While Nokia has delivered handsomely on industrial design and Microsoft has checked off most (but not all) of the OS boxes for us, the sky clouds up when it comes time to snap photos with the Lumia 900.

On paper, the specs nearly match the desirable iPhone 4S, but the end result reveals a much wider gap.

Nokia Lumia 900

First the good news: Microsoft requires a dedicated camera button for all Windows Phone handsets, and the Nokia Lumia 900 is no exception.

Better yet, this button uses a two-step mode like most point-and-shoot models – press the button halfway to lock focus and exposure, then push the rest of the way to actually take the photo.

Nokia Lumia 900

This button can also be used to jump straight into camera mode – even when the device is locked or sleeping – by holding it down until the viewfinder appears. (Users can override this method in the Pictures + Camera settings.)

Nokia Lumia 900

Another preference setting allows the entire screen to be used as a trigger for snapping pictures, something that confounded us as we tried tapping to adjust focus and exposure as we do with the iPhone. (Don't bother trying – it doesn't do anything.) Like it or not, focus and exposure is set with the dedicated camera button.

The 8MP camera shoots 4:3 images up to 3264x2448 pixels, but options are available in settings for 7MP 16:9, 3MP 4:3 and 2MP 16:9 as well.

Focus can be switched from Normal to Macro and basic effects can be applied while shooting (Black & White, Sepia, Negative or Solarize).

The camera also allows for centre weighted, frame average or centre spot metering while scenes, ISO and white balance can be manually or automatically adjusted.

It all sounds amazing, but unfortunately the end results don't quite live up to the specs. Contrast and colour saturation are above average in most cases, and the Lumia 900 is capable of quite decent outdoor images when the sun is cooperating.

We were less enthusiastic about our results shooting indoors, and the dual LED flash didn't seem to do us any favours, either, producing garish results and a lot of red eyes.

Considering Nokia's reputation for excellent optics in mobile devices, the Lumia 900 camera is something of a disappointment, and next to Internet Explorer 9, easily the biggest flaw in an otherwise capable handset.

That said, the camera still runs circles around competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and it's a big step up for first-time smartphone owners as well.

Nokia Lumia 900
The camera does ok in good light outdoors, but colours are a little washed out

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Nokia Lumia 900 review
Quality isn't so good through the rain in low light

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Nokia Lumia 900
Inside with a flash produces a lot of red eye

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Nokia Lumia 900
Turn the flash off and as long as lighting is good the 900 can cope

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Nokia Lumia 900
The Lumia 900 is able to capture detail closer up

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Nokia Lumia 900
The Lumia 900 can deal with slow moving objects

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Nokia Lumia 900 review
Pictures are fine before you zoom...

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Nokia Lumia 900 review
... but zoom all the way in and quality drops significantly

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