Omnia HD Still Camera Review

One of the reasons why I chose the Omnia is so that I can carry a decent camera wherever, whenever. I love capturing interesting images and sightings and it’s not everyday that I have my DSLR with me. The Samsung Omnia HD had good reviews about its still camera performance and usability and this blog is another testament to that.

The Omnia HD’s camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. While you may think it’s overkill, high megapixels is actually useful for producing beautiful resized photos. The f=2.6 lens is unbranded so Schneider, Samsung’s lens supplier of choice, is not in the picture (pun intended). A LED flash supports the camera in low light.

Advanced features such as ISO and white balance adjustment is available. There’s also face and smile recognition and even blink recognition. As if those aren’t enough to excite the nerds, Samsung has also added image stabilization and GPS tagging functions.

Here are some sample shots. Note that they were not post processed in any way except for resizing.

Image quality is comparable to an entry level point and shoot. Not bad.

A small amount of bokeh can actually be seen in the background of this photo.

Visibly good dynamic range, shadows aren't blacked out and a lot of details can still be seen on the dark portions of the shot.

Colors are natural and unsaturated. Pixel-peeping may reveal some lack of detail, but still superior than most mobile phone cameras.

Shameless self-portrait. Low light performance is nothing to write home about, but still quite remarkable coming from "just" a mobile phone camera.

Below is a sample of a photo taken with the Omnia HD and then tweaked in Aperture 2.

The result is very pleasing and deceiving as something that came from a dedicated digicam.

Review Summary

The Good:

– Output is at par with a point and shoot camera; natural colors and saturation; sharp, undistorted optics (but could probably be better with a Schneider

– Good auto focus performance: as fast as budget digicams; face detection is very usable and accurate

– 8MP sensor means beautiful scaled down photos, 720p HD video capability is definitely a huge bonus

The Bad:

– So-so low light performance (but still ahead of the mobile phone pack)

– I couldn’t sense the image stabilizer to be helping out

The Ugly:

– No auto portrait/landscape orientation despite the phone’s accelerometer, a major oversight in my opinion

Overall:

– An entry level point and shoot tucked inside a phone; mobile phone cameras have indeed come a long way; highly recommended

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