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PREVIEW: HTC Touch Diamond, HTC Touch Pro, Samsung i900 Omnia & Sony Ericsson X1 Camera comparison [UPDATE]
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 03.07.08 - 14:02:25 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 119972x
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No question, so far Windows Mobile smartphone cameras were pretty basic and users mostly got 1.3 megapixel cameras only or - if lucky - a 2 megapixel camera with fixfocus. However, with the recent launched and upcoming new Windows Mobile smartphones, the situation will get better The new HTC Touch Diamond, HTC Touch Pro and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 features 3.2 megapixel cameras with autofocus and the Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia even features a 5 megapixel camera which makes it the first available Windows Mobile smartphone in the 5 megapixel class. Furthermore, three of the new smartphones (Touch Pro, Omnia and X1) even sports a photo LED for night shots. Nevertheless, since all cameras are not the same, we took the recent opportunity to compare the four most anticipated phone cameras which each other.

Please note, that only the HTC Touch Diamond is a release device. The HTC Touch Pro, Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 are pre-production devices with a non-final ROM built.
All thumbnails can be enlarged by clicking the thumbnail. However, the enlarged photos are resized to VGA. Bellow each thumbnail you can open the RAW and completely unedited original photo.

User Interfaces
While the Touch Diamond, Touch Pro and Xperia X1 are all manufactured by HTC, only the Touch Diamond and the Touch Pro shares the same user interface. Sony Ericsson and Samsung designed their own user interfaces. While the view-finder of the HTC Touch Diamond, Touch Pro and Xperia X1 are pretty basic, the i900 Omnia shows more information and provides faster access to change settings. To change the settings on the other three smartphones, a photographer has to tap either the gear-wheel icon on the HTC devices or the wrench icon on the Sony Ericsson smartphone.
Nevertheless, all four devices offer in-display information how many photos can be taken with the current photo resolution as well as providing a shortcut to the photo album.

HTC Touch Diamond
HTC Touch Pro
Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Sunlight Photos
In the bright sunlight, all four smartphones produce pretty similar picture quality while the Touch Diamond, Touch Pro and Xperia X1 colors are a little bit more saturate while the i900 Omnia photos looks brighter but maybe a little bit more yellow tint:

HTC Touch Diamond

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
HTC Touch Pro

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia (Beta ROM)

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia (Final ROM)

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
 
HTC Touch Diamond

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
HTC Touch Pro

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia (Beta ROM)

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia (Final ROM)

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
 

Indoor Photos without LED Light
Inside, all four cameras can be quite good as long as there's a minimum of surrounding light and the results look pretty similar. However, photos can easily shake and the i900 Omnia again shows its yellow tint:

HTC Touch Diamond

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
HTC Touch Pro

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Click here for the unedited RAW photo

Indoor Photos with LED Light
As mentioned, three of the four cameras feature a supporting white LED which definitely helps to illume the subject for the photo and which are now far better then the initially used photo LEDs of mobile phones, some years ago. While the Touch Pro and Xperia X1 LEDs are pretty similar, the i900 Omnia is definitely the brightest:

HTC Touch Diamond

No Photo LED available
HTC Touch Pro

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia

Click here for the unedited RAW photo
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Click here for the unedited RAW photo

The HTC Touch Diamond, HTC Touch Pro and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 photo resolution is 2048 x 1536 pixel while the Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia photos are 2560 x 1920 pixel.
Furthermore, since all four smartphones includes a GPS receiver, photos can be geo-tagged. While this feature is available by default for the Samsung i900 Omnia and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, HTC hasn't enabled it by default and geo-tagging photos requires a change in the Registry.

Final Conclusion

Hard to decide which of the four cameras is the best. While the HTC Touch Diamond and HTC Touch Pro cameras are quite comparable, which makes sense since both phones are basically the same, the HTC Touch Pro has the advantage to feature a photo light.
And while the i900 Omnia is the only Windows Mobile smartphone with a 5 megapixel camera, the photos are little bit more yellow tint while the Xperia X1 photos seems to be a little bit blurry.

Nevertheless, in terms of usability I prefer the Samsing i900 and the Sony Ericsson X1 since both offers a dedicated shutter button on the right side of the device which works, if the device is hold landscape, like a traditional camera shutter. Furthermore this button starts the camera application without navigating through any menus. The two HTC smartphones doesn't have this dedicated shutter button but the camera application is started from the TouchFLO 3D user interface and the action key works as the shutter.

Nevertheless, all four smartphones features a camera which is good enough for vacation photos and to be used on the web and today's cameras are for more then good enough for MMS messages only.

UPDATE: I've just added two new outside photos of the Samsung SGH-i900 Omnia which was taken with the final ROM of the i900 and you can see real differences now in the color. With the Beta ROM, the house was more yellow then red but now, with the final ROM, the camera quality definitely improved and colors are right now.

Cheers ~ Arne


 

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