Feeds

Is your cameraphone an oxymoron?

iPhone 3G v iPhone 3GS v Palm Pre

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Pic Review All cell-phone cameras are not created equal - even the three-megapixel cameras in the recently released iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre. And I've got the photos to prove it.

Our recent review of the iPhone 3GS went into some detail about the quality of the camera in Apple's new smartphone. But I also wanted to see how it stacked up against the Palm Pre, how much of an improvement it is over the much-derided camera in the iPhone 3G, and whether upgrading an iPhone 3G from Software 2.2.1 to 3.0 can help that phone's imaging abilities.

So I loaded up four phones and one camera and visited San Francisco's downtown patch of greenery, the Yerba Buena Gardens. There, I took over 200 shots to discover how each performs under ideal conditions: a bright, sunny day.

My test cameras phones were an iPhone 3G running iPhone Software 2.2.1, an iPhone 3G and an iPhone 3GS running iPhone Software 3.0, and a Palm Pre running Palm webOS 1.0.3.

I also brought along an aging Nikon D70 DSLR, just to find out how images from a real camera compare to those from a pocket convenience. I used an AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens and set the Nikon to shutter-priority mode at 1/400 of a second. I set white balance to automatic and ISO to 200. And to be even mildly fair, I shot in JPEG, not RAW.

My findings can be summarized as follows:

  • Upgrading an iPhone 3G from iPhone Software 2.2.1 to 3.0 provides a welcome improvement in image quality. Essentially, image quality takes a step up from "sucks" to "sucks less."
  • The iPhone 3GS's three-megapixel camera is a noticeable improvement over the two megapixel camera in the iPhone 3G - and the differences are much more than mere megapixelage.
  • The Palm Pre's three-megapixel camera takes crisp, well-focused images, but it's a finicky little fellow with maddeningly inconsistent white balance.
  • And here's my "Well duh!" finding: even a five-year-old six-megapixel DSLR could easily out-image any of its phone-based competition, not only in detail but also in overall exposure and color balance.

Let's get down to some example photos - a lot of example photos.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?