Nokia 6310i

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Still the phone of choice for many press photographers, and despite it being something like 4 years old, there is nothing yet on the market to compete with it. The phone is compact enough to be used with the Lowe Pro S&F Phone pouch. And even with the longer life battery, it is still very lightweight.

In terms of functionality, the phone is packed with useful features, and in reality who needs a camera phone, or a PDA with a built in mobile phone? The 6310i has almost everything that a snapper in the field really needs.

Firstly and most importantly, the phone has a built in modem, enabling point to point sending of images, and if on the orange network, it supports High Speed Data at 28.8k. Ok so not very high speed, however it is better than any other network offers at present.

Secondly, the phone supports blue tooth, which with most laptops (apple or pc based) now support, and those that do not will via the use of a USB adaptor. Enabling the wireless connection between the phone and the laptop. Although Bluetoothâ„¢ is only short range and relatively low speed (in comparison to 802.11b/g WiFi) it is more than adequate for the data transfer rates that we regularly use.

Thirdly, GPRS is supported enabling internet access via orange internet, meaning that a higher speed connection is available for photographers that can FTP their images, or use a web based email system, unfortunately the sending of emails via your ISP or Domain name host is not possible unless they offer you an authenticated login for your email server.

Fourthly Infrared support, some of the older Macs and PCs support line-of-sight infrared comms, the 6310i supports this. Fifth, Physical connection via serial port, although the cable is expensive at around £35, it is supported, if you wish to use cable, but your laptop doesn’t have a serial port you will need to purchase a USB-Serial adaptor, however with the availability of the Bluetooth option I can’t see any real reason for requiring a physical connection.

The 6310i also has a number of other useful capabilities including a huge memory for telephone numbers, and a massive amount of room for text messages. There were problems with earlier Nokia 6310i, in that the battery connection could be quite flaky, resulting in the telephone randomly switching itself off, and some of the firmware versions are a little less than ideally robust. However the latest version of the firmware seems to be acceptable, and the problem with the battery connections have been solved with the addition of battery pads on the rear of the
body. This used to have to be solved by wedging a piece of folded paper between the battery and the phone body.

Another important reason behind the choice of the 6310i as the best of the photographers phones is that the car phone kit is one of the best kits around, I have had the Nokia car kit since the 7110 flip (slidey) phone. However the replacement Nokias will not have the hardwired Aerial kit that the 6310i has, instead relying on the inbuilt aerial in the handset, not normally a problem, however when there is a weak signal, the chances of getting a good high speed data connection is slight. The Car phone kit gives me in weak signal areas at least a single bar, if not two in increased signal. My advice, by up as many 6310i phones as you can, and get the car phone kit whilst they are still available. The new replacement phones are not going to fit the existing kit, and Bluetoothâ„¢ lhands free from the examples I have seen leave a lot to be desired.

As with many things there are quite a few people out there who won’t, don’t or can’t read the bloody manuals but will read website’s after trawling around for hours to find a solution to why their phones don’t work as expected. I will detail here a couple of short cuts, tricks and hints for getting the most out of your mobile phone. If I can be bothered, I will also illustrate them as well.

Tip One.
Modem Strings

This is probably one of the most common problems I have to deal with when colleagues call with wiring difficulties, the modem initialisation (initializations in the US) string. In the UK, we have Orange who is currently the only supplier of High Speed data. All the others operate at 9.6k or 14.4k so the appropriate string is essential.

In addition, when you travel abroad many of the foreign networks do not support high-speed data, so it is essential that before you travel you have a selection of strings available, as you will have to use them at sometime or another. If you use Zterm then keep them as macros, that way you will always have them to hand.
The strings shown include error correction and should be ok in 90% of situations, if you wish to learn more about modem strings, click here
or for setting up Zterm click here.

Tip two
If you wire via Bluetooth you do not need to have the phone in your hand, or even in sight, mine normally lives in the centre consol of the car, or in my camera bag.

However to make that work well you need to configure your phone so that the connection request is disabled, otherwise every time you try to connect the laptop to the phone it will bleep and ask you to accept the connection. Now if you have paired the device properly there will not be a problem with anyone else connecting to your phone via Bluetooth.

Tip Three
Sometimes in Zterm things just stop working, now that may be down to something that you have done, or changed, but sometimes (just sometimes) Zterm goes tits up, and there is nothing that you can do, except re-install Zterm, unfortunately this means that all of you strings, numbers etc. disappear, so keep a back up copy (as a text document so that you can retype in the details when you have reinstalled). So Always make sure that you have a copy of the Zterm.sit file appropriate for your operating system, somewhere on your hard disk.

Tip Four
Sometimes, when everything else seems to work, pictures will not wire, or will continually get error messages first option is dial the modem number and ensure that you can here the modem at the other end. Next close Zterm and switch off your phone leave it for 1 minute. Then retry, if that does not work, reboot your machine. If that has not cleared the problem, call the picture desk and ask them to reset their modems, this should not be your first call as you need to ensure (as much as possible) that it is not a problem at your end (nothing looks less competent than someone who cannot successfully wire, especially if it is their fault). Having followed these steps your images should be racing away to your picture desk, if they are not, it is likely that there is a problem either with the network cell that you are on, or the network as a whole. Try relocating so that you are on a different cell. Problems can also be caused by high volumes of local traffic, for example at a big news event where there are many photographers all trying to wire at the same time. There is no answer, except try to relocate.<

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