BlackBerry 9800 (Torch) vs. Motorola Droid 2 camera

Torch sample pictures (slide show):

Droid 2 sample pictures (slide show):

Two QWERTY sliders hard at work – one portrait with a small 3.2″ screen running BlackBerry 6, one landscape with a large 3.7″ screen running Android 2.2 – and both quite multimedia savvy.

Two 5 MP autofocus cameras ready to play – one with a single LED flash and VGA video recording, one with a dual LED flash and 480p video recording – and both with a two-stage shutter button.

Can the BlackBerry 9800 (Torch) and Motorola Droid 2 mix business with pleasure? Find out after the break…

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BlackBerry Tour camera

The BlackBerry 9630 (Tour) camera is identical to the BlackBerry 9530 (Storm) camera – if you’ve read my review of the Storm camera, you’ve read my review of the Tour camera :)

The Tour takes pretty awesome pictures for a business phone (slide show). It lacks the accelerometer present in the Storm, so there is no auto-rotation, but it features a dedicated two-stage camera button, which is missing on most other devices with a similar form factor, like the Nokia E71.

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Unboxing the BlackBerry 9630 (Tour)

With all the brouhaha caused by the Motorola Droid, I’ve been neglecting some of the other recent arrivals. Last week at the Sprint Open Developer Conference, in addition to getting a free HTC Hero, I also scored a free BlackBerry 9630 (Tour)!

In the past, I’ve enjoyed the BlackBerry 8320 (Curve) and, although the BlackBerry 9530 (Storm) was a total disaster, I was impressed with its CDMA+GSM radio and its excellent camera. The Tour is the best of both worlds – a traditional BlackBerry like the Curve with the same trick radio and camera as the Storm…

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Apple iPhone 3GS vs. Palm Pre camera

iPhone 3GS sample pictures (slide show):

Pre sample pictures (slide show):

OK, you’re probably thinking this is a bit of an unfair comparison – although the Apple iPhone 3GS camera lacks an (arguably useless) LED flash, the Palm Pre camera lacks the (absolutely essential) auto-focus, as well as video recording…

But, other than the difference in camera and storage specs, the missing GSM/UMTS radios, and the limited selection of apps, the Pre provides 95-105% the iPhone 3GS user experience and features a QWERTY keyboard – that is pretty impressive!

People currently looking for a subsidized über-phone in the US are going to compare the iPhone 3GS and the Pre (and perhaps even the T-Mobile G1 and the Blackberry Storm). So what about the 3 megapixel camera on each device?

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Nokia E75 camera

There’s no doubt the Nokia E75 is a great device. But the camera really surprised me…

With 3.2 a megapixel sensor, auto-focus, macro, a single LED flash, and VGA video recording at 30 fps, the E75 camera specs fall somewhere in between the “mehNokia 5800 camera (which features dual LED flash and Zeiss optics) and the mediocre E66/E71 camera (which only features QVGA video recording at 15 fps).

But in reality, the E75 leaves the 5800 in the dust, beats the decent T-Mobile G1 and teases the excellent BlackBerry Storm to the finish line – check out the pictures and judge for yourself!

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Noise – a case study

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.

Continue reading “Noise – a case study”

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