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GLOBAL – With an 8-megapixel camera, Carl Zeiss lens and autofocus, the Nokia N9 has the hardware to take great photos and videos when out-and-about. We know that the camera capabilities of our phones are always of keen interest to Conversations readers and thought it would be a good idea to tell you more about how taking a photo works, and what you can do with it afterwards.

We spoke with Product Manager, Jens Wilke to find out some more details on the camera features, what makes it a great camera and why you’re going to enjoy it.

Nokia Conversations: We know the Nokia N9 has an 8-megapixel camera, but what makes it better than any other 8-megapixel camera?
Jens Wilke: Well, the Nokia N9 camera has Carl Zeiss optics and it’s not a label we’re allowed to just stick on any phone. Once we’ve created the camera and perfected the software, we send them (Carl Zeiss) the test images. Only once the image quality has passed their tests can we use their name – they were really pleased with the results of this camera.

NC: We see you’ve removed the hard key on the side of the phone that’s normally used for taking photos. How would someone go about taking photos now?
JW: Now, when somebody loads up the camera, the camera key is located on the screen. This is what’s called a soft key.

NC: So how does focus work now? Half pressing a hard key would usually do that job.
JW: The Nokia N9 has what we call continuous auto focusing. Whenever you want to take a photo or film something, the Nokia N9 is constantly looking for a subject and adjusts the focus. When it’s in focus, the box on the screen turns to blue, letting you know you’re ready to take the shot. Also, tapping the screen in a certain area will concentrate the phone’s focus on that area.

Jens continues from here to explain the speed of the camera.

JW: Once you press the on-screen camera key, the image is taken immediately. It’s the fastest image-capturing phone on the market. In order to take a photo, a series of events must occur: the camera is turned on, viewfinder is ready, focus on the subject and the image is captured. On the Nokia N9, this all happens in 2.6 seconds – much faster than our competitors. The HTC HD7 does all this in 3.9 seconds, the Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tab takes 3.7 seconds and the Apple iPhone 4 does this in 2.8 seconds. We’ve made sure the camera experience is as smooth and as fast as possible.

Updated graph: Some speeds have changed

NC: Tell us a bit about the specs and features of the camera.
JW: The camera resolution measures: 3248 x 2448 pixels for 4:3 ratio, 3248 x 2160 for 3:2 and 3552 x 2000 for 16:9. There’s digital zoom up to four times and the camera focus range is from 10 cm to infinity. And for filming, the video recording frame rate is 30 fps.

Feature-wise, there’s the continuous auto focus I’ve already mentioned, geotagging, dual-LED flash, automatic motion blur reduction, face detection and exposure settings of various types.

NC: What happens after you’ve taken a photo. What can you do with the image?
JW: The Nokia N9 has something called non-destructive photo editing which lets you edit a photo, with a way of reversing all the edits should you change your mind. A first in mobile phones. Then we have the option to share your photos to online services, such as Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or even using the built in NFC for device to device transfer.

Thanks Jens for your time in talking us through some of the camera and sharing features of the Nokia N9. Stay tuned for further information on the smarts behind the camera in a special piece from Damian Dinning soon.

What do you think so far? As always, let us know, below.