This test aims to show how the contenders fare under low light, when the subject is out of the flash range. Since this range is very limited even for the xenon units, this is an important test.
All the cameras are set to ISO 400 except C905, which lacks a proper ISO setting and auto-selects ISO 200.
Generally, ISO 400 is as high as you would like to go. All the phones, save for the C905, can boost ISO up to 1600, but results at that level are simply useless because of the high level of noise. But that's an issue with most point'n'shoot cameras as well.
From the crops, you can see that despite the higher ISO, Samsung Pixon uses at times rather slow shutter speeds and gets unacceptably blurry results. Even when it nails the right shutter speed, its noise suppression algorithm removes all color noise at the expense of resolved detail. There's also excessive luminance noise that's left over, so the Pixon gets the lowest score here.
C905 and Renoir show similar results, but ISO200 in SE C905 favor the shots with less noise, and ruins them with slow shutter speeds.
And finally, the Samsung INNOV8 results are also acceptable but have slightly more color noise than the LG Renoir, hence the lower score.
SE C905: 2/10 • Samsung INNOV8: 4/10 • Samsung Pixon: 2/10 • LG Renoir: 5/10
In the macro department all cameraphones performed admirably. Pixon and Renoir gain some points here over C905 and i8510, because of the slightly better depth of field. Interestingly enough, in close range the Pixon had none of the uneven sharpness issues we mentioned earlier.
SE C905: 4/10 • Samsung INNOV8: 7/10 • Samsung Pixon: 8/10 • LG Renoir: 8/10
As to video recording, most of these top-notch cameraphones offer excellent video recording capabilities except Sony Ericsson C905. Sony Ericsson have long stalled on video recording on their camera-centric mobiles and that has taken a lot of criticism. There seems to be no progress in that department even with the C905, so we guess we'll have to wait until next year (hopefully!) to get some decent video squeezed out of those Cyber-shots.
The other three handsets all manage VGA@30fps video recording plus slow motion 120fps@QVGA. The slow motion video recording is a really neat trick, pioneered in mobile phones by LG with their Viewty.
Later on LG expanded the video capabilities of their mobile even more and with the LG Secret we had quite some fun with time-lapse action-packed videos in QVGA resolution.
Both of these video modes are available on the LG Renoir, but recently Samsung have also taken note and offer high-speed QVGA video on both the Pixon and INNOV8.
And finally, the leader in the video recording category seems to be Samsung M8800 Pixon with its Wide VGA video recording at 30 fps.
In our personal opinion the LG Renoir produces the best quality VGA@30fps videos so that compensates for the fact that there's no QVGA video recording. The Renoir also uses the superior DivX compression and records AVI files.
SE C905: 2/10 • Samsung INNOV8: 7/10 • Samsung Pixon: 8/10 • LG Renoir: 8/10
In terms of speed, it seems that the best overall performers are the LG Renoir and the Sony Ericsson C905. They have the best overall scores with the previews switched off.
The Samsung M8800 Pixon is at the bottom of the ladder, lagging quite a lot behind. However if you switch the preview off the Pixon achieves a shot to shot time of 2.5s which is simply great. Go figure!
Update 05 Dec: The retail unit of the Pixon has a greatly improved speed performance compared to the pre-release one. It managed to achieve a shot-to preview time of about 2.4 seconds and then managed to return to the viewfinder in under 2 seconds. That's the quickest shot-to-shot time among all contenders. The table below has been updated with the new times of Samsung Pixon.
|Sony Ericsson C905||2.0 sec||4.8 sec||1.0 sec|
|Samsung INNOV8||4.6 sec||4.1 sec||0.7 sec|
|Samsung Pixon||3.5 sec||2.4 sec||1.9 sec|
|LG Renoir||3.8 sec||3.5 sec||0.9 sec|