TechRadar's system seems to be to maintain the review opinions on all the top camera-toting smartphones, along with labs results to back them up, then periodically take the six best and deliver a verdict. There's some serious numerical testing going on in its labs, rather than relying on tight-cropped visual comparisons, but TechRadar still manages to come to the same conclusion as me and tnkgrl:
Although it doesn't have the flexibility of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S2, the Nokia N8 is nevertheless easy to get to grips with and it generally turns out the best images. In fact, in good light the amount of detail that can be recorded by this phone is on a par with some top-end compact cameras.
In terms of all round image quality the battle is really between the iPhone 4S and the N8. The N8 is capable of capturing the most detail...
The winner of this test is the Nokia N8 - but only in terms of providing the best pictures quality in the widest range of areas. If you're looking for the phone on the market that will offer you the best pictures in a wide variety of scenarios, we'd suggest you plump for this phone. However, it is slightly ageing now and the software is among the hardest to use on smartphone - although the incoming Nokia Belle update should remedy that somewhat.
In decent light, the iPhone 4S was given the nod just behind the N8, with TechRadar commenting, memorably:
It's swift, so easy to use that a technophobic penguin could operate it and offers great pictures on the fly. It might not give you the absolute maximum a cameraphone can muster in every scenario, but it's a jack of all scenes and a master of many of them too.
All of which begs me to wonder how long the N8 can maintain its camera champion crown in the smartphone world? Fifteen months is a long time to be on top in such a fast changing industry - surely another smartphone will be manufactured at some point which can take it on? Mind you, the N82 was top dog for years before it. One huge common factor? Xenon flash, of course - I remain amazed that not a single Android manufacturer currently produces a model with a proper flash for night time snaps.
In the mean time, it's the N8 that continues to rule this particular roost.