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Camera App

The Z10’s camera app is clean and straightforward (due to a quirk of BB10 it’s impossible to capture a screenshot within the camera app, so this and some other “screenshots” in the review are actually photos of the screen).

You can jump straight to the camera from the Z10’s lock screen by pressing and holding the camera icon in the lower corner. When you press the button, a camera icon appears in the middle of the screen with a circular progress bar growing around it. The two seconds you spend waiting for the bar to complete the circle feel like an eternity, a digital version of the proverbial watched kettle. A second after that, the camera app pops up. It’s better than no shortcut at all, but not as quick as a swipe-based implementation.

Alternatively, swiping the screen without pressing the power button bypasses the lock screen entirely and wakes the phone right up, one of the Z10’s neat tricks. As long as you’re not in an app, there’s always a camera shortcut on the bottom of the screen that responds to a normal tap.

Camera shortcuts on the lock screen are a good idea. Shortcuts that have to be pressed for two seconds to activate: not so much.
There’s a camera icon at the bottom of the screen whenever you’re outside an app. With the Z10’s swipe-to-wakeup feature, this may be quicker than the lock screen shortcut.

Once you’ve got the camera open, tapping anywhere on screen or pressing a volume button takes a picture. Both options work well and which you prefer will be down to personal preference.

By default, exposure and focus are taken from the centered bracket. You can drag this bracket around to specify a different focus and exposure point. We’re pleased to see focus and exposure stay linked, as some camera apps maintain center-weighted exposure no matter where the focus point is set. After taking a picture the bracket snaps back to center, a bit of idiot proofing that’s inconvenient if you want to pop off another frame quickly. On the downside there is no 'traditional' exposure compensation function. So, like on the iPhone, you rely on moving the focus point as the only control over exposure.

Unusually, the Z10 camera app doesn’t wait to acquire focus before taking a picture - it’s up to you to wait for the bracket to turn green before pulling the trigger. This behavior is common in dedicated cameras but not phones. It leads to blurry pictures if you jump the gun, but means you won’t miss a moment even if focus hasn’t quite locked.

People coming from an iPhone may be impressed with the Z10 camera app’s configurability (scene modes!) but it’s a bit restrictive next to the native apps we’ve seen on Android and Windows phones. In the top right corner is a button to switch between still, video and Time Shift modes (more on that in the features section). On the lower right is a triple-dot icon that takes you to a limited set of options. You can switch to the front camera, set the aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9), choose a shooting mode (normal, stabilized, or burst), and select a scene mode (Auto, Action, Whiteboard, Night, or Beach or Snow). You can also set the flash to auto, forced on or off. More technical parameters like manual ISO, white balance, exposure compensation and metering mode are absent.

The Z10’s camera options are a little limited, but extraneous taps and scrolls have been rigorously designed out of its efficient interface.

The Z10’s camera app is thoughtfully laid out and easy to use. There’s no scrolling required, and getting in and out of menus is fast with none of the extraneous steps we’ve seen in some other camera apps. When the shooting mode, flash, or scene mode are set to non-default values, a shortcut appears in the top left of the main screen that jumps back to the default: it’s little touches like this that make big differences in usability.

Comments

Total comments: 26
write2alan

I just picked up a new Z10 for $200 CAD with no strings attached and very impressed with the phone and its features. The camera is decent. The newest updated OS (Blackberry is Linux based) can run most Android apps. LOL....
Mr. Chen did listen and he should have done this years ago! Maybe Google didn't let them make their phones Android compatible at the time.

0 upvotes
eveningaccessories

I definitely like the camera shortcut. Who wants to fumble around when you're anxious to take a picture. My current camera delays until the focus is correct so I think that is good in a phone also. Limited options are good for me. Too many and I can't remember what's what.

0 upvotes
eveningaccessories

You've given a good description of the Blackberry. It looks very sleek, comfortable and functional. I would certainly consider buying one.

0 upvotes
eveningaccessories

Thank you for this review. Blackberry has always been through of as a serious phone but I guess lately has become less popular. Its good to see them get back in the running. A good camera should help.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman

I'd like to amend the now famous maxim that "the best camera you own is the one you have with you" to read "the best camera...except those built into cellphones."

3 upvotes
T3

Plenty of people are taking great pictures with phone cameras these days. The maxim still holds true. Just take a look at the various Flickr iPhone photo galleries:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/throughthelensofaniphone/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumixm43/8655228068/

I've seen far worse photography done with much more advanced DSLRs.

1 upvote
Tom Goodman

Not convinced.

