Editor's Choice 2007: Cellphone Cameras

Editor-s-Choice-2007-Cellphone-Cameras

Editor-s-Choice-2007-Cellphone-Cameras

Though most cellphones now come with a camera built in, few take pictures on par with a good digital compact. That's changing as manufacturers ratchet up the megapixels and wedge optical zooms into these go-anywhere, photo-ready devices.

It's not just the trendsetting five-megapixel resolution that makes this two-way slider our model of the year. All those pixels are put to the test by a Zeiss Tessar lens, and reside in an image sensor that's unusually large for a cellphone. The chip's as big as those in many compact cameras -- and its pixels are bigger too, so the resolution doesn't come at the price of extra noise. Camera controls include scene modes and image editing; photo blogging and mobile Web gallery software are preinstalled. Integrated GPS, Wi-Fi, FM radio prove, although Nokia is Finnish, this GSM model is the Swiss Army knife of cellphones.

This two-megapixel CDMA model brings a new level of innovation to the slider phone. In vertical position, its alphanumeric keyboard pulls down from the bottom for calls. Turn it horizontally and a QWERTY keyboard slides out so that you can type, surf, and view images laptop-style on its 2.4-inch LCD. But when all the buttons are tucked away, the Ocean looks a lot like an ultracompact camera, complete with LED flash. It captures MPEG-4 video, while integrated GPS supports both Google Maps and Helio's Buddy Beacon, which alerts friends to your location (or you to theirs). The phone even comes loaded with MySpace software. About $300 (with contract).

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Despite its extremely compact clamshell design, this CDMA phone houses a two-megapixel camera -- and its fashion-forward metal-and-mirror finish should be fun to accessorize. Photo features include a night mode, white balance adjustment, color effects, and image-editing options. The VX8700 even has an old-fashioned self-timer, though you won't find a tripod socket. It also shoots QVGA video, while built-in GPS keeps track of you -- and where you took your pictures. About $180 (with Verizon contract).

|| |---| | | Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot K810i

As its name suggests, this Java-based GSM bar phone borrows features from Sony's Cyber-shot point-and-shoots. Its 3.2-megapixel camera has a crisp, nonzooming autofocus lens, a true strobe rather than the usual LED winklight (for much greater range and better low-light performance), and a BestPic mode that shoots a sequence of nine full-res frames in one second (so you can save the best shot). One-step Photofix adjusts exposure, brightness, and contrast after the shot; preloaded photo blogging software makes for easy uploads. When you slide the lens cover open to take pictures, buttons on the K810i's alphanumeric keypad turn into dedicated camera controls, identified by illuminated icons. A separate camera module next to the LCD shoots the user, for video calling. About $400, in blue or ivory.

American PHOTO Editor's Choice 2007
Intro Entry-Level DSLRs Advanced DSLRs | Professional DSLRs | Digital Rangefinders | SLR Lenses | Camera Cellphones | Imaging Software | Fine-Art Printers | Superzoom EVFs | Digital Compacts | Ultrathin Compacts | Storage and Display | Computers | Snapshot Printers | Lighting | Tripods | Camera Bags | Imaging Essentials
Click photo to see images of all the Editor's Choice 2007 products.

Helped out by autofocus, this slim GSM slider's three-megapixel camera delivers image quality that should be sufficient for snapshot-sized prints. Want to shoot flowers? It has macro mode. A golf swing? It has a multishot option. There's even a USB connection for output to PictBridge-compatible printers, and the Carbon can display your photos -- or MPEG-4 video, which it also shoots -- on TV. Files can be saved on removable memory cards, as with other models here. The Carbon's Java platform supports third-party mobile imaging apps, and it comes loaded with software for viewing Microsoft Office and PDF files too. About $330.

|| |---| | | Motorola MOTORIZR Z8

Although it looks like a typical slider phone when closed, this GSM model stretches into a graceful curve when you open it to make a call. That distinctive design accommodates a two-megapixel camera with an LED flash, as well as a secondary VGA camera for video calls. A microSD slot supports cards up to 4GB instead of the usual 2GB, enough to fit a whole movie. The MOTORIZR Z8 runs a Symbian UIQ operating system and a Java platform, which allow the camera to handle third-party mobile imaging apps. HSDPA support enables extra-fast downloads and mobile Web surfing. About $100 (with T-Mobile contract).

American PHOTO Editor's Choice 2007
Intro Entry-Level DSLRs Advanced DSLRs | Professional DSLRs | Digital Rangefinders | SLR Lenses | Camera Cellphones | Imaging Software | Fine-Art Printers | Superzoom EVFs | Digital Compacts | Ultrathin Compacts | Storage and Display | Computers | Snapshot Printers | Lighting | Tripods | Camera Bags | Imaging Essentials
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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Donna Padowitz
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