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Nokia N93 review Ц camera + video camera = smart phone. Part 2: With a photo smart in your handsA walk in the city turns into a real adventure with Nokia N93. Not only is it a very interesting gadget and you want to photograph as much as you can with it, but the people turn around to stare.
From the outside, the phone looks like an unprecedented wonder Ц either a camera or a phone or bothЕ And, in fact, it is both. A good phone and a good camera.
Nokia N93 as a cameraЕ
N93 has good quality optics. IТll be frank Ц the lens is exactly what you need. Carl Zeiss and there is nothing to add here.
However, not by optics alone, as good as it can be. Quite modest in size CCD sensor is installed into the smart phone. I think itТs the same as in the budget digital cameras. If you disassemble an enlarged image, literally, by pixels, you can notice the color noise in the shades. In a condition of lack of light, the sensor makes a lot of noise Ц like in other camera phones of a lower grade.
The dynamic range is also not that big and sometimes the automatic exposition mistakes (quite rare, but still there) add to the limitations of the range. Here you go; I am shooting the vegetation near the park entrance. Half of the shot is flooded by the sunlight and half Ц the shadow from the tree tops. The lights are overexposed and the darks are underexposed. And the shot came out quite poor. I would delete it, but I am citing it to show the limitations of the sensor installed into the Nokia N93.
I am making a pause hereЕ What do I compare it to? If you compare $850 N93 smart to $200 digital camera from, say, Canon, then, as surprising as it is, the digital camera will win. This is how it is for the time being. There are no wondersЕ But if you compare N93 to similar camera phones and photo smarts, then everything is fine. N93 is among the leaders (even though itТs difficult to say it has the absolute superiority Ц new models come out very often, including those from Nokia).
LetТs discuss all the points. First is the sensor. It is impossible to build into the phone a sensor with a 2/3 inch diagonal. It is unreal Ц youТll have to enlarge the phone size until it stops being portable. A small sensor Ц lowered characteristics. Consequently, a cheap camera wins over an expensive smart phone.
Second Ц the optics. Carl Zeiss is, of course, super, but the working segment of such lens is significantly small. I.e. it is very difficult to build a serious optical system with such a size. To be fair I have to say that the optics can be even smaller (or just a bit bigger) in ultra compact cameras. I see a distortion (of lines at the frame edges) in both the ultra compact ones and in Nokia N93 Ц and not only at the short end of the zoom. Distortion is normal for wide-angles, but nonsense for telephotos. In this sense N93 optics is not idealЕ But still good. I am trying to substantiate some shortcomings in the work of the camera, its mistakes, instead of picking on a good smart.
Further on Ц the structure of the lens. I got an impression that the lens lacks framing. Yes, a dark framing that would cut off the side rays. When you shoot against the sun, the optics flashes heavily. Even though, I tried to choose complementary to the light angles to get good quality shots.
Light sensitivity of the sensor. It seems that in N93, itТs not that high. And this creates specific limitations when you shoot in low light. The built in flash does not save you Ц it light only the foreground. Also, the color noise appears in the shades. It is less than in the smarts and camera phones with CMOS sensors, but itТs still there.
I very like the possibility of exposure input Ц 2 spaces (i.e. 2 EV) in every direction (increase and decrease of sensitivity). This lets you deceive the automatics. By the way, the automatic exposure is multi program, although there are not many program modes. There is the automatic exposure itself, user setting, close-up (macro), landscape, night (mode) and night portrait. A green frame flashes in the center of the viewfinder (i.e. the smart phone screen) if the automatic focus cannot bring the lens into focus. You can shoot from the distance of a few centimeters in the macro mode. In general the exposure automatics work without errors.
I didnТt like the camera behavior after I turned it off and then on again, when the user settings are exchanged for default ones. Although, this is a feature of all Nokia smart phones. You also have to turn off the flash manually every time as well as choose the needed exposure program.
