Currently viewing the category: "Mobile Phones"

Nokia N86 8mp say that new cellphones with cameras are beginning to impact on sales of low-end digital cameras – more so with the ever increasing focus on camera quality and features in mobile phones – such as the f2.4 lens in the Nokia N86 8mp shown above, and Xenon flash in the Sony Satio.

“Handsets soon may begin to cannibalize the low end of the digital still camera market as they incorporate higher megapixels and flash capabilities,” says Pam Tufegdzic, consumer electronics analyst at iSuppli in a statement. “This is likely to occur first in Asia and Europe as consumers in these regions seem to be more comfortable with taking pictures using camera phones.”

Nokia N86 8mp has reviewed the new Nokia N86 8mp Camera Phone with lots of sample photos – the mobile phone features an 8 megapixel sensor, wide angle 28mm Carl Zeiss Tessar f2.4 auto-focus lens with variable aperture, a 2.6″ OLED screen, face-detection (with new firmware), and VGA video recording. The camera phone is available for £238 Sim Free

“Photos outside, in good light, can be pretty good. By pretty good, I mean good for a camera phone (see the examples shown – these are some of the better photos taken with the camera). I still think even the cheapest branded digital camera from Kodak (see below), Fuji, etc would be better than the Nokia N86. The macro mode is fairly good, but often the photos look a little washed out.”

Read more Nokia N86 8mp Reviews: DPExpert

Sony and Vodafone have teamed up with photographer Jillian Edelstein to demonstrate the photographic ability of the new Sony Ericsson Satio Camera Phone. The Sony Satio features a 12.1 megapixel sensor, real xenon flash, 3.5″ 16:9 touchscreen, microSD™ support, geo-tagging, face detection, and a 13mm thick body. The Sony Satio is available for £435 sim free

“Jillian Edelstein, Sony Ericsson and Vodafone captured the eyes of the nation over 12.1 hours at the “Eyes Wide Open” event at Westfield shopping centre. Please feel free to browse our gallery and view some of the stunning images taken with the Sony Ericsson Satio™.” (via DPNow)

* Photo above taken with the Ricoh CX2

The Best Camera

BoingBoing have posted tips from Koichi Mitsui on how to take professional shots with the Apple iPhone:

“Koichi Mitsui is a professional photographer in Japan. When he’s not on the job shooting for magazines and ads, he wanders around Tokyo taking pictures with his iPhone 3GS. “The iPhone has a single-focus lens with no zoom, and this simplicity keeps me devoted to only composition and the perfect photo opp,” Mitsui says.”

Photo above by Mark Jaffray with The Best Camera iPhone App.

The Best Camera

The Best Camera is a new website, by photographer Chase Jarvis, with the simple message that the best camera is the one you have with you, you can also share photos from your iphone using the Best Camera iPhone app, and there’s also a book available featuring photos taken with the iPhone.

“What is The Best Camera? – The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You™, but it’s also an inspirational 3-part “ecosystem” created by world-renowned photographer, Chase Jarvis. Introducing an iPhone app that allows you to shoot, edit and share your images; a book that celebrates photography with any camera; AND a thriving, online community made of iPhone images from around the world.”

Photo above by Mark Jaffray with The Best Camera iPhone App.

Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905

The Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905 Mobile Phone has an 8.1 megapixel digital camera – the camera phone features a real “Xenon” flash, autofocus lens, face detection, a 2.4″ QVGA screen, GPS (with geo photo tagging) and WiFi. This review looks at how the phone performs when used solely as a digital camera. The Sony Ericsson C905 is available from Amazon UK.

The biggest appeal of this camera has to be the built in 8 megapixel Sony “Cybershot” camera with “Xenon” flash. The flash definitely helps with photos of people. But one area where camera phones have always been behind in image quality is noise – the basic facts are that the more pixels you cram into a small image sensor, the more noise you’re going to get, and mobile phone cameras have the smallest sensors you can get. There are no manual ISO settings on this camera, so it’s pot luck as to how much noise will show up in the photos. All the photos I’ve taken with flash have used ISO100 or ISO200.

