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Imaging enthusiasts like me live and breathe resolutions and jargon like 'oversampling' and 'Back Side Illumination', but it's easy to lose track of more mundane questions and issues from those for whom their smartphone camera isn't one of the biggest features. In this case, I'd had emails in asking why their 12MP (i.e. 12 megapixels) camera was only outputting 9MP and their 8MP device outputting 6MP. Why were their smartphone cameras performing under par? I thought a little clarification was in order.
While the N8 is ancient in the smartphone world, it still has an impressive camera, with native 12MP output. So much so, that it's still the benchmark by which we at All About Towers judge all other cameras. Even though media attention on phone cameras looks at the Lumia 1020 or HTC One, the N8 still stands up favourably against these modern phones. With that in mind, I took my N8 out to look skywards, with the help of a telescope, and photographed The Moon. Read on to see how well it did and how it stacks up against modern phones like the iPhone 5 and Windows Phone-powered Lumia 925 too.
Most readers know me as someone prepared to enter into debate on the subjects of form factor and smartphone design, but also having my own distinct preferences. You'll remember an in depth feature I did on the subject of sealed vs removeable batteries? It's fair to say that, personally, I come down on the 'removeable' side of the fence - yet I find myself, in December 2013, using a sealed design for my primary device. In this feature, hopefully of interest to both AAS and AAWP readers, I examine my objections to 'sealed' and ask which of them, if any, are still showstoppers.
So you have a Nokia 808 - and you want to shoot a panorama? Yes, you could utterly cheat, as I did recently, but if you want the real thing then you'll be disappointed by the lack of an official Nokia/Symbian panorama application in the rapidly icing over Nokia Store. Actually there is, but you have to know how to get it - as I'll explain below, along with some examples of output on my 808...
In All About Symbian Insight 244, hosted by Steve and Rafe, we start by apologising for the longer than expected gap between podcasts, before moving on to chat about the status of the Symbian app ecosystem and Symbian devices in general. We also discuss the practicalities of using a Symbian device as a backup smartphone (watch out for SIM card sizes) and Steve offers some details on the Delight custom firmwares.
You love smartphone camera shootouts - you know you do. Especially with champions in both the Symbian and Windows Phone world. We've compared most of these devices to one of the Android world's camera champions before - the Sony Xperia Z1, but that device was hampered by poor initial firmware and reports of the most recent Z1 update have been promising. Which means (in conjunction with reader Adam Pino) a new head to head: Nokia N8 (12MP, Xenon flash, Symbian), Nokia 808 (5MP oversampling, Xenon, Symbian), Nokia 1020 (ditto, Windows Phone) and the Z1. Fight!
I had a crazy idea a while ago, after trying to get a decent 'panorama' shot on my Nokia smartphone and finding the stitching flaky and the resolution low every single blessed time. Yes, yes, calm down Apple fans, I know the iPhone does this out of the box, but here I'm talking Nokia. Symbian and Windows Phone, and the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 specifically, since the high resolution available (typically 7700 pixels-ish wide) opens up the possibility for a huge, massive cheat. As [cough] detailed below.
That Nokia has been in forefront of mobile imaging is surely not in doubt, whatever you think of the operating systems the company has chosen at each stage (Symbian and then Windows Phone). In fact, it's a testament to how good and ground breaking the Nokia N95 was in its day (the first 5MP camera on a smartphone etc.) that it can even hold its head up here in 2013. But seven years has seen quite a bit of innovation in sensor quality, resolution and image processing - which is why I thought a 2006-2013 data point might be in order. Here's the legendary N95 pitted against the latest Nokia Lumia 1020 across six test scenes/uses.
The photos from the Nokia 808 PureView are often said to be less striking than those from the competition, whether it's a Lumia 1020, iPhone 5S or a Samsung Galaxy S4, however much purists would say that the 808's output is more 'natural'. One advantage the 808 has in its armoury is a Creative mode which lets users apply the saturation and sharpness, so beloved these days. Here, in a followup to my earlier piece 'How to: Set the Nokia 808 up to satisfy '2013' photo preferences', I look at the practical differences in output a few sliders can make.
I've talked in the past about bookmarking specific URLs in order to get to the 'HTML5' (/touch) versions of Google mobile web sites, i.e. the versions that iPhones and Android phones see. All too often, Symbian phones get served up the very low tech 'feature phone' versions of each page - which is a shame when Symbian OS and modern hardware can do a pretty decent job of handling whatever Google serves up. Google HD Browser automates the signing into Google and making sure the right URLs are used, giving - in effect - an (almost) complete Google touch experience. See below for comments on how effective it is and notes on some caveats.