Other pictures taken with the Samsung T929 (Memoir) are available on my Flickr account.
So I decided to do a little experiment: take 3 pictures with 3 devices (one each) at night in the same location around the same time! The goal? Evaluate how megapixels affect low-light performance.
The megapixel myth tells us that more megapixels is not necessarily better. It generally means smaller pixels, which means more heat, which results in more noise, which impacts low-light performance…
Of course there are many variables here: differences in optics, sensor type/size, image-processing/noise-reduction software, and more. Because this is meant to be a real-life test with real-life devices, I can’t control these variables – I can only pick suitable devices.
Unfortunately I no longer have access to the N82 or the Storm.
I’d planned to use my T-Mobile G1 instead of the 5800, but it’s been raining a lot in San Francisco lately, so I’d been waiting for a clear night to do this experiment, and when the time finally came, my G1 needed charging :)
After taking the pictures, I decided to edit them and match brightness, color-balance, and size (scaling them all to 3 megapixels). Here is the result – first with the 5800, second with the N85, and third with the Memoir (click to enlarge):
Here are some closeups – 5800 to the left, N85 in the middle, and Memoir to the right (click to enlarge):
And the winner is? The 8 megapixel Samsung T929 (Memoir) – even scaled to 3 megapixels, there’s more detail and less noise in the picture…
But wait, this reinforces the megapixel myth! Yes, but the 5 megapixel Nokia N85 and the 3 megapixel Nokia 5800 both generate a lot of noise to begin with. And perhaps the Memoir uses a larger sensor (i.e. all 3 devices use similar sized pixels), spreading the noise over more pixels?