Friday, 05 September 2008

(Column) - Camera phones are fast replacing a number of regular phones. The vengeance with which manufacturers are integrating cameras into handsets has ensured that even the handsets aimed at business users, such as the Nokia 9300i and the O2 Atom/Mini incorporate some pretty heavy duty cameras.

The camera integration has in fact reached such a stage that any self-respecting phone would incorporate at least a megapixel camera. The cutting-edge feature to have though is the 2-megapixel variety. The question is: is it really worth the extra money you pay for it? Without getting into model-by-model comparisons, I am questioning the entire range of 2-megapixel camera phones. Are they really worth it? For the most part, no.

Despite the cameras being 2-megapixel, the image quality isn’t really that impressive. Whether you take the K750i, W800i (essentially the same phone), N90, Samsung’s D600, LG’s P7200 or even the new RAZR, the photographs are not yet at a level of clarity that they replace my need for a Digicam. Sure, if I have one of these, then I can take better shots when I am not carrying my camera, but they aren’t necessarily better.

Even if we stop contesting the image quality part, according to manufacturers, we should carry 2-megapixel phones to capture life’s moments as they come at us without notice. I disagree. The simple reason being, all these phones take a long time to get into the camera mode that by the time you are ready to click, the moment has already long gone. Take the N90, for example, or the P7200, it can take between 15 and 30 seconds for the phone to get into the camera mode. So much for capturing "sudden" moments…

The next hindrance relates to usage. How many of you actually take enough pictures to warrant a 2-megapixel camera? When I say take enough pictures, I am talking specifically about pictures you would like to keep on your PC, take color printouts of and/or share it with friends and family members via e-mail.

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