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 Post subject: Nokia N95 cameraphone
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:16 pm 
Nokia N95 cameraphone



Alright now, here we go! It's my first review so please bear with me :) !

I'll only be reviewing the camera section of the phone, as of course this is a camera
related forum, but I'll slip in a few notes on the other goodies of this phone right below.

I'm a bit of a gadget freak, so the N95 rang all the bells when I bought for about 4 months ago.
It's not cheap. It does however boast some insane things
like GPS (including Sat-Nav function!!), stereo output sound coupled with an excellent music player (best
sound output I've ever heard from a phone), huge 2.6 inch screen, and of course the important part: a 5 megapixel camera
with Carl Zeiss optics! It also has Wireless LAN, if you don't fancy slow, expensive mobile internet.

It even has a standard 3.5mm jack plug which is what sits in your mp3 player, so you can connect any head phone you'd like - furthermore,
it also has a standard USB plug, in fact the same as on my D50. This makes sure you don't have to bring a special cable everywhere you go,
if you'd ever need to connect it to a TV or a computer elsewhere.

So, let's get started shall we?

The quick specs

    5 megapixel CMOS sensor (Nokia doesn't specify the size, but I suspect it's not that much smaller than the 1/2,5" compact sensors)
    Carl Zeiss optics (Focal length: 5,6mm - Aperture: f/2,8 to 5,6).
    Manual ISO control from 100-400
    MPEG-4 VGA video capture of up to 30 fps
    Integrated LED flash
    2.6" screen
    Automatic exposure - centre weighted only
    Exposure compensation: +2 ~ -2EV at 0.5 step
    20x digital zoom (why on earth would you want to degrade your images so much, and actually use it? :S )
    Proper mechnical shutter with speeds ranging from 1/3 to 1/1000
    Focusses down to 10cm
    Uses MicroSD memory cards, allowing you to use up to 8 GB MicroSDHC cards (32GBs is under development !!!)

The handling

The N95 is by no means a compact phone. It slides up for normal phone usage, and down for multimedia purposes -
it means that the phone lies particulary well and balanced in your hand when slided either way.

When slided in the centre, it's slighly fatter than a "regular" phone, such as the Sony Ericsson K750i or the Nokia 6230i.

When you take a picture, you need to slide (I seem to like that word, don't I :D ) the lens cover open, and the camera automaticly
goes into picture mode.

I don't fancy the build of the phone. Far too wobbly and plasticy for the price. What I do like, is that you can overlay a grid to help apply the rule of thirds.



The phone has a whopping (for a mobile phone, that is) 64 MB internal RAM, and it really needs it. In fact, I'd say it needs more, because
it operates obnixiously slow. When the lens cover is slid open, it takes almost 6 seconds before it's ready to shoot.

The shutter delay is between a half to 1½ seconds depending on the situation. In playback, the image appears immediately, but is very pixelated -
it takes about a ½ second before it's sharp. It's worth the wait though, as the ridicously oversized screen (that's a good thing :) ) is

When browsing in the menus, the phone is quite fast, with the exception of the media player, which is also quite slow - takes around 2 seconds to load and
start a song.

The battery life is a bit below average. It is "only" a 950mAh battery for the more technical. It's not that much of a big deal though, you just have to plug it in the charger a bit more often.

Now let's move on to the actual output of the phone. By default, the phone outputs jpegs in a resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels and with full EXIF data.
The phone tends to apply hefty noise reduction and paired with the likewise hefty oversharpening, it effectively kills fine details and makes nasty artifacts and halos.

The lens isn't very sharp either. It's somewhat on par with compacts in the center, but in the corners it is very soft. There's a bit of vignetting and a lot of distortion
but there's not any chromatic abberations to speak of.

As mentinoned above, it will go up to shutter speeds of 1/1000 of a second, which I must admit is impressive for a cameraphone. It is without AF though, so be

warned. Also, the ISO can go up to 800 in the "Night" scene preset, but imagine 800 ISO on a sensor smaller than the smallest compact sensor. I'd stay away from the

auto white balance, and instead set to "Sunny" for sunny weather, and so and as Auto WB cast an annoying magenta cast. I also recommend setting sharpness to "low"
to reduce the artifacts and halos.

The video output is astonishing. It's better than my Kodak Z712 IS which is a pretty high-end camera recording in the same resolution and frame rate.


