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 user 2013-06-22 at 9:16:50 am Views: 63
  • #2034

    Camera-Phones Make Better Prints Than Single-Use Cameras


    NOORDWIJK, THE NETHERLANDS, and SAN MATEO, CA  — Prints made from camera-phone images are significantly better than those from single-use cameras — both film and digital — and comparable to those from standalone consumer digital cameras, according to a new study released today.

    On the opening day of its Mobile Imaging Summit Europe executive conference, Future Image, Inc., the leading provider of information and analysis on business and technology trends in the imaging industry, announced the results of its evaluation of the quality of consumer prints made from camera-phone pictures. For its report "4 x 6 Shoot-Out: Are Camera-Phones Ready To Make Consumer Prints?," the research firm photographed six representative test subjects with nine different consumer cameras — four camera-phones, two one-time use cameras (OTUCs), and three point & shoot digital cameras — and evaluated prints of the images made using an online service, retail kiosk, and home printing equipment.

    "We fully expected to offer excuses for the image quality produced by the miniature sensors and lenses found in camera-phones," said Tony Henning, Managing Editor and lead analyst for Future Image's Mobile Imaging Report and the study's principal author, "but we were pleasantly surprised. Even the VGA camera-phones produced acceptable results for most of the subjects and they compared favorably to the one-time-use cameras in overall score across all six subjects and all four categories. The 2MP camera-phone in our study was even more of a surprise — it completely outperformed the OTUCs and matched the digital cameras, regardless of resolution, for all the subjects and in all categories."

    The purpose of the 36-page study, including 119 figures, charts, and tables, was to determine if currently available camera-phones are capable of delivering acceptable consumer prints and to assess how the images produced measure up to those produced by the most popular standalone consumer cameras. Prints from images obtained by camera-phones with resolutions of 640 x 480 (two models), one megapixel, and two megapixels were compared to those from a single use (OTUC) film camera, a single use (OTUC) digital camera, and digital point-and-shoot cameras of one-, two- and three-megapixel resolution.

    Six test subjects, representative of standard consumer photo activities, were photographed: a house in full sunlight, an interior shop display, an outdoor portrait in bright open shade, an indoor portrait, a close-up of small objects, and an antique spice rack in dim interior lighting. Standard consumer 4 x 6-inch borderless glossy prints of all 54 test shots were made using three different methods — a home inkjet printer, thermo-autochrome equipment at a corner drug store kiosk, and an online service that uses a silver halide-based process. We used the prints from these various sources as the basis for our evaluation of the results. Prints were scored in four performance categories — sharpness/level of detail, color accuracy and saturation, compression/interpolation artifacts, and dynamic range, yielding overall quantitative scores for each device for each subject and for each performance dimension.

    The evaluation shows that camera-phones deliver acceptable 4 x 6 snapshots — suitable for the family fridge or photo album — in virtually all cases, and the higher-resolution models deliver keepsake quality prints — suitable for frames on the mantle or wall — across the board. The study concludes that the implications of these surprising results for standalone digital cameras are serious, but the implications for single-use cameras are profound. Other than the occasional high risk or party-favor application, most of the reasons for buying an OTUC will rapidly disappear.

    "While camera-phones have closed the quality gap with surprising speed, the same is not true of the convenience gap," said Alexis Gerard, President, Future Image Inc. "Making prints from camera-phone images is still much less convenient than making them from a digital camera, never mind a film camera. This creates a dramatic opportunity for vendors of printing services and equipment, but only if they react with speed and single-minded focus on customer benefits. Hopefully the industry will have learned from its past mistakes, having in effect encouraged early digital camera users to abandon the printing habit by failing to offer them convenient, inexpensive, and high-quality print options in a timely fashion."*

    "4 x 6 Shoot-Out: Are Camera-Phones Ready To Make Consumer Prints?" is available now from the Future Image

    About Future Image

    Future Image Inc. is the leading independent center of expertise on the convergence of imaging, technology, and business, with primary emphasis on Mobile Imaging. It publishes two continuous information services, the Future Image Executive Information Service, and the Future Image Mobile Imaging Report, as well as research studies on the impact of emerging imaging-focused technologies or business trends in three categories: Infrastructure, Appliances, and Services. Recently study topics include: Camera-Phones, Digital Cameras, Kiosks and Print Services, Still & Video Camera Convergence, Electronic Personal Photo, CPXe, and Photoblogs. Future Image is the official information and research partner of the International Imaging Association (I3A), and the Managing Partner of the Visual Communication initiative, supported by Eastman Kodak, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, LightSurf, Microsoft, Nikon and Sprint PCS. Founded in 1991, the company is headquartered in San Mateo (CA).

    Future Image produces limited-attendance executive conferences for decision makers. The content, venue, and amenities are carefully designed to maximize opportunities for participants to identify areas of mutual business advantage, and to make the high-level connections necessary for market leadership and competitive advantage. Sessions are conducted in an interactive format that promotes exchanges among participants both onstage and off. The 2004 sessions of the Mobile Imaging Summit feature venues in Amsterdam (June 17/18, focus on Europe) and Monterey CA

    * Post was edited: 2004-08-31 09:58:00