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Images taken by the Sony Ericsson Elm's 5-megapixel camera can also be uploaded online easily with a few quick button presses.
There are options for adding them to Twitter and Facebook accounts in the menus, while you can also send them directly to web albums on services including PicasaWeb, Flickr and Blogger.
The 5-megapixel shooter delivers a decent selection of photo controls and a user interface that's similar to Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot snappers.
Launched by pressing the side camera button, it fires up in around three seconds. Among the gadgetry is a smile detection setting, which, when you press the camera button, takes the snap only when it detects that the subject is smiling.
A face detection focus option is included too, enabling the camera to pick out faces in a composition and offer you the opportunity to focus on one of them. Both of these work well within a sensible mid-range distance.
The camera phone's autofocus system works well, with a small target area in the viewfinder enabling you to aim quite tightly when focusing on a close up subject; this helps particularly when taking macro shots where the precision allows you to get well focused up-close shots with pleasing amounts of detail.
The Elm does a good job at accurate colour rendition, with lovely vivid colours and a good range of tones where subtlety is required. The camera can produce crisp and detailed shots that a very presentable for this grade of camera phone.
The auto metering system mostly works efficiently. We found that some high contrast shots can show some over exposure, but nothing out of the ordinary for a camera phone like this.
Users can also opt to geotag images; the phone can interact with the phone's A-GPS technology to get precise locations, so you can view images referenced against maps on the phone or using online services or other applications.
The Elm features a solid stock of imaging options to tweak the well-balanced auto metering set-up. There are a number of scene settings for a variety of different shooting conditions, a choice of white balance options, multi-shot, panorama and timing options, plus colour effects and frames.
Post shooting, you can tweak shots with auto correction Photo Fix.
The camera's low-light shot-taking is aided by a built-in LED flash. This throws a bit of light on matters at short distances in murky lighting, but is quite limited in effectiveness – it's not a patch on more powerful and precise xenon flashes we've seen on some high-end Cyber-shot phones.
It's better than nothing, though, if you're snapping in a nightclub, bar or other low-light environment.
The photo light can also be used as a torch – it can be switched on quickly via the Activity Menu.
NATURAL LIGHT: The Sony Ericsson Elm's 5-megapixel camera is capable of delivering some pleasing shots for this grade of camera phone. Colour tones are handled well and there is a good degree of detail. As well as detail on the buildings, clouds are also subtly rendered
LIGHT AND DARK: You can take decent snaps for a cameraphone – in this long shot, the variety of light and shade in the image is maintained without causing too much apparent noise
COLOUR: Colours are bright and vivid, with good handling of tones
AUTOFOCUS: The autofocus system is responsive, the viewfinder offering a tight grid for selecting the subject you want to focus on. Here, in this series of shots of cherry blossom using a macro mode we've managed to get crisply focused shots at different ranges
COMPOSITION: You can compose shots as you want them, choosing which part of the shot is in focus
CLOSE UP: Here again, in a close up shot, the camera can produce a good level of detail in the foreground with the background out of focus
MACRO: The phone's macro mode enables you to take interesting compositions
SPORTS MODE: A range of scene modes are available for varying lighting conditions, including a sports mode for moving objects
CONTRAST: The Elm handles strongly-lit contrast pretty well, the auto metering system adjusting quickly and effectively to the changing conditions
Video capture is pretty good by mid-tier mobile standards. The camera can record video clips at VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) at up to 30 frames per second, and footage looks suitably smooth on a PC screen or the phone. It's very acceptable for a phone like this.
Clips can be uploaded straight to YouTube, too, or served up to other online services.
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