Cameras: Nokia N9 vs Nokia N8 (vs iPhone 4S)

| October 7, 2011 | 43 Replies

Jay Kim of ShootSpeak has compared the cameras of the Nokia N8 against the Nokia N9. Both with and without flash, in this indoor situation the N8 fared much better. N9’s is actually a lot worse than previous samples I’ve seen.


This is a very limited set for now, and for better comparison (and fairer assessment) it would be more helpful seeing more pictures in more conditions. I’d expect such articles to appear soon as the N9 availability spreads.

Whilst we’re here, I thought you guys might want to check out an article by Steve Litchfield comparing the specs of the Nokia N8’s one year old camera against the new iPhone 4S. The N9 isn’t in their roster.

Thanks ukko for the tip!


Category: MeeGo, Nokia, Symbian

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • A-S-D

    Jakiman (Jay Kim) said he would do more soon. I’m guessing he’s too busy ATM and might do them on Saturday as well as a full review.
    So far, he’s comments have been that its fresher than the iPhone and the screen overall is better than the Galaxy SII.

    • Ninja

      N8 vs ANYTHING else is pointless really because N8 will ALWAYS be better. I’m not sure why people bother, other than to prove how good the N8 camera is.

      The N8 camera will only be beaten by the same team that made the N8 camera. And luckily that will happen next year when the N8 successor comes out with a special zoom ability that is VERY impressive (What Nokia originally announced as TrueZoom some time ago but didn’t state capabilities).

      And yes, this new cameraphone will definitely be Symbian based. (None of this is rumour, it is fact because I’ve spoken to someone I trust familiar with the capabilities of the device).

  • Yeah, it was something I whipped up super quick before going to bed. I will try and post some more comparison shots in various conditions hopefully by this weekend. Obviously, this article isn’t doing the N9 any favors right now. But it’s Nokia’s fault for making the N8 camera too good! =P

    • N8ownerwantingtobuyN9

      Our N8’s still kill every phone dead as a camera. iPhone 4s and Android don’t even come close.

      It would be interesting to see comparisons with other phones that you have around from family/friends too.

  • deep space bar

    N8 mangles everything

  • guest

    I wonder how much the image quality would be improved by using the accelerometer data for blur reduction with longer exposures. Some phones are doing this, right? This should be done with DSP or custom silicon to be real-time. Or maybe the image integrator/sampler should be directly driven by the accel data, I hope they are smart enough to do something like this.

  • biggie

    I’m keeping my N8 until something better come along. so far nothing come close.

  • Just Visiting

    Against the N8, I can understand; but really hoping that this 8MP camera for the N9/Searay outperforms other 8MP cameraphones out there. Nokia is known for their camera quality, and with all of the shine by Damian Dinning on the N9 imaging…well, the camera better deliver! No excuses.

  • I will try to see if I can compare it to the more comparable SGS2 / X7 and post up a new article soon. (may not be the same photo as I have sold my SGS2 so I’ll just need to use my friend’s SGS2 at the work place)

  • Jesse

    Dang, that sensor in the N8 is just too good. I hope they make a Windows Phone with that sensor.

    • vita

      i hope they make a Windows Phone with a BETTER sensor than the n9(better than n8, smaller 😉 )..only thing that will make me consider a NOKwinpho..

      • Jesse

        Haha, yeah N8 quality or better in an even smaller package would be so amazing! I would actually be fine with it being the n8 size though too! I just really want a Windows Phone with a great camera

        • Mazze

          Agreed. I’m fine with the size of my N8. Thickness is perfectly acceptable for me as well. And there is no way I’m gonna exchange my N8 for an N9. Why would I give up such great camera quality for saving a couple of mm of thickness? That would be stupid, not to mention the financial loss occurring from selling my used N8 and buying a new N9.

          • Jesse

            Me too, I would even be ok with it being a little thicker if it makes the camera even better. If they could somehow keep that sensor for the n8 and have a 24-70 zoom range in a phone I would be a happy person.

    • Grazy

      surely the main reason the n8 is so good is down to its flash?

      • Mapantz

        Did you even read the the page? lol

      • Jesse

        Not at all but the Xeon flash is very nice, much better than an LED flash that is for sure. I want that to be on my next phone as well.

        The sensor on the N8 is just a bigger sensor that lets more light in so you get more colors with less noise.

  • #@!

    n8 is too good ,and makes n9 looks so bad
    it’s not a fair competition
    I want to see n9 and iphone4S…..

    the photos taken by ip4s in the advertisement are even better than n8’s
    it can’t be ture,we need real photos to compare

    • Dave

      The photos shown from the iPhone 4S were in perfect lighting, under those circumstances almost any camera would have given good results.

      You definitely can’t say that those demo photos were better than what could have been produced on the N8.

  • StylinRed

    Awesome the comparisons are arriving finally

    eagerly awaiting Michaels review/compares

  • t t

    I was surprised how big difference is between N8 and N9. N8 picture quality is quite much better.

