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Nokia 7610 – capabilities of the megapixel camera

Nokia 7610 is the first device equipped with megapixel camera in Nokia's product line. What are the differences from rival phones? The matrix here has the resolution of 1megapixel exactly, not 1.2 or 1.3. So we can say that Nokia 7610 became the first mass product with megapixel camera, sales started in the beginning of this summer in many countries simultaneously. For the first two weeks the company experienced a lack of Nokia 7610 because of great demand. The only model that appeared in Europe earlier was Sharp GX30 but total delivery capacity of the device was much smaller than of the Nokia's smartphone.

The selection of the 60 platform based smartphone as a base for their new megapixel product was not accidental. The functionality of the smartphone allows to realize a whole list of extra services for photo camera and expand its possibilities without special hardware-based solutions like it's done in rival phones. Lower productivity of the programs not integrated with the camera and being some kind of additional is a side effect of this approach. For example, a specialized chip located together with the camera is responsible for all the effects applied to photos in devices manufactured by Samsung. The speed of processing photos and applying effects is close to maximum, everything is done in the real time. Hardware possibilities are rather poor for a Nokia's product (for this moment, may be in future the company will switch to traditional solutions). That means that the company built-in only a camera with algorithms for processing and saving images and allowed other programs that may be installed on the smartphone to be responsible for all extra functions. In this case a user can expand functionality later (apply a special editor for post editing), and developers may create own programs and earn money on that. Thus this is an intermediate solution that has its pros and cons, let's review photo capabilities of Nokia 7610 in details.
The camera is placed on the back side standing out of the surface and is not closed with a shutter. The lens may get dirty but this is a common disadvantage of all the similar products excluding Sony Ericsson S700.

A separate application is responsible for taking photos and recording video, it happened for the first time - a special program had to be run for those functions earlier. There are not very many items for processing photos in the menu. The most important and interesting one is Quality of the picture. Three types of image quality are supposed to be in the phone, they are High, Standard, Basic. Those ones who had a phone with integrated camera may get confused with this terms. By no means, this is not a compression level for JPG files but a possibility to set the resolution and compression level.

High – maximum quality of JPEG files, the resolution of 1152x864, average size of 250 KB
Standard – medium quality of JPEG files, the resolution of 1152x864, average size of 90 KB
Basic - medium quality of JPEG files, the resolution of 640x480, average size of 25 KB

As we can see, a posibility typical for Nokia's products (to choose pictures in portrait mode) is absent here. This cannot be called a disadvantage because Basic resolution of the pictures (not in resolution actually but in size) is quite acceptable. On the other hand any photo for Contacts automatically gets lower resolution, what is an advantage also.

It is better to save photos on a memory card (RS-MMS, a card for 64 MB is included into a standard kit), because only a bit more than 20 photos with High quality can be stored in the internal memory. There are no any special keys to control the camera and shooting is done by pressing the joystick. Saving a photo with maximum quality takes about 3 seconds and a corresponding note appears at that time. It is better not to move the phone while taking photos because the picture may get blurry. This rule could be applied to photography in general, it acts even while using usual digital cameras, though consequences of motion are not so noticeable then.

The phone has 4x digital zoom. The picture looks not very bad in the phone but on a PC screen all the artifacts of scaling are viewed clearly.

Picture without zoom, High quality, 248 KB
Picture with x2 zoom, High quality, 188 Кб
Picture with х3 zoom, High quality, 171 KB
Picture with х3 zoom, High quality, 158 KB

The most qualitative photos can be taken in bright daylight and small distances (from 20 cm to one meter). There are examples of such photos with different quality.

The picture of hippopotamus, High quality, 217 KB
The picture of hippopotamus, Standard quality, 83 KB
The picture of hippopotamus, Basic quality, 31 KB

Photo in the street in a distance of one metre, High quality, 366 KB
Photo in the street in a distance of one metre, High quality, 271 KB

Different objects, people and buildings far from you look not so good especially if they have many details.

