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GLOBAL – We’ve only got two weeks left for Design by Community and this week we’re looking into one of the most important aspects of any modern mobile device – the camera. That’s written without any sense of irony as over the last 10 years or so the camera has become as much a part of the mobile phone as the phone itself. Carrying a camera in our pockets enables us to capture and share much more of our lives than ever before. With solid internet connections, too, we can share our lives instantly.

So what have we got on offer for the Design by Community project’s camera? We’re kicking things off with megapixels. Long held as the barometer for a camera’s quality (rightly or wrongly) they are the measure by which the majority of us understand whether or not a camera is any good, or at least has the potential to be. Design by Community users have the option to choose between 3.2 megapixel and 18 megapixel. Previously, where we’ve seen high end specs on offer, users have been inclined to choose what’s appropriate to their needs, rather than simply choosing the very best. Will this happen here?

What about a mobile device toting 10 times optical zoom? Too much? We’ve also got digital zoom as an option with 4 times optical zoom sitting in the middle. The vast majority of mobile devices offer some form of digital zoom, but in reality we’re better off simply stepping closer to the subject to get the same effect. Optical zoom on a mobile device would certainly be a welcome addition, but remember that it brings with it associated bulk. We’ve been speaking to Damian Dinning, the man responsible for photography at Nokia and he’ll have some interesting insights when we publish his thoughts tomorrow, particularly when it comes to how easily increasing a camera’s capability can bring additional bulk.

Ever since the launch of the N86 8MP, flash has been a hot topic on Conversations. Not the storage kind, but the one that brings light to your images. Dual LED versus Xenon is the main debating point. Each brings its own characteristics to a finished image and both have an effect on video too. Would having both solve the problem? Or would that bring too much unnecessary bulk to our concept device?

Cameras aren’t just about still images though. Video recording is just as key nowadays. What about having HD video recording in our concept device? Interesting? Necessary? Your call.

One factor I’m always keen on improving is response time. One second might not seem like much, but when things happen in an instant, one-second can be a lifetime. Instant capture is the top option for speed when shooting images and I know it’s the one I’ll be voting for. For you though, how does it compare against the other options?

Like the rest of the Design by Community, we need to understand how best to optimise the various options on offer. Go for the best of everything and we’re well on the road to creating a monster concept device. Choose wisely though, and we’ll come up with something that’s very cool, but also very functional and delivers on our needs and requirements. Let the shooting begin….Head on over to the Design by Community to get voting.