Grand 5 megapixel shootout: The usual suspects

GSMArena team, 22 January 2008.
Pages: 12345

No catch here, we've finally managed to finish up our grandest of camera shootouts including the most popular 5 megapixel cameraphones that are currently on sale. We've put Sony Ericsson K850, Nokia N95 8GB, LG KU990 Viewty, and Samsung G600 in a head-to-head collision course in order to find out who's best when it comes to pure camera-centric performance. We'll also be including a guest star - the Nokia N82, for one of our tests - as it produces the same shots as the Nokia N95 8GB, the only difference being the xenon flash.


Samsung G600 LG KU990 Viewty Nokia N95 8GB Sony Ericsson K850 Nokia N82

You may or may not remember our teaser article or more of a blindfold test in which we presented you sample photos produced by the competing cameraphones without disclosing their identity. We had our visitors vote for choosing the best one among them with all brand prejudice aside. We got some interesting results there that didn't quite match our view on the matter. The Nokia N95 8GB came first, Samsung G600 was chosen in second place, followed by LG Viewty and the last place was taken by Sony Ericsson K850.

While we do agree that Nokia N95 8GB is superior in image quality, we will try to convince you that Sony Ericsson K850 and the LG Viewty are not that bad and that Samsung G600 is not that good as perceived by our visitors.


Our 5 megapixel shootout main contenders

All the basics

There are some points to be made before we jump to the details of our in-depth camera review.

We want to point out that all the handsets we've used in this shootout are final retail versions, so odds are they will put their best effort to all make a run for the gold.

Then, unless stated otherwise, all camera settings are left on auto, while the resolution selected is 5 megapixels and quality is set at its highest level. We decided using the full auto mode for shooting since most users shoot photos with their phones set on auto.

For some of the test samples we've also included photos taken with a digital camera - the Canon A620. We chose to use a consumer digital camera as a reference instead of a DSLR for two reasons.

First, it's easier to frame the shots the same way, because the consumer digital cameras have the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the cameraphones.

Secondly, the DSLR results will be really different from those of the reviewed cameraphones. The DSLR-s cameras are tuned to preserve as much image information as possible and this is why they are too conservative for such a comparison. The consumer cameras, like Canon A620 in most cases add some punch to the photos, just enough for the images to be more lively and more likeable. It's easy to see that cameraphones try to do the same - produce images, which are pleasant and vivid.

Oh, and one more point - you're probably wondering why the heck we haven't included the Nokia N82 and the Samsung G800 as fully-fledged contenders. Well, for one the Nokia N82 produces exactly the same photos as the Nokia N95 8GB as we managed to personally confirm. There is the added benefit of a xenon flash, of course, but we'll take that into account - the Nokia N82 will be standing its ground in the flash comparison.

And for two, the Samsung G800 just wasn't available in the office at the time we did the test shots, but we have a pretty good idea of what it's capable of. So you will see the Samsung G800 mentioned here and there.

Probably we should also mention what camera shootouts are all about. There are several important factors that determine camera image quality and we will structure our article accordingly.

Breaking down the image quality we look for resolved detail, dynamic range, color accuracy, internal image processing and lens quality.

But there's more to a camera than image quality. It's really important how the camera software handles exposure, auto focus, shooting in low light, and shooting up-close macro photos.

There are some extra goodies of a camera that also get tested in our shootout such as the value-adding features, the flash performance and the pure speed of the process of taking photos from A to Z.

And since we do more with a cameraphone than just take pictures, we also evaluate the video capturing capabilities of our contestants plus their multimedia galleries used for browsing all the images taken with the camera.

As you see there's a lot to write about, so bear with us and join us after this very break.

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