Nokia N8 – Two Week Photography Review

Nokia N8 includes a 12 megapixel camera and Ziess lens

For a phone, the Nokia N8 offers an incredibly powerful camera and video package in a smartphone about the same size as an Apple iPhone. And for two weeks, I shot several hundred photos and dozens of videos on the smartphone’s 16 Gb of internal memory.

But let me jump back for a moment. About a month ago, a person named Chris reached out to me from WOMWorld.com and offered me the opportunity to try out the Nokia N8. The Nokia N8 boasts a 12 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, so I jumped at the chance to do a test and review.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I borrowed the Nokia N8 and have returned it, as per the loan agreement. Nokia has given me no money or any other incentives, nor have they required me to write this or any other post. Nokia may be utilizing some of my photos and videos for their WOMWorld.com site, but that’s about it. Anyway, enough with the disclosure stuff.

The Nokia runs on Symbian, but it reminded me a lot of Android. It featured a large, bright screen and the Symbian version of an App Store. I rarely used any of these features, since I wasn’t keeping the device.

As a photographer, I was eager to see how the camera performed. Let me tell you, they really did a nice job with the interface. The full-auto mode usually took nice, crisp shots in most brightly lit situations. If it was a clear day and we were outdoors, the pictures were sharp and the color was crisp.

Nokia N8 uses the Symbian OSThere were some advanced controls, but I mostly found myself adjusting the ISO and the flash settings. I appreciated how quickly I could navigate the menus with basic icons.

In low-light situations, the camera struggled a bit. There was a Xenon flash, but as you might expect, it didn’t offer much light. It was a straight-on flash, so you couldn’t bounce it or anything, but not really a big problem. If you needed a flash in a dark room, it would pretty much fill the faces directly in front of the camera. I tend to correct a lot in Aperture, so as long as the picture isn’t blurry, I figure I can make adjustments.

I shot a few pictures with my dSLR and compared them with the Nokia. Overall, the dSLR gave me a wider shot and probably more options. But considering the size and speed of the Nokia, I really can’t complain about the photos. I shot a bunch of photo reference pictures for my Facebook fan page, which people really seemed to like.

Like the camera mode, the video capture mode was pretty impressive. I don’t tend to shoot much video, but I was very happy with the results. The HD video was crisp, the colors were bright, and the sound was clear. Plus, the camera saved quickly, so I didn’t have to sit around and wait while it buffered into memory.

The only quibble I had was with user interface. The camera was designed to be so sleek and smooth that it was tricky to get your fingers set properly for quick shots. People who picked it up often had trouble finding the shutter button. Several times, I missed a shot because I couldn’t figure out which way to hold the camera.

In fairness, I think it would have been easier if it had one of those rubberized cases, like we use on iPhones. Then you’d be able to figure it out based on the layout of the buttons.

In the end, I was a bit bummed that I had to return it. The Nokia N8 offered an impressive camera with specs that rival some of the compact shooters on the market today. Since we all carry smartphones anyway, it may as be one with a built-in 12 Mp camera. This one was solid, handsome, and took darn-good pictures.

Nicely done, Nokia. And thanks to Chris for letting me play with the N8. It was a surprisingly well-designed mobile gadget that will appeal to shutterbugs and video hounds.

See some photos taken with the Nokia N8. Check back for more next week, as I still have several that I haven’t uploaded yet.

Here’s the unboxing of the Nokia N8.

 

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