First look: Sony Ericsson S500i camera

As a mid-range slider with style ambitions you could forgive the Sony Ericsson for skimping on the features. But at this level the S500i makes all the right multimedia noises with a two-megapixel camera, microSD card slot for storage, full HTML web browser and a built-in music player.

Right now we're going to concentrate on looking at the two-megapixel snapper. The lens is perched on the rear of the front fascia and you have to slide open the phone to reveal it. Sony Ericsson has clearly marked and allocated the top of the five-way navigation joypad as the only way to fire up the shutterbug.

Unfortunately the lens itself is pretty basic with no autofocus, macro focus for close-ups or flash of any kind. It shoots on a maximum resolution of 1600x1200 pixels but there are a few modes and features to tinker with if you're feeling adventurous. You can takes snaps in Panorama (this stitches together three pictures for a panoramic landscape), Frames (this uses, er, pretty frames to tart up the picture) and Burst that shoots four frames in quick succession and this is good for moving subjects. Elsewhere the Night Mode comes in handy especially with the absence of a flash; you can alter the white balance and also shoot in negative, sepia and black and white.

After a professional photographer once told Mobile Choice that flowers are good subject to test a camera's performance because of the explosion of colour, the of depth and shadow and strong detail we've been snapping floral tributes ever since. So in true Mobile Choice fashion we've snapped a neighbour's blooming garden to see if the S500i can handle the busy subject.

For such a basic snapper it's done incredibly well. As you can see the colour representation is vivid, depth is correct and although most detail is refined for two-megapixel snapper, it does lose focus in place and especially around the edges. As you can see on the lilies, white areas can also be prone to over exposure. But remember when with took this picture the lighting conditions were favourable for a good snap. Because the S500i's lens is so basic we wonder if it may struggle under harsher conditions but otherwise for point and shoot scenario it takes decent photos.

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Written by Mobile Choice
Mobile Choice

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