1 upvote
T3

@Tom Goodman, you're not convinced because you're probably one of those crazy pixel peepers who can't enjoy a photo unless you're scrutinizing it at 100% magnification in Photoshop! Hahaha. Well, hate to break it to you, but out in the REAL world, people don't look at photos that way. Ultimately, today more than ever, the actual image is far more important than the device you used to capture the image. That's what photography is really about-- the photo, not the device. But alas, there are people like you who just don't get it, and think photography is more about the equipment than the actual photo.

2 upvotes
Tom Goodman

You are wrong on every count. Indeed, cellphone camera zealots like yourself are the ones who believe equipment is all. Throwing around phrases like "pixel peeper" reveals your true orientation. I have never used it myself. Throwing around assertions about what "photography is really about" only reveals your own insecurities...or hubris!

1 upvote
Eric Hensel

The problem is, Tom, whether or not your original post is correct --it's irrelevant

1 upvote
T3

Tom, I'll say it again: it's about the photos. I could care less about what someone uses to create a photo. I use Canon FF and APS-C DSLR bodies, an Oly m4/3, various compact P&S cameras, and yes, a smartphone camera, too. Doesn't matter, I've gotten wonderful, memorable, cherished photos from all of them. Like I said, it's about the photos, not the device. Open up your mind. Sadly, narrow minds have narrow ideas, hence your comment that I am a cellphone camera "zealot"! Haha. Yes, someone who says that it's about the photos, not the device, is a cellphone camera "zealot". Hahaha! Absurd.

I stand by my assertion that "the best camera is the one you have with you" still holds truer than ever. But only a device "zealot" would say something like "...except those built into cellphones"...especially in the face of evidence to the contrary:

http://www.mobilephotoawards.com/slideshow.php

The pictures say it all.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Anepo

If you plan on repeating chase jarvis's famous line, then please at least get it f*****g right!

0 upvotes
tompabes2

Daylight images are very good for a smartphone! More or less same quality as the best smartphones (iPhone 5 and GS3/4).
In low light, that's another story... at the moment only smartphones with optical stabilizer (the 920 and the HTC One) can deliver decent results (but the 920 has serious problems in daylight...).

0 upvotes
mr_landscape

I do not understand dpreview team! For what sake they review mobile phones with crippled camera abilities? There are MANY dedicated cameras and lenses that completely out of the coverage.

2 upvotes
nima66999
0 upvotes
andreas2

I bought a camera and all I got is this phone.

0 upvotes
captura

BB has indicated that the OS from the 10 will be going into their Playbook tablet, eventually. Those of us who have a Playbook would like to know when.

0 upvotes
knize10

Tomorrow's junk.

5 upvotes
andreas2

Include every piece of electronic equipment you have ever bought.

2 upvotes
raimaster

Ouch do you use Z10 from Verizon for this test?? its bad, really bad because it has the oldest OS. Try the newer ones from AT&T or Canada carrier or event download the latest OS. There is many improvement, Yes, Z10 has HDR mode, it has also stabilization shooting mode (my fave mode), - check it out nice shot by Z10:
http://jtinseoul.wordpress.com/

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Lars Rehm

It's got a stabilization mode but not optical stabilization which is a big difference. Once an update is available we will have a look at that HDR mode.

4 upvotes
raimaster

Firstly i really want to know which OS version dpr team use for this test? Second, its bit too early to make a test because new OS 10.1 just leaked yesterday (you can download it) add. new feature such as HDR and camera improvement even better. Do you want to re-shots again after upgrading the OS? I have Z10 and i think its not below the other smartphone on market today. Few camera application is really good.
BB z10 + app UberIris http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51247925

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Lars Rehm

If we'd always wait for firmware updates we'd never get anything tested. The device is available in the shops, people need to make buying decisions with the current firmware and that's what we are testing with, not something that "got leaked" today.

3 upvotes
dpLarry

True. That's why the camera reviews are alot faster now.

2 upvotes
raimaster

Oh no way, once you buy from another carriers today (except Verizon) the newer OS is already there to download. Published since last month i guess. Why it is important? because you will have Z10 with overall much better performance and slightly better in low light shooting.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
RC

You are talking beta firmware (or is it even alpha?) and I am pretty sure that DPR used the latest standard firmware for their test, which would be a V 10.0.xx firmware. I have the Z10 and I also own the iPhone 5, Galaxy Note II and the latest HTC One and the Z10 has by far the worst camera. It isn't bad for snapshots, not at all but comparing it to the mentioned other phones I own, it lacks a lot of quality. DPR is right and you cannot expect DPR to test an alpha/beta build or even wait for the "next big" firmware update. This is ridiculous. Btw: My Z10 has the latest 10.0.10.99 (Vodafone) firmware.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Total comments: 26
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