Take 2 HD Video Recording Test on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 (w/ Image Stabilization turned on this time)

By Kevin Michaluk on 11 Aug 2011 06:17 pm EDT

Our first BlackBerry Bold 9900 HD Video Recording test resulted in a lot of great feedback, with just about everybody impressed as all heck at the 720p HD output. The colors were bright, details were sharp and even the sound quality was clear. The only real complaint was about our shakiness, and I made note that we didn't have the Image Stabilization option turned on. So per your requests, I ran back to the scene of the crime this afternoon for a late lunch break from review writing and we shot a new take with IS enabled.

Image Stabilization is moreso for when you're focusing on spot -- and in this video we still do move around quite a bit -- but you can see the smoothness it adds, and where it really pays off is when you're sitting aiming on one spot which is where IS is meant to help most (there's a lot of compensation happening during the rapid transitions as it tries to keep things from getting choppy). Pretty solid though yet again. 

Overall I'm really happy with the video recording on the Bold 9900, and am OK with the camera for photo taking too. I know a lot of you are disappointed that the new BlackBerry 7 Smartphones have an always-in focus camera only (no more single shot autofocus) and for sure I'd rather see that functionality have been retained as well, but I've been managin to snap some pretty great photos. You just have to make sure you're holding still when you snap the image. At least the processor/camera is so fast to use now that if you don't like your first photo you can take many more in rapid succession until you get one you like. Let's just say I'm more stoked about having HD video recording than I'm mad about losing autofocus, so to me we're still further ahead here (even if I'd rather have both). 

Check out the video above for the live action. Be sure to set the youtube playback to 720HD!

Reader comments

Take 2 HD Video Recording Test on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 (w/ Image Stabilization turned on this time)


Yeah, IS is more for static shots with a fixed focal length. The video quality really is great though, it's just too bad they overfocused (pardon the pun) on HD video quality over still pictures. I think most people shooting video on their phone are doing so with the intent of sending short clips to people on devices that won't support 720P anyway.

if only pictures had the same stndard of quality!
the sound seems to be recorded ver low when not talking directly behind the device tho..

still in great doubt to get this phone...battery life review will crack this berry for me :]

been tracking battery life very closely last two days.. and using multiple devices/people as gauge:

Me - pretty heavy user

GF - pretty average/ight user (mainly texting/bbm/calls/email/bit of web browsing when needed).  

so we're starting at same time of day, ending at same time of day, on same network in same city.  stay tuned for the results!

Thanks Kevin... this might just be my make or break deal with this phone... and with any of these new blackberry phones released! After your camera display today i am more then enraged with how everything has turned out, and i was waiting to get the 9900 for so long! Now thats its here i really don't know it i will... and i'm not sure if i can wait for the next line of QNX phones! i have had my 9700 from its relase... 2 years.. and my 9650 for a year!

Hey Kevin, any idea when you may have the full review ready? I got to play w/ a 9900 today, and although, i was planning on getting a torch this time around, i may stick w/ the bold afterall.

In another year I predict RIM will be shooting their promotional videos at the Chicken Chef as well.

Agree. I think for a video of this nature, you'd be better off with Image Stabilization off (like first video) but just making sure you're as steady as you can be.

IS is for when you really want to focus on one spot.

Maybe not what the best "demo" video... but it's in response to what ppl wanted to see after the first video.  

it's a good video camera for sure though

Thanks for the reply. I'm sure the video camera is more than good enough for the videos of my friends and family I'll be using it for. This will be my first Blackberry and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Hope it's not too long before it's released in my country (Germany). It's good to see people trying out all the features and settings ahead of buying it. Now I know not to use the IS for videos with a lot of movement.

Great quality video. I find myself recording my daughter with my canon digital elph, this phone will give me a decent back up. The still cam (according to the shown comparisons to the 9780) leaves much to be desired. But, I never attempted nor attempt to print a picture that is taken with my phone so I'll disregard the previous comparison.

haha do you think the woman with the push basket knows she is being filmed she sort off moves into the view of the camera then moves out again in a curve obviously loves the camera lol

Is it just me or with image stabilization on when he did the pan, it made the sign for "dollarama" a little blurry? Looks nice though.. The quality is phenomenal, CANNOT WAIT! [:

With all due respect to your camera comment, it's BS!! There's no excuse to have a bad, non-focusing camera on a 2011 flagship smartphone. A major screw-up on RIM's part. All top smartphones now have HD video AND 1st class cameras, many of which are 8mp. Auto-focus included! The iPhone 4 is thinner and has auto-focus (and a front facing camera!). NO EXCUSE!!

With all due respect I have never seen a first class camera on ANY smartphone. But I do agree with your point about auto focus they made a mistake by not including it.

Point taken. I meant first class for a phone. My BB Style takes pretty damn good, SHARP pictures though. I'm getting the 9850 on the 21st and am disappointed to be "downgrading" my camera!

Shaking didn't bother me in the 1st one, was better looking as-well. Still good when not panning around.

Why am I not feeling the Video recording? It just doesn't sharp at all. Am I on crack? Like it's good but seems blurry?

Yeah the first test video was definitely better in this comparison.

