Nokia Lumia 710 review: Smack in the middle
An okay 5MP camera
The Nokia Lumia 710 has a 5MP camera (photos have a maximum resolution of 2592x1944) coupled with an LED flash.
The camera UI is pretty simple - you have your viewfinder and some controls on the right. From top to bottom they are the still/video camera toggle, virtual zoom buttons and an extended settings menu. On the left you have an arrow that takes you to the images taken with the camera. Alternatively, you can do a swipe gesture too.
The camera app on Windows Phone offers very extensive settings, ranging from scenes and effects to white balance, contrast, saturation, sharpness, ISO and more. You have a dedicated Macro focus mode but no face detection. The flash can be set to auto, forced or off.
The camera key will wake the phone with a single press - that is unlock it and start the camera. There's an option that prevents the shutter key from starting the camera if the proximity sensor is triggered (to prevent accidental launches when the phone is in your pocket). This option is off by default.
The problem here is that the shutter key is rather uncomfortable, the half-press is especially uncomfortable (we often pressed the key all the way down before the camera had even started to focus).
The Lumia 710 may not have a premium camera, but it does pretty well for a 5MP unit. Noise is kept in check, although fine detail like foliage gets smeared away by the postprocessing. The camera tends to underexpose dark areas, but highlights are preserved for the most part. Colors are accurate.
Here go some Nokia Lumia 710 full-res camera samples:
Photo quality comparison
The Nokia Lumia 710 steps up in our photo quality compare tool to face other 5MP shooters. The tool's page will give you more information on what to look out for.
The Lumia 710 does very well in the synthetic resolution chart and shows no signs of pink spot. In the second chart, the noise patch on the right has turned into a mostly uniform grey after the post processing, though the gravel and grass patches are still recognizable. The third chart shows good colors, but reveals a slight yellow to green tint.
HD video recording can be great, continuous AF struggles
The camcorder interface is identical to the still camera's and has plenty of features too. You can use scenes, set contrast, saturation and sharpness, change the white balance or exposure compensation and also apply image effects. You can use the LED as a video light too.
The Nokia Lumia 710 shoots video with up to 720p resolution, which is now within reach for most smartphones. Still, it's quality, not quantity that we're looking for.
Continuous autofocus is available while recording but that often turns from a benefit into a disadvantage. The Lumia 710 was way too eager to refocus - if there's constant action in the scene, the 710 would look for focus every several seconds, which gets really annoying. There's no way to lock focus.
Much like the Lumia 800 (and a lot of other phones too), the 710 shoots videos with varying framerate. We've seen anything from 25fps (usually in dark scenes) to 30fps (in well-lit scenes). And depending on which framerate it goes for, you would get either a smooth or a slightly choppy video. The Nokia Lumia 710 should be okay when shooting fast-paced scenes, provided there's enough light.
The video quality is really good - as good as the Lumia 800, but the 710 suffers from some of the same issues. Videos look crisp and have a lot of detail and there's no noise or artifacts. It helps that videos are shot with a bitrate of 14Mbps, about the same as the Lumia 800. Very little of that bitrate goes to the sound though - it's stereo sound but at a very low bitrate (it hovers around 50Kbps).
If Nokia would fix the autofocus issue and bump up the audio bitrate, we'd be very happy with the video recording.
Here's an example of what the Nokia Lumia 710 is capable of.
We've prepared an untouched 720p@30fps video sample (0:10s, 17.7MB) from the Lumia 710's camera for direct download.
Video quality comparison
It's time for the Nokia Lumia 710 to go into our video quality comparison database.
Our setup shows the Lumia 710 captured a great level of detail, enough to beat a poorly performing 1080p shooter. In poor lighting conditions the videos are rather dark, but they still have decent amounts of detail. The third chart shows excellent resolution (better than most other WP7 phones) but also a slight hint of a pink spot.