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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sony Ericsson K800i: So What's The Image Quality Like?

The images featured here are the original photos straight out from my SE K800i. Except for the addition of watermarks and copyright notice, no other adjustments to the images have been made. Please click on the individual photos to view them in full size - all 3.2 Megapixels of them.
Color rendition is accurate and vibrant especially when shooting with available light. This is the door of our refrigerator with diffused natural light shining from the kitchen window.

The camera has Macro mode and is capable of focusing from a distance of about 50mm (not an accurate measurement). The K800i handled the details quite well.

The camera has a "Document" scene mode in addition to the usual portrait, landscape, night scene, etc. Like the mode name implies, it's for photographing letters and other printed documents. I chose to test it with this drawing that has some really fine lines. The result looks easily readable to me.

It's got a 16x digital zoom (no optical zoom) and it's quite different from what I expected. The digital zoom that I know simply crops the picture resulting in smaller pictures. This one does the same but afterwards, the picture is interpolated and is enlarged back to 3.2 Megapixel size again. Of course the image quality degrades as a result.

The dreaded shutter lag spoiled what could have been a beautiful candid shot. This colleague of mine has got a beautiful smile and her eyes were wide open when I pressed the button. It is perhaps worth mentioning that the K800i has what Sony calls a BestPic mode and this is perhaps the mode you should be using when doing shots like this. In BestPic mode, the camera takes 9 successive shots in a burst within one second and then it prompts you to select the best image of your choice. Afterwards, the rest are discarded.

The images are not as silky smooth as I expected them to be. I don't know, maybe I'm just used to the high quality of images I get out of my EOS camera. The results look to me like its processor uses some kind of an in-camera noise reduction software.

A couple of items I wish this cameraphone has - at least a 3x optical zoom and a Carl Zeiss lens. Those features will make this camera phone even more of a killer. Too much to ask you say? I don't think so because Nokia's soon to be released N93 has them.

Generally, I still think that this is a very good gadget for what it is. It's more than adequate for my site inspection and documentation purposes and will be quite handy for party snaps. I have absolutely no doubt that it will produce some good quality 4 x 6 prints. However, I still don't think that this camera phone is qualified enough to take over the job of a dedicated compact digicam. I still would not entrust important events and "Kodak moments" with this camera phone.

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