Photo in the street, High quality, 360 KB
Photo in the street, High quality, 301 KB
Photo in the street, High quality, 259 KB

Photos taken in the dark conditions are not very good, they look acceptable on the screen of the phone but fuzzy on PC.

Photo in the tube, High quality, 243 KB

Nigh shooting mode is provided but it is not very interesting when taking photos in the room (the quality of the picture gets better only on the screen of the phone and noises appear).

Photo in the room taken in night shooting mode, High quality, 265 KB

On the contrary this mode allows to take qualitative photos at night (everything is relative, other cameras are not so good at night). The size of the file when the picture is taken in the night mode is almost twice bigger, up to 400 KB. Probably the noises tell upon.

Photo taken at night using night shooting mode, High quality, 372 KB

There is an autotimer for shooting yourself and this is all if to speak about possibilities of the standard camera applications (we'll speak about video possibilities later).

As for extra programs, there is Kodak Mobile that allows to send taken photos for printing in Kodak. The program is interesting to a small amount of people because there are too little users of this service for today.

Print by HP seems more actual and allows to send contacts, calendar notes, pictures to any printing device equipped with bluetooth. It is an attractive solution that makes easier dealing with the phone and printing photos from it.


Clips are saved in 3GP format, you can choose limited time up to 10 seconds (for MMS) and unlimited (up to 10 minutes). The manufacturers considered it right to set the resolution in evident view - 176x144 or 128x96 pixels. Why not to think out some Basic or High quality is not clear, that looks like inconsequence (it may be considered as a cavil, but nevertheless).

Video quality is medium, obviously, the processor does not have enough time for processing information that leads to breaks in video at the time of jerky movements. The sound is recorded with medium quality and in noisy conditions the phrases of the interlocutor are almost not distinguishable. In general the quality of recording is similar to other phones made by Nokia, no any considerable improvements. The clips look not very good on the screen of the phone and even worse on the PC. This function remains exclusively fashion.

Sample clip, 3GP, 176x144 pixels, 204 KB
Sample clip, 3GP, 176x144 pixels, 167 KB

The advantage of Nokia 7610 is in application called Movie Director. Any clip may be turned into not very bad film with musical headband and various effects ( there are about 10 of them). The possibility looks rather attractive, a kind of a game.

A sample file edited in Movie Director, 3GP, 86 KB

Video Editor is an application that allows to edit video files, slow them down, join, apply a sound-track and black and white effect (evidently, there had to be more of effects). In general the possibilities of the utility are rather interesting.


The quality of photos taken with Nokia 7610 is not so high as it is customary to consider. The camera has a list of limitations. The picture has good quality only if taken from short distances and in bright lighting. The main disadvantage is a lack of different effects, frames and other extra functionality (the most unexpected is a lack of a possibility to choose different resolution, for example, it is impossible to send a photo via MMS from Nokia 7610 in many networks because of the limitation on the size of an outgoing message in 45 KB. The standard size of 25-30 KB may be enough for ones but still may appear troubles).The camera works rather good in the night shooting mode, but as one might expect, the noises rise.

When comparing the camera with rivals in the quality of the picture we can see that the model is inferior to Sharp GX30 (this is the best megapixel camera in the market), has worse characteristics than Sony Ericsson S700 (still has not been represented in the market). For the current moment the Nokia's camera excels only the one in Samsung P730. It is a typical medium camera without any outstanding peculiarities and functions, only necessities. The greatest advantage of the camera (and the phone in general) is that it is already being sold and is widely available. As for Sharp GX30, there is no official delivery and other products have not still appeared on the market. Nokia 7610 deserves attention and praise as the first device with megapixel camera. The phone possesses medium possibilities and one shouldn't expect maximum functionality in digital photos.

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Mitina (maria.mitina@mobile-review.com)

Published — 5 August 2004

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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