Read our Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905 Review.
View our Sony Ericsson C905 Sample Photo Gallery

Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905

Specifications / Features:

* Sensor: 8.1 megapixel CMOS sensor (3264 x 2448 pixels)
* Lens: f2.8 Auto Focus Lens 5.9mm, equivalent to 38mm on a 35mm camera
* Focusing: Auto, Macro, Infinity (for Landscape), Face Detection
* Screen: 2.4″ QVGA 240 x 320 scratch-resistant mineral glass display
* Face detection: Detects 3 faces
* Colour modes / Effects: Off, Black & white, Negative, Sepia, Solarize
* Video Recording: 320×240, 30fps Video
* HD Output: No
* Red-Eye Reduction: Yes (flash)
* Macro: 15cm
* ISO : Auto / 64 / 100/ 200 / 400
* IS (Image Stabilisation): Digital
* Scenes: Auto, Twilight landscape, Twilight portrait, Landscape, Portrait, Beach / snow, Sports, Document
* Picture size: 8MP, 5MP, 3MP, VGA, Normal, Fine
* Histogram available: No
* Exposure bracketing: No
* Optical viewfinder: No
* Manual WB: No (Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent)
* Other features: Focus assist LED, Smart contrast (a bit like increased dynamic range), Smile shutter (added with firmware update), Photo geo-tagging, Auto-rotate

Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905

Box contents: C905 phone, 2gb Sandisk M2 memory card (160mb built into the phone), an M2 to USB convertor, leather wrist strap, USB cable, wall charger, hands-free stereo earphones (needed for the radio to work), CD rom, manual, 930mAh 3.6v Lithium Ion battery, C905 camera guide. Memory cards: The C905 takes Sony M2 memory cards, and comes with a 2gb card which should store around 1000 photos, if you want to upgrade, have a look at our guide to digital camera memory cards.

Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905

Menu: The menu system and options can be brought up quite quickly by pressing the buttons closest to the screen, and the menus are quite similar to the quick menus you get on normal digital cameras. There is very little need to go into advanced options / settings as nearly all photographic options are available through the quick menus.

Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905

Battery Life: Not very impressive, the phone tends to last around 2 days with very little use, and I tend to plug it in to charge every other day. Compared to a normal camera that lasts for weeks with very little use, battery life is poor.

Speed: Put simply, it’s not quick. Switch on time for the phone to switch on is painfully slow (we’re talking around 12 seconds – however the phone is probably always on), switching to camera mode is a couple of seconds, focusing is not fast, and shutter response is around 0.3 – 0.4 seconds when pre-focused (compared to 0.1 seconds or less for more compact cameras). The menus are a little bit slow, but workable, and as long as you’re patient with focusing, by pre-focusing and then pressing the shutter when you want the photo, you can capture moments fairly well.

Ease of Use: The camera design and layout with numerous photo buttons, such as the macro, flash, self-timer and exposure buttons on the D-pad make this phone really feel like it’s been designed to be used as camera. The photo mode can be easily accessed, and the clear labelling of buttons make it easy to switch modes, and access features.

Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905

Ergonomics and Buttons: The shutter release works in the usual way, half a press focuses the camera, pressing fully then takes the photo. The only problem is that whilst the half press is fairly noticable, the full press doesn’t feel like a proper shutter on other cameras – this is a bit disappointing. The lens cover switches the camera on when opened, and the buttons on the top give easy and fairly quick access to playback, photo and video modes. The C905 is quite small – smaller than most digital cameras and measures 104.0 x 49.0 x 18.0 mm, and weighs 136g, meaning it will fit easily into any pocket and can be taken everywhere with you.

Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, etc to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905 Sample Photo Gallery.

Flash - Sony C905

Inside: The flash works quite well, and is certainly much better than the LED flashes found on other camera phones, but does not appear to be as powerful as even budget digital cameras. Colours can be quite good, however, flash fall off is quite noticable and subject can often end up looking overly yellow. Noise is quite high, and detail is quite low, and the ISO tends to stay around ISO100 or ISO200.

Noise - Sony C905

Noise: Indoors, or in low light, when not using the flash, noise levels are high and detail is quite low as the camera has strong noise reduction. Noise is also visible on bright sunny days even when using ISO64, and this camera is definitely not recommended for pixel peepers. When images have been resized noise is much less noticable. Noise is much worse in the C905 and camera phones in general even when compared to high megapixel compact digital cameras.

Blue Slide - Sony C905

Outside: The camera tends to use low ISO settings, down to ISO64, and colour was generally quite highly saturated. There was some highlight clipping, and noise was visible even in ISO64 photos. Noise reduction also removed quite a lot of detail. (Picture above cropped)

Digital Zoom - Sony C905

Zoom: The camera has digital zoom only. An example of digital zoom can be seen above, digital zoom basically takes a crop of the centre of the frame and enlarges the image, degrading image quality, and is therefore best avoided.

Macro - Sony C905

Macro: Whilst not as good as a dedicated digital camera, the Sony C905 was generally good, allowing close up photos, and allowed the use of flash which often produced some good results.

