Nokia versus Nexus: a comparison of cameras.

So I’ve been playing around with this Nexus One for almost a week — about time I started blogging about it, don’t ya think?

Today I’ll be showing you a very quick and informal comparison of the N1’s 5 megapixel autofocus camera, versus the 8 megapixel autofocus and variable aperture equivalent on my Nokia N86.


You can click on each thumbnail below to see the full-sized photo on Flickr. In both of the examples that follow the N86 is on the left, the N1 on the right:

Factory Theatre (N86) Factory Theatre (N1)

A typically grey fall afternoon in downtown Toronto. Two big wins for my Nokia are (1) the wider angle lens, and (2) a better handle on the blown-out sky in the background. There’s noticeably more of the CN Tower in the first pic.

That said, the Nexus photo is certainly acceptable — I wouldn’t make a print of it, but that’s because of the subject matter rather than the quality of the image.

Focus Test (N86) Focus Test (N1)

What’s that? Your cat-sitter doesn’t leave you illustrated debriefs for your return…?

Though the white balance on the Nexus photo is clearly off the focus is pretty good at least, especially when you consider that there’s no macro function.

Two other things you can’t see in this photo:

  1. PixelPipe was about a billion times easier to get up and running on Android; very much unlike Symbian you just download, sign in and go.
  2. There’s no “official” Flickr app for Android that I know of, presumably because Google wants you to use their own Picasa instead. Of course, to my knowledge Symbian doesn’t have a dedicated Flickr app, either.


Nothing special here, just yours truly, unshaven. Sorry.

Though “only” standard-def and 4:3, the N86 delivers undeniably great video — and audio.

I thought the Nexus could shoot HD video, but the available frame rates for this YouTube upload only seem to go up to 480p. Anyway, the audio is clearly the big loser here. The video seems fine though, with dialed-up saturation that some people might even perceive as higher quality.

Another big bonus is that being a Google product and all I can upload directly to YouTube from the Nexus. I’ve never been able to do that with any Nokia…

There’s no doubt that Nokia delivers a superior camera, and from what I’ve seen their new N8 will yield even better results than my year-old N86. But where Android falls behind in technical performance, they pull out way ahead in user experience. Unfortunately I can’t show you that at the moment, since grabbing screens off of my Nexus would require rooting it — and I haven’t yet gotten that far with it. You’ll have to take my word for it. For now.

I’ll be writing more about Android in the days to come. My next post will be this blog’s 200th, so I’m deliberately holding off on a little surprise until then. 😉


  1. You know, I think Nokia is just like Google. Very good hardware, but still lacks the touchy feely, wow magic to top it all. Similarly, Google has all the algorithmic knowledge in the world, but still lacks the human touch.

    I’d go for the pics and vids of the N86 any day!

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