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Ericsson MCA-20 - camera review

Manufacturers have different opinions on the cameras in the mobile phones. Majority of them are sure that cellular phones with cameras will be soon widely spread all over the world. Every manufacturer has a choice, either to produce an external camera as a separate accessory or integrate it in the phone. Both variants have own advantages and disadvantages. A small integrated camera doesnt increase the phones dimensions but it is included in the price of the phone. External cameras have larger size; they are connected to the phone via system connector or special adapter. In this case a customer doesnt pay for the camera, it can be purchased later if there is a necessity. Technical features of the integrated and external cameras are comparable. So, a user firstly should think about the phone capabilities. Now only Ericsson offers external cameras: earlier it was -10 and then -20.

Standard delivery set includes the camera and neoprene case. The camera is switched to the system connector. It has only a standard optical viewfinder. A lens is placed on the rear part of the camera and turned from you, because in most cases you take pictures of other subjects, not yourself. You cant rotate a lens, as two holders fix camera in the connector. By the way, this connector is not covered and one can easily damaged it and it would be difficult to fix the camera in the phone.

Camera receives energy from the phone battery, but power consumption doesnt increase greatly in this case. When you switch the camera, you get a respective message. Such application as CommuniCam (Fun&Games) is activated and opens an access to several functions. You can take a picture from this menu item or using a big side key placed on the camera. A picture is not amazed by colors or sharpness, as the phone display has very low resolution. An image is blurred while moving. So, the phone is not adapted to such solutions and it is the main shortcoming of CommuniCam and Ericsson T68i.

One can make shots almost in all lighting conditions, but if there is lack of light you wont see anything. Rather good images are taken at a focus distance about 0.5 m (as it is indicated in the users guide). Its better to make portrait images with a help of this camera. Developers set namely this aim. According to specifications, the camera has 24-bit color depth (16 million colors). Several resolutions are available - 640480, 320240, 160120, 8060. To view pictures on the screen, the best images resolutions are of 320240 and 160120 pixels. Images of high resolution dont improve quality of the picture but occupy much phone memory. Low-resolution images can be used in MMS messages.

Taken images are stored in camera memory (not the same as phone memory), which is capable to keep up to 14 images of high resolution or 208 images of low resolution. Then, you can send them as MMS messages or e-mails.

You can also view images and copy those, which you want, to the phone memory and then transmit pictures to nother devices via IrDA port or Bluetooth-connection. By the way, you cant do it immediately from the camera memory. So, dont forget about the differences between camera and phone memory, although sometimes they are not understandable.

You can adjust a contrast and slightly improve a quality of the picture displayed on the screen

In conclusion we would like to notice that the quality of received images is far from excellent. Photos on advertismensts of this camera look brighter than in reality. To say the truth, images of high resolution look better on the PC screen. Below you can see the different resolution pictures of the same place.

And some more photos. Pay attention to a shot with a scenery. A distance from the object was longer than it should be and, of course, the quality became worse.

We think that its not reasonable to purchase -20, as quality of images on the screen is rather low, but the price of this device is rather high about 200 USD. This camera was created not as a mass product, the aim was to demonstrate a potential of similar devices. MCA20 was a pilot model, a company just run in a new technology of digital cameras production.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 14 January 2002

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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