect to the web all while your phone is in you pocket or on your belt. Very Cool. T-Mobile has some reasonable data transmission plans, but look at the others.... I hope this helps.
  9. Take a look at's forum on image tranmission.

    Yes, you can do all the above connected via cell phone. Some are now getting rates faster than 14.4, but they are rare. verizon (in some areas) has/had? an option to get an IP address for your phone and unlimited transfer. Not sure how that worked as middle of Iowa does not offer such a thing.


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