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Nokia 6680 Camera Phone Review

Nokia 6680 review

|  Nokia 6680 in Camera Phones
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As phones become better in the camera department ePHOTOzine will start to add them to the reviews section. We will focus more (pardon the pun) on the camera element and show pictures taken from a photographic perspective, rather than phone users who may use it to take snaps.

Nokia 6680Specifications

  • 1.3 megapixel digital camera
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • Still image resolutions: 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
  • Max aperture: f/3.2
  • Focal length: 4.5mm (35mm equivalent 37mm)
  • Focus range: 40cm to infinity
  • Still images file format: EXIF (JPEG), *.jpg
  • Automatic exposure
  • White balance: Automatic or adjustable
  • ISO: 250-2000 (Automatic)
  • Colours: 16.7 million/24-bit
  • Capture modes: Night mode, sequence mode, self-timer
  • Video resolutions: 176x144, 128x96 both 15 frames per secon
  • High-speed connections with 3G and EDGE
  • Two-way video call capability for face-to-face communication
  • Video sharing capability
  • Nokia XpressPrint printing solution including PictBridge direct printing
  • Fast, convenient email access
  • High-resolution, 262,144-color display
  • Music player with stereo audio

Nokia 6680Handling
The somewhat squared design gives the 6680 the look of a personal desktop assistant which, in turn, makes it a great office companion. The just for fun user may find some of the options of the 6680 a little unnecessary, but this isn't a just for fun phone. This is geared for business and in that respect, does a wonderful job.

For those of us who place text messaging at the forefront of any handset purchase, the 6680 has a rather small keypad, which isn't particularly a bad thing, it's more my fault for having big hands I guess, but it was rather fiddly to punch out a sentence. Having said that, the navigation keys are large enough to flick through the phone menu easily and graphically it never ceases to amaze how well graphics of any nature can progress in such a short span of time.

From the now-legendary Nokia introduction (an older and younger hand cutting through the screen to hold one another) to the menu options, the display graphics remain virtually flawless. The most significant feature in the design though, from a photography point of view, is the sliding lens cover. This erases the worry of scratching the lens and keeps the flash protected too.

Nokia 6680The camera
With a 1.3megapixel sensor, the camera resolution is quite limited, but the 1280 x 960 pixel files produced should be acceptable for 6x4in printing. The two way lens option gives you the opportunity to take self portraits if you ever feel the urge and comes in handy for video conferencing.

There are also various settings which can be altered on the camera menu. The handset does a pretty decent job of an image with the default settings in bright daylight condition, but you may need to delve into the settings in many occasions where the light is not so good.

It's under the camera menu heading of Colour Tone where the fun starts. You are given four different ways in this menu to manipulate your picture and perhaps one of the most satisfying thoughts is that you don't have to leave the viewfinder to do it. An overlay appears giving you the option of changing the colour option to Normal, Sepia, Black & White or Negative.

There are also five different White Balance options to play with including Automatic, Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent and Fluorescent to cope with any kind of illumination you're likely to encounter.

There's even a Night mode but unlike compact cameras with this feature where flash fires to balance with daylight we couldn't get a decent photo out of this option

Contrast and brightness options give you a little room to maneuver in getting the shot to your liking, you will however need to pay attention to any detail that you could lose in the shot not being light enough or too heavily contrasted. It's all a trial and error concept and having the viewfinder there in front of you makes it much easier to gauge the colours in the image.

As well as the above options the 6680 also includes a built in flash option which you can either set to Automatic in which case, the handset will gauge the lighting and add or dismiss the flash accordingly. On speaks for itself and when activated, it needs to be considered that the flash is far too bright for close up or daylight shots (any shots taken like this will result in ridiculous amounts of red distortion). Remember to keep your distance and that you only need to use it when lighting is poor. Off... I'm sure you get the idea.

Alterations can also be made to the resolution of your shot, giving you the choice of a VGA resolution of 640x480 or 1280x960. As nice as it is to have the option, in choosing the 640x480 you do lose a lot of clarity and just really don't get the full potential from a picture. It's fine for those who like to shoot and share by phone but no good if you intend printing out.

A CD also comes with the package bundled with Adobe's Photoshop Album.

Photo quality

Nokia 6680
A shot taken indoors with the white balance set to incandescent and the brightness set to under expose to try and avoid the glare from the guitar's shiny surface. Click on the pic to see a large version and the problems the exposure system and processing had trying to get a decent shot. It just can't cope!
Nokia 6680
The camera's Negative setting in the Colour Tone options provides a fun treatment, but this could be done easily using basic image editing software later.
Nokia 6680
Shot taken in the morning shouldn't be difficult but again a budget 1.3 megapixel camera would do a much better job. On all shots that have a sky line we can see blue haze around the horizon.
Nokia 6680
Into the sun shots really make the camera struggle, but to be fair a point-and-shoot compact would have similar problems.
Nokia 6680
A really easy subject to tackle and this is only let down by the blue haze mentioned on the above photo. Click on image to see full size version.
Nokia 6680
We know the camera isn't intended to be used as pro model but we thought we'd see how it copes. Basically forget it. Here the metering was fooled by the black surround and even with the brightness set to minimum the flower heads are over exposed.
Nokia 6680
Not a difficult subject and detail is okay.
Nokia 6680
Same shot set to minimum brightness to show how much scope you have.
Nokia 6680
Black & white mode worked quite well
Nokia 6680
Daylight in decent conditions produces okay results. Click on image to see full size version.

A lot of people may take one look at the SIM free price tag and make a run for the hills, if however the time is taken to absorb everything this handset can do, you'll find yourself becoming more and more drawn in by it. It's perhaps not the most must-have handset on the market but for those of us who don't have a socialites lifestyle, this handset has everything you could ask for in a phone, especially as a piece of office equipment.

The only downfall from our point of view is that due to the 1.3 mega pixel capability and the average processing, any images printed from the 6680 are a disappointing, which perhaps shouldn't be a surprise, but when you consider what you can get from a standard 1.3 mega pixel digital camera, and weigh it against the 6680... there's not much of a contest.

In summary, the positive points of the Nokia 6680 are:
Nokia 6680 Good graphics
Nokia 6680 Easy to handle with lens on both sides
Nokia 6680 Decent range of camera settings
Nokia 6680 Excellent business features

The negative points are:
Nokia 6680 Flash next to useless
Nokia 6680 Image processing fairly poor
Nokia 6680 Doesn't compare with a 1.3megapixel camera

Test by Chris Bluff. Photos by Peter Bargh

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