Motorola Droid: Camera Review

I had high expectations for the Motorola Droid Camera as – at least from a specs and software standpoint – it comes with a lot of features not found on other Android phones. With a 5MP camera, dual LED flash, image stabilization and 4X digital zoom I was excited to test it out. Top it with a new camera UI and a much longer list of settings and options for both pictures and videos and it looked like the Droid Cam could be a real winner.

While the Droid is perfectly capable of taking some great pictures, it won’t be replacing your dedicated digital camera anytime soon. Results fluctuated greatly and came out excellent sometimes and both washed out and blurry many others. Still… it will be a marked improvement for folks new to smartphones and still performs better than many competing devices. See the samples below and decide for yourself in the comments:

Click on any pictures below to view their full size as taken by the Droid.

The best pictures I was able to take were ones outside during day time. For example, check out this picture with my friend’s dog (Ollie) and how crystal clear it turns out:

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But other pictures taken within a few minutes proved average or poor:

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Action shots with the action setting did nearly nothing to help catch Ollie jumping for a treat:

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Most of the pictures seemed to have a grainy substance somewhere in the picture, usually in lower, shaded regions. Here is a pretty good picture in the grand scheme of things but look at the lower half of the pumpkin. And we added a little camera effect just to show you the fun you can have:

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The same thing happened when I took picture at the Baltimore Ravens game. Overall the picture is wonderful in my opinion, but if you look at specifc regions, for example under the railing or at people’s clothes nearby, you’ll see the focus is anything but perfect. The second picture is my dad… he’s the man.

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The best and only time you should really use digital zoom is when you wouldn’t be able to see enough AT ALL without using it. For example, if I wanted to capture a pic of a particular player or the team lining up. Here is a good USE and mediocre RESULT for digital zoom. Keep in mind, optical zoom doesn’t affect picture quality but digital zoom ALWAYS will – so this isn’t a downfall of the Droid just the bascis of digital zoom technology:

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The first night I had the Motorola Droid I sat at my computer in complete darkness at my desk and took a couple pictures of the room next to me. Without the flash I would have only seen complete darkness and while I WAS able to capture the setting completely, notice the “washed out” look. Maybe I’m asking for too much:

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I then dragged myself away from the Droid to grab some takeout food and took a picture of a local 24-hour diner called Sip N Bite:

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Time to test out that 4x digital zoom:

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When I got back I climbed up to my rooftop deck to snag a picture of downtown Baltimore. Without using flash it came out fairly well but trying to adjust the settings to account for nighttime scenery ended in pure disaster. While you could see details in the buildings much better, the “greenish” tint it applied to the clouds made it look like the city had just undergone some sort of alien gassing.

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In the morning on my way to get coffee, I took a quick pic of half-spring/half-fall leaves and tested out the 4x digital zoom again:

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Despite the cameras being decent half the time and insufficient the other half there is one way to ensure you ALWAYS come out with a flawless picture that is 100% perfect in every single possible way. Take it of your girlfriend and then let them ask you, “how do I look?” So yeah… this picture is 100% perfect in every single possible way:

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Taken at a Bat Mitzvah on Halloween. The camera function sometimes has a really annoying delay, causing the subjects to move early and pictures like this:

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And if you’re trying to get some of the action with strobe lights and other crazy stuff going on? Forget about it.

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So there you have it. The software. The results. And the overall opinion. I wish the camera was more reliable. It seems to have the ability to take a decent picture but is far from consistent… and when its all about capturing a special moment that may never happen again… I wouldn’t be confident relying on the Droid’s Cam. But for social settings or casual pictures the Droid will suffice.

DROID CAMCORDER VIDEOS
More videos are coming…

A video of me using the Motorola Droid Google Navigation while taking video of the entire trip on the SAME DROID!

I changed the setting to “low quality” at some point and when you’re recording video it never indicates its currently in “low quality” mode. Unfortunately, I took a BUNCH of video not knowing this and was pretty pissed – I actually had some great footage from the Ravens vs. Broncos game that was rendered much less cool. In any case, here is my friend and I hanging out with his dog and trying to get him to do tricks:

Realizing the error of my ways, I took a quick last second vid before wrapping up my review:

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