Nokia N70: Built-in 2MP camera

Last month, I took a look at the Nokia Nseries N70 smartphone and mentioned the integrated 2-megapixel camera (one of two cameras built into the phone) as its most notable feature. Today, I’ll see just how "notable" it really is. (The camera takes decent video footage, too, but this review will focus only on its image capabilities.)

Equipped with a Carl Zeiss lens, the N70 can easily replace an entry-level  digital camera. The fact that so many people use camera phones to capture everyday events, random moments, and casual get-togethers attests to this. And as you’ll see from the samples below, the photos are beyond what you’d expect from a phone; in fact, in this context, image quality is quite impressive.

Sample photos
With its default settings, the camera doesn’t perform well in bright sunlight (look at the unnaturally bright clouds below). I had trouble, too, because the LCD is so dim outdoors that I couldn’t frame or focus anything before I snapped the picture. Oh well. I guess this is a good way to test how "point-and-shoot" this camera really is.

Plumeriaauto_1
Click to see the full-size, unedited photo

Despite what looks like oversaturation, color representation is actually pretty accurate here. But again there’s the same issue with the extra bright (and blurry) whites.

Directsun
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These next two turned out much better: the first because the sun wasn’t as intense, the second because of the lack of white.

Palmtreesauto
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Directsun2
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This one came out the best (and not just because it features the back/side of one of my adorable nieces!). I’m impressed by the amount of detail the N70 was able to pick up.

Autonoflash
Click to see the full-size, unedited photo

Now let’s take a look at what the camera can do beyond its default settings.

Customization
The N70 boasts an impressive set of customizable camera options not usually found on a phone: shooting mode, flash, white balance, and color tone.

N70camshootingmode N70camflash
N70camwhitebalance N70colourtone

The screen wasn’t photographing well (ironic, I know), so here’s a rundown of the settings within the four options.

Shooting mode: Automatic, User defined, Portrait, Landscape, Night, and Sport
Flash: Automatic, On/Forced, and Off
White balance: Automatic, Daylight,  Cloudy, and Fluorescent
Color tone: Normal,  Sepia, B & W, and Negative

These are some sample pics using the Landscape shooting mode. Everything else was left at default. Overall, the shots came out pretty well. There’s a slight hazy overlay for some reason, but I would still put these in the "good" pile.

Landscapeauto
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Landscapeauto2
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Unlike the shooting mode options, I’m completely unimpressed with the white balance settings. The Daylight option cast something of a shadow over the entire image.

Whitebalancedaylight
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This wasn’t taken on the same day, but it’s the same scene with white balance set at Automatic. On a sunny day in Hawaii, the sky always looks like this, which is basically what it should’ve looked like in the photo above.

Whitebalanceauto
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Extras
The self-timer can be set in 10, 20, and 30-second increments. The N70 rests perfectly and relatively securely on its side, eliminating the need for a tripod in an environment with lots of flat surfaces (most likely indoors).

N70camfront

N70camside

And since I mention indoor photos, have a look at what the N70 does when it’s not hampered by the sun.

Automatic shooting mode
Indoorauto
Click to see the full-size, unedited photo

Landscape shooting mode
Indoorlandscape
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Other N70 extras include a multiburst sequence mode that snaps 6 shots in rapid succession, a slideshow feature with music playback, the option to save photos to the phone’s internal memory or an RS-MMC card, help/tutorial text files (below left), and of course a multimedia gallery (below right) to keep everything tidy.

N70camhelp N70camgallery_1

When viewing images in the gallery, you can zoom in, send it to someone via Bluetooth or the system’s messaging feature, add it to an album or contact profile, set it as wallpaper, print it, and perform a handful of standard editing functions.

Conclusion
I know it took a lot of scrolling to get down this far, so I’ll keep it short and just say that despite its trouble spots, the N70’s integrated rear camera is packed with so many features usually reserved for "traditional" digital cameras that under the right conditions, it can definitely keep up and sometimes almost outperform them. Almost.

Bonus passenger seat photos
This one was taken from a car going about 60 mph. It was a very cloudy day in Hawaii, but this huge rainbow made up for the dreariness. I’m amazed that the image didn’t come out blurry, especially because I was using the Automatic and not the Sport shooting mode.

Autonoflash60mph
Click to see the full-size, unedited photo

Rainbows were everywhere that day. Here’s one (you can also see a  faint second one in the distance) captured using the Landscape shooting mode from the same car now going about 30 mph.

Landscapenoflash30mph
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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