Friday, June 7, 2013

[Mobile Cellphone Info] Can low-light camera performance sell a smartphone?

Mobile Cellphone Info has posted a new item, 'Can low-light camera performance
sell a smartphone?'

Camera quality ranks high on my list of requirements for a smartphone to be
considered a true "hero" device. Since I do not own a traditional
point-and-shoot camera, I rely on my smartphone every time to capture the
moment. I also rely on it for video recording. While many will try and sell me
on the boatload of advantages a digital SLR clearly has, I just can't justify
spending that much money on something I'm unlikely to carry around.
Manufacturers are catching onto the consumer's desire to own a smartphone with a
high quality camera around back and are starting to market their device's
advantages over others. Yet the motive towards more megapixels is starting to
get old. Considering how many other factors (software, image stabilization,
optics) affect an image's quality after the shot, it's definitely not as easy to
sit down and easily convince yourself one picture is better than another because
the competition is heating up. Consumers have some truly fantastic options to
choose from.
So, manufacturers are taking different pathways to try and attract consumer's to
their smartphone cameras. A recent example is HTC's UltraPixel camera on the HTC
One. The camera on the One uses an enlarged sensor which retains more light, and
after using the device, it's clear low-light performance is where HTC leads the
However, sacrifices were made for an enlarged sensor size, and that was in the
image resolution which is only 4-megapixels. HTC says "the quality of each pixel
is substantially higher than the industry average," but this is just one example
of a trade off made to differentiate the UltraPixel camera from competing
smartphone cameras.
I traditionally avoid smartphones which have under-performing cameras because I
know what situations my camera needs to produce passable results in. Low-light
performance is nice to have, but not necessary, while daylight images take up
the majority of my photo gallery. I do not do much photo editing after a shot,
so megapixel count never phases me.

But knowing low-light performance isn't as paramount a feature as, say, daylight
performance, I'm unconvinced of a device marketed as the "best low-light
smartphone camera." This is what a recent image leaked by My Nokia Blog says the
rumored Nokia Lumia 928 will use to differentiate itself against other devices.
The Lumia 928 has been tipped to be a Verizon-friendly variant of the Lumia 920
featuring a 4.5-inch display, 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, while allowing simultaneous
voice and data support. But Nokia has managed to pack PureView technology into
its camera, and this is where Nokia is waging its war against the competition.
Nokia's PureView technology is drool-worthy if taking highly detailed images are
on your agenda. The PureView philosophy combines an abnormally large sensor,
Carl Zeiss optics, and pixel oversampling (condensing visual information into
fewer but "truer" pixels). As you'd guess, the results are stunning, but can a
camera really sell a smartphone?
Die-hard Windows Phone fans eagerly awaiting the Lumia 928 to drop are justified
in their excitement. By simply mentioning "PureView" to a prospective buyer,
you're bound to get a reaction out of someone privy of Nokia's camera tech, but
whether or not low-light performance is a feature consumers want has yet to be
And this is where I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the matter, reader. Is
strong low-light camera performance enough to garner consumer interest? Does
"PureView" sell? Moreover, if the megapixel count of the Lumia 928's camera is
at (or near) the industry standard of 8-megapixels, can Nokia's PureView song
really sing? Submit your comments to the box below!
Images via @evleaks and My Nokia Blog.

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Best regards,
Mobile Cellphone Info