Once upon a time, Nokia had a reputation for good phone cameras, especially with its partnership with lens maker Zeiss. Of course, back then, it didn’t have much competition anyway. As it got left behind in the smartphone race, it also lost its prominence in mobile photography. And just as the Nokia 8 is its current champion in the smartphone market, so it also represents its best foot in taking pictures and recording videos. And, unfortunately, HMD Global still has a lot of work to do.
The camera spec sheet alone might disappoint. While megapixel count isn’t always the determining factor, the 13 megapixel dual cameras, one RGB and one monochrome, might seem dated by today’s standards. The f/2.0 lens aperture, even if by the famed lens maker, isn’t exactly flattering either. But that’s on paper. How does it perform in real tests?
The kindest way to describe it would be “passable”. Exposure is good and so is dynamic range, the latter only when Auto HDR kicks in. And it doesn’t do that often. The Nokia 8 is prone to undersaturation and color shading and produces fairly strong noise even in bright light. It naturally gets worse indoors. Zooming is practically non-existent though the dual cameras do produce a nice bokeh effect.
For videos, the Nokia 8 performs even lower than stills, as expected. DxOMark attributes it to sub par autofocus and stabilization. Exposure stepping become obvious in lighting changes while recording, and dynamic range is considerably narrower compared to stills.
With a score of 68 under DxOMark’s new scoring system, the Nokia 8 is just a few rungs up from the bottom of the pile. It definitely doesn’t show the best that HMD Global is capable of in this particular contest. Here’s to hoping the Nokia 9 will have something to show for.