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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

iPhone 3G - what's Apple got against cameras?

Has Steve Jobs lost the plot? Although details are vague, it seems like the new iPhone has the same sub-grade 2MP camera as the original one. That was already obsolete a year ago, when most top-end phones already had 3MP cameras. Now, most mid-top tier devices have 5MP and many have xenon flashes.

This isn't just me talking either - a Nokia keynote speaker at the Handset World conference this morning from singled out camera capability as *the* most important purchase decision criterion for many customers.

GPS is a nice-to-have. WiFi is a nice-to-have. A decent camera is a must-have.

So, I've reluctantly already added the device to my list of also-rans of phones that look good, but fall down on a deal-breaker element. It doesn't make the grade as a potential day-to-day "personal" phone for me, although it might be good business device.

8 comments:

zephram said...

That anyone can get excited about the resolution of a phone-cam that doesn't have optical zoom, manual focus, depth of field settings, shutter speed, image stablisation or a bipod/tripod built in is totally beyond me.
If you want to take happy snaps of funny signs, a phonecam is the way to go (and for that, 2mpixels is oodles). If you want good looking images, you need a C A M E R A, not a mobile phone.
I too have struck the Iphone from my list, but not for the camera resolution: The obsessive lockdown/no voip/no games is the dealbreaker for me.

Dean Bubley said...

Zephram

I have a reasonably good digital camera, which I use if I'm travelling or wanting to take "proper" photos.

However, for the last 2 years I've also had a pretty decent "snap" camera with me all the time in my S-E K800i. It has decent-enough quality and decent-enough flash. I use it for spontaneous photos of stuff I see day-to-day, pictures of friends, and even backup when travelling when my main phone's battery is depleted. I've taken over 1500 photos with it - some of them actually pretty good.

I'm not prepared to:

- a) Carry my proper camera 24x7
or
- b) Downgrade my day-to-day camera

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dean, I like the camera on my S-E K810i, the pictures are clear and fairly good. The flash is a vast improvement over the fixed light I had on my HP hw6515. Sure, for the SLR camera obsessives it will never do, but for everyone else its just fine. I take my "real" digital camera on family outings and the like, but for every day spontaneous stuff I still like that I have a reasonable camera with me at all times.

Kevin Scaldeferri said...

Dean and anon:

What you're both missing is that resolution is not a measure of quality for a digital camera. Within the form factor of a phone, there's little reason to think that 5MP will actually take a better picture than 2MP.

Dean Bubley said...

Obviously there are various determinants of both quality and general camera utility - lens, autofocus, optical zoom, flash etc.

There are also various reviews & personal experience of quality.

Bottom line - the camera in a SonyEricsson K800/K810i is all-round "better" than that in an iPhone or indeed many other 3MP/5MP devices.

cb said...

"If you want to take happy snaps of funny signs, a phonecam is the way to go (and for that, 2mpixels is oodles"

Oodles of fuzzy pixels perhaps! 5 MP would at least give you a fighting chance of getting a usable pic.

However, one of the big problems with the iPhone's camera is that it is so easy to get smudgy fingerprints over the lens (or its protective filter) when you pull the iPhone out of your pocket. Some form of sliding cover would have been nice. As would a way of syncing to a folding Bluetooth keyboard when trying to write a few e-mails!

Anonymous said...

upgrade market. Apple relies on steady turnover of the ipod/iphone business. By limiting features, they can more easily move owners to a new model.

Anonymous said...

What have they got against Nuance/Voicesignal? Their voice recognition/dialing software on the Blackberry is a must have when driving. Touch screen is great - but since Apple is all about ease of use, why do they continue to leave that out????? Strange.