The verdict

Although this phone has some minor drawbacks, it must be one of the best phones in the world. Once you've
tried an Nseries phone, you don't want to go back. Never.

Although it's output isn't great compared to high-end compacts and especially not DSLRs (obviously :) ) it easily beats
any other 3.2 or 2 megapixel phones, and I think it is also best-in-class compared to other 5 megapixel phones like
the Sony Ericsson K850i - that is soo grainy and soft. It is indeed somewhat on par with my Nikon COOLPIX L3, a low-end compact.

So if you are like me, and a bit of a gear-head, this is the phone for you. Sat-Nav, Wireless LAN, stereo output,
good image quality considering what it is. It will set you back some bucks, but really, you can take to places where
you can't take your real camera. Look at the sunset below.. Not likely to be taken by a phone, right?

Therefore, the phone earns my Highest Recommendation for any gear-heads, or anybody
just shopping for a new phone.

EDIT! Nokia has come out with a firmware update which fixes the auto WB problems.







Of course, before I wrap up, I'd just like to include this snap shot of it's excellent media player - it gives you a nice overview of the phone I think.


Last edited by 2610ksj on Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:46 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:30 pm
Posts: 6953
Location: The Netherlands, Ridderkerk
Great review 2610ksj! It certainly is a nice phone. I though about buying it at first, but went for a cheaper phone because I wanted a DSLR as well (and this one was just a little to expensive for me). I've used the 8GB version of the N95 quite a lot lately, a good friend of mine has it, and it seems to perform a little faster than you wrote. And of course it has a lot more memory.

Again great review!
- Bjorn -

Street and documentary photographer | Google+ | Twitter

Leica M9-P (my article on Camera Labs) | Leica D-Lux 5 | 50mm Summilux

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:32 am 
Thanks Bjorn. I just downloaded a firmware upgrade which takes a bit of the internal memory and uses it as RAM. It operates much faster now, and the problem with Auto White Balance is fixed. I'll be posting a sample after the firmware upgrade in a moment. Oh yeah, the firmware upgrade also gives you a grid you can overlay to apply the rule of thirds. Certainly makes the phone even better than already is!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:15 am 
Thanks for the review man!, i can't think for having a Nokia N95 but this is my favourite fone!! I like its stlye and the camera more often compare to the sony k850i. i would definitely choose N95 in terms of money...

Lately i was choosing whether it is Nokia or Sony whether it suits me. Even though i am having sonyk750i but the sound is good but it lacks of OS, :roll: this will be into my dream phone!! and i will considering it to buy this fone

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:23 pm 
A little off-topic:

I would like to think of the subject as ''N95 phone('s) camera'' which I believe is more accurate because the phone is the main thing but here we're talking about its camera.

SnS 8)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:41 pm 
I think it's fair to say N95 cameraphone, but hey, if the mods disagree feel free to edit the topic :)

@lokechungkeat: Thanx for your comment! I'd have the N95 over the K850i anyday. First of all, the N95 has a better lens (not that it says Carl Zeiss, but it can also stop down to f/5.6 from 2.8 whereas I belive the K850i is "locked" at f/3.5 which means the N95 is more usable in lowlight. Also, the N95 has a better screen, a standard USB connection plug and audio output (meaning you can connect any of your favourite headphones or to your speakers. It also has a GPS, which I have tried, and works great!

It has wireless internet just like a laptop, stereo speakers. I could keep going. IMO (feel free to disagree everybody) the only place where the K850i can compete with the N95 is the camera part and the external design of the phones.

The N95 is a bit bulky compared to the K850i, but still fits in a shirt pocket or in a pair of jeans, and because it is somewhat bulky, it has some good ergonomics - it lies great and secure in your hands.

Should you chose to get the N95, you should upgrade the "firmware" of the phone, in order to get some better image quality and faster operation on the phone. Further questions, please ask :) By the way, I went from the K750i to the N95 as well!

Last edited by 2610ksj on Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:45 pm 
By the way you could include the N95 in your list of gear at your signature =) I'm sure lots of people use the camera of their phones when their proper cameras aren't with them (like me).

SnS 8)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:47 pm 
I just might do that. It's not like I have tons of gear to list there anyway ;) Oh wait, my paycheck arrived today! One more month, and I'm getting a D90 (if it has hit the stores by then.. )

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