Video mode: Awful. Really really poor: 320×240 MP4, 30fps, 2 channels, 32khz. Go back to 2004 and even budget digital cameras feature VGA (640×480) video recording. To compete in todays market the camera phone should have at least VGA and preferably HD video recording. However, one nice feature is the video light which can be switched on and off when needed.

Conclusion. They say that the best camera is the camera you have with you, and in this regard the C905 is a very good camera simply because as a mobile phone it’s likely to be with you at all times. This means you can capture the photo that you perhaps would have otherwise missed. However, the C905 still doesn’t compete with even budget digital cameras, which beat the C905 on image quality, noise, speed, screen size, optical zoom, video quality, price etc. It does a decent job, and with a screen that works outdoors, and a real xenon flash it’s better than the majority of other mobile phones as a camera. If you want to be able to have a decent camera in your mobile phone this would be the best choice simply because of the flash, which definitely outperforms LED based flashes. If all you intend to do is publish photos on the web, on sites like facebook, then it’s possible this could be all the camera you ever need… but then why would you need an 8 megapixel camera, when facebook‘s maximum image size is 0.3 megapixels? 😉 For better results it would be worth taking a cheap budget digital camera everywhere you go, but if your pockets are already full, then this will do the job, and it’s possible you might like the photos. It’s available from Amazon UK


+ Real Xenon Flash
+ Screen works outdoors
+ Dedicated Photo buttons on camera (Macro, Flash etc)
+ Provided 2gb M2 card and USB reader makes it easy to transfer photos
+ Decent macro mode, allows the use of flash with good results
+ Bright colourful images with best results outdoors on sunny days
+ Camera always with you
+ Blue glowing buttons


– Slow
– Awful video mode (320×240)
– Numerous reports of the phone screen / ear speaker breaking (including mine, which was repaired under warranty after 6 months)
– Small lens means it’s important to make sure the lens is always clean
– Doesn’t perform very well in low light outdoors (without flash)
– Lots of noise
– Poor battery life

For more information on the Sony C905 have a look at: First impressions of the Sony C905, View our Sony Ericsson C905 Sample Photo Gallery, Buy online at Amazon UK

Digital Camera Memory Cards

Memory cards are an essential purchase for a digital camera. Unfortunately, choosing the right memory card isn’t always easy especially as there’s more choice than ever. This guide will let you know what options you have when choosing a memory card, and help point you in the right direction. Thankfully memory cards are now cheaper than ever, with 8gb memory cards available for less than £5, meaning you can fit not just hundreds, but thousands of photos on the card! Updated Oct 2012.

Click here to read our Guide to Digital Camera Memory Cards.

What size? – As a very rough guide a 1gb (1000mb) memory card will fit around 250 photos with todays 8 – 12 megapixel cameras. So a good size memory card to go for is a 4gb or 8gb memory card as this should allow over 1000 – 2000 high quality photos to be taken. If you plan on using the video features of your camera then it’s a good idea to buy an even larger and faster memory card. For more details on how many photos will fit on a memory card click here.

SanDisk plus USBSD cards – come in three main flavours SD (2gb or less), SDHC (4gb to 32gb), and SDXC (64gb or more). SD cards are used by nearly every single digital camera in the world (excluding some DSLRs). These come in various different prices, from the more basic models, to Sandisk Ultra, and Sandisk Extreme. I would recommend Ultra or Extreme, these tend to support higher writing speeds needed by some cameras for HD video recording. Check the type and class when buying. Older cameras may not support SDHC or SDXC cards, so check the manual before purchase. SD Cards at Amazon: 1GB, 2GB. SDHC Cards at Amazon: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB.

SanDisk plus USBSandisk PLUS USB – In my opinion, these are the best memory cards you can get. They work just like a regular SD card, but when you want to view the images on your PC, you can fold it in half, and plug it straight into a USB socket. They also work as USB Pen Drives, and can fit in your wallet. SanDisk have foolishly discontinued these, so buy them while they’re still available! SDHC Cards with USB at Amazon: 4GB Sandisk Plus USB.

Nb. SD Card Speeds note the small number 4 with a semi-circle around it on these SD cards, and the small number 2 on the MicroSD card. This is the speed rating (class) of the card, the higher the number the quicker the card. This is of particular importance to people who want to record HD video with digital cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix series, and class 6 or higher is recommended.

