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The Great Big Vita Camera Test

January 9, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

The Vita isn’t just a great dedicated handheld gaming device, it’s also a camera – but is it a good camera? To find out, we took one of our Vitas on a trip across London, testing out how it responded to different lighting levels and various scenarios.

To truly test out how the Vita could handle close-up detail, as well as long-distance crowds, we started off at Portobello Market, home of odd trinkets and overpriced clothing. From there we took a trip past St Paul’s Cathedral and across the Thames, where the Vita really struggled with low light conditions, eventually coming to the Tate Modern, home of modern ‘art’ that is presented in various light levels, and made up of shapes with different contours and fabrics – making it perfect for photography. From there, we looped back to St Paul’s to say hello to the Occupy London protesters who were playing music and sporting the Anonymous flag.

As you can see in the photos, the Vita’s 640×480 back camera is grainy, and can’t handle low light at all, something made worse by the lack of any flash or light. Colors are also drained – just look at how the tomato is more pink than red. Another gripe is that after each photo you have to wait a good 10 seconds for it to save. You can’t turn off the loud “Chhck” camera sound either, so don’t plan on any secret photography. Despite plans for a Skype app, there’s no option to record videos, which is annoying.

You may notice that some of the pictures are of a different ratio – you can choose 3 ratios: widescreen, a square and what looks like the ratio of a print photo.

But you probably won’t want to print these photos – the Vita camera is no replacement for a smartphone, let alone an actual camera. Sure it’ll do in a pinch, but we suggest bringing something else with you if you feel like capturing your memories for all time. But luckily, before you begin to declare the death of the Vita, the fact that the camera captures at 120fps means that it is perfectly suited for augmented reality games, with Little Deviants looking pretty good.