nokia n97 mini

Check back soon for sample shots from the N97 Mini

The N97 Mini has a similar camera to the N97 original, a 5-megapixel shooter sporting Carl Zeiss optics. This slimmed down version doesn't have a lens cover to protect the camera though. It, too, has an LED flash rather than a more upmarket xenon unit.

The camera can be activated quickly by pressing the side camera button, getting the snapper up and running in around three seconds, slipping the screen automatically into landscape viewfinder mode.

The touch user interface has been arranged to be simple to operate, without the clutter of numerous options from the start-up. Three icons plus 'Options' and 'Exit' buttons are stacked on the right of the display. There is a zoom slider on the left, though you can use the volume/zoom rocker instead.

Basic settings

The simple viewfinder setup provides a camera capture button, a flash setting (red-eye reduction is one option) and a Settings button that opens up a grid of 12 icons for making adjustments to the automatic shooting system.

These range from ISO light sensitivity levels and white balance to exposure and contrast adjustments and a variety of 'Scene' modes for different lighting environments and settings. A Close-up macro mode is included, which means you can get some crisp tight-in shots from up to 10cm away from the subject using the onboard auto-focus system. The usual sort of cameraphone colour tints, timer shots and multiple shot options are also to hand.

Additionally, you can 'geo-tag' photos - and videos - with location based metadata by switching on a 'GPS Info' option further into the settings menu. When using suitable apps and online services, this enables you to view photos on maps showing where they were taken.

Picture quality

Images shot on the N97 Mini look decent enough for a cameraphone; colours are well rendered in bright lighting conditions, and in murky conditions or indoors the auto metering systems adjusts promptly to changing light. The level of detail is pretty good. While it doesn't match up to a good standalone 5-megapixel camera, you can get some very acceptable shots.

The autofocus system works OK too, though with very close-up subjects the large focal frame in the viewfinder means you can't accurately predict what portion of the shot will be in focus, so you may have to have a few gos.

As usual now with Nokias, once shot you have the choice of sending photos via messaging options or uploading to one of your preferred services. Flickr, Vox and Nokia's Ovi service are initially set up, though you can add your own.

It may be no camcorder-worrier, but video shooting is acceptable for a cameraphone, enabling you to shoot reasonable looking clips at VGA (640 x 480 pixels) resolution at 30fps, or widescreen shots at 640 x 352 pixels resolution.