First of all, have a look at a close-up of my PC keyboard, shot on the keyboard with the N95's flash:
Notice the first close-up. Looks horrible, doesn't it? This is the typical massively edge-ehanced photo quality that 'experts' like myself have been decrying for the last month.
Now look at the close-up fragment on the right. This looks superb, just about right considering the subject and lighting, crisp without being artificial. Guess what? It was shot on the default N95 camera setting before any advanced 'scene' modes had been set.
It transpires that there's a bug in the N95's firmware (and I'm bang up to date with v11 etc.) whereby setting any scene mode (e.g. 'Close-up', 'Landscape') sets the 'Sharpness' to 'Hard', with similar results to the image on the left. And even setting the mode back to 'Auto' doesn't restore 'Sharpness' away from 'Hard'!!
The middle image was with the 'Sharpness' on 'Soft', by the way.
Now, the average High Street user picks up the N95 and shoots away and will have few problems with image quality because they don't know enough to fiddle with 'Scene mode' changes. So the problem isn't picked up by them and the N95's don't get returned in droves. Thankfully.
But the expert reviewer (hopefully including me) will experiment with the modes and immediately get hit by this bug, with the 'Sharpness' being quietly set to 'Hard' every single time and without notifying the user.
Grr..... Someone at Nokia/S60, please email in and confirm that this whopper is being or has been addressed in the next firmware - and get it out soon. Please.
At least now I know why a lot of my test N95 photos have been so relatively poor. With fixed firmware, the N95's camera can again be counted on as top of the heap.
Steve Litchfield, AllAboutSymbian, 27 May 2007