Saturday, January 2, 2010

[N900 REVIEW] Part 8 : Camera, Video Recording, Photo viewer and Editor

Posted on 13:25 by SlipKoRnSaad

The Carl Zeiss certification got me intrigued at first, and the results were promising finally, well, almost ! Details, after the break !


When you slide open the lens cover on the back of the N900 the camera software launches automatically (About 2sec). There are some icons on the right side only and in the bottom left you can see :

- A count of available photo capacity
- Option to designate saving location (general settings)
- Toggle between high resolution 5 megapixel photos (2576 x 1936 pixels) or widescreen 3.5 megapixel photos. 

Touchscreen functions on the right side include :

- Closing the application
- Switching the camera mode (automatic, macro, portrait, landscape, and action) or video mode (automatic)
- Capture settings (white balance, ISO sensitivity, exposure, and resolution),
- Flash (dual LED one) settings (automatic, always on, red eye reduction, and always off)
- A toggle to jump into the Photos viewing and editing application.

Tapping on the upper center of the display also gives you the option to toggle geotagging functions on the N900.

And pressing the camera button down half way focuses the image in the full screen viewfinder. Pressing all the way down captures the image. Sadly, there is no touchscreen focuses or capture functions like latest smartphones from other brands (SE Satio, Apple Iphone, some Samsung phones etc.).

The user interface is quite basic , But all that is necessary can be configured from the flash on the white balance to the focus.

The image quality is about average for a 5 megapixel shooter. The colors are good and the amount of resolved detail is very decent too, you can check out my head to head with some other devices !

Video recording

Is (finally) supported by default, and is really ok if not saying very good ! The N900 records video in MP4, AVC/H.264 format and in 848x480 pixels resolution (quite a non-standard one) at 25fps providing 16:9 aspect ratio, quality is surprisingly good when it comes to detailedness, smoothness and noise levels ! I would have been happier with a bit more saturated colors.

In the Video mode Capture settings are limited to White balance (the same options as for stills) and Exposure

Once videos are captured, you’ll be presented with the familiar review screen and given the option to tag, share, view in gallery and delete as required...

You can do some "macro" videos as well, oh yeah, by the why the video mode is called automatic video, because of the "autofocus" feature, so, before recording, the N900’s camera adjusts the focus point and the rest of the video will be clear at that original distance, however, as said, it is not continuous autofocus, i.e. it doesn’t adjust the focus during video recording, just prior, and you can check out a sample i made sometime ago :

Photo viewer and editor

Viewer functions: When you launch the Photos application you will see thumbnails of your images.

Videos are viewable in the Media Player and are not editable on the N900.

Tapping the upper center opens a pop-up that lets you select from the following options:

Filter by folder
Filter by date
Filter by tags
Edit images’ tags
Share images
Delete images

To edit an image, while it is shown in the full screen mode, just tap anywhere on it. A toolbar will be shown at the bottom letting you rotate, crop, share or delete the image as well as edit its tags. Advanced edit options are available via the menu; tap the status bar and select "Edit images". It will bring a menu with the following options: Flip horizontally, Flip vertically, Red eye removal, Brightness and contrast, Resize. Other options available via the menu include Save/Save as, Rename, Mark as favourite, Set as background, and Details.

But what's the most interesting feature is the tag filtering and assignment functionality ! in other words, you can add context to your photos with tag cloud (Tag format support: XMP, IPTC) :

Then it'll become easier to find them later, in the main gallery view, tap the menu at the top of the display and select Filter with tags. Now simply choose any key word from your tag cloud and tap Done to view all the photos containing those tags !

Of course, you can add tags to multiple photos at once...

As your photos are automatically tagged with the date, you can also search for pictures taken within a particular period of time, tap Pick day to view photos taken on a specific date, Custom date range to search for photos taken within a set period of time, or No date filtering to turn the filter off.

Last but not least, you can of course share your photos and videos with a few close friends or the whole online community by posting them directly to, Flickr, Facebook etc. Or simply via a wireless Bluetooth connection, or attaching them to an email, hum, there's no share feature via IR !!

In summary, the images and videos quality capture is very good, Nokia are keen to get people Geo-tagging and the feature has never been easier than on the N900, and uploading photos to file sharing sites is just as easy with a few taps taking care of business, but it's sad to see that there's lack of extras such as Face detection, touch focus and other such features that are now common place in camera phones...

What's hot :

- Quality of stills and videos is really a very decent one
- Tag filtering offers you a great way to quickly find your photos
- Geotagging feature works flawlessly
- Many sharing possibilities
- Fast browsing
- Auto pre-focus on video mode

What's not :

- No self-timer
- No advanced mode (for still photos and video capture)
- No alternative resolutions
- No LED flash as a video light assistant when recording in low light conditions
- No 3D-view or some Cover Flow-like animation
- Portrait and landscape mode aren't automatically alternated
- The only way to zoom in and out is by using the volume rocker key

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