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Nokia N70 - 2 MP camera capabilities
The second half of 2005 will pass under the badge of 2 MP cameras that will be integrated into both phones and smartphones/communicators. And even now integrated cameras in phones really influence the sales of low-end digital cameras. In a year or two when the quality of the integrated cameras equals the one of low-end digital cameras and such cameraphones are met not only in the high-price segment but in the middle and low-end ones, this influence will only strengthen. Now integrated cameras are just taken as toys and nobody expects high quality. And when this treatment changes the usual digital camera market (we are speaking about the amateur segment) will suffer great reorganization. This segment may be completely covered with mobile phones like now PDAs are forced out by smartphones and communicators.
We have already written in the Nokia 6680's camera review that improvement of the taken photos quality can lead to strengthening security measures in public places and plants. The manufacturers will have to produce two versions of their devices - with an integrated camera and without it. Now this process is at the beginning level.
The Sony Ericsson k750i, Nokia N-series models and some more upcoming models by various manufacturers may be pointed out among 2 MP GSM devices. They mainly refer to the high-price segment. The quality of the Nokia N90's and Sony Ericsson k750i's cameras is very similar and that caused endless arguments of the fans solving the question which device is better - the Nokia N90 or Sony Ericsson k750i. So, people are ready to defend their position for days devising advantages and disadvantages of this or that phone on the forums. Photos taken with the Nokia N70 are a bit worse than with the Nokia N90 and Sony Ericsson k750i due to the absence of autofocus and a normal macromode correspondingly. However the N70 looses only to the N-series smartphones and no other even indirect rival can compare with it in the camera quality. Nokia takes firm positions here.
An active slider protecting the camera from dirt and damage is applied in the device. Opening the slider is quite easy - with one hand or even a finger. And if you start opening it manually an integrated spring finishes it and the same about closing the slider. The slider cover is bigger as compared with the Nokia 6680 and it also has a bigger amplitude and smoother motion. We'd note the cover doesn't scratch the edging surrounding the objective unlike the previous model.
At the slider opening the phone automatically turns a shooting mode on, the screen serves as a viewfinder. The max picture resolution forms 1600 x 1200 pixels, multiply and get 1920000 pixels that is 1.92 MP. That is an effective number of pixels in the integrated 2 MP camera.
Photo resolution is not specified in the settings separately, instead you can chose of the three quality variants. And the number of pixels will be shown in the bottom right corner. You can't choose the compression quality for each resolution.
After pressing the joystick (serves as a shutter button) the picture is being saved for 3-4 seconds, the speed has not changed as compared to the Nokia 6680. You can make a series of 6 pictures one after another (sequence mode). Placing the device on the bottom end, setting the timer (for 10, 20 or 30 seconds) you can take a self photo (the bottom end is splay and thus you'll have to find a rest).
The camera interface has been redesigned and new settings are added, let's tell about them. We'll start with choosing a scene and preset shooting modes.
The flash works in four modes - automatic, anti-red eyes, and off.
White balance modes are automatic, sunny, cloudy, artificial light, fluorescent lamp. Available effects include negative, sepia, black and white. Brightness and contrast settings are also for you to adjust. The maximum value of the digital zoom is x20. That is a marketing value bringing no real use.
As we have already said the screen serves as a viewfinder. The number of the left photos that will get into the memory is shown in the top right corner. The icon column on the right signifies the settings applied (flash mode, photo resolution, preset mode). Joystick top-down deviations run the digital zoom, right-left ones control the flash. Right-left deviations on the Nokia 6680 switched between the photo and video modes, which was very comfortable.
The picture quality in a daylight (sunny day or cloudy) is rather good in an average distance, the photos look worthy on a PC screen and especially on the phone's one. It's not shameful to print them 10 x 15 and show to your friends.
Noises appear on the photos taken in the dark but anyway the quality and minuteness remain high.
Indoors photos are also not bad, similar to the Nokia 6630. Sometimes a bit degraded but generally not bad. The image is clear, the colours are not anomalous, and noises are not striking. It seems only white color on vivid objects suffer, the colour is a clear white spot with no tints and colour play. That is a result of the post editing mechanism work.
Using the night mode in the dark or poor light doesn't affect the resulting material, since automatic mode copes well in such situations.
That's significant photos may be taken even at night and some details may be made out. Though the pictures show the image was stretched out using program algorithms.
Macroshooting is far even from the quality that may be got with the Nokia N90, close objects (10-20 cm) look blurred, however not bad photos are taken within the distance of 1.5 m.
The flash works in the distance of 1.5 meters. If turning the flash on in average and good light it may spoil the photo, for instance, overlight the face. We'll remind an anti-red eyes mode appeared.
Besides the main camera there is also a frontal VGA-camera in the device. Its main purpose - video-calls. Switching between the cameras is automatical by opening/closing a slider or via the menu.
Let's compare the photos with the Nokia 6681 and Nokia N70. The difference between 1.3 and 2 MP can be seen on these photos. It mainly concerns the details.
The clip resolution seriously increased as compared with the Nokia 6680. In the previous models the resolution was artificially limited to show the progress in the N-series models and put marketing emphasis on the video possibilities.
The maximum video resolution forms 352 x 288 pixels (against 176 x 144 pixels in the Nokia 6680). Compression format is - MPEG4 (3GPP for lower resolutions). The max frame frequency is 15 FPS (however sometimes it may form 5 FPS), the video looks twitched and ragged, we'll refer it to the fact we had a prototype but not a commercial example in our laboratory. We still can expect the situation will change by the commercial launch of the product just alike the Nokia 6630. The bitrate forms about 100 MBps (without the sound), and thus 30 minutes of video will take 350 MB on the memory card.
Processing photos and video
The prototype we had in our test laboratory had only one program for working with the taken material - Movie Director, though it even did not run. More probably, the set of preinstalled programs will not be smaller than in the Nokia 6680, so, we'll repeat the things about the post editing programs for that model.
Photo Editor. You can balance the colours (choose from the three auto modes: Darken Image, Balance Image, Brighten Image), frame a photo, put text into a frame or rotate the image.
Video Editor. This application allows editing clips, slow them down, join, add effects (only black and white) and an audio track.
Movie Director. The utility came from the previous smartphone. You choose video clips, photos and make a video clip on this base. The program is interesting and may carry away for a while.
The got material may be viewed from Image Manager and RealPlayer. Photos and clips may be sent to a computer via e-mail, Bluetooth or just plug the card out of the device and use it.
Kodak Mobile. The idea is quite plain - you upload the photos to the server from you mobile, the printed photos are delivered by a courier. The service is quite perspective but still is not developed well.
Image Print. An interesting peculiarity of the program is a possibility to print via USB using PictBridge compatible printers. Select an image, connect to a printer via a cable and that's all. You can print via Bluetooth using this very program.
This is the bets model among smartphones/communicators in the quality of the pictures and functionality (an active slider, flash, the second camera) being inferior only to the N90. That is an undoubted leader of the candybar smartphone segment. Very good pictures in daylight, perfect night mode and soft zoom. The camera copes with difficult light conditions. Its ergonomics is well-though over and reworked relating the Nokia 6680. There are reach possibilities for processing the taken material. Video recording quality may be referred to minuses (the record is twitched and ragged), few resolutions to choose, not good macromode photos.
The main changes of the Nokia N70 camera as compared with the Nokia 6680/6681:
We'll return to the Nokia N70 when a commercial example appears in our test laboratory. We'll check if the video recording quality and preset programs for working with the taken material change.
Links on the topic:
Anton Kotov (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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