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printed September 20, 2014
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Review: Nokia N75

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Music Camera Photos/Video Browse/Customize Other  

The N75 comes with a 2-megapixel camera that serves well for general, everyday picture taking. As with the music player, it is fully usable when the N75 is closed. In fact, taking pictures is easiest with the phone closed. Hitting the dedicated camera button on the side of the phone launches the viewfinder, though fully 4 seconds will go by before you can take a picture. The exterior display does a passable job as a viewfinder, though as we mentioned before, it's difficult to see when outside.

There are a reasonable number of options when the phone is closed. A short menu lets you adjust 8 different parameters, including how large a file the picture will be and where to store it. A second menu lets you adjust the flash, contrast, brightness and basically everything you need to customize your picture-taking settings. There is little lag when you pan the camera around, but there is a strange hiccup when taking pictures. Pressing the shutter button automatically freezes the image on the screen. But don't be fooled into thinking you've just taken an instant picture. The actual picture doesn't appear to be taken for about another second after the image freezes. You have to continue to hold the camera still and wait for the image to blink onto the screen again. If you move the camera while the initial image is frozen on the screen, you'll be treated to a nice, blurry picture. This resulted in a lot of crummy pictures, not to mention missed opportunities.

The camera defaults to landscape mode. Because of where the camera lens itself is placed on the phone, it's impractical to hold it in the open, upright orientation. In fact, with the phone open, all the menus for the camera default to landscape mode, meaning you need to hold the phone sideways to really interact with them. Needless to say, holding the N75 open and sideways to take pictures is awkward. This is a shame, because the interior screen is far superior to the external screen. Its added size and easier viewability could make composing images easier. Also, with the camera lens positioned on the back of the phone, it is all to easy to get fingerprints on the lens cover, which will lead to hazy pictures. It became standard practice to check the lens before taking any pictures.

Once you get used to these UI foibles, the camera takes good pictures. If you have a steady hand, they are very sharp and crisp. Of course, the N75's screen goes a long way to making them look good in the gallery application.

 

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