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Nokia N8 Review: Camera – Includes 75 Photo Samples

By - On 30 September 2010 36 Comments

After having used the Nokia N8 to take pictures while I was visiting Edinburgh, no doubt remains in my mind that the Nokia N8 is the absolute best camera phone that you can buy in the market today. We took a ton of pictures and video in very trying situations, without bothering to stop and compose a shot properly. Most images you see here were taken while walking around the city, N8 in hand simply snapping away. Some were taken from within a car, a bus, while actually walking (without even a pause) and the N8 kept delivering.

Of course there were some shots that were ruined by incredible camera shake, or the sun blaring into the lens and we being obstinate and still trying to take a picture. I walked away blown by the N8′s camera, infact I always had my DSLR on me, but there were times I was happy just using the N8, secure in the knowledge that I won’t regret it.

Before you scroll to the gallery of 12 Megapixel N8 Camera Samples, there are a few shots that I am especially keen to show off. Click through to see the images in their full glory.

Nokia N8 Review: 75 Camera Samples From The Nokia N8

(This picture is a great indicator of the detail the N8′s camera is capable of producing)

Nokia N8 Review: 75 Camera Samples From The Nokia N8

(Amazing depth of field, the macro mode in action)

Nokia N8 Review: 75 Camera Samples From The Nokia N8

(Its almost as if the N8 doesn’t care about low light, no really)

The following images are either in the 4×3 12 Megapixel Mode or the wide screen 9 Megapixel Mode. Switching between these modes on the N8 is very easy, just pinch the screen while the Camera’s viewfinder is on to go to the 4×3 mode and pinch out for the 16:9 widescreen. Click through to see the images in their full glory.

In most of the cases, we could have got a better shot if we had spent a little more time playing with different settings and composing it better, but I guess these ones would serve you better as they give a ‘real world’ idea of the kind of shots the N8 will bring to you.

Speaking of a DSLR, I also did try and take some comparison shots of between my Canon 550D and the N8, look out for them very soon. Plus, there’s a review of the N8′s HD video capture in the pipeline as well. Exciting times!

[Update: Nokia N8 Review: HD Video – Samples Across All Conditions]

Much credit to Iain Wallace at Do It Different for taking a bunch of these pictures.

(Note: The above images were taken with the N8 running the PR 1.0 v11.011 firmware, which is just short of the firmware the N8 is shipping with.)

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36 Comments »

  • Rahul Seth said:

    Pardon my language, but those are f’cking awesome! I was undecided but you have just made my mind up… Nokia, bring the on N8! :D

  • Micky said:

    Great shots indeed.! Very impressive.!

    When and why were you in Edinburgh mate?

  • Vaibhav Sharma (author) said:

    Just after Nokia World mate, headed off for some quick sight seeing before getting back! :)

  • Nobody said:

    Hi Vaibhav. Those are fantastic photos from n8. Thanks for guiding people who have hard times to decide whether buying one or not. I appreciate that. Greetings from Turkey ;)

  • Bryan said:

    Did Nokia just produced a new digital camera called N8? :p

  • N8 coming soon! said:

    Amazing! Thanks for uploading your pics, Vaibhav. They were even more than I was hoping for really. Now I just have to wait and see if my N8 will arrive before Oct. 7 here in the US. Looking like it won’t, but oh well. It’ll be worth the wait, right?

  • seaotter said:

    Man, I’ve been waiting for this damn thing since I first saw Damian posting on dpreview.

    If you’d be so kind, could you just confirm that you can turn off the obnoxious camera shutter sounds? It’s a pet peeve of mine that cameraphones force loud shutter sounds (Nokia seems to have the loudest and most poorly designed, in my experience) while trying to replace regular point and shoots that don’t have that forced upon users.

    (Hoping you’re not in one of the countries that forces manufacturers to prevent disabling those sounds).

  • John Norris said:

    Vaibhav,
    These are really great photos! Thanks so much for showing them off. Did you see engadgets N8 v I-phone 4 comparison by any chance?

    I think I must have a split personality as I can’t decide to go for the N8 or wait for the E7 :-) I like my qwerty keyboards, like on the N900.

    p.s I’m very glad you had a great time in the UK. I see from the photos that you weren’t just drinking coka cola over here! :-)

  • Fredrik said:

    Great pictures, thanks! Engadget should show some of your pictures, the ones they snapped were not that great.

  • the_accidental said:

    @seaotter yes, you can disable the shutter sounds. No sound in a silent profile, as per other nokia phones. Just checked and you can set it to “off” in other profiles too.

    @John Norris – that was my pint I’m afraid, Vaibhav was on the coke IIRC.

