Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

You know what, forget the iPhone. Lets put the N8 up against some serious firepower, a DSLR which in this case is a 18 Megapixel Canon 550D, fitted with the 18-55mm kit lens. You’ve seen unedited pictures and video that Iain and I took with the N8 around Edinburgh. However I was also carrying my Canon 550D along and we decided to put the N8 to test and see how it fares against a full blown DSLR, nevermind those pocket point and shoot cameras. The results may surprise.

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

But before we proceed to the 20 different sets of images, lets clear a few things first. The N8 is not intended to replace a DSLR and as a blanket rule it will not. The N8 has the largest sensor on a mobile phone but even that is nothing compared to a DSLR’s sensor. This means that when it comes to low light photos, it will not even be a competition. Then what is the point of doing this shootout you ask?

I am doing this to see if there is a possibility of leaving a bulky DSLR home when you know you will be taking shots mainly during the day and do not intend to shoot landscapes at night. Lets face it, no matter how much you love taking images with your DSLR, carrying it around is a pain. There were a lot of times when despite having my trusty Canon 550D slung on my back I was happy using the N8 to take photos. Its too much of a pain to take it out of the bag every 5 minutes when you want to take a snap and lugging almost a kilo (800 gms.) around my neck also isn’t something I particularly look forward to.

Right then, the images. To fit this webpage I have resized the images, if you want a look at the larger version, just click on each image. But if you are still not satisfied and want the absolute unedited shots, I’ve uploaded all of them here, the ones with ‘DSLR’ in the name are from the Canon 550D and are numbered in co-relation to their N8 equivalents.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • Once resized, there isn’t much to choose between the shots. The Canon has better lighting, but that could also be because the shot was composed a little differently.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • With the sun playing hide and seek from the opposite direction, photography is always tough. It slid out a little to make the N8′s task even more hard.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • This is where the Canon takes the clear lead with much better exposure, a lot more of the picture is visible.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • If I didn’t label these images, you would be stressed to tell which was which.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • The sun again playing spoil sport with the N8, but I’m glad to see that it has still been able to get a pretty decent shot in despite it blaring into the sensor.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • At this point I was pretty happy with how the N8 was coping with virtually shooting into the sun, in the above shot its been blocked by the building.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • The Canon may have gotten much more natural colours, but I like how the N8′s version pops up.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • This time the Canon wins for me with better exposure.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • Again a slight victory for the Canon because of the fact the greater detail visible in the houses.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • Personally speaking, I’d like to give this round to the N8. The Canon has over-exposed it for my taste.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • Both great looking pictures, but I love the deeper blues on the N8.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • On this one, I prefer the N8′s version. Better colours and exposure.

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

  • Not natural, but I prefer the deeper blues that the N8′s post processing algorithm creates.

I personally don’t put too much value in actual size crops that are done to show how much detail could a camera capture as there would hardly be an occasion when I would need a 12 Megapixel image at its 100%. However, for those of you who care, here are ‘actual size’ crops from the Canon 550D (18 Megapixel) and the Nokia N8 (12 Megapixel).

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Nokia N8

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

Canon 550D

Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR

As you can see for yourself, the detail on the N8′s shots is very impressive indeed.

Who would have thought that the N8 could even give a DSLR a run for its money. There will be things the N8 will not be able to match such as depth of field, low light performance, speed and sometimes even detail but for something that stays in your pocket 24/7 and weighs nothing compared to a DSLR, I’d say the N8 has come out with flying colours. The results have shocked me as well, even while I was taking the pictures I could not imagine that the results the N8 produces can look good to an untrained eye, even when put up against a DSLR. Remember, all the untouched, full resolution images from both devices are here.

After all the images I have taken with the N8, after the tons of video that I have seen it produce; I can only come to one conclusion, the N8 is the best camera phone on the market today, don’t let anyone tell you different.

Looking for more N8 coverage?

187 thoughts on “Shootout: Nokia N8 v Canon 550D DSLR”

  1. In most of the pics the Canon pics are over exposed and washed out some of the lighter colors. While the Canon was only slightly crisper, probably do to the 18 mgpix compared to 12 mgpix and faster write time, i would set the aperture manually and leave “autoexposer” off.

  2. they always compare n8 on camera’s like that but many are choosing n8 than those big camera’s

  3. Not this is only for brightness seatings
    M using Nokia N8 nothing is batter then this.
    If u really want to comparer Just sat the brightness and then u will see batter results.

  4. You should have included some low light shots in there. Yes it does perform very well in good light but most shots taken with a camera in a phone will be ‘social’ pics which are often taken indoors in poor lighting. Yes it does have flash illumination which will be OK for closeup shots but just like any 12 Mp small sensor camera it will struggle at distance (beyond 2m) in low light.

    The other difference is dynamic range. If you look at images 5 and 6 there is a lot of blotchy ‘noise’ in the shadows of the Nokia image (5) whereas there is little or none in the Canon image.

  5. I think the whole point of the review is not to show that the N8 is replacing a DSLR anytime soon. But for day to day shot, the N8 is pretty “sufficient”.

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  7. I have been using N8 for a month now (US). It is simply stunning. I do not have any problems with my N8. Work great right out of the box. World’s first Penta Band phone.

  8. WTF with the indian and east-europe guys? Are they all stupids or what? Did they read about the test? The conditions on both cameras? It’s really impressive how trolls are running wild on the web…

    And thanks for the photos. I’m a T2i (550D american version) owner and these days was dreaming about buy a N8… Just for take shots of my 2 years old baby-girl…But it’s hard carry an elephant like Canon T2i every time…

  9. i hope all the canon dslr fanboys has stopped crying by now.

    its ok, u paid good $$$ for rubbish , it happens. u r not dumb, just…not too smart.

    cheers.

  10. Your rigth truely almost the same as dslr picture the n8..but you forget to shoot in night..you will see the big defferrent of that..even the 2mega pixel cell phone or camera can shot clear image in day Ligth.-…………..

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  13. Hi have a nokia N8 and a Cannon 450D DSLR, there is no way the N8 even compairs the DSLR if you know how to use the DSLR! Sure the camera is pretty good for a phone camera – but to compare it to a DSLR is like compairing apples to oranges.

  14. lol. The point is N8 can take very good photos and is as good as any DSLR out there.
    Of course DSLR Camera wins when it comes to manual and extreme settings. But can your DSLR camera send messages? can it connect to internet and loadload/watch movies or surf?
    Just accept the fact that N8 despite a superb smartphone is also a superb Cameraphone than have a quality of DSLR

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  18. DSLR is superior in image quality. I downloaded the full size images and took a closer look at 100 percent zoom. In the first N8 image people’s faces were distorted and there was a lot of noise in the sky and darker areas of the image. Im not a pro.

  19. Keep in mind that DSLR’s can shoot images in RAW format. RAW images will have more detail and quality than these processed JPEGS. If you compare these images at 100% zoom you will see a lot of difference. By resizing them you are TRYING TO HIDE THE FLAWS OF N8′s SENSOR..

  20. One more thing.. I think you have not turned on Image Stablization on your canon.. Thats the reason the photos are not looking sharp..

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