Gone are the days when photos taken from a phone are grainy and unprintable. Expert Thomas Newton from www.mobile-phones.co.uk reviews the new 8 megapixel camera phones hitting the market this Christmas, and sees whether they have banged the last nail into the coffin of the digital camera.
Excessive Christmas photography has usually been the duty of the trusty digital camera, but a series of new mobile phones are looking to muscle their way to the top of the wish list for any festive snappers.
New kids on the block
Older camera phones may have boasted a resolution that apparently rivaled digital cameras, but they never produced the same quality of picture - many of the features on phone-based cameras such as the lens and focus were simply not as good as those on their standalone counterparts.
There are four 8 megapixel camera phones hitting the shops this Christmas that change all that, with photo quality that will challenge all but the most recent of digital cameras: the LG Renoir, the Sony Ericsson C905, the Samsung Innov8 and the Samsung Pixon.
- All four have impressive camera features such as autofocus, face and blink detection and good shake reduction, meaning that most family photos or night-out shots will be handled with ease.
- For the more aesthetically motivated user, they are all capable of taking more artistic photos: panorama settings with wide angle pictures that allow photos of cityscapes or sunset-drench horizons; and macro shot settings that can snap ultra-detailed close-ups of flower heads, pin badges and the like.
- The Renoir and the C905 both have powerful Xenon flashes (they emit a high intensity light for a very short period), allowing them to take close-mid range shots in near complete darkness.
- Even these powerful camera phones will probably not satisfy anyone looking for truly professional-standard photography. Although the Xenon flash of the Renoir and C905 are good enough for day-to-day shots, they are fairly straightforward when it comes to customising them - photographers can't use forced flash on these two phones, ruling out any stylised, intentionally overexposed images.
- The two Samsung phones don't even have a Xenon flash, instead using a Dual LED, meaning that unless the target is close or the lighting is fairly forgiving, night-time pictures will often be underexposed.
- Digital cameras out this Christmas are reaching 12 or even 14Mp, so although the 8Mp camera is a revelation when incorporated into a mobile phone, it is by no means state-of-the-art when compared to standalone units.
Eight megapixel cameraphone: Reviews
LG KC910 ‘Renoir'
It excels at producing vivid colours on a top-of-the-range touchscreen display, hence the tribute to colourful artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Slightly pretentious name aside, the large 3in screen does produce incredible colours, and the camera is possibly the best of the four. The inclusion of Dolby sound quality rounds off a thoroughly impressive multimedia package.
|Example deal: £30pm, Orange network, free handset, 400 minutes, 3000 texts. |
Sony Ericsson C905
Although the C905 has a more old-fashioned design and lacks the touchscreen of the Renoir, the build quality is excellent, with a sturdy but luxurious feel. The Sony Ericsson's camera is the other contender for best of the quartet, boasting Xenon flash and top features, along with a truly sexy brushed metal lens cover. The accelerometer sensor also allows the camera to be rotated with the display adjusting accordingly.
|Example deal: £35pm, Vodaphone network, free handset, 600 minutes, Unlimited texts. |
Samsung i8510 Innov8
Despite sporting a sleek finish, the Innov8 is more utilitarian than aesthetic and fails to match the attractiveness of the C905 or the Renoir. Features-wise it is beautiful: the interface is smooth and easy-to-use and its multimedia capabilities are enhanced by the huge internal memory of 8 GB. The camera is 8 megapixel but is slightly let down by the lack of a Xenon flash.
|Example deal: £35pm, Orange network, free handset, 850 minutes, 500 texts. |
Samsung M8800 Pixon
Yet to be released, the Pixon aesthetically looks far better than the Innov8 and its 3.2in touchscreen tops even the display of the ostentatious ‘Renoir'. The 8Mp camera has all the best features but like the Innov8 disappointingly lacks a Xenon flash. The Pixon's ability for recording video however, could steal the show - it can record video in WVGA at 740x480 pixels outstripping its rivals by a country mile.
|Example deal: £35pm, O2 network, 600 minutes, unlimited texts. |
All deals are available from www.mobile-phones.co.uk.
Whether you want to take photos of the family round the Christmas dinner table, capture Facebook-bound pictures of your mates or snap artistic panoramas of the view from the hill when you are walking the dog, these camera phones will handle them all with ease.
Those who are looking for professional quality should not expect these phones to provide a serious challenge to the latest cameras, but for the casual user they are perfect pieces of photographic equipment, and very good phones to boot.
Mobile-phones is an independent comparison website that offers advice, reviews and deals on mobile phones. For more information click here: www.mobile-phones.co.uk.