BlackBerry 9800 (Torch) vs. Motorola Droid 2 camera

Torch sample pictures (slide show):

Droid 2 sample pictures (slide show):

Two QWERTY sliders hard at work – one portrait with a small 3.2″ screen running BlackBerry 6, one landscape with a large 3.7″ screen running Android 2.2 – and both quite multimedia savvy.

Two 5 MP autofocus cameras ready to play – one with a single LED flash and VGA video recording, one with a dual LED flash and 480p video recording – and both with a two-stage shutter button.

Can the BlackBerry 9800 (Torch) and Motorola Droid 2 mix business with pleasure? Find out after the break…

Of fruit

The Torch is the first BlackBerry with a 5 MP camera, and based on past experience – from the older Curve (2 MP fixed-focus), to the newer Tour (3 MP autofocus) – I was expecting pretty decent results. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Exposure is mostly accurate, except in some situations. White balance is generally poor, lending shots a yellow/green-ish tint. Pictures taken in low light are rather noisy, especially when compared to past BlackBerry phones. But the biggest problem is that the Torch often refuses to focus close up properly, even when manually forcing macro mode.

Video recording is limited to VGA (640×480 pixels) at 24 fps. While this is adequate in most cases, it’s rather disappointing for a flagship device, considering many high-end phones now support HD (720p). Surprisingly, the camera allows continuous autofocus (!) during video capture, an extremely rare yet highly useful feature.

The camera interface on the Torch is related to that of the Storm, with some controls within easy reach, and others buried deep inside the menus. There’s no touch-to-focus.

Torch sample video (download original, 640×480 @ 24 fps):

Of robots

The Droid 2 uses the exact same 5 MP camera as the original Droid, but replaces the default Android camera interface with a custom Motorola app, similar to what is available on the Droid X. Results are slightly better than the original Droid.

Exposure and color balance are generally accurate, and shots contain a reasonable amount of detail. Low-light performance is rather decent, and noise is managed pretty well. Overall, I have no major complaints about the Droid 2 camera when it comes to stills.

Video recording is limited to DVD resolution (720×480 pixels) at 25 fps. Again, this is adequate in most cases, but it’s somewhat disappointing that Motorola decided against HD (720p). Sadly, there’s no autofocus during video capture, but audio is recorded in stereo.

The camera interface on the Droid 2 closely resembles that of the Droid X, complete with touch-to-focus, panorama mode, and a plethora of settings, many nested deep within the menus.

Droid 2 sample video (download original, 720×480 @ 25 fps):

Verdict

Clearly the Droid 2 (a mid-range Android device) walks all over the Torch (the BlackBerry flagship) in terms of camera performance.

But, the Droid 2 also wins on screen size/resolution/quality, general performance, and user experience. The only area where the Torch really shines is the excellent keyboard.

Robots eat fruit :)

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2 Responses to BlackBerry 9800 (Torch) vs. Motorola Droid 2 camera

  1. Sean says:

    Thanks for the comparison! Droid2 seems to perform a lot better. What is going on at RIM??

  2. kris says:

    Thanks for the great comparison, but was thinking that the milestone 2 and droid 2 should be the same hardware and my new milestone has 720 gd video recording, haven’t really tried the performance of it yet but was surprised that it had it. I like this motorola much more than my galaxy s feels like a better built phone and just as fast

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