  • Engadget hates the Nokia N8, but you already knew that…. « Engadget Sucks said:

    [...] have been many other, unbiased, studies of the N8 camera. Check out this one and draw you own [...]

  • big_bang said:

    hello, i liked the pictures taken by n8 , but i like to take casual photos every trip now and then . I am recently planning to buy camera but i want to decide bwtn n8 and canon 1000d . What will you suggest . Plz help . Thanks

  • fEast91 said:

    Now that’s superb photography skills; unlike some very, very, very
    Whicj is sad really, considering they are unable to acknowledge that some things some other people do better.

  • fEast91 said:

    Oops. Please delete my first comment here.
    What I was saying, if you’re gonna make a living reviewing some things, please don’t be very, very, very biased; like a certain gadget blog.

  • HDvidman said:

    Hmm, so I find it very interesting that all the pictures don’t have the complete EXIF information (only pic size).

    Given also that these samples look way smoother than the most recent samples I’d say it’s a sham!

    Doubt very seriously these are Nokia N8 pictures!

  • the_accidental said:

    HDvidmanI can only assume the blogging platform has stripped the exif, the orginals have the info in them. I know, as they came from my N8!

    Here you go, here’s one of the originals:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8462768/17092010314.jpg

    It’s got the EXIF info in it…

    Aperture Value: 2.96875
    Color Space: sRGB
    Custom Rendered: Normal process
    Date Time Digitized: 2010:09:17 17:46:45
    Date Time Original: 2010:09:17 17:46:45
    Digital Zoom Ratio: 1
    Exif Version: 2.2
    Exposure Mode: Auto exposure
    Exposure Time: 1 / 119
    Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode
    FlashPix Version: 1.0
    FNumber: 2.796875
    Focal Length: 5.898438
    Gain Control: None
    ISO Speed Ratings: 100
    Light Source: unknown
    Pixel X Dimension: 2248
    Pixel Y Dimension: 4000
    Scene Capture Type: Standard
    Shutter Speed Value: 6.894
    Sub-second Time: 731
    Sub-second Time Digitized: 731
    Sub-second Time Original: 731
    White Balance: Auto white balance
    AFInfo:
    Compression: JPEG compression (thumbnails only)
    Date Time: 2010:09:17 17:46:45
    Make: Nokia
    Model: N8-00
    Orientation: 1 (Normal)
    Resolution Unit: inches
    X Resolution: 300
    Y Resolution: 300

    Happy to upload another if you want to pick one?

  • the_accidental said:

    Actually hang on, @HDvidman you’re either incompetent or just flaming – I’ve just checked a few at random – they do all have EXIF info.

    Which ones do you claim don’t have the EXIF data?

  • the_accidental said:

    Are you perhaps dragging and dropping them into preview on a mac? that doesn’t work to view EXIF. you have to download the jpeg (right click, save it) then view it.

  • HDvidman said:

    LOL @ the_accidental,

    You go from concerned professional blogger to condescending, name caller in just 4 short minutes. Wow.

    Just based on my accusations alone, stating that the EXIF information is missing is a clue that I’m not incompetent in any capacity. I’d be willing to bet by Canon T2i that most people who have a concern for mobile phones or even those who are into basic photography don’t know the heck EXIF is, what it stands for or how the hell to find it. Give me some credit on that end.

    Not a flamer of any sorts, just pointing out missing facts that I came across on my end. Equipment: Windows 7 PC, downloaded via right click and viewed with Adobe Photoshop CS5. The 2 pics I downloaded are Nokia-N8-Image-Samples-25.jpg and Nokia-N8-Image-Samples-04.jpg.

    You can post any EXIF information you want ex post facto, but in the pictures I’m seeing it’s not there originally.

    Like I said before, the pictures taken with the PR firmware posted on this site are so much more smoother than than the final firmware pictures I’ve seen elsewhere. It would be hard to fathom that the final firmware was tweaked for the worse for picture quality.

    Maybe your blogger software did remove the EXIF information, I’m just pointing out what I see and the results didn’t add up.

  • bkb said:

    “Like I said before, the pictures taken with the PR firmware posted on this site are so much more smoother than than the final firmware pictures I’ve seen elsewhere.”

    @hdvidman, i presume when you said elsewhere you mean engadget right, it has been proven, engadget rigged the whole iphone4 vs n8 photo comparison, i really wouldnt call them credible anymore..jeez the length those guys at engdget do to discredit the n8 capabilities..if you still want proof that the n8 takes good pics here you go: http://shoppaholicdaily.com/n8/…using the crappy photos taken by engadget, the n8 still stood out…also the pictures posted in this site are actually consistent in quality with the quality of sample photos posted in earlier previews( by damian minning, etc)if youve read upon previous articles of the n8 picture quality im pretty sure even without viewing the exif files on these, you really wouldnt be surprised

  • the_accidental said:

    @HDvidman I am not a professional blogger. Just a commenter on this article, that happened to take some of the pictures – I resented you accusing Vaibhav of posting fakes as I know myself these came straight from an N8. I was happy to doubt you initially – I did a quick drag and drop into preview to check the exif, couldn’t see it so then assumed you might have done the same. I then checked more thoroughly and found the EXIF info is intact.

