What came as a surprise during the launch of the BlackBerry KEYone in India was a slide that said the camera had a 2.0 um pixel pitch. IF this was genuinely the case, BlackBerry KEYone could easily have one of the best cameras on a smartphone, something BlackBerry is not known for. We are happy to declare that this is no longer true.
The 12-megapixel sensor paired with the f/2.0 lens work well together r. In our studio test, what we found to be surprisingly good was the sharpness. The KEYone’s lens is adequately sharp to be considered in the top-league, but that’s not the best part. When looking at low light shot of our test target, we found that sharpness doesn’t deteriorate much, leaving the image adequately sharp. In fact, the low light shots reveal that the KEYone’s sensor retains colour accuracy fairly well, keeps noise down and is not very aggressive with either JPG compression or noise reduction. The result is a greater amount of pixel detail in each shot.
The good performance in our studio was reflected in real world photos as well for the most part. The photos, besides being vibrant, exhibit very impressive dynamic range and good levels of contrast through most of the sub-2000 ISO range. While the BlackBerry KEYone has a not so impressive aperture of f/2.2, the use of an abnormally large lens allows the camera module to collect a lot of light regardless. This becomes evident when shooting in lowlight, as I found that the sensor kept the ISO fairly low without compromising shutter speed and image quality. The only downside to the KEYone’s excellent imaging guts was the autofocus. While it does lock focus in good light on well isolated subjects, it had some trouble focusing on backlit subjects and some shades of red and fuschia. I also had some issues with getting it to lock focus reliably, meaning there were a few frustrating moments where it would just not lock focus on the subject. Thankfully, this is more of a software issue and can be fixed with future updates, should BlackBerry choose to focus on it.
Overall, I am incredibly impressed by what BlackBerry has done with the camera on the KEYone. Both the DTEK 60 and the DTEK 50 had average performance when it came to cameras, but the KEYone really takes things up several notches. Given that BlackBerry has always appealed to the frequent business traveler, now finally maybe they will be able to take some great photos while flying around the country and the world.