The Media Guru

Sep 24, 2010


Time to wrap up this series. Don’t forget to check out the previous posts - the Unboxing Pics, Part 1 - The Hardware & Part 2 - The Software.


The Camera


The Nokia E72 is the last Eseries with a proper camera...

With the launch of the C6-01, C7 & E7, it appears that Nokia have decided to drop autofocus cameras on most of their devices except the Nseries. The new camera modules use a full-focus EDoF sensor. The EDoF technology has been detailed in this AllAboutSymbian post, but I'll try to summarise it here.

Extended Depth of Field cameras focus on everything within 50cm to infinity. So everything in that range appears crisp & sharp - well detailed. There is no artistic blur (bokeh). EDoF camera units are cheaper, have no movable parts & perform well for casual shots of scenes beyond 50cm. Which means, macro photography & taking photos of text/barcodes is near impossible.
Auto-focus cameras focus on a selected area (from 10cm to infinity), giving sharper details at that focal point while aesthetically blurring everything else. Macro, landscape & portraits - AF cameras can do everything & allows experimentation by the user. The downside is that they require movable optics & better lenses & the camera module is quite big - hence more expensive.

Given AF's superiority to EDoF, it's dismaying that Nokia are using inferior camera sensors to cut costs. The E7 is the flagship Eseries, yet it's 8MP with EDoF makes it less superior to the E72 with its 5MP AF... Two steps forward & one step backwards.



The E72 has no dedicated camera button & instead makes use of the Optical Navi key to focus. Lightly holding your finger on the key focuses on the scene & pressing down takes the shot.


The LED automatically lights up when needed to aid as a focus light. This behaviour can't be turned off.


Pressing any of the direction keys shows up this menu allowing switching to video mode, changing scene modes, switch to panorama mode, change flash settings, set timer, shooting mode & go to photo gallery.


Here are the scene modes available.


The user-defined mode offers control over White Balance, EV compensation, Colour, ISO sensitivity, Sharpness, etc.


Panorama mode. Unfortunately with E72, I haven't been able to stitch a single good panorama. :S




Shooting modes. Haven't tested how many shots per second it can take.


Video recording with the option to turn the LED lights on.

Nokia have really beefed up the camera options on the E72 making it on par with those on the N97, which means it has more customizable settings than my Nikon L20. On the software side, there is hardly anything lacking except for the panorama mode. It simply couldn't stitch up a decent panorama. I'd recommend to take the photos & stitch it up on your computer.
Another recommendation would be to use the internal memory as storage while taking photos because it's much faster than the memory card & reduces the delay in between taking photos to 1-2s.
One more thing - it's quite easy to disable the E72's camera shutter sound. ;)

Photos Comparison

Now to the photos. Remember that the E72 is not an Nseries, nor does it have a Carl Zeiss lens like the Nokia N97 (photo comparison here).

26072010008_2Nokia E72

DSCN4383Nikon L20

The L20 has the better colours while the E72 has a purple tint.


27072010025_2Nokia E72

DSCN4387Nikon L20

Backlight photography is kinda ok with the E72.


28072010032_2Nokia E72

DSCN4436Nikon L20

Yellow hue for the E72.


29072010053_2Nokia E72

DSCN4547Nikon L20

The E72 performed quite well given the low-light conditions.


29072010057_2Nokia E72

DSCN4550Nikon L20

Colours completely washed out.


29072010058_2Nokia E72

DSCN4552Nikon L20

Perfect macro shot. The E72 actually looks better!


29072010059_2Nokia E72

DSCN4554Nikon L20

Washed out colours… I should have probably tweaked the white balance.


29072010060_2Nokia E72

DSCN4555Nikon L20

Almost comparable. :)


29072010074_2Nokia E72

DSCN4582Nikon L20

Night shot – colour distortion with the single LED flash.



To be fair, I’ve been able to take some great photos with the E72.







Macro photography seems to be the greatest asset of the E72.




