The Nokia 6500 Slide’s 3.2 megapixel camera puts it firmly in the second division of camera phones, behind the 5-megapixel units that currently lead the market. Nevertheless, it has a number of features to match its high-res rivals, not least auto-focus and a ‘name’ lens – in this case it’s Carl Zeiss optics.
The camera interface itself is pretty similar to other Nokia Series 40 cameras, like the 6300’s. Of course, there’s a wider choice of still resolution (with six options ranging from 1536×2048 down to 120×160) and four video sizes (640×480, 352×288, 176×144 and 128×96), but behind the specs, the interface offers nothing new, and annoyingly no shortcuts that let you change white balance or add effects without drilling down through the menu system.
Auto-focus is certainly effective. Half-press the shutter button on the edge of the phone and a white square appears around the central third of the viewfinder, with its border changing to green once the object is in focus. Simply give the shutter button a firmer press to take your photo. You can also capture images using the main selection key, although in this case you press to focus and release the key to capture. There is a short delay between press/release and capture, but it’s worth it to ensure a sharp image.
Despite opting for an LED flash rather than Xenon illumination, the 6500 Slide’s dual-LED flash is one of the most effective we’ve seen on a camera phone. Its ‘fill-in’ effect eliminates red-eye, and more importantly does away with the familiar blue glare that we’re used to seeing bouncing off subjects.
There are five white balance settings – auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent and horizon – and you can set the flash to on, off or automatic. The ubiquitous – but surely rarely used – night mode is also present. A self-timer is included too, as well as an Image sequence option that takes three photos in rapid succession, useful when snapping moving images.
Image sharpness can’t be faulted thanks to the 6500 Slide’s auto-focus, but quality is sometimes found wanting, particularly in darker areas where the camera adds a lot of noise. Colours are generally bright and accurate, however, and you would be happy with any 6×4-inch photos printed via the phone’s PictBridge interface, over Bluetooth or using the phone’s microSD card.