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Review: Nokia N97

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The N97 has two cameras. The main camera is the 5 megapixel beast on the back. It has autofocus and a flash. There is also a user-facing VGA camera on the front. If you leave the lens cover on the back closed, the camera will automatically launch the user-facing camera. This is great for self portraits. If the lens cover is open, though, the main camera fires up.

The camera has been somewhat optimized for use with the touchscreen, and that's a welcome change. The camera uses about 80% of the screen as the viewfinder, and the right side of the screen is used for some of the controls. Press any of the software buttons to get at the controls. One thing I like is that it has a dedicated button to set the flash. I've found that's a key feature to have. You can also make tons of other adjustments, such as to the brightness, exposure, ISO, sharpness, contrast, and so on. The selections are presented on the screen in a grid, and they are perfectly sized for your finger, None of these are new features for an N Series phone from Nokia, and in fact, Nokia got rid of some of the controls. On the N95, for example, the resolution can be set to VGA, 1 megapixel, 2 megapixels, 3 megapixels or 5 megapixels. With the N97, your choices are narrowed to VGA, 2 or 5 megapixels.


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If you want to fire off quick shots, just ignore the autofocus and press all the way down on the shutter button. If you do want there to be better focus, press the shutter half way. It takes about 1 second to focus. Then press it the rest of the way to capture the image. After the image is captured, it can be saved, sent or deleted right away.

The N97's camera performs faster than many of its predecessors, and that is a welcome change. It's not as fast as the camera on the Palm Pre, for example, but it beats the pants off of the N95, N85 and others.

The video software works nearly identically to the still camera software.


As far as I can tell, the only way to view pictures on the N97 is via a boring old grid configuration. Gone is the pretty picture carousel used on the N95. You can scroll through the images, and then select one to interact with and/or adjust it. Once you've loaded one image on the screen, swipe in either direction to see your other photos. The options let you do pretty much anything with the pictures you've captured, though the N97 nearly always assumes you want to share the images on Ovi.

Editing features are pretty robust. You can make tons of adjustments to pictures after the fact, including: alter the brightness, contrast and sharpness; crop, decrease size, or rotate; insert frames, text bubble, and clip art; and change the color effects of the image, too. Not bad at all.


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