Mobile handset maker Nokia, which is taking a lot of flak for using MeeGo operating system, has now claimed that its N9 smartphone is the fastest image-capturing phone in the market.

The 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and autofocus makes N9 the fastest phone when it comes to image capturing nudging iPhone4, Galaxy SII and even the Canon S95, which is perhaps the best pocket camera sold in the market.

Comparing the time taken from activating the camera app to the completion of the first shot, Nokia N9 takes 2.6 seconds, while Apple’s latest iPhone4 takes 3 seconds and Samsung's latest smartphone takes a split second more.

Nokia N9 comes along with a wide F2.2 max aperture, dual-LED flash, continuous autofocus, and a 720/30p video mode.

In the Nokia’s official blog, conversation with Product Manager Jens Wilkes reads:

Nokia Conversations: We know the Nokia N9 has an 8-megapixel camera, but what makes it better than any other 8-megapixel camera?

Jens Wilkes: Well, the Nokia N9 camera has Carl Zeiss optics and it’s not a label we’re allowed to just stick on any phone. Once we’ve created the camera and perfected the software, we send them (Carl Zeiss) the test images. Only once the image quality has passed their tests can we use their name – they were really pleased with the results of this camera.

NC: We see you’ve removed the hard key on the side of the phone that’s normally used for taking photos. How would someone go about taking photos now?

JW: Now, when somebody loads up the camera, the camera key is located on the screen. This is what’s called a soft key.

NC: So how does focus work now? Half pressing a hard key would usually do that job.

JW: The Nokia N9 has what we call continuous auto focusing. Whenever you want to take a photo or film something, the Nokia N9 is constantly looking for a subject and adjusts the focus. When it’s in focus, the box on the screen turns to blue, letting you know you’re ready to take the shot. Also, tapping the screen in a certain area will concentrate the phone’s focus on that area.

Jens continues from here to explain the speed of the camera.

JW: Once you press the on-screen camera key, the image is taken immediately. It’s the fastest image-capturing phone on the market. In order to take a photo, a series of events must occur: the camera is turned on, viewfinder is ready, focus on the subject and the image is captured. On the Nokia N9, this all happens in 2.6 seconds – much faster than our competitors. The HTC HD7 does all this in 8.3 seconds, the Samsung i5500 Galaxy 5 takes 5.8 seconds and the Apple iPhone 4 does this in 3 seconds. We’ve made sure the camera experience is as smooth and as fast as possible.

NC: Tell us a bit about the specs and features of the camera.

JW: The camera resolution measures: 3248 x 2448 pixels for 4:3 ratio, 3248 x 2160 for 3:2 and 3552 x 2000 for 16:9. There’s digital zoom up to four times and the camera focus range is from 10 cm to infinity. And for filming, the video recording frame rate is 30 fps.

Feature-wise, there’s the continuous auto focus I’ve already mentioned, geotagging, dual-LED flash, automatic motion blur reduction, face detection and exposure settings of various types.

NC: What happens after you’ve taken a photo. What can you do with the image?

JW: The Nokia N9 has something called non-destructive photo editing which lets you edit a photo, with a way of reversing all the edits should you change your mind. A first in mobile phones. Then we have the option to share your photos to online services, such as Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or even using the built in NFC for device to device transfer.

Thanks Jens for your time in talking us through some of the camera and sharing features of the Nokia N9. Stay tuned for further information on the smarts behind the camera in a special piece from Damian Dinning soon.