All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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Old 02-04-2007, 04:21 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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The Nokia N95 camera tests continue

In advance of my upcoming N95 camera review, and following on from our N95 part 1 (Navigation) and N95 part 2 (Music) reviews, here's a taster gallery, with assorted wildlife and domestic pets(!), courtesy of Rafe. Each image can be clicked through to show the full 5 megapixel image.

Read on in the full article.
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Old 02-04-2007, 05:14 PM
mudstuff mudstuff is offline
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Not bad for a phone but...

...nothing compared to a digital camera.

They look great resized and would look excellent on a phone screen as wallpaper, good on a CRT and reasonable on HDTV.

At full size though, there is so much noise, heavy edge enhancement and over-sharpening that I would almost be embarassed to release this. Don't get me wrong, they are better than any other phone camera I have seen but that sort of quality at full size is pretty shocking. Good to see the red tint is less pronounced on some images and it even sort of helps on outdoor pictures, greater emphasising the sky.

Nokia pretty much know that people are going to use it for happy snaps and uploading to flickr or their blogs as no larger than 800x600 at 72dpi. They would also produce reasonable 6x4 photographic prints too.

If I were Nokia, I would probably tout it as a 3 mega pixel camera and have the in-camera software process each image as it is captured with the 5mp sensor and resize to 3mp. Or basically use a 3mp sensor but the same size as this one.

A lot of people say that it is a trait of a CMOS sensor and that things will improve if they switch to CCD but I really don't buy that since you can get pro cameras with CMOS sensors.

Anyway, I have rambled on way too long. Thanks for the pictures Rafe, I look forward to the full review Steve. Should have mine in a couple days - might I suggest a photo competition with some different themes - abstract, landscape, macro, night etc. You might even get Nokia's attention and allow someone to bag a prize (accessories such as wireless keyboard and headphones for their N95 perhaps?)

Last edited by mudstuff; 02-04-2007 at 06:58 PM.

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Old 02-04-2007, 05:38 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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mudstuff: yes, very well expressed observations - you'll see more of this train of thought in my review 8-)

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Old 02-04-2007, 08:44 PM
krisse krisse is offline
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Really good comments, mudstuff!


"...nothing compared to a digital camera."

It's the curse of convergence really. A good separate is always going to be better than a multifunction device. I can't see professionals or serious amateurs converting to cameraphones any time soon.

As you say though, the real question is whether the converged device is good enough for the average punter who makes up the vast majority of sales. No one posts photos on the web at more than 1 or 2 megapixels, and it's often far smaller than this, sometimes less than 0.5 megapixels. A 3 megapixel or larger image is probably going to get shrunk down before it's stored or used, so it seems odd to worry about the quality of the non-shrunk version.
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Last edited by krisse; 02-04-2007 at 08:46 PM.

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Old 02-04-2007, 10:17 PM
mudstuff mudstuff is offline
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"A 3 megapixel or larger image is probably going to get shrunk down before it's stored or used, so it seems odd to worry about the quality of the non-shrunk version."

Indeed krisse, it seems strange for Nokia to boast they've released the largest resolution phone camera when it is not comparable to a cheap digital camera of equal or lesser resolution. It is perhaps unfair to draw this comparison but Nokia have brought that on themselves as they refer to the N95 as being a digital camera and many other things, not a phone with camera.

I would never really expect it to equal a standalone camera - the cost of convergence as you say.

It does appear to record a good amount of detail in the uncompressed 5mp pictures but seems to amplify everything else - as aforementioned, edge enhancement, aggressive sharpening, noise etc. This, however, gives you plenty to work with when scaling an image down for web, tv output or small prints.

I think it is very impressive for what it is and Rafe's pictures highlight this, looking pin-sharp and very clean in low resolution. I would not expect it to better or even come close to a standalone device which is bigger than the N95 and only captures images.

It would be a little cruel to call the N95 a jack of all trades and master of none but it does almost seem to squeeze in too much. I don't mean this as a complaint really as I have ordered one. It's almost as if it is a prototype though - Nokia showing the public what a phone might be and what features could be included. Nokia always seem to miss a few features on some phones and make them almost perfect but not quite. I am sure this makes sound business sense as it allows them to release a new model addressing some of these areas, but then the new model seems to lack something too. I sort of feel that this is quite wise though and gives the consumer more choce. A well converged phone is great but if you only want a phone to make calls and take pictures, this could be achieved with great success by omitting other features. Similarly, if you simply wanted to play music and video or edit documents, specific models could be created for these purposes.

