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Review follow-up: T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 camera

Among the many comments made about the T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 there was a request for more information about the phone's camera. The Touch Pro 2 is fitted with a rear-facing 3.2-megapixel camera with zoom and video abilities.

Follow the break for our observations and a few test shots.

Before we get too involved in things, the only processing that was done to the images within this review was resizing for web publication and minimal sharpening. Each photo is full-frame.

Unlike the AT&T Fuze and the Touch Pro, the Touch Pro 2 does not have a button shortcut to activate the camera. You need to access the camera through TouchFlo 3D, the Start Menu or Programs Screen. You also don't have a physical shutter button. When you turn on the camera, here is the screen overlay (naturally you'll have an image displayed beneath it).

The shutter emblem activates the shutter and the box at the bottom right pulls up your menu options which include the photo gallery, camera style, settings and the "x" to exit the camera application.

Focusing is done one of two ways: tap the screen and the camera will focus on the area of the photo you've touched or press the shutter button and the lens will focus before capturing the image. You can digitally zoom (maybe 2x?) by using the phone's zoom bar. I'm not fond of digital zooms because they degrade the image too much. The zoom factor is minor but you still notice some quality loss.

Here are three test shots, the first with the AT&T Fuze, the next with the Touch Pro 2, and the third using the Touch Pro 2's zoom feature.

The Touch Pro 2 camera settings are rather extensive allowing you to control the white balance, image resolution, ISO, and image quality. Maximum image resolution is 3mp (2048x1216) which will make nice web images but you begin to see a little noise/grain in the images when you increase the resolution through processing software (i.e. Photoshop).

Along with the traditional camera setting, the camera can also capture video, take panoramic shots and add picture themes. Video resolution is maxed out at VGA quality and the overall quality is slightly better than the video capture of the Touch Pro/Fuze. Picture themes are graphic rendering that allows you insert your picture within., much like the carnival photos where you stick your face through a hole in a plywood character.

The Touch Pro 2's camera has a very thorough help guide. One note with respects to the help guide is that it indicates a front-facing camera that can be used for video calls or self-portraits. As noted in the Help Guide, this feature isn't present in all cameras and T-Mobile's Touch Pro 2 lacks the front facing camera. And, yes, we're expecting the other U.S. carriers to go the same route.

Overall impression

While the Touch Pro 2's camera won't be replacing my DSLR any time soon, it is an improvement over the Touch Pro/Fuze's camera. The larger screen helps with framing the shot and while I miss a physical shutter button I like the touch screen controls. The Touch Pro 2 is also missing the flash the Touch Pro/Fuze has, but I really can't see that as a big loss with regards to photography.

The camera seems to do a better job of adjusting white balance and focusing. The ability to focus in on a certain part of the image is a bonus to allow you more discretion in framing your subject. 

The camera on the Touch Pro 2 is an improvement with respect to performance from the Touch Pro's camera.  There's more features but fewer physical controls.  All in all, I think the camera keeps pace with the overall improvements the Touch Pro 2 represents.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

14 Comments
  • Thanks for the review. But i've been hearing a lot of complaints about the ear speaker volume issues. Could you chime in on that and tell us if their weak and have to much bass added like people over at the T-mobile forum is complaining about? Thanks.
  • The ear speaker sounded fine to me. The back speaker on the other hand was a little on the weak side.
  • Thanks George .
  • Well I have the T-MO TP2... The first one I had did have a horrible ear speaker. It would blast when people were talking and it often sounded as though the speaker was busted. So T-MO sent me out another one, and this one is working perfectly fine. Tell whomever told you that the speaker is horrible, to return that TP2 if they still can and exchange it for another one. It may be some sort of defect with a few of the TP2s??? Not sure...
  • Common issue on the Telus version, may apply to the T-Mobile one as well. Make sure the screen protector isn't covering the earpiece - wrecks havoc with the noise cancelling too. Telus has a habit of slapping the clear-case armour on without taking that factory plastic cover off the phone. Also the "Invisible Shield" meant for the GSM devices also tends to cover the earpiece if you're not careful.
  • My iPhone 3G takes better photos than that and it's only 2MP. Shame... shame...
  • Actually the shots in this review don't do the camera proper justice. Check out a few of these shots, which were taken using the original Touch Pro camera (essentially the same camera): http://www.flickr.com/photos/cornish/3815589172/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cornish/3817762637/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cornish/3837420709/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cornish/3837549898/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cornish/3817896726/
  • why do mobile device sites NEVER show video recording abilities? it's a camera, it records VISUAL information in stills AND pics !
  • Something to watch out for on this camera. It defaults to ISO-AUTO which often produces (horribly) noisy images. Also note you can kick up the saturation in the advanced controls. If you want to *really* play with the camera, make sure you enable the extra camera modes, like Geotagging. Note the "Geotagged" photos don't appear in the DCIM folder, they go to a "POIs" folder in "My Documents" for some silly reason. CAB File from PPCGeeks:
    ftp://ppcgeeks.com/Touch%20Pro%202/Users/Tobeychris/Cabs/Enable%20All%20... Original URL for the TP2 "tweaks":
    http://forum.ppcgeeks.com/showthread.php?t=78019
  • 3.2-MPixels is a better match to the camera optics than the 5-MPixels found on the HD and D2. The lower resolution is balanced by the resulting higher sensitivity of the sensor. And your right, with such a small aperture slow lens, a flash would be nothing more than a marketing gimick (as it is on most phone cameras.) Just as a lack of a 3.5mm audio jack is a drawback, so is the lack of a dedicated hardware "shutter release" button. Many users find that pressing the screen while holding the phone still isn't always easy. As with the 3.5mm jack, HTC is saving pennies per unit in manufacturing costs by inconveniencing end-users. I enjoyed reading the review, however, you should always make un-doctored images available when it comes to camera reviews.
  • Pelona
    I look at demonstrative photos under two schools of thought. The un-doctored does give you a feel for what the camera captures but a processed photo shows you what the end result can be.
    Personally, I want to see the end product. I chose a middle ground by leaving the white balance, shadows, highlights, noise levels and crop alone. I did adjust the resolution to accommodate publishing and slightly adjusted the sharpness to eliminate the softness that is inherent in most digital cameras.
    I also agree that 3.2 is probably the max for these tiny cameras. Some may disagree but you can saturate the surface of a sensor with too many megapixels, resulting in poor image quality.
    Oh... and I'll add video examples to my checklist for the next phone review that comes across my desk. As a still photographer, I often over look those pesky moving pictures. Thanks for the suggestion.
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