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.
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.
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.
These next two turned out much better: the first because the sun wasn’t as intense, the second because of the lack of white.
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.
Now let’s take a look at what the camera can do beyond its default settings.
The N70 boasts an impressive set of customizable camera options not usually found on a phone: shooting mode, flash, white balance, and color tone.
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.
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.
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.
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).
And since I mention indoor photos, have a look at what the N70 does when it’s not hampered by the sun.
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.
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.
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.
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.