Indoor Camera Shoot-Out: 5800, E66, E90, i900, and T650i – part 1

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The contestants
The contestants
We ran a camera test indoors during office hours involving five phones, the Nokia E66 slider, the Nokia E90 communicator, the Nokia 5800 “Tube”, and the Sony Ericsson T650i (all 4 being 3.2 mega-pixel camera phones), and the 5 mega-pixel Samsung i900 Omnia.

I must confess that we ran the test expecting the Omnia to win hands down. Afterall, it boasts greater specs than the others. But we ended up with a surprise winning streak by…. Nope; I’m not telling yet.

Some would wonder why we are comparing a 5 megapixel snapper with 3.2 megapixel snappers. Perhaps, just perhaps, such a comparison is necesarry to break the “megapixel myth”.

Here are the shots taken from the test, so you can see for yourself. All shots are close-ups from the same distance. By default, all devices are set to auto-flash. No resampling or touching up of the resultant shots have been done.

Nokia 5800:
58002
The colour rendering of the 5800 is fairly accurate, but the shot suffers in sharpness and clarity. There is also a creamish tint to the shot.

Nokia E66:
e661
As you can see, the Nokia E66 flash produced some blinding effect (with a bluish tint on white), so we gave it another shot without the flash (I know its cheating, sort of, but…):

E66 with flash turned off
E66 with flash turned off

With flash turned off, the E66 produces more accurate colour but again is let down by being not so sharp.

Nokia E90:

Shot by the E90
Shot by the E90

The Nokia E90 produces near-perfect colour rendition, picture clarity and sharpness. Very little to find fault with here.

Samsung i900 Omnia:

Close-up from the Omnia marred by the bright flash
Close-up from the Omnia marred by the bright flash

Like the E66, the Omnia’s shot is marred by the bright LED flash, but to a much greater magnitude. So, again, we give it a second chance with the flash turned off:
Omnia shot without flash
Omnia shot without flash

With flash turned off, the Omnia produces a better shot. Colour rendering is good, though not as good as produced by the E90. The image is also not very sharp. It was a disappointing outing by the Omnia’s5 mega-pixel snapper.

Sony Ericsson T650i:

The T650i's flash is the most blinding
The T650i's flash is the most blinding

The T650i’s flash is the most blinding, resulting in a totally off image. Okay, okay, you know what we did next; don’t you?
T650i shot without flash
T650i shot without flash

Yes; we tried out the T650i again with flash turned off. While features of the object were now visible, there’s still much wanting from the resultant picture.

Conclusions

In this test, the clear winner is the venerable 3.2 megapixel Nokia E90 Communicator (released way back in June 2007), followed by the 5 megapixel Samsung i900 Omnia. This is clear testimony that its not just about the megapixels. Other variables and factors beside megapixel count influence camera performance.

In our next test, we will be taking another series of indoor shots but from a range of about 1-2 metres. This is where we are hoping that those contestants with bright flashlight will shine a bit better.

Hang around for part two.

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