  • Pökö

    I would say that N9 picture quality without flash is huge disappoitment. Or am I just too used to N8 pictures (i have had one for year, actually it has today its one year birthday :)?
    I haven’t seen lately much pictures produced by other phones, but if that N9 picture is above average, rest must be pure crap.

  • Pökö

    And wasn’t the N9 sensor size supposed to be comparable to N8?

    • Dave

      Nope, it isn’t supposed to be comparable. What the N9 does is “proper” 4:3 and 16:9 imaging, its the only mobile (and only camera?) to do that right.

      • Just Visiting

        @Dave…Well ‘proper’ or not, if the N9 camera photo quality is poor, then it doesn’t matter how proper it is!

        We need to see side by side comparisons of the N9 against the other new 8MP cameraphones out there including the iPhone 4s, SGS2, Nexus Prime, SE Arc,and HTC has quite a few 8MP f2.2 cameraphones on the market as well; if the N9 camera phone has poor quality against the other devices, then all of the touting of the N9 imaging is moot especially since Nokia is supposed to be THE best when it comes to camera’s on a smartphone.

        Steve L. at AAS will hopefully do a comparison; hopefully PhoneArena will do one as well.

  • Mathias

    Some samples got me a bit worried about N9’s camera, but I have a feeling, that its more on the software side and might get fixed. The DSP could help with the noise.

    But, its was my main reason to buy it, and now as S4 is pretty similar on camera front, I might finally try an iPhone too.

    • Pökö

      I wouldn’t buy that for few reasons. No fm-transmitter, no NFC chip, which I think will be huge success in near future, no offline navigation (I travel a lot) and still I don’t trust that camera is even on N9 level.

      And the price…huoh.

      My next phone will be phone that has at least same quality camera as N8 and it also need to have NFC.
      And fm-transmitter of course. It is just so cozy feeling, when goind to summer cottage and late evening listen evergreen music from 30 year old radio. Nothing beats that.

  • Khalid PhoeniX

    It’s even ridiculous to compare the 3 phones IMO ..

    I just bought a Sammy Galaxy S II .. but hell I’m still keeping my Nokia N8 .. The image quality is insanely gorgeous !

    alOt better than my SGS2 and my lost iphone4

  • IamWalrus

    I don’t believe these were samples from an N9. Or it’s from a early prototype. They look frankly awful. Grainy and, over-saturated, and the lighting is horrible. Very unnatural. Other shots I’ve seen from the N9 look dramatically better.

  • masood.alkhter

    I would say N9 will have the best picture than any other 8meg camera phone out ther becouse of the CARL ZEISS LENS.I have a iphone 4 and a nokia N95 they both 5 meg pix camera phones but my N95 takes better picturs ( even tho its a much older phone). I think it will be the same for 8megs.The only good thing about the iphone 4 is the retnia display it makes the picture brighter on the phone..but wen i put my pictures on a lcd tv or get them develpt. the nokia N95 5 mega pix wins all the time. I hope all windows phone have CARL ZEISS LENS.

    • Jesse

      Lens is important, but the sensor is really necessary to advantage of a good lens. Without a good sensor you are just wasting a perfectly good lens : (

  • Cod3rror

    N8 blew away the N9.

    Nokia N8 has a fantastic camera, no doubt. If they only improved video stabilization and added some effects to remove this roll…

    It would be perfect.

    • N00-00

      Agree… Hopefully, that’ll come with that in the N8’s successor..

  • Medel

    Nokia N8 for the win! because the carl zeiss lens. great photos and great for taking videos at 30fps. and i still love my Nokia N8.

  • Another 2 shot camera comparison – Nokia N9 vs Samsung Galaxy S2

    And no, my N9 is using the latest PR that comes with the retail release as mine is the retail release N9 64GB model. It is in no way a prototype or a pre-production mode unfortunately. =(

    • Just Visiting

      @ShootSpeak…Great comparison, and thanks!

      Damian Dinning has got some explainin’ to do 🙂

    • Jesse

      This one is much harder to tell. In those pictures the SG2 looked very processed and the N9 picture not processed at all. I would say that Samsung is doing a lot of post processing on their photos and not in a good way. The SG2 photos looked like they were run through a smart blur on photoshop.

      Regardless though the N9 is not impressive camera wise in these.

  • tell me… can the n9 or n8 do long exposure like most dslr cameras where u can set the shutter speed for like night shots… or light painting… i mean the n8 has 12mp and my dslr has 9.1mp haha… im sure it will be beautiful and
    good at it

    • No. It does not support long (e.g. >1sec) exposures. N8 does not and N9 does not either. In fact, not sure of any recent mobile phones that does this. My 10 year old Canon S30 compact camera could do up to 30 seconds and it was brilliant. (one of all time greats IMO)

  • Thank you for every other magnificent article. Where else may just anybody get that type of information in such a perfect method of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the search for such information.

  • Sarah

    I’m a big fan of the iPhone 4S camera. The accessories you can get for it are amazing too. The Olloclip is genius!