Honestly, for me, taking video with my phone has never been something I commonly do. Taking pictures, however, is something I do regularly. It's just more convenient for me, to quickly pull my phone out and take a snap shot.
Any time I've needed to record video, I've had a proper camcorder and tripod set-up to get the job done. For me personally, the picture-taking camera is a more important feature than the video-capturing camera feature on a phone. Just my opinion.

Kevin, you say you've been able to get some good pictures with the 9900, I really hope you upload them for the rest of us to see! :)

I thought the quality was just okay with the stabilization turned on. And for those who complain about the quality its a phone (I guess there is no pleasing some people) if you want a great video camera get a flip hd.

I usually take most of my pictures at walmart, I hope I can do the same with the 9930. That would be a huge let down.

WOW! The first one was bad and this one is not that far behind! Very wobbley! Not impressed at all! And the micro sd card thingy now as well? I think more flaws will follow! I am still using an 8900, been dying to upgrade and hoping this would be the one and I am just not feeling Blackberry or RIM anymore guys! My own opinion, but I think I am officially jumping ship to another brand, maybe 2 more years RIM will get their sh*t together!

A cousin of mine had a few operational problems with his 8900 back in December 2010 and had it replaced by T-Mobile for the Bold 9780 since the 8900 was unavailable.

Great video for a camera. When moving the camera ... go a bit slower.
Sound ia awesome.
You must love the Chicken Chef. Is the chicken any good there? Is it like KFC?

I think I would rather have a better camera than video camera. Plus its impossible to email or send a video taken on your BB since the data cap is at 4MB. How large are these 720p files?

I would MUCH rather have a better still camera. RIM just can't hit a home run. They keep making such rookie mistakes!

lol.. It's Marion St., Winnipeg. Despite the apparent abundance of chicken shops and hair and nail salons its just a regular area of Winnipeg. Far worse areas in the city.

Wow, Im glad to see that others thought the first part of that was wobbly. I thought my monitor was going out. Kevin is talking about the great stabilization, while my eyeballs were batting between my nose and my ears.

The fixed focus means no-go for me on the 9900 series. When I upgrade a phone, I want an upgrade, not a downgrade on hardware features. Damn, I wanted a 9930 too. Guess I am sticking with my 9650 for another year.

For me, the video capability is not that important. While I'm glad that the 9900 can record 720p, that is a distant second to the fact that it doesn't have AF. Since I use the still camera much more, that missing feature will be enough to make me pass on this "flagship".

Let's be honest. If given a choice between an awesome camera or an awesome video with my cell phone, awesome pics will always win. Come on!

I'm tellin ya, when the "fanbois" get ahold of this fixed focus lens thing, they are gonna crucify RIMM. This is just as bad as Apple not having a lighted keyboard on their last Airs. RIMM, you can't afford to be making mistakes like this. Whoever made this decision should be terminated. Did you do any market research, checking on which pics qualities between fixed and auto focus? Did you ask them if a miniscule more thickness would make it too thick for them? The iPhone fanbois, and Android fanbois are gonna make mincemeat out of this one. KNOCK KNOCK....is anyone home? are you listening RIMM?

The last fixed focus camera of any type I had, was a Brownie Starflash, in about 1959.

The video is what I'd expect from a camera video.
... let's face it, the software involves only minor, minor changes from our two year old phones. You are essentially getting the same software with a new skin.
...the problem with fixed focus, is that we can not get good close up shots (can't use the phone as a Xerox machine for paper documents). Otherwise, the regular still photos are, indeed, notably worse than before.
...still, if you do not use the camera/video function, this phone is worth the upgrade for the keyboard and touchscreen alone.
For me, I'll hang on to the 9650. The only thing I'll really miss is a bigger keyboard and snappier performance (so, my apps open in .05 seconds instead of .02 seconds.)

Wow. That was pretty pathetic. I thought someone roofie'd my drink. And this phone is sappose to be 250-300 WITH a contract? I don't mind paying a premium but not for a downgrade in parts.

Seems 'not quite all there' is the mantra for the BBs. In the past you had a great keyboard but the browser sucked. Now with the 9900 you get good video recording but the camera sucks. Isn't there someone in the BB marketing/engineering/prod development department that doesn't see this as a problem??! (and a death blow) The iPhone5 is pushing for improved camera function and video because they know that's what the consumer wants.

Well, every time you see a blurry face shot on Facebook you'll know it was posted by a 9900 owner. Great job BB!

"I go to you JoBu I stick up for you. Now chu no help me, I say f** you JoBu!!"

On AT&T, this thing isnt coming anytime soon it seems, good ridence. To think I was obsessing over this phone. The battery wont be as good as the 9700 safe to say. The camera is embarassing. The price for the phone is obscene. And all this in all is outdated hardware anyway (even if it was out in May when it was announced), and this is supposed to be the flagship device? LOL. $600 if not more dollars out of contract for this? No thanks, when RIM stops acting like Nokia(in the recent past) is when they will see me return.

Might as well wait for the iPhone 5.

Hi guys, sorry to post this here but i haven't seen any CB articles reviewing HD video recording for Torch 9810 on CB website. Wonder if it has the same quality, worst or better. Can anyone direct me? Thanks before hand.