Is your cameraphone an oxymoron?
iPhone 3G v iPhone 3GS v Palm Pre
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.
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.
Next page: Head-to-head-to-head-to-head-to-head
8mp camera vs 3mp phone...
I never have my camera when i wanted to take a pic....i always have my phone
Im alway humping around my camera to snap pics that my phone does a perfectly good job at, I have maybe 5 photos that my camera was needed for.
The thing was I only knoticed this when my frien pointed it out the other day.
now I never bother with my camera.
PS why didnt you review the magic...oh you merkins dont get it yet.
oh the speed thing quite pertitant.
Reviewer is an iDiot
Typical Bay Area iTard. Why the hell are you comparing phones that are nowhere near top-of-the-range in terms of camera quality to a DSLR at the opposite end of the scale?
You should be comparing a phone with top-of-the range camera quality to an average point-and-shoot DSC. If, for example, you compared the latest Samsung M8910 Pixon12 or Sony Ericsson Saito, you would see that the quality is near indistinguishable from an average point-and-shoot.
Jimi Hendrix on a 5 stringed wooden spoon > most folk on a £1000 guitar
The person taking the photo is the main variable.
Better cameras don't make it possible for everyone to take better photos.
Better cameras make it easier for some people to take better photos some of the time.
Some of the more stuck up among you probably wake up in a cold sweat after having nightmares about lomography, eh?
Call me daft, but when I'm on my hols, in the pub, or wherever, I want to enjoy the moment, and maybe grab a few quick reminders of it all. That means not having to lug around and nurse a muli-hundred pound piece of kit. Whatever. I use my E71 for all my snaps. Used to have a K770i for all snaps. Sue me. Before that I had a period where I took very few snaps. Because I just couldn't be doing with the hassle of carrying around extra tech.
Notice I used the term snaps? Does that make you feel any better? Knowing that I don't call them photographs?
If you're doing pro or enthusiast photography (where the expectation is completely apart from the accepted capabilities of a cameraphone), then yeah, have a good lurk around at dpreview and enjoy your "proper" camera.
I'll check gsmarena in the meantime, until El Reg can come up with a more meaningful cameraphone comparison than this dead end of an article.
And in other news
Component Hi Fi gives better music reproduction than mobile phone media player. Can this be true? gasps phone owner. Wii and Playstation 3 give better gaming experience than mobile phone. Noooooooo! Screams same phone owner. It couldn't be true.
Radio reception and stereo separation on mobile phone 'poor' compared to 2 grand receiver.
But ....the games you can play on the component hi fi are limited. My phone takes better pictures than my radio does....straw men, man
"One day someone will invent a sensor that can handle a range of 12EV or more, until then, we'll have to use a bit of skill to get the shots :-)"
Or to look at it another way: "If you're a really bad photographer, this extended dynamic range is helpful for recovering lost highlights" (Ken Rockwell, reviewing the Fuji S5). :-)
I like film (and vinyl records) but that doesn't stop me from shooting digitally virtually all the time, or listening to MP3's. At least we've got the choice, even if that doesn't include Kodachrome any more.