The convergence between phone and camera continues unrelenting, with many people making their primary small shooter their mobile phone...
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The convergence between phone and camera continues unrelenting, with many people making their primary small shooter their mobile phone. In fact, just this month the humble 2MP / 3MP shooter on the iPhone 3G / 3GS overtook Canon’s 400D as the most popular camera on photo-sharing website flickr. This can only be put down to convenience and connectivity, as the imaging capabilities of the device are notoriously poor (though improved with
However, there is a range of 8MP+ cameraphones that are proving to be genuine competitors to the compact camera market, with Nokia’s most recent addition to this being the Nokia N86.
The N86 features the dedicated camera functionality you’ve come to expect from Nokia’s cameraphones these days – the model sports Carl Zeiss optics with a 28mm wideangle and range of aperture at either f/2.4, f/3.2 or f/4.8, though aperture is unable to be selected manually. Shooting modes involve a range of scene modes, with more advanced settings, such as white balance and light sensitivity, exposure compensation, and colour tones available for adjustment, and it’s also possible to modify the built-in LED flash.
Image quality is impressive for a cameraphone, with exposure generally reliable, colours rich and focus sharp and fast. There are, however, the conventional signs of image flaws associated with this type of device – at any high ISO setting noise is intrusive and to the detriment of image quality, while there is noticeable fall-off in image sharpness towards the corners of the frame.
What’s clear from using the N86, however, is that it’s another step towards the cameraphone competing with the entry-level compact on a level playing field. Not only is the camera usable and results good, but the model also features extended connectivity such as GPS, compass and the like.
While the usual image flaws for a cameraphone are present, it's by no means a poor alternative to an entry-level compact, with a good sign that mobile phone companies are taking cameras ever more seriously.