Operating speed. N93 camera shoots with a one second delay even in the condition of ideal lighting, with bright autumn sun. You catch a shot and press the button. The image stays moving, then stops and you hear the shutter sound (electronic deceit, the shutter itself works noiselessly). Then I see the shot on the screen. And itТs not really what I expected. At fault for the delay lies on the exposure meter (to an insignificant degree), low memory operating speed (there is not separate buffer hear, as far as I could see) and automatic focus. For the fairness sake, I have to say that in most case the automatic focus makes no mistakes and works precisely. But you have to keep in mind the delay and get ready for it in advance.
ErgonomicsЕ The worst here. But you just have to get used to it as there is no way to fix it. The problem is in the structure itself and the viewfinder type. The smart is heavy and great only as a phone, but too light and not very catchy as a camera.
How do we build a shot on a camera with an electronic display? By extending the camera in our hand and staring into the image on the display. The same happens with N93, but it also lies on the edge and wants to open. The extended hand inevitably shakes. During long delays the image is blurred. Do the digital cameras work better? Better, especially in cameras with telescopic viewfinder. We hold this cheap camera with two hands, hugging it to our face and peer into the viewfinder. And the camera has not one, but three points of contact with the body, i.e. three points of support points. As hard as you try, an extended hand isnТt a very good support point. ItТs living. And unnoticeably (and for the camera it is noticeable) shakesЕ
Now about the good stuff. The photos are great. Excellent photos! In the technical sense, of course (I am not the best photographer). And thatТs much better than what I expected from Nokia N93.
Can it, in this case, replace a digital camera? Of course! Without any doubts Ц if you wonТt raise too high standards. This camera will always be with you. And will do an excellent job. And itТs absolutely clear that you can print 3.2 mega pixel photographs of this quality.
So donТt get depressed. Nokia N93 is not a УbigФ camera yet, but it is a camera after all. And quite good at thatЕ
Еand as a video camera
I consciously escape describing the camera and video camera settings. It is enough to feel comfortable while shooting (but noticeably less than in an УadultФ camera). I also liked system of settings outlet Ц in the form of images in the right part of the horizontally opened screen. It really reminds you of camera settings. And the smart itself, especially with a turned active panel, looks like a portable video camera.
By the way, when you turn the screen the camera automatically switches on. You can choose photo or video mode from the settings menu or by a special button on the right (rear, in this position) edge of the lower part of the folding phone.
N93 fits well in your hand. The big finger is exactly at the big shutter release button (with a red point) and at the zoom control runner. Just a slight downward movement of your finger and you are already using the mini joystick that duplicates the main joystick in the active panel positionЕ But the index finger constantly slips to the protective glass of the lens. Besides, you have to remove the lens cover in order to get the camera working, just turning the active panel is not enough. And here you can thank the company that carefully attached this important nonsense with a lace. By the way, you twist the lace around your palm Ц another caution that lets you protect the dear smart from falling onto the ground.
You can control the zoom while shooting. But the microphones record the motor sound (IТve already mentioned that). And the frame form does not let you stabilize the smart phone in the process of shooting Ц the image in the shot shakes, no matter how hard I triedЕ
But the quality! The max resolution is 640х480 pixels (VGA). Great colors, contrast, focusЕ By the way, from all the phones only Nokia 6233 records video of similar quality. You also have a quite good photo module, even though, it has CMOS sensor (although, the video camera, in this phone, works better than the camera). However, N93 is still better.
And the last thing. YouТll have to buy a memory card if you want to shoot much and often. The one in the set is 128 MB and that is not a lot for such photo and video.
Video sample 1, mp4, 10.7 MB >>>
Video sample 2, mp4, 7.95 MB >>>
A few words to finish
ItТs hard to imagine whatТs going to happen to such devices tomorrow. Today already Nokia N93 shoots the same quality as digital cameras and better than some video cameras. And is also an excellent smart, at that, that has everythingЕ But remember my word Ц in two-three years, this gadget will call a sad smile to your face. New leaders will appear at that time.
You cannot doubt one thing. They will bear the same great name Ц Nokia.
© Nikolay Nadezhdin, Mobiset.ru reviews
Translated by Olga Mexina (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published Ч 06 march 2007
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