We took the same scenes with two megapixel camera phones, Nokia 7610 and Sony Ericsson S700, and compared the pictures. Which phone makes better photos? Which one features more settings possibilities?
Nokia 7610 is one of the first (together with Sharp GX30/GX32) widely available megapixel camera phones. We expect Siemens S65 coming up in August and Sony Ericsson S700 after the summer holidays. Ericsson S700 was available on the Sony Ericsson mobiles presentation and we made some pictures with the phone. For the sake of the comparison we took the same scenes with Nokia 7610.
Camera in Nokia 7610 can brag only with its megapixel resolution, the settings possibilities are marginal. You can select a size and a quality of a picture in three different levels only, activate a night mode and use the self-timer. It features also a 4x digital zoom, but short of exposure compensation possibility, which can fix faults made by automatic metering.
Sony Ericsson S700 stands much better from the photographer's point of view. The dual fronts conception is very important - this means that you hold the mobile in horizontal position like a normal digital camera. The finger exactly touches the shutter release on the side of the handset, whilst the second hand can control the exposure compensation. Lens system on the back side is protected by opening lamellas; there is also a white diode to light up the scene. Opening the lamellas makes camera ready to snap.
Anyway you have a feeling that you hold a camera in your hand and not a mobile phone. Just look at a display where there are known pictograms and data on borders of a taken scene: picture size, number of pictures left, type of memory, exposure measurement mode, white color balance etc. Settings possibilities are really.
The 1.3 MP sensor produces pictures with 1280 x 960 pixels size. The pictures are a bit bigger than the ones made by Nokia 7610 with the highest resolution of 1152 x 864 pixels. Sony Ericsson S70 gives you an opportunity to select from more formats: 640 x 480, 320 x 240 and 160 x 120. Pictures are stored either in the internal memory (the exact capacity is yet unknown) or on a Memory Stick card. It's possible to send a photo directly from the phone in a multimedia message (MMS) or email, or send it to a PC via Bluetooth, IrDA or cable.
The exposure is measured automatically, you can choose whether it will be Evaluative metering (whole scene) or Spot mode (only the center portion of the scene is measured). The white balance can also be controlled - you can select either automatic or some of the preset settings - bulb, fluorescent, sunny, cloudy. Separately there is also a night mode. You'll find also some effects in the menu (negative, monochrome etc) and different ornamental or funny frames. You can choose sequential shooting (continuous drive) - the camera takes quickly several shots with one press of the shutter.
Furthermore, Sony Ericsson S700 records photos parameters to the EXIF header of the JPG files. At every picture you'll find date and time, exposure time and compensation, aperture, ISO and other useful details. By the way, for all the pictures we took the aperture remained the same (4.0), the exposure of the pictures is regulated by the shutter speed and ISO sensitivity.
We hadn't optimal conditions to make photos on the phones presentation, for example we had no chance to get outside with Sony Ericsson S700. Anyway, we still think it is possible to compare the pictures and find out which mobile makes better pictures. On the left it will be the picture made by Nokia 7610, on the right the picture from Sony Ericsson S700.
Because the sizes of the megapixel files are quite big (over 200 kB) for the following comparison we reduced the resolution to 800 x 600 pixels. We didn't change anything else, of course. To see the original pictures just go to the second page of this article.
Shooting against the light: you can't adjust the exposure with Nokia 7610, with Sony Ericsson S700 positive exposure compensation should help, but there was no time for big experiments and it's not possible to follow the display until you get really used to it.
Here you can see an example of spot metering with Sony Ericsson S700. While Nokia picture is too dark and it will remain like that due to the impossibility to change the exposure, Sony Ericsson measured the light by the object in the middle and didn't respected the surrounding white paper.
We experienced very rough conditions for comparison of the megapixel camera phones; we had not enough time; moreover, because of the lack of experience with the mobile at many pictures we didn't realized that the Spot metering is activated, which led to too bright photos. Anyway, the difference is visible: Sony Ericsson features a bit higher resolution, incomparably more possibilities of parameters setting and the pictures overall are noticeably better.