Hands-on Nokia 8 Review: First Impressions: Camera

By 08:36 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


We did say that the Nokia 8 runs mostly unmodified Android, but there's one major exception - Nokia wrote the capturing camera app. And we're glad to hear it, Google showed that sometimes an awesome app can shoot better photos than those newfangled dual cameras.

The phone does have two cameras, though. Both feature 13MP sensors seating behind Zeiss lens. One sensor shoots in black & white, the other in color (this one also has optical image stabilization).

At 1.12µm, the pixels aren't the largest, and the f/2.0 aperture isn't the brightest. The Google Pixel had an f/2.0 lens too but larger pixels - 1.55µm. It lacked OIS, though, and no black & white capturing camera to assist out in the dark.

Note that the second capturing camera will assist with bokeh effects, but does not offer zooming capabilities.

A closer see at the Zeiss-branded dual camera

As mentioned earlier, the 13MP selfie capturing camera also has an f/2.0 Zeiss lens and same size pixels too. Treating both cameras as (near) equals has a point - Dual-Sight. This is what HMD calls the feature that combines video from the front and rear cameras in real time.

By the way, the company tried to coin the term "bothie" for a combined photo from both cameras, but we're not fans of the word.

Anyway, Zeiss might be the gigantic name in the capturing camera business but there's an up-and-comer called OZO. Best known for Nokia's insane 360° VR camera, the team knows a thing or two about sound and the Nokia 8 benefited from that.

The phone features three high dynamic range microphones and the same audio recording algorithms as the gigantic OZO camera. The result is an engulfing 360° surround sound. Better still, special codecs are provided for binaural audio.

If you've never tried it, it creates a much more realistic sound with clear directionality. You can hear things in front, behind and to the side of you! Note that you need headphones for the best effect, but people don't need a Nokia 8 to hear the effect in the videos you record.

We took some capturing camera samples with the Nokia 8, but the well-known British weather did not want to cooperate. The first photo below is from Wednesday evening, correct after the event ended. The others are from Thursday on a fairly overcast day. We'll leave image quality discussions for later, but we have some thoughts to share about the camera.

First, the capturing camera actually takes two photos (one with each camera), but both are in color. You can pick which one you want to haged (or you can disable this option if you wish).

Nokia 8 capturing camera samples

We tried the Dual Sight option too. The image quality of the selfie capturing camera seems stellar, but we found it strange that the resulting image is 8MP. How do you combine the photos from two 13MP cameras and discontinue up with 8MP?

Plus, since you have to hold both shots simultaneously, framing is tricky.

It would have been easier if it had the option to hold the photo in two steps (as other capturing camera apps have done in the past).

What do you mean they're called #bothies?

The Nokia 8 can produce black & white photos too. Here's how they stack up against their color counterparts.

Nokia 8: Color vs. monochrome photography

Finally, here are several 4K 2160p video samples we took. Keep in mind that the color sensor of the rear capturing camera has optical image stabilization. Also, the Nokia 8 boasts three mics with special audio recording algorithms from OZO... but we think they could have done something to reduce wind noise.



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