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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 119222x
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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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Posted by mike on 03.07.08 - 15:44:33

LOL, you pick the cameras with the worst picture IQ.

Posted by Fuller on 03.07.08 - 16:31:46

Thanks Arnie, that's an interesting comparison which still makes me uncertain which device to buy. I still have the Diamond or Omnia in mind because I don't need a physical keyboard. Hopefully the Omnia camera gets better with the release ROM. Any advice?

Posted by Mike11 on 03.07.08 - 16:37:04

Response time? Video quality?

Posted by ActionJackson on 03.07.08 - 16:42:54

Wow.  Diamond pics look the best to me.  Clearer and sharper than the rest.  I know which phone I'm going after!

Posted by bsw11 on 03.07.08 - 19:36:34

Your review is missing a ton of important info.
Please provide an updated review with the following info:

Shutter speed in different light situations
Adjustments availabe on each cam
did u try to white balance the Samsung?
motion capture quality
Video quality of each cam with a sample
video encoding size
low light samples
people pics samples
zoom cabibilities and samples

Then we can make an informed decision

Posted by Zaki on 03.07.08 - 19:37:35

I second the opinion that the Diamond pictures look better with more vivid colors!

Posted by rori on 04.07.08 - 06:30:13

As I can see Diamond Pictures looks better, but 2 more data will be very important to me:

Video Size and FPS maybe 30fps
Shutter Speed.


Very interesting information so far because I am looking forward to update my atom exec and was interested in Diamond Pro and Xperia, for now Diamond looks as a better option for me because also the keyboard on the Diamond Seems to work better

Posted by rori on 04.07.08 - 06:35:44

Second Thought:

I have discovered that the best camera is the samsung! look at the shadows in the different photos, is the only one that took enough detail in any situation, I have read in the past that this is a very important aspect of a decent camera.

Posted by vhnsky on 04.07.08 - 11:25:04

Did you made the HTC Diamond photos with or without the backplate lense off?
There have been photos with and without, and without there are much better.

Posted by jean pierre on 04.07.08 - 22:05:04

The point about  the shadow  is crucial : a real key point.
If you study the pictures very  carefully you will discover that the Omnia is far more  defined; see  a lot of details, not reproduced by the 3 other gears ( the  xperia is very bad, really ). The others "eat" many details which are , simply not reproduced...
The omnia won  without contest, for me it is in a claas by itself: a state of the art  inj the  contextof  Smartphone.
During many years, i have been using a Hasselblad....!!!!

Posted by BrianM on 05.07.08 - 14:52:48

Bagging on Arne for not providing a thorough review is pointless given the fact that for now, 3/4 units are not even officially released with production ROM's.
Until real time in hand with production units occurs and the hacking can start, details will be catch as catch can.
Furthermore, it's been my experience that Arne is conscientious about attempting to answer polite inquires.

The link below should take you to page 8 of the GSMArena review between the Diamond and Omnia that offers more camera specs for both including video capture samples with resolution and frame rate options.

The SE Xperia information has been available for a while and details are broken out by region - North America having a crippled vid set of specs. … ew-262.php

Posted by Amory_Saudi on 06.07.08 - 10:17:08

it's very strange that the trees/leaves in all four pictures didn't move, like there is no wind also it's very impressive to have 4 shots from EXACT angles i hope i am mistaken but the four pictures in each category seem one and the rest are copies with shades.

Posted by Ashraf on 06.07.08 - 12:43:01

Hi all,

sorry to say these photos are fake, arne you're imposter.

if you open the photos with photoshop and put them every one on the the other you'll find them all identical!!! the same angle, tree movement, light...etc.

i think you're doing this on purpose, did u take money from HTC????

Posted by Arne Hess on 06.07.08 - 14:37:21

@Ashraf: Are you kidding me? Not sure who you are, "Mr. Holmes" but better train your Photoshop skills again and get the facts straight. You call me imposter because I spent 1 hour of my life to get as comparable results as possible that my readers get the most comparable shots? Thanks for that, I take it as a compliment.

If you wouldn't be too lazy you would have opened the RAW images I linked to as well where you can read the image details. But since you haven't done this, I've done a couple of screenshots for your convenience. And no, I haven't edited these data, if you believe it or not, I have to do something better on my Sunday:

I have no idea why you try to discredit me and who pays you for such an unqualified comment but I did everything right. My only fault was that I tried to make as similar photos as possible and therefore I was waiting for the right conditions: No wind and best light conditions.

Posted by mahoni on 09.07.08 - 23:25:33

thx for these pics !!!

gives me a good comparison and a step towards my decision for the omnia.

i just wanted to tell you that it is possible to turn of the camera sound. people at found it out. to do so record a silent .wav dat with audio recorder and replace the samsung file  with it ... thats it.

hope to reada review for the samsung from you.



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