Or as you articulately stated in your article krisse - perhaps all the next gen of phones will require is a browser and all these features can be accessed via the web - or with UPnP, using our computers as a media server and then either replaying on the phone or through tv output or streaming to other UPnP devices.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on mine though and seeing what it is capable of - I intend to give it a real good workout and rather harshly, compare results to my DSLR to see what it does well and what it does not!

I'll post some pictures and comments of my own once I get one!!

Last edited by mudstuff; 02-04-2007 at 10:41 PM.

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Old 02-04-2007, 10:59 PM
krisse krisse is offline
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"Indeed krisse, it seems strange for Nokia to boast they've released the largest resolution phone camera when it is not comparable to a cheap digital camera of equal or lesser resolution."

It's not strange if you look at it from Nokia's point of view: at the end of the day they're there to provide what their customers want to buy.

Many many customers simply demand higher and higher megapixel counts whether or not they're of any practical value. If the customer wants it, Nokia is obliged to provide it or else the customer might buy someone else's phone instead.

You can imagine the scene in a shop: "Oh, this phone has more megapixels, it must be better, I'll buy this one." They don't always appreciate that a high quality lower megapixel camera can sometimes actually achieve better results, these kind of end users just want more raw performance, raw horsepower.

There are many people who buy devices based almost entirely on their statistics, it's a sort of Top Trumps approach to technology. :-)

Part of the blame for this lies with PC technology: people have gotten used to bigger HDDs always being better than smaller ones, large amounts of RAM always being better than small amounts, faster processors always being better than slower ones. They apply the same logic to photos, audio and video, without realising that anything which tries to capture the real world will always be subject to compromise in a way that purely digital data isn't.

As for separate cameras... people just seem to prefer cameraphones. That's convergence for you. It might be down to lifestyle: I still use a separate camera if I want to take high quality pictures for ebay or wherever, but on unexpected occasions it's just so much handier to be able to use my phone as I have it with me all the time anyway. Very few people have ever carried a camera with them wherever they went, and a poorer quality cameraphone is better than no camera at all.

Ultimately none of this will matter because cameraphones will eventually be (or already are?) "good enough" for most people in most situations. Once that happens, only serious photographers will be bothered about cameraphone defects.



This crazy hunger after horsepower is happening in all sorts of fields such as home broadband connections. The BBC recently did an item about the ISP market in France where people are ordering speeds of up to 100 megs! Unless you're downloading vast quantities of high resolution video, there's really no need to go anywhere near that speed, but the ISPs explained that customers wanted it and to remain competitive they had to offer it.

Personally I still use 512kbps because it does everything I need it to including video and audio streaming. Any higher speed would be a complete waste of money for me because I've never experienced a situation where higher speed would be of any benefit.
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Last edited by krisse; 02-04-2007 at 11:13 PM.

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Old 03-04-2007, 06:10 AM
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tnkgrl tnkgrl is offline
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*mudstuff*, I'm curious what your analysis is of the picture quality of the i-mobile 902 (another 5 MP camera phone) vs. the Nokia N95...

Here's my i-mobile 902 shots:
- flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/sets/72157594525826478/
- flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/sets/72157600004122910/
- flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/sets/72157600027635254/

I've ordered a Nokia N95 as well!

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Old 03-04-2007, 07:25 AM
mudstuff mudstuff is offline
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krisse, I know what you mean - a lot of people do indeed think that a 5 megapixel camera must be better than 2 and Nokia has to keep up.

I think that camera phones certainly have their place as they are unobtrusive and allow you to capture the moment without standing out. They are great to document a trip and stick on your blog etc. I believe they have replaced standalone digital cameras to an extent but I would think a lot of people would still take their higher quality digital camera on holiday with them.

There has been concern with camera phones however, as a lot of poeple just store their pictures on their phone and delete half of them. A lot of people hardly print them either and this can actually have a devastating effect as I believe pictures form a historical record and a commentary on the world as we know it today. Although not everyone is bothered about taking a technically good picture with decent composition, their pictures could have historic value one day - imagine in 50 years time if the Houses of Parliament had blown up, for example. An extreme example but if we never had photos of it, we would have lost some history and it may eventually be forgotten.

