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Why the iPhone's megapixelage alone won't matter

Size isn't everything

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Don't go getting all excited by reports that the camera in Apple's upcoming, new iPhone will be of the 3.2-megapixel variety.

Merely pumping up megapixelage doesn't make a camera better. A 3.2-megapixel camera with the same sub-optimal optics and image-processing circuitry as is in the current iPhone will produce equally crappy photos - just bigger ones.

Other camera-phone makers realize this, and have added such niceties as the 3.2-megapixel LG Dare's quality Schneider Kreuznach optics, and the top-notch image correction from DxO labs supporting the 3.2 megapixel camera in the upcoming Palm Pre.

And if you really want to get serious about camera-phone quality, check out the more-camera-than-phone five-megapixel Motorola MotoZine ZN5, with its Xenon flash, auto-focus, low-light setting, editing effects, panorama-stitching, and shutter speeds of up to 1/1000 seconds.

The same DigiTimes report that broke the 3.2-megapixel rumor mentioned that OmniVision will also supply Apple with a five-megapixel CMOS image sensor for "another Apple product expected to be launched later in the year."

What that might be is anyone's guess.

Here at The Reg, we've speculated that the iPhone line will grow beyond its current one-size-fits-all (except for capacity) model, so possibly a five-megapixel camera might find its way into an iPhone Pro - or some such.

We're certain that the smart folks at Apple know that merely adding a few pixels and video capability to the iPhone won't make it a great camera phone. What we don't yet know is how much they care. ®

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