While most people would now associate Nokia’s photography prowess with Lumia smartphones and the revolutionary PureView technology, the Nokia 301 offers compelling proof that Nokia is also committed to bringing great imaging experiences to feature phones.
In fact, the 3.2 megapixel camera and its suite of imaging features were two of the things that impressed me the most when I recently summed my thoughts after spending a week with the Nokia 301.
For instance, the Nokia 301 is the first feature phone that can take panoramic pictures. There’s a lot more that its camera can do besides, and it’s worth going through each of its features in a bit more detail.
Going through the settings
First things first, after opening the camera, you need to press the left option key to launch the menu for the complete list of features. And then you use the navigation keys to pick the feature you want.
If you select ‘Settings’ you can bring up the following options.
- Photo size: From 3.2mp to 0.1mp
- Photo preview: 5, 10 seconds or end manually)
- Photo storage: Internal memory or SD card
- Photo title: automatic or manual
- Photo album: None, or create your own albums
- Camera sounds: on/off
- Self-timer sounds: on/off
Most of this is self-explanatory and will be down to personal preference. However, I think it was really smart to include the option to reduce the photo size because if you’re uploading them to social networks then you don’t want them to be huge files.
One more technical setting to be aware of on the Nokia 301’s camera is that you can adjust the white balance. This is also selected from the main camera menu and you can choose between: Automatic, Daylight, Incandescent and Fluorescent.
The Nokia 301 lends itself well for the ‘self-portraits’ phenomenon, or the ‘selfy’. There’s no front facing camera but instead you can take nicely framed photos of yourself with a little help of a voice assistant.
From the menu, select the ‘self-portrait’ feature and you’ll see this text on the screen: ‘Look at the camera and follow the instructions’.
Spin the camera around so that you’re facing the camera and a voice (female, friendly but firm) will then guide you to hold the phone higher, lower, left or right until you’re framed properly. You don’t even need to press the shutter button – it takes the photo shortly after you’ve heard the ‘OK’.
This is great functionality that is also great fun!
Taking panoramas have become fairly commonplace, but as I mentioned earlier this is the first time you can do it on a Nokia feature phone.
It’s easy to do too: Select ‘Panorama’ from the camera menu and you line up your first shot. Notice that the shaded square fits perfectly within the target outline.
After you’ve taken your first image that shaded square will disappear and, as you pan your Nokia 301 across, the next square will appear at the edge of the screen. The trick is to line up that square into the target outline too. Repeat this for four separate photos, which will be stitched together for the final panorama.
Creating a panorama this way, reminded me a little of playing a video game. It is like target practice. Again, a great function that is fun to use.
Taking a great picture is sometimes about capturing the perfect split-second. The Nokia 301’s sequential shot mode makes this easier to do, which takes several consecutive images in quick succession.
You can select between shooting bursts of 3, 4 or 5 and then just press the shutter once as normal. You can then go through the images to see which one you prefer.
A couple of tips: to turn off the sequential shot mode, just select it from the menu again and select ‘off’. Also, if you need to be careful about storage space, then you can delete the remaining sequence images (the ones that didn’t quite catch the moment).
This lets you select a countdown of 3, 5 or 10 seconds after you’ve pressed the shutter button before it takes the photo.
Importantly, it gives you the visual countdown on the screen but there’s also an audio warning that becomes more urgent as the seconds tick down. Useful for the subjects in the photo so that they know the precise moment to give you their best smile.
Effects, editing and clip art via the 5-in-1 camera app
Selecting ‘effects’ gives you a choice of capturing a photo with the following filters: sepia, negative, grayscale or normal. What’s nice is that you can see the effect on the Nokia 301’s viewfinder before you even take the photo.
You can also edit, change or customise your photos after you’ve taken them. Select any photo from the album and select ‘Options > Edit photo’ from there you can rotate, crop, flip, add clip art, frames, text and make all sorts of other enhancements.
When you’ve finished with your self-portrait, panorama or customising your image you can also share it with your friends through Bluetooth, via email or by using Nokia Slam.
The Nokia 301 has all these imaging features and it records video too!