There is no arguing that the BlackBerry Priv has an outstanding camera. The 18 Megapixel rear camera provides robust images and the ability to record crystal clear, precise 4K video. I am a news videographer by trade and I happen to love the 4K video recording feature.
I was originally going to review the Priv’s camera when the phone came out but I learned there was an impending update so I waited until it was issued to see what changes came about.
My initial observations of the camera were it was a decent camera but it was very limited. The Priv comes equipped with a rear 18-megapixel camera, by German lens manufacturer Schneider-Kreuznach. The original release of the camera was disappointing. The pictures you took were terribly noisy and the white balances tended to be off on color temperature. Low light performance was poor, even though you can adjust exposure on the fly. The rear camera didn’t even support widescreen (16:9) format. The front camera is a low 2 Megapixels and really isn’t good for more than the occasional selfie. Video recording was better at 4K/30fps, 1080p/60/30fps and 720p/60/30fps The Priv offers an enhanced video stabilization mode but it only is available when you record in 1080/30fps or 720/30fps.
Another limitation to recording video on your Priv is that if you want to save your video files to your media card, you will have to shoot in 720p/30fps. Anything higher than that, you will either need to save it on your device memory or get a Class 10 micro SD card with a high GB size. The higher the resolution, the more space you will use up.
Original Images Before Update
Post Update Observations
Recently, BlackBerry released an update to the camera and it did help the camera tremendously. The update added widescreen support (16:9), faster performance, indicators for HDR (High Dynamic Range) and low light scenes as well as improved the Peek Preview.
Images are brighter, cleaner, crisper. There is less noise in images after the update. I was able to focus faster and shutter speed seems quicker.
Original Images After The Update
I am impressed overall with the update that BlackBerry provided for the 18 MP camera. It could be a lot better but for now, it will fit your needs. The update will make your camera use a more enjoyable experience and you will find your pictures will come out better.
BlackBerry Priv Camera Specs:
18 megapixel auto-focus camera
Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
Phase Detect Auto Focus (PDAF), Fast focus lock
6-element f2.2 lens
Back Side Illumination (BSI2) Stacked Sensor
Dual Color, Dual 2 mm2 LED Flash – Enhanced photo color balance
4X digital zoom
Continuous & touch to focus, face detection, image stabilization
Panorama, Burst, Live Filters
4k Video Recording at 30 fps
1080p HD video recording at 60 fps
6DOF video stabilization combined with OIS for incredibly smooth video
2MP Fixed-Focus, f2.8
Large 1.75um pixel size
Image & video stabilization
720p HD video recording
2X digital zoom
Wide Selfie Mode (also known as Selfie Panorama)
Multi-Frame Low Light Enhancement