Nokia N93 Review: Shooting Stills

By 01:22 Sun, 08 Aug 2021 Comments


And here at last…

The capturing camera seems to be among the most fascinating things about Nokia N93. The 3.2 megapixel matrix along with autofocus and 3x optical zoom with Carl-Zeiss optics has made many people curious about the capabilities of the device.





Nokia N80 3 megapixel capturing camera • view-finder • taking pictures

Just to sum up for the most impatient - we are not so pleased with its performance. Read further on for more details.

Otherwise, the view finder application is very easy to use. It can only operate in landscape mode. The capturing camera supports self-timer pictures, sequence of pictures, different shooting modes (+night mode), white balance, exposure value, different color effects (sepia, black & white, etc.), sharpness, brightness, contrast, color saturation, flicker cancellation. Nokia has chosen to utilize "scenes", called "shooting mode". You can select scenes like Portrait, Landscape, Sport or Night Portrait and the capturing camera will hopefully adjust to the situation. There is a possibility to define your own scene setting.







Camera settings

2.7333x optical zoom

Fitting a zoom lens in a mobile phone is an achievement, no doubt about that. Everyone with digital capturing camera experience knows how much more fun is a capturing camera with zoom. The digital zoom most of the capturing camera phones are equipped with just doesn't count - using it with full resolution still images makes no sense, you just fill your phone's memory with useless interpolated data. On the contrary, the optical zoom lens reveals more details when zooming on the target.

While making the zoom test we were surprised to find that the Carl Zeiss 3x labeled lens is actually not exactly 3x. The EXIF data shows that in wide position the focal length in wide position is 4.5mm and in full tele it is 12.3mm. This makes the zoom something like 2.7333x. If however we choose to believe the label on the front of the lens, which states focal range of 4.5-12.4mm than the zoom is 2.7555x. We also measured the zoom by comparing the size of the objects taken in wide and tele position, which confirmed that the zoom range is less than 3x. Comparing the Nokia N93 lens range to a digital capturing camera with known 35mm equivalent focal length revealed that the phone has a 35mm equivalent focal length of about 35-97mm, quite typical for an entry level digital camera.

To test the quality of the lens we made two types of photo sample series. The first one is making a series of photos from one and the same position, this way showing how much more detail the tele position of the lens reveals.






100% crops

wide • mid-zoom • tele • simulated digital zoom

From this test you can see how much more detail the zoom lens resolves. The sharpness of the lens is very fine for such a small physical size. You can also see the results of the optical and the digital zoom, of course, there is no comparison. (The simulated digital zoom is produced by resizing the wide sample in an image editing program, a method guaranteed to give better results than the in-camera real time processing).

















More zoom samples in full resolution

wide • mid-zoom • tele

The other type of samples are taken from different position and with different lens focal lengths, but framing the object the same way. These tests will show the quality of the lens in tele position - how much details you lose by using the zoom instead of getting closer to the subject. We expected a significant incompatibility in the quality of the wide and tele position for a lens this small, even a Carl-Zeiss branded one.





100% crops

wide • mid-zoom • tele

Well, not surprisingly the best quality is achieved at the wide end, but the results at tele are not that bad. The conclusion here is that if you can, it's better to utilize your feet instead of the zoom lever - you will acquire higher quality photos.









More zoom samples in full resolution (explanation in the text)

wide • mid-zoom • tele

Noisy environment

If you have expected that the more expensive Nokia N93 model would produce higher quality photos than those by the N73 model in all circumstances, than you are wrong. The reason is the zoom lens. The zoom lens in general requires smaller physical size of the image sensor. The smaller size leads to more cramped pixels, which results in higher noise levels. The processing Nokia uses doesn't assist at all, in fact it seems that the sharpening routines even exaggerate the noise. Indeed, you can see that noise is high in almost every picture.





The noise levels are too high.

The noise is not that much of an issue if you are going to utilize your photos in lower resolution, for web publishing for example. The downsampling is known to mask the noise. The samples in 1024 x 768 pixels resolution see very good.






Nokia N93 photos downsampled to 1024 x 768 pixels

Indoor, where the light is weaker, the noise increases, but not as much as we've seen is some other capturing camera mobiles. The indoor photos taken by Nokia N93 are altogether usable.





Indoor samples

When the light is really weak, you can rely on the build-in Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash. The problem is that the Light Emitting Diode (LED) is effective only within close range (less than 1m) and only in wide zoom position. We didn't managed to create even one usable photo in tele position.



Using the build-in Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash

Macro mode

Nokia N93 is able to hold fine macro photos without switching to the dedicated close-up mode. In fact the dedicated mode is not very usable, becautilize it switches the auto-focus off. The best macro coverage is achieved at the tele discontinue of the zoom, quite convenient, becautilize there is not need to acquire really close to the objects, which sometimes blocks the light on the subject.






Macro samples

Nokia N93 produces quite realistic and pleasant colors. The only problem we have noticed is with the flowers from the macro samples - the orange colors in reality looked different. The auto white balance system also works reliably; we didn't notice any significant problems. The auto-focus system, while not very fast, is reliable, we had just a few out of focus pictures during the testing.

More samples in full resolution






Wide






Mid-zoom






Tele

The secondary Video Graphics Array (VGA) capturing camera works in portrait mode becautilize it is supposed to be used for video calls and thus is in portrait orientation.


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