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Phonescoping Gallery
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Samsung's 5MP Camera Phone

Nokia 7610 Camera Phone Review

Nokia's first megapixel camera phone. This tri-band GSM smartphone also features video recording, Bluetooth, changeable covers, MP3 player, a large color display, and 8 MB of built-in memory plus a 64 MB removable memory card.

The Specs

Camera Resolution: 1+ megapixel 1152 x 864 pixels / night mode and self-timer, with 4X Digital Zoom.
Memory
8 MB   (built-in, shared flash memory)
Expansion Card Card Type:
RS-MMC 64 MB card included
Video Capture
up to 10 minutes / QCIF resolution / 3GPP format
Display Type: LCD (Color)
Size: 176 x 208 pixels 65,536 colors / TFT
Weight 4.16 oz   (118g)
Dimensions
4.28" x 2.09" x 0.74"   (109mm x 53mm x 19mm)
Custom Graphics supports JPEG, GIF 87a, GIF 89a, EXIF, DCF, PNG, MBM, BMP, WBMP

In a new series of articles, we will be looking at the potential and techniques of Phonescoping. We have been busily reviewing the best camera phones on the market for Surfbirds readers. Over the next few weeks, we will be posting reviews of these phones here.

After seeing the success that Tommi Laurinsalo has been having with this phone, I thought the first phone I should take for a test drive should be the Nokia 7610.

First impressions are that It's a great looking phone. It is light and fits well in the palm of the hand. The LCD display is bright and is actually bigger than a Nikon Coolpix 4500.

Even without an adaptor to attach it to my scope, I found it easy to hold the camera up close to the scope with one hand and focus the scope with the other hand. After a number of frustrating attempts, I found it quite convenient to hold the phone between my thumb and forefinger and use my thumb to zoom in and out on the phone and shoot. After a couple of hours, it was almost 2nd nature. The camera has a 4X digital zoom, making it possible to zoom in to lose any vignetting.

Phonescoping with the Nokia 7610

Unlike the Coolpix and other digiscoping favorites, there are no manual controls. It is autofocus and shutter speed. You'll see from some of my results, that the strong Californian sun could be a challenge as it tended to blow out the whites if a bird was in direct, strong sunlight. The lack of manual controls, actually was quite liberating. Point and shoot seemed to be the method and worked out pretty well. I think with a bit more practice and a better scope, some of the results can get close to digiscoping.

There wasn't too much of a time delay between pressing the button and getting the shot.

How to get the Photos Off Your Phone

I posted shots to the Surfbirds Phonescoping Gallery whilst I was in the field. These are straight off the phone.

You are able to send shots directly from the phone as a Multimedia Message or with Bluetooth. Alternatively, you can connect your 7610 to your PC using a USB cable (known as the Nokia DKU-2 Connectivity cable, available here. To use this, you will need a dedicated driver available from the Nokia site. Once connected, you can use the Nokia PC Suite to connect and install software.

There is another alternative for users of this phone by transferring images to and from the handset via the card slot and a PC MMC
Memory card reader. Copy files onto an MMC from your PC, and then insert the MMC card into your handset. You'll need to have a file manager on your 7610 to access the file from the memory card (file managers are available from www.symbos.com).

The Results

All of the shots below were run through Photoshop and had "unsharp mask" applied to them. I used 2-3X digital zoom on the camera for all of these shots. It should also be noted that my scope is over 15 years old and has had some use. I usually find that Photoshop is also called upon to save my digiscoping shots with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 too.

I was pleased to get such good results in a short space of time. I would be interested to see results from this phone with a higher end scope. I also tried "digibinning" through a pair of Leica 10X42BAs and the results were good. As the phone is lighter than a conventional digital camera, this technique may be more practical than had previously been possible with a Coolpix.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow - CA, USA Dec 04 - These birds were nice and close but very active and a good passerine test for the camera. Nokia 7610 with an Optolyth TBS 80 telescope.
Ring-billed Gull - CA, USA Dec 04 - Close and still. You can see the camera had problems dealing with the strong Californian sun. Nokia 7610 with an Optolyth TBS 80 telescope.
Marbled Godwit - CA, USA Dec 04. Very active bird. Nokia 7610 with an Optolyth TBS 80 telescope.
Snowy Egret - CA, USA Dec 04. Nokia 7610 with an Optolyth TBS 80 telescope.