Monthly Archives: January 2009

The Nokia N82 Versus The Nokia N85 :: Round 1

The Nokia N82 - Earl's Garage, no flash The Nokia N85 - Earl's Garage, no flash
The Nokia N82 - West of Texas at Alex's Bar, no flash The Nokia N85 - West of Texas at Alex's Bar, no flash
The Nokia N82 - West of Texas at Alex's Bar, with flash The Nokia N85 - West of Texas at Alex's Bar, with flash
The Nokia N82 - Calla Lily in full sunlight The Nokia N85 - Calla Lily in full sunlight
The Nokia N82 - Lone Ranger Neon TV Sculpture at Salon Pop, no flash The Nokia N85 - Lone Ranger Neon TV Sculpture at Salon Pop, no flash
The Nokia N82 - Ryan Callis' paintings at the Taylor de Cordoba gallery, no flash The Nokia N85 - Ryan Callis' paintings at the Taylor de Cordoba gallery, no flash
The Nokia N82 - Ryan Callis and Matt Maust, no flash The Nokia N85 - Ryan Callis and Matt Maust, no flash
The Nokia N82 - Belle, her Ball, and the low tide reflection The Nokia N85 - Belle, her Ball, and the low tide reflection
The Nokia N82 - Scruffy McDoglet at Dog Beach The Nokia N85 - Scruffy McDoglet at Dog Beach
The Nokia N82 - Sunset with Oil Rig and Catalina Island The Nokia N85 - Sunset with Oil Rig and Catalina Island
All photos taken by Ms. Jen from Jan. 9 – 11, 2009, with either a Nokia N82 or a Nokia N85.

Tues 01.13.08 – Last week I emailed the lovely folk at WOM World asking if they would send me a Nokia N85 so that I could do a rigorous photography comparison with the Nokia N82.
Now for the record, after taking the Nokia N82 out to India for the Urbanista Diaries and having one in my possession this fall for the Nokia viNe challenge, I am very partial to the mobile camera phone wonder that is the Nokia N82. Also, let’s note that in Sept. when I had the opportunity to fondle the Nokia N85 at the Nokia House lounge in Espoo, Finland, I found it lacking. I did not like the front faceplate keys on the Nokia N85 keys at all, nor was I excited about the fact that it was a slider. For photography, I prefer a candy bar to a slider or other bits to fiddle with. All I want to fiddle with is the camera, not the handset.
The photos above were taken one right after another with me making sure that the state of the subject, lighting, and other conditions did not change. The idea was to make sure that the only differentiating factor was the mobile device used to take the photo and its software, camera, lens, and flash. The N82 is noted to have the better camera, lens, focal range, and zenon flash. The N85, while the new device, is not noted for making a great evolutionary step forward for photography but instead a sideways step from the N82.
The N82 has a better flash and a better focal range than the N85, but the N85 takes the photos as you click, it does not focus and then capture. At times this is much more satisfactory as one is not frustrated as the camera focuses, but as you can see from the photos above the N82 takes much clearer and sharper photos than the N85. I conclude that it is worth it to wait for the N82 to focus rather than have the immediate satisfaction that the N85 is fast.
As for night and difficult lighting situations, I purposely took the camera phones to the badly lit red interior of Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, California, which is the bane of rock photographers LA wide for the lack of spotlights and the red walls which eat light right on up before your camera can sense it. The N85 won in this situation when I turned off its flash and just had it shoot. It was fast, captured warm colors and made the most of the dim lighting, but the N85 failed miserably when I turned the flash on as it was dark and dim. The N82 was blurry and a bit darkish with no flash inside of Alex’s, but with the lovely Zenon flash really lit the band right on up.
The other difficult situation that I took both camera phones to was the bright sunlight and water reflections of Huntington Beach’s Dog Beach that included two white dogs, Scruffy & Belle. Usually the white fur plus the sunlight makes for a photo failure, esp. when it comes to rendering the form of the dog as they usually become just a white blob. Both the Nokia N82 and N85 did valiant jobs with the bright sunlight, white fur, and water reflections but the N82 rendered warmer, clearer colors and the N85 shifted the color slightly to the cold, blue spectrum.
Overall, other than the no flash at Alex’s Bar, the N82 wins this round against the N85.
Up next: Round 2 – Punk Rock Bowling. Who will win in the lights of Las Vegas and the yellow shift of the Sam’s Town bowling lanes? Check back next Monday for the answer on whether the N82 or the N85 will win…
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Please note the following specifications on each camera phone:
The Nokia N82: 5 megapixel (2592 x 1944 pixels) camera, CMOS sensor, Carl Zeiss optics, Tessarâ„¢ lens, Focal length 5.6 mm, Focus range 10 cm ~ infinity, Macro focus distance 10-50 cm, Integrated xenon flash
v20.0.062 firmware (RM-313)

The Nokia N85:
5 megapixel camera (2584 x 1938 pixels) camera, CMOS sensor, Carl Zeiss optics, Tessarâ„¢ lens, Focal length 5.45 mm, Focus range 10 cm ~ infinity, Macro focus distance 10-50 cm, Dual LED flash
v10.045.53 firmware (RM-333)
Why do I list the firmware of the camera? Well, a recent update for the N85 is rumored to improve camera function via software and I will update both today so that this weekend’s Round 2 will be on the most updated firmware.
Update: 01.14.09 – I made an attempt to update the firmware on the N85 today, as there are rumored improvements for the camera performance, but the ancient borrowed PC I used would kept disconnecting the Nokia Updater and the N85. Since, I don’t want to send a bricked N85 back to WOM World, I gave up for today. Everyone I know either has a virus ladlen 2003 or older PC or they have switched to Macs. Over the Air (OTA) firmware updating can’t come fast enough to the Nseries line for me.