& taking photos of plants.





It performed quite well under low-light conditions.



Photo taken while moving. I wouldn’t have been able to shoot this with my L20.



Sunset. This one photo reveals the extent of the colour distortion problem of the E72.

Most of the photos taken by the E72 range between average & very good. Although I would advise to completely ignore the existence of the LED flash because it distorts the colours & is too under-powered for night shots. Use natural lighting as far as possible.
Otherwise, the E72 has a very good camera & will perform well in everyday quick shots & taking photos of text. In the hands of the amateur photographer, the E72 can yield very interesting results. ;)




Here are two videos I shot with the E72. The microphone at the back is an improvement while overall video quality is ok.



Battery Life


2 days. On heavy usage.  No, I'm not kidding. The 1500mAh BP-4L provides power of epic proportions on the E72. On normal usage, you can easily average a week.
I didn't actually run extensive battery drain tests, but I know that a single charge lasted enough to watch two 3h films & several episodes of a particular TV show. :)


I didn't even try the included headset because I also received another headset to review...

The BH-214

The BH-214 is a Nokia Bluetooth stereo headset & comes with a receiver/control unit with internal battery.


It has a microphone, led notification light, 3.5mm audio input & 2mm charging port.



Playback controls are on the front & volume controls on the right side.


Also has a clip at the back. & weighs only 18g. Battery life is rated at 7 hours of music playback.


The HS-44 headphones are of the in-ear type with different sized ear tips. The quality of there earphones are excellent (good audio clarity & noise reduction). If you don't like the in-ear ones, you can still plug in any headphone in the receiver's 3.5mm port. :)


The BH-214 pairs seamlessly with the E72. However, there is a noticeable lag when pausing/playing music in the music player & it gets worst on Coreplayer – videos have their audio unsynced a few minutes into playback as the buffer can’t keep up. That was quickly solved by connecting the HS-44 directly to the E72. ;)



Final Words


The E72 is a powerhouse. Qwerty keyboard, mature OS, epic battery life, good autofocus camera, large internal memory, microSD slot, fast CPU - it has all the right specs to succeed. & as with all Nokia products, it also has a few nags - flimsy battery cover, limited RAM & an OS with dwindling apps.
If you compare it with current Nokia Eseries lineup, the almost 1-year-old E72 still tops all of them, including the E7. In the 2 weeks I’ve used the E72, I’ve realised that no other device offers such specs in a slim form factor. As a convergence device, it almost nears perfection. That's why I would gladly recommend it. A Swiss Army knife, that's what the Nokia E72 really is.

Score – 8/10

Related links:
- Review: Nokia E72 - part 1: the E71 upgrade, a Solid Smartphone
- Review: Nokia E72 - part 2: Camera, Media, Applications, Round up
- Nokia E72 - S60's Swiss Army Knife
- ZOMG its Cj - Ye Giant Nokia E72 Review
- ZOMG its Cj - Nokia E72 : All about the 5 Megapixel Camera

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Rwishi said...

Nice one :)

Its quite easy to take a properly stiched panorama with the E72; just choose a scene without any movements(Landscapes are best) and turn around using your heels, thats how I do it :)

And in burst mode the E72 takes pictures at a rate of about 1pic/sec(it can also be slightly more but its virtually 1). Good in enough to make a stop motion movie(will be making one soon, will let you know ;))

carrotmadman6 said...

That's how I do it as well. :P
& that's what I got - link :(

I think that phones are too under-powered to do the proper calculations required for good panorama stitching. :)

Yasir said...

I see you've been doing a lot of efforts on reviewing E72. The photos are indeed awesome :)


Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek72 said...

I can see in many blogs that picture quality with E72 is actually very good. However, my pictures are getting blurred. Sharp edges and contours are worse. I am waiting for autofocus to kick in and waiting for message 'processing picture' to disappear. I must be getting something wrong or must have got a defective piece. Can anyone help me here? Thanks in advance.

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