    The EXIF info is in all the pictures, I know this for a fact. For whatever reason you are unable to view it correctly.

    The two you list here:
    http://thehandheldblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Nokia-N8-Image-Samples-25.jpg
    and
    http://thehandheldblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Nokia-N8-Image-Samples-04.jpg

    Both have EXIF info in them. I’ve just checked. No need to redownload, you can check you have the same files, the md5 hashes are as follows:
    MD5 (Nokia-N8-Image-Samples-04.jpg) = 3254d7900f7d83259d8f758dcc016e6d
    MD5 (Nokia-N8-Image-Samples-25.jpg) = ff17156688f8c62237fe551865902aaa

    I don’t have a copy of CS5 on this machine to replicate your viewing method, but you can see some of the EXIF info in plaintext opening them in a text editor.

    A quick google reveals this site:
    http://regex.info/exif.cgi

    Which will show you the EXIF info. You can either paste the URLS in or upload the copies you downloaded. As i say above though, you can see they are unchanged by checking the md5 hashes.

  • HDvidman said:

    @ bkb,

    The pics by Engadget weren’t taken into consideration, I knew off the bat their pictures were bad and not representative of what the N8 was capable of. Fair enough on the re-evaluation by the shopaholicdaily site, they shed more insight on the method to the madness done by Engadget.

    @ the_accidental,

    “For whatever reason you are unable to view it correctly…” I’m not sure what’s going on with that, but all is well. In the search for the truth, we have come to conclusions on our own based on the information we have at hand. Such is life online.

    At the end of the day I’ve been a fan of Nokia’s imaging performance since the N70. I just need to get my hands on one and evaluate it myself. Thanks for your time.

  • aryan said:

    Engadget should see this blog and learn how to use N8 camera

  • bkb said:

    no problem man..just trying to be objective , alls well that ends well. :)

  • jeremy ridgway said:

    Has anyone been able to disable to red light that comes on when using the N8 camera?

    Got one today to take photos silently and without flash (mystery shoppers) but can’t yet find out how to stop the red focus light coming on – any ideas really appreciated, can’t find it in user guide

  • jeremy ridgway said:

    N8 question sorted – there’s no way of turning off the red light unless one uses the flash – “security reasons” according to the Nokia call centre. When asked why Nokia sells other phones which can take photographs invisibly…. no reply!

    Taken it back and got an Experia X10 – no wonder Nokia are now making quarterly losses.

  • seaotter said:

    @the_accidental

    I finally got my N8 today – but can’t seem to find the shutter sound setting to disable it. I know the US doesn’t have the crazy-stupid European law about forcing sounds, but suspect Nokia saddled us with it anyway.

    Could you describe the steps you took to turn that off? If it’s just the in-camera settings – mine only shows the four obnoxious sounds.

  • water damge orange county said:

    Great post. YOu allow it to become seem so easy to share your experiences. I wish i really could do as well during sharing on my web log. I just got the item started and sometimes feel stuck on the to share or when it is the right thing to express. what to do?

  • Michael said:

    someone has to do something about the ugly red light when recording with the nokia n8, :D patch anyone ?

  • Alex said:

    New unlock Nokia N8
    Current price: $ 450USD
    Availability: In Stock
    Skype: officshopinc

    Size: 113.5 x 59 x 12.9 mm
    Weight (with battery): 135 g
    Size: 86 cm

    Physical key (menu key, power key, lock key, volume keys, camera key)
    Finger Touch support for text entry and control interface
    On-screen alphanumeric keypad and full keyboard
    Dedicated camera and volume buttons
    The ability to use the stylus capacitive
    Handwriting Recognition for Chinese

    Email: officshopinc@hotmail.com
    Skype: officshopinc

  • PatSyd said:

    I want to fid out how to do handwriting on chinese character on N8? Requires download of new software or not?

  • Alex Acai said:

    A comprehensive review of new Nokia N8!

  • Emcet said:

    Nokia N8 Image Samples – 01 – Beardymannn !! :D.

  • Pankaj said:

    Nice pics ya.i want to buy this smartphone today thankx ya nokia N8 is a owsome phone.

  • Phuong Tuan said:

    Wao, nice pics, but it’s not natural like Satio camera.