The Nokia N95 vs. the N95 8GB, Part II – The Photo Comparison

The Nokia N95 on the left and the Nokia N95 8GB on the right column. Click on the 1st image for slideshow and titles.
N95 - Local Decorated House N95 8GB - Local Decorated House
N95 - Moving at 55mph N95 8GB - Moving at 55mph
N95 - Contrasting Colors N95 8GB - Contrasting Colors
N95 - Versailles and Sky N95 8GB - Versailles and Sky
N95 - Xmas Tree back lit with Sunlight N95 8GB - Xmas Tree back lit with Sunlight
N95 - Lights at night, no flash N95 8GB - Lights at night, no flash
N95 - Nopal Cactus Fruit N95 8GB - Nopal Cactus Fruit
N95 - View of the Pacific Ocean & Oil Rig from the boardwalk N95 8GB - View of the Pacific Ocean & Oil Rig from the boardwalk
N95 - Seal Beach boardwalk & winter storm sand berm wall N95 8GB - Seal Beach boardwalk & winter storm sand berm wall
N95 - Belle & Scruffy Moving N95 8GB - Belle & Scruffy Moving

A camera is a tool. A tool to help actualize the photographer’s vision, what is seen right there and then. depending on what the photographer wants to capture is which camera tool she/he will use, be it film SLR, digital, mobile, pin-hole, toy, point & shoot, etc.
As high megapixel digital prosumer cameras have become common, many people are switching back to film or to toy cameras (such as the Lomo or Diana or pin-hole or…) or to mobile camera phones to achieve different effects and to impose a system of constraints. Many times the best art happens within the boundaries of constraints as one is forced to push the medium.
I love mobile phone photography. I love the immediacy, the ability to send the photo to the web right on the spot, the ability to not worry about f-stops and focus but instead to shoot frequently and often. I have a lovely Nikon FM-3a manual film SLR camera, but I use my Nokia camera phone to shoot about 98% of all of my photos. There are shots I can take with my Nokia mobile that it would be quite difficult due to size and weight and mass to get my my Nikon.
To this end, each iteration of the Nokia camera phones does not necessarily mean* that the camera is better with each additional megapixel or new imaging algorithm or sensor chip.
Each one of the Nokia mobiles I have owned has had the ability to take photos in a different way than the next one. The 7610, while only 1 megapixel, could capture close ups in a way that the 6680’s 1.3 megapixel never could. The 7610 also has a lovely dreamy without being pixelated effect that many photographers have to use vaseline to achieve. The 6680 had its charms and so did the N80. The N95 can capture closer to real life purples than any of the previous mobiles (purple is difficult for digital sensors to get right without a lot of software and algorithm bulk). The 7610 and N95 v. 1.0 are my favorite Nokia camera phones to date, for very different reasons.
When WOM World offered to send me the Nokia N95 8GB (v. 2.0) for a 2 week trial, I said yes, as I really wanted to see how the photos would differ from the first iteration of the N95. Initial reports and reviews of the N95 8GB indicated that there was a slight change in camera speed and possibly in the algorithm. As seen from the photos above, there is a slight difference – an increased saturation in the N95 8GB photos.
When I put the N95 and the N95 8GB to their paces, I made sure that I was able to stay in the same place and attempt to shoot the photo from the same angle (exceptions with the ship photo while driving and the dogs as they were moving) to be able to increase the accuracy of the comparison. I also shot all the above photos with the flash off.
From the photos above it is obvious to me that the N95 8GB mobile camera takes photos that are a wee bit sharper and a bit more color saturated, but that the N95 handles direct sunlight (ocean view), strong back light (Xmas tree), and night colors (sphere lights) much better. Some photographers may prefer the more pastel effect of the N95, whereas others would prefer the deeper color saturation of the N95 8GB.
It is up to you to determine what you prefer and which device you would rather shoot photos with. As I look at both sets of photos, I am divided as to which camera I prefer, as it would depend on the situation. But as I detailed out in yesterday’s review of the N95 versus the N95 8GB, the 8GB device is a wee bit too big for my hands and caused a bit of cramping. Thus, color saturation or not, I will stay with my N95 and pull out the 7610 when I want a bit of good distortion.
* In Jay’s N95 v. N82 camera comparison, while the N82 may have a faster shutter speed and be able to “stop” the fan in its place, the N95 actually took the more visually pleasing photo.