and the best 8MP Camera phone is…

Barely a month goes by with out at least two handsets going head to head. Over the last year or so, most of the battles have been against the iPhone, with manufacturers trying desperately to out perform it. Interestingly, Nokia haven’t yet taken it on with a touch screen device, but its on the cards with the launch of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. I don’t know about you, but I’m almost fed up of reading about "this phone’s better than the iPhone", so I thought I’d pay more attention to a more serious battle thats about to commence between Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung. The Battle for the best 8MP Cameraphone.

Samsung have the edge here, they were first to release an 8MP camera phone, the INNOV8 i8510. The i8510 is full of features and comes with either 8GB or 16GB of internal memory. In terms of the phones design, its not really anything we’ve not seen before. It looks like a more stylish version of the Nokia N95, and runs the same operating system. I’m not going to focus too much on the spec, I’m more interested in the camera, so for detailed information on what all of these phones can do, head over to the comparison page. The i8510 has some cool camera features such as geotagging, automatic panorama shooting, face detection, smile detection, and blink detection. Face detection means that the camera will keep the faces in focus, while smile and blink detection will only take the photo once everyone is smiling and their eyes are open. Clever stuff.

The Samsung i8510 is available now in both 8GB and 16GB versions and is priced from around £500.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to see 3 more 8MP cameraphones make their appearance – The Sony Ericsson C905, LG Renoir and the Samsung Pixon.

The LG Renoir is a touchscreen device that builds on the style and popularity of the LG Viewty. As with all of the phones mentioned here, the spec is pretty impressive with high speed internet and a flashy touch based interface. The camera is good, but feature-wise, hasn’t got as much on it as some of its competitors. The interface is the same as was on the LG Viewty, but with the addition of a few new features and a Xenon Flash. One of its best features is the touchscreen focus. This allows you to focus on any object in your image, simply by touching the screen of the phone. The LG Renoir has smile and face detection, but unlike the i8510, its single face only, so group shots are a no go. It also features Blink Detection, but again, not in the same way as the others, rather than not allowing you to take a photo if the eyes are closed, the Renoir will warn you after you’ve taken the photo that someone blinked. I can’t really see the point of this though.

See the LG Renoir full specification.

The LG Renoir is expected to be released towards the end of October for around £360.

The Samsung Pixon is closer in specification to the Renoir than it is the i8510. From the back it looks more like a camera than a phone, but to be honest, although the camera is great, it’s not an all singing all dancing phone like you might expect. The user interface is the "le croix" menu system that is found on the Samsung Tocco and F490, so its pretty simple to use. Its not a high spec phone like the i8510, so if like me you’re a gadget lover who wants your phone to do everything, then this may not be the phone for you. The camera works really well. It has a similar focus system to the Renoir, where you just touch the screen to focus on the object you’re taking the photo of, and like the i8510 has face detection, smile detection, and blink detection. In addition, the Pixon also has a nifty little feature that most facebook users will be familiar with – the ability to tag people in the photos! By tagging the people in your photos to the names in your address book, you can text or call them while looking through your photos. Its different, and probably of limited appeal, but is an extra camera feature over its competitors.

See the Samsung Pixon full specification.

The Samsung Pixon is expected to be released towards the beginning of November for around £370.

The Sony Ericsson C905 for me is the best of the bunch. The joint venture between Sony and Ericsson is really starting to bring some major advantages to the Sony Ericsson Cyber-Shot range. The imaging censor in the C905 is the same as the one used in a Sony Digital SLR Camera, and you really can tell. The images are clearer and sharper than the other 8MP handsets, and some of the camera features can’t be beaten. For night time shots, the C905 excels as it is one of the few cameraphones on the market that features a Xenon Flash, this gives much better lighting at night, more accurate colours and allows photo’s to be taken at a greater distance than an LED flash. All cybershot phones feature Bestpic, where a series of 7 images are taken in quick succession, allowing you to save the best. The C905 now lets you use the flash when taking photo’s using BestPic. A new feature for the C905 is Smart Contrast, without getting too technical, this is where the camera will take an image, and combine with an under exposed and over exposed version of the same image to create the best possible photo. Another cool feature that the C905 has is support for DLNA which in simple terms allows you to playback your photos over a wireless network to any other DLNA enabled device such as TV’s or Laptops. The C905 has Face Detection, geo-tagging and supports panoramic photos.

See the Sony Ericsson C905 full specification.

The Sony Ericsson C905 is expected to be released towards the end of October for around £400.

All of these handsets seriously raise the bar when it comes to camera phones and all of them could easily replace your existing digital camera. If I had to choose just one of these handsets, then without doubt it would be the Sony Ericsson C905. The i8510 is an excellent phone, but if you don’t need all the bells and whistles and the extra functionality on it then the C905 will suit you perfectly. As anyone here will tell you, I’m an Apple fan, and rave constantly about my iPhone, but as much as I love it, the C905 is the one handset that would tempt me away from it – and not just for the camera. Its well built, the software on the phone works well and is the tried and tested Sony Ericsson menu system with a few extras. I’d miss the touch screen, but not for long as the ability to take excellent photo’s will easily compensate.

Sample photo’s will be available here soon.