I am glad, therefore, that phones now allow wireless transmission of pictures to your PC, straight to a bluetooth equipped printer or by taking the memory card out. Slideshow functionality and tv output also allow us to share these pictures with friends and family. You could also take the card in to a shop and print some pictures. Where I really believe our history will be recorded, however, is places like Flickr and YouTube. They both used to be great and have really high quality content whereas they are now used by millions of people and I feel the quality has slipped, people effectively using them for general image hosting. However, their purpose remains the same and they allow us to share all aspects of our environment and daily lives whch could be of high value in time.

tnkgrl: I think that Rafe, kriss and Steve would be better qualified considering I have not used the N95 as of yet. Techically though, those pictures are pretty darn good. The first set outside show off the detail of the camera well. I assume you have a decent amount of control over the camera as the shots outside all possess a narrow aperture and great depth of field, ensuring the whole picture is in focus and they look very sharp. Then again so would the N95 ones at this size.

Your xenon flash is clearly superior to the N95 from what I can see in the product pictures, illuminating them nicely and the surrounding area and you have also used a shallow depth of field in some of these shots which I like. Seems like a prettyy flexible camera.

Last edited by mudstuff; 03-04-2007 at 07:27 AM.

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Old 03-04-2007, 09:56 AM
krisse krisse is offline
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mudstuff: On the subject of preserving pictures for posterity, I totally agree. I love watching old films which have been shot on location for precisely that reason, it's fascinating to see how the streets really looked decades ago. Very few people ever set out to record daily life because it seems so boring, but of course a record of the world around us now will seem fascinating in 50 or 100 years when daily life has changed beyond recognition. An extreme example: a friend of mine went on holiday to New York in late 2000 and took lots of pictures of the World Trade Center towers, including from the top. Just one year later those pictures took on a whole new level of meaning for her and the people she showed them to, and perhaps will become even more significant as time goes on.

I think the cameraphone is actually good for preserving images of daily life because it doesn't require the user to consciously take a camera with them. Before I had a cameraphone I never took my camera with me anywhere, so if some notable event had happened I wouldn't have had any ability to record it. The vast quantity of pictures during the London tube bombings in 2005 showed just how many people now have video-capable devices with them, and it's only going to increase in number and quality as time goes on. Had Kennedy's assassination taken place now, we would have had a thousand different videos to analyse afterwards instead of just a single scratchy piece of cine film.

As you say, things like Flickr and Youtube provide wonderful resources for preserving day to day images of life. Perhaps the most promising solution for storing pictures would be if a cameraphone could be set to automatically upload files to such online services. It would require wireless connections to be cheap of course, but mobile charges are heading down all the time and home wi-fi costs nothing extra at all.
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Last edited by krisse; 03-04-2007 at 10:04 AM.

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Old 03-04-2007, 10:00 AM
mudstuff mudstuff is offline
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Great follow up krisse, I agree wholeheartedly. Nice to know someone shares my feelings regarding posterity and indeed, a mobile capable of capturing images and video can be useful for many reasons.

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Old 03-04-2007, 11:01 AM
jojosalami jojosalami is offline
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"Perhaps the most promising solution for storing pictures would be if a cameraphone could be set to automatically upload files to such online services. It would require wireless connections to be cheap of course, but mobile charges are heading down all the time and home wi-fi costs nothing extra at all."

as a fact i already do this with my n93. i have installed on it Vox blogging service application that comes with the n93"i", the minute i take a picture or a video a popup comes out asking whether i'd like to upload it to Vox or not and whether to upload it to make the public see it or to only my personal account, i do this through Wi-Fi and it rawks

Last edited by jojosalami; 03-04-2007 at 11:01 AM. Reason: added an "i"

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Old 03-04-2007, 11:13 AM
krisse krisse is offline
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Jojo, if you do it through wifi what do you do when you're taking pictures outside the range of hotspots? Can you ask vox to wait until you have a wifi connection before uploading? (That would be the most convenient option if possible...)
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Old 06-04-2007, 02:48 PM
jojosalami jojosalami is offline
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i could always do it through 3G or gprs

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Old 19-04-2007, 03:53 PM
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Thanks for sharing the photos they prove my N95 hasn't got a fault, because I'm very disappointed with the camera not nearly as good as my K750.

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Old 03-07-2007, 12:34 PM
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N95 has superb camera quality when it's on the phone but as soon as it's transferred on to a computer and you view it the quality doesn't even COMPARE to the K800i!

K800i owns all camera phones.
 

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