The Nokia 8 Camera

Phone cameras have become impressively good over time. But, it is true that there is a huge gap between them based on cost, but also depending on technology and expertise of the OEM.It is important to understand that mobile photo has two foundations of great importance: Software and Hardware. Full-size photo samples are available on our Flickr account.

The software is usually very secretive, and it is very difficult to have good information to gage its quality through an unbiased process. Also, photography is not just science. It is also art.The camera specifications is the other factor which is more measurable. Camera hardware is potentially a substantial limiting factor to mobile photography performance. Even if you use the best algorithms on it, the quality of the input image data still plays a major role in the final image outcome.

In the 8, the camera aperture of f/2.0 is just okay, and the sensor size of ~16.5 mm2 would be considered medium-sized (for a smartphone). The 13 Megapixel number should not be used as a general proxy of photo quality, but on a sunny day, Megapixel could be a useful metric for photographic detail and sharpness. For example, on a sunny day, a nature photo with a higher megapixel count could capture finer details. Between 12 MP, 16 MP and 21 MP differences in small details can be quite noticeable, if printed or viewed on a large and/or high-PPI display.

In dim lighting situations, the high Megapixel count (>12) does not matter much. Also, the physical size of each sensor pixel is critical. With higher megapixel counts, sensing pixels (sensels) may have to be smaller. Each obtains less light information, and in dark conditions, it is better for the overall image quality to sense more light with fewer (but bigger) sensels than the opposite. It is a balance that needs to be struck. Today, 12 Megapixel seem to be the best sensor compromise between sharpness, low-light and autofocus performance.

The presence of an Optical Image stabilization (OIS) module on the primary camera increases the odds of capturing sharp images in daylight, and brighter images in low-light situations

OIS helps to improve image clarity and higher low-light performance by offsetting tiny hand-shaking motion. OIS makes it feasible to leave the shutter open longer to gather more light (more prolonged exposure). Optical and digital stabilization are utterly different, with digital stabilization suitable to improve video recording smoothness.

This handset supports Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), which is specifically designed to stabilize video recording from excess motion induced by hand-holding, walking, running. Road vibrations or drone flight turbulences could also be offset by this technique. EIS does NOT help with still photography and is not meant to replace OIS. Certain video formats such as extreme resolutions or framerates may not be compatible with this device EIS capabilities.

The autofocus of the Nokia 8 camera is based on Contrast, Phase-detection and Laser technologies. Phase-detection AF that was originally built into discrete AF sensor chips in the DSLR days. Then it got integrated into the camera primary sensor. It works by having specialized AF pixels sensors that would tell if specific points in the image were in-focus.

This method is very fast, and the AF capabilities work well in most cases. AF performance is somewhat proportional to the number of hardware AF sensels. Typically this number can go from dozens to hundreds of Phase-Detection AF points. Phase detection AF is an excellent system, which is only inferior to Dual-Pixel AF.

The Nokia 8 also has a laser-assisted AF. The principle is that a lot of photos subjects are either away (infinity) from the camera, or are very nearby (macro). By projecting an infrared pattern (structured light) and looking at how it bounced back to the camera, it is possible to very quickly determine if we need to zoom far or close.

This is important because unneeded forward/backward focus-motor motion is avoided, thus saving precious AF time. The system can also handle many in-between situations, but not all. It is possible to fall back to Contrast AF. Laser-AF is faster than contrast-AF but is inferior to Phase Detection AF and Dual-Pixel Phase Detection AF.

The Nokia 8 Selfie camera is very decent for this category. It has an above-average size sensor and features auto-focus in a space where most cameras have fixed focus.

Overall product rating: 7/10

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, Nokia, Nokia 8 and Smartphone Reviews.

554 PPI
~$375 - Amazon
13 MP
F2 Aperture F-Stop
160 g
3090 mAh
No Wireless Charg.
Launched in
Snapdragon 835 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
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