Both the new flagship Nokia N97 and the previous flagship N95 8GB boast the same specifications 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with Carl Zeiss lens. Apart from the fact that the former has dual LED flash while the latter only has a single LED flash, how do the resulting still camera photos from the two phones compare? Could there be some slight differences in the optics, or in the software producing the JPEG image output? Well, I’ve put them to the test and found that there are noticeable differences.
This is no professional critique of camera performance. However, I got my hands on both the N97 and N95 8GB for testing at the same time. The photos were basically taken from the same spot (the phones are physically adjacent to each other), looking at the same angle, and taking the photo at the same time. Both cameras were left in their default setting, all photos shot in fully automatic mode.
The gallery below shows the photos from the two phones. Click on the thumbnails to get a larger, but not yet full resolution image. (View the full resolution images at my Ovi album.)
You can see that the photos produced by the two phones are noticeably different. The camera of the new N97 seems to produce more accurate colours and the overall exposure is quite well balanced.
In the indoor shots, you can also tell quite clearly that the N97 produced sharper images. The outdoor shots were a mixed bag though.
I don’t have flash photography comparisons to share here. My own experience is that the N97 does produce slightly better flash photos, no doubt thanks to the added light from its dual LED flashes.
Is the N97 a better camera than the N95 8GB? I think, yes. But it is not something to justify upgrading from a N95 8GB to the N97 though. At least it is not a good enough reason on its own. The improvements are very marginal.