SanDisk MicroSDMicroSD – these are another option, they often come with a MicroSD to SD adapter so they can be used in every SD camera. They also have the added bonus of working with some Olympus cameras (using the MicroSD to XD adapter) so you can use large 8gb cards with Olympus cameras. Sandisk also sell a MicroSD / Sony M2 to USB stick adapter (details below), so you can have quick access to the memory stick via USB. The only problem I’ve found with MicroSD when used in SD adapters is that the fit isn’t very tight, and they can slip out when knocked (and this could cause problems when using the card in a camera). MicroSD is used by most mobile phones. These come as MicroSD and MicroSDHC with older phones and cameras not supporting SDHC so please check before purchasing. MicroSD Cards at Amazon: 1GB, 2GB. MicroSDHC Cards at Amazon: 4gb, 8gb, 16gb

Nb.For more information on SD, SDHC, and MicroSD cards, have a look at the Secure Digital Card page on Wikipedia.

Compact FlashCompact Flash (CF) – invented by SanDisk, and used in most Digital SLRs. However, increasingly with entry level DSLRs, CF is often being replaced by SD cards. Compact flash cards are physically larger than other memory cards, often more expensive, and have for a long time offered the highest capacity, however more recently SD cards have been catching up in capacity offered. More information on Compact Flash cards at Wikipedia. Compact Flash Cards at Amazon: 2gb, 4gb, 8gb, 16gb, 32gb.

Olympus XD CardXD Cards – these were used by Fujifilm and Olympus – Fujifilm and Olympus now support SD cards, with their latest cameras. The maximum size XD cards go up to is 2gb and they are very slow compared to SD cards. Olympus started supplying MicroSD card adapters (MASD-1, pictured here), so you may as well buy MicroSD instead if your camera will take the adapter. The only possible reason for using XD cards is because Olympus enable the panoramic mode in their camera’s with Olympus branded XD cards. If you have a Fuji camera, like the FinePix F100fd, that supports both XD and SD, then switch to SD as write times will be much quicker and there will be less of a delay between photos. For more information on XD cards, there is a great article on Olympus XD Cards at Amazon: 1gb Type M+, 2gb Type M+.

Sony Memory Stick Pro DuoSony Memory Stick Pro Duo – used exclusively by Sony in Sony cameras, PSP etc, this format is quick (like SD cards), supports large sizes (like SD cards), is slightly smaller than SD, but often costs two to three times as much as SD cards. I guess one benefit of Sony Memory Sticks is that it keeps things fairly simple, if you own an old Sony digital camera, you need a Sony memory stick. With Sony’s latest cameras, they now support both Sony and SD/SDHC memory cards, so for these reasons, if your camera supports it, it would be better to buy an SD/SDHC card. More information on Sony Memory Sticks can be found on Wikipedia. Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo cards at Amazon: 2gb, 4gb, 8gb, 16gb.

Sony Memory Stick Pro DuoSandisk MicroSD / Sony M2 to USB stick adapter – this USB card reader lets you have quick access to the MicroSD or Sony M2 memory stick via USB. It’s very small and fits on your keyring. It’s available from Amazon UK: SanDisk MobileMate Micro Memory Card Reader.

If anyone’s looking for a great USB card reader, then have a look at the Kingston 19 in 1 UDB card reader, it will work with every memory card listed above, and is great if you’re having problems getting photos off your camera and memory card. If anyone’s wondering why I tend to recommend Sandisk – the simple truth is that I’ve used their memory cards with literally hundreds of cameras and never had a problem. They were also involved in the development of SD cards and developed Compact Flash cards, so they should know what they’re doing when it comes to making them!

If you have any hints or tips, or think anything needs adding to this article, please leave a comment below.

Nokia StandNokia had a large stand at the Focus on Imaging show this year showing several of their digital camera phones. They had several 6×4″ photo printers and were demonstrating the photo quality of the digital cameras built into their mobile phones. Their main point was that [their] digital cameras in mobile phones are now providing image quality that is good enough for 6×4″ snapshot prints. This may mean that for your average Jo, they may be happy using their mobile phone camera instead of purchasing a budget digital camera, especially if they are taking snapshot photos that will never be printed larger than 6×4″.

One vistor to the Focus on Imaging show suggested that all current digital camera manufacturers will one day be manufacturing digital camera mobile phones. If all mobile phones included a 3 megapixel digital camera, like the recently announced Sony Cybershot K800, then traditional digital camera manufacturers might have to enter the digital camera mobile phone market in order to remain competitive?

Nokia Mobile Phones Nokia Carl Zeiss
On the left, three of Nokia’s mobile phones, the Nokia N91, featuring a 2 megapixel digital camera, and 4Gb of storage, the Nokia N70, featuring a 2 megapixel camera, and the Nokia N90 (above and right), featuring a 2 megapixel digital camera, a swivel Carl Zeiss autofocus lens, and swivel 2.1″ screen. Click any of the images to view a larger version.