Nokia N86 Camera insights – All about it

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My last weekend with Nokia N86 and sure this comes the time, when I should write about the specific thing for what I asked for a trial of Nokia N86. The Camera … I am not saying the 8MP camera only as most of the called it … its much more than just the megapixels. We will see in next why …

But before starting I must tell you that all these stuff are purely tech and will be of more concern for people knowing a thing or two about camera technology …

What a Bad Ass Nokia N86 camera is?

The Lens: Everyone talk about Megapixels and says that what if your N82 has 5 MP, mine has higher, what’s the difference? Dude! Its just not about Mega Pixels. But