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How good is the Apple iPhone's camera?

You should never buy a mobile because of how good the phone's built-in camera is. But for the price the Apple iPhone should be different.

I've never much cared for the finished product of the photos I've taken with assorted phones over the years. I've always found the photos pretty dismal. Whether I tried the zoom or left the settings alone in their default state, the pictures were uniformly terrible.

So you can understand, then, why testing out the iPhone's camera was at the bottom of my list of things to try out. The specs for the iPhone's built-in camera are these: it's 2Mp with no zoom.

In addition to taking photos, the Camera feature also allows you to flip through images you've shot, set them as wallpaper, assign them to a contact, email them, or delete them. Which is a nice touch.

At full-size, the pictures are 1,200x1,600, 72dpi, RGB and take up about 550KB of space. Accessing and using the camera couldn't be any simpler - from the home screen just tap the camera icon. When the camera opens there is one button to push to take a picture and one to see any pictures you've already taken. Tap the button and you'll see an animated shutter closing and opening. Nice touch on Apple's part.

When you connect the iPhone to your computer, iPhoto or Aperture opens, sees the phone as another camera, and imports the photos for you - that's a handy feature. But it becomes less handy when one of those apps launches whether you have photos or not - that's happened to a few people I know.

One other thing about the camera - there's no flash. So if you're shooting in low-light situations, your images will suffer.

The camera still isn't something that I would add to my list of must-have items on a phone, but having a decent camera such as the iPhone's is definitely a bonus. The trick is to use the camera in conditions that are conducive to good shots. Save the tricky stuff for an actual camera.

Apple iPhone: the definitive review

See also:First look: Hands-on with the iPhone, Apple iPhone: first review and The ultimate iPhone guide

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