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Motorola Milestone Review, Part 4.

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1st January 2010

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 Motorola MILESTONE Camera location Motorola Milestone: Camera

The Motorola Milestone boasts a five megapixel camera with autofocus and a flash, plus VGA resolution video capture. On paper, this looks very good.. but in practice, the camera is possibly the biggest disappointment on the Milestone.

The camera is awkwardly positioned very near to the corner of the phone, and it is very easy to accidentally get part of your finger in shot, but that isn't the main problem with stills images on the Motorola Milestone.

As a comparison, we used a Kodak EasyShare DX6490, a 4 megapixel traditional digital camera, and the Nokia E90 which is a standard 3.2 megapixel Nokia camera. You can also look at pretty much the same shots as taken with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. Click on the images for the full picture.

 Moot Hall, Motorola Milestone

 Moot Hall, Nokia E90

 Moot Hall, Kodak DX6490

Contrast and colour are certainly OK with the Milestone, but a close look at the details shows that the 5 megapixel camera isn't all it is cracked up to be.

 Motorola MILESTONE detail

 Nokia E90 Detail

 Kodak DX6490 Detail

A close inspection shows that the image lacks detail and has a lot of noise, and it does not seem to be significantly better than the 3.2 megapixel Nokia unit, and despite having 5 megapixels compared to 4 on the Kodak DX6490, the Kodak's superior optics deliver a much sharper picture.

 Motorola Milestone sample

 Nokia E90 sample

 Kodak DX6490 sample

Another set of comparison photos of a much closer object also show problems with crispness, although colour is still good. You can click the photos above to enlarge.

Other shots show significant problems with the autofocus, which seems to have a mind of its own especially with close-up shots. The camera struggles with objects lit from behind, and it seems to have a problem with lens flare.

 Renault Avantime with lens flare

 Blurry cat

 Light seeping in from behind the building

 Autofocus picks the wrong target

 Autofocus gets the background again

 Again, light seeps in from the edges!

Overall, the stills photos are very disappointing. There are some rumours that autofocus problems on the DROID were fixed by a software update, so it is possible that a future update on the Milestone may improve matters. However, the actual camera hardware doesn't seem to be up to much, which is a little surprising considering that one of Motorola's few recent successes was the camera on the Motorola ZINE ZN5.

There's a similar story with the Milestone's video capture - in theory, it is capable of 720 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second. In practice, the images tend to look blocky if dealing with a lot of motion and the quality is certainly not as good as we hoped.

Video quality is just about acceptable for uploading onto YouTube (as you can see here), and you can upload videos directly to YouTube from the Milestone, which does at least make video blogging very easy to do.

Overall, the camera isn't much good for stills photos or video capture, and if these things are really important to you then you might want to look elsewhere. On the other hand, the integration of GPS into everything and the variety of apps from the Android Market that you can use with photos does still make it a slightly useful choice.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [Unboxing] [Gallery] [Video]

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