Published on July 28, 2009
Nokia N86 8MP & N82 low light comparison July 2009 1
Background Many regard the Nokia N82 as one of the best Definitions devices available for low light mobile Lux is a measure for light level (illuminance) photography. Following the introduction of the 0 lux – complete darkness 10 lux – roughly equivalent to a bar/pub new Nokia N86 8MP, many have been intrigued 100 lux – average living room to see how this newcomer compares against 200 lux – very dark overcast day what many see as the benchmark. Using one of Nokia’s imaging studios we created Firmware this material as a means of comparing in a N82 FW – 30.019 controlled back to back comparison both with N86 8MP – 11.043 - [An updated FW version is currently flash and without flash. in the works for future release which should provide a further improvement in performance in low light situations] ☺ Test conditions Lighting monitored and controlled to +/- 1 lux using Nokia developed bespoke lighting system All settings automatic excluding the one example where flash was manually cancelled to illustrate low light situations where flash can not be used. 2
Key 100% crop to show detail Distance from scene 1m Light level 200 Lux Flash mode Auto Full frame image Nokia N86 8MP – No flash required Nokia N82 – Flash fired automatically 4 3
1m 10 lux NO Flash Nokia N86 8MP – Flash cancelled manually. Nokia N82 – Flash cancelled manually. This situation is to illustrate the benefits of the new sensor and new large aperture [f/2.4] lens. Despite the flash being cancelled, as would be the case in a night scene for example, the N86 8MP still provides a highly usable image. Please note: It’s important to ensure the device is steady in such low light levels! 4
1m 200 Lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – No flash required Nokia N82 – Flash fired automatically 5
1m 100 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – No flash required Nokia N82 – Flash fired automatically This illustrates that its possible to continue to shoot without needing flash in lighting levels that are roughly half that of other devices. This allows more natural recording of the moment. 6
1m 10 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired Nokia N82 – Flash fired It’s worth noting that the new Dual LED flash, (70% more powerful than previous generation Dual LED solutions) due to the wider 28mm lens of the N86 8MP, the Dual LED’s need to emit around 30% more illumination to provide equal illumination to that of the N82 when used from the same distance. This is because the Dual LED’s are diffused to cover a ‘wider’ area than required for the N82. 7
2m 10 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired Nokia N82 – Flash fired Despite the N82’s patented flash control system (developed to prevent washed out areas) with objects at different distances it’s a forgone conclusion that close objects will appear washed out, rendering a ‘harsher’ end result. However, some may prefer the ‘brighter’ look provided with the N82 rather than what for some may look more natural with the N86 8MP. 8
3m 10 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired Nokia N82 – Flash fired At 3m, as the xenon flash approaches its limit it starts to become apparent that there are higher levels of noise than the newer sensor equipped N86 8MP. 9
3.5m 10 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired Nokia N82 – Flash fired 10
1m 0 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired automatically Nokia N82 – Flash fired automatically There was absolutely no illumination from any other source in this final sequence of 4 images. It’s pure LED vs. Xenon. As the illumination in this sequence is entirely from the LED/xenon sources both could be considered ‘unnatural’ and are of course considerably brighter as a result than you can see with the naked eye ☺ 11
2m 0 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired automatically Nokia N82 – Flash fired automatically 12
3m 0 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired automatically Nokia N82 – Flash fired automatically Similar story to the 10 lux sequence. At 3m, as the xenon flash approaches its limit it starts to become apparent that the there are higher levels of noise than with the N86 8MP. 13
3.5m 0 lux Auto Nokia N86 8MP – Flash fired automatically Nokia N82 – Flash fired automatically 14
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