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Review SCH-S250 5-megapixel camera. The first signs
Many users consider a camera in a phone an unnecessary and sometimes a harmful addition. At the beginning when cameras had very middling characteristics the reason was plain and evident. Why to pay for a badly implemented function? Many referred to digital photo camera that provide good quality and dimensions comparable with mobile phones.
That's necessary to understand that when a technology appears the devices implementing it go through several stages. First samples attract worshipers of technics but have middling characteristics, they appear as an announcement about one's intention and the least possible working and useful devices. Concerning cameras it's possible to remember their low resolution, bad quality of screens on which details of photos could have hardly been made out. The second stage is more interesting, this is a development of a technology base and appearance of standard solutions. Speaking in own words, many manufacturers start equipping many products with the solution and mass integration tendencies appear. The third stage is the release in the market, it may be indicated by any Asian third echelon manufacturer. And if they use the technology be sure the price will fall and more interesting solutions by big companies will appear shortly (competing with small companies is also necessary).
Speaking about a digital camera we can see the development looks rather plain. First CIF-cameras appeared, then the resolution grew but not the quality. The next iteration added filters for postediting and applying effects in real time. Digital zoom became a commonplace. The next step was the appearance of 1 megapixel cameras based on CMOS matrixes and at the same time the development of more expensive but more qualitative CCD matrixes. Now the manufacturers have met a problem of module minimization, creation of materials to use as objective lens (mainly it concerns the minimization of the module size) and applying autofocusing. These problems will be solved in the next two years. And by that time matrixes in mobile phones will have got 2 and 3 megapixel resolution that is comparable with digital cameras.
However Samsung already sells a model equipped with a 5-megapixel camera in the home market (the sales started in the end of October). Earlier the company announced the refusal from manufacturing 4-megapixel camera for phones and a switch to 5-megapixel right after 3. The model is an announcement of the intentions in some kind and it will appear in Europe in the third quarter of 2005 named differently. This will be the only device with similar camera for that moment.
Representatives of rival companies often consider Samsung's announcements of new solutions a try to peg a name of the company having released this or that product the first. Maybe it happened often earlier but now the company releases the majority of new technologies in shortly, many grandees can't afford it.
Speaking about Samsung SCH-S250 we won't stress the possibilities of the device itself, a special report will be dedicated to the topic since the model deserves it. I'll only point out the screen is the best in the market for today (among the models being sold). The dimensions are a bit less than in Sony Ericsson P900 and in design the devices are very similar. The camera is on the back side, a slider is in the upper part of the body, that is not the keypad that slides away but the camera itself and thus a display gets fully available.
The horizontal shooting mode is similar to a usual camera. In fact a picture turn may be adjusted in the settings and then vertical shoting is also possible.
In a closed mode the objective is always hidden and only a manual switch of shooting modes (macro, portrait and landscape) is outside. A CCD-module deserves some words about, a Pentax (1/2.5") matrix is used in the model exclusively. The same one is used in some digital photo cameras. Having opened the device near the objective we can see a flash (not impact) working at the distance of less than 1.5 meters.
Camera settings are various and it resembles Sony Ericsson S700 in this parameter. The following resolutions are supported: 2560 x 1920, 2304 x 1728, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480. There are three types of file compression - High, Mid, Normal. Sensitivity may be set automatically or from ISO 100 to 800. Clarity may be adjusted to a center, a point or the whole frame. Light settings are either detected automatically or set manually from the menu. That's pleasant that entering the settings menu you see a short note about current settings.
You may apply various frames or effects to the taken photos. You shouldn't do it while shooting because there is an integrated post editor, you may change the photo later. A photo with maximum resolution and quality is saved for 5 seconds. The photos may be saved both in the internal memory (about 90 MB are available) and a memory card (32 MB in a package).
You may consider the quality of the pictures by yourself, any comments are unnecessary.
Macro mode is acceptable but it's often spoiled with automatics work (flash). Effective distance for shooting is from 10 cm.
Various photos outdoors
Applying frames switches the resolution to 240x240 pixels automatically. Here are some samples and photos of the frames.
That was interesting to compare camera possibilities with Sony Ericsson S700 (automatic settings for both).
The device also allows recording video (with sound or without), two file types are supported - AVI, MPEG 4. Time for recording is not limited. The resolution is 320x240, 176x144 pixels and there are thee types of compression. The quality of the video is rather good.
S250 has no any rivals in the shooting quality today. The quality of the picture is comparable with modern digital cameras in a sunny day. No any similar devices by other manufacturers will appear in the next year, we only may speak about 2-megapixel cameras. For instance, the comparison with a device by Sony Ericsson with such a camera reveals its loss, though its size is not as big, the phone is two times less. S250 is curious as a prototype of future devices and a European version of the device will be released with the same matrix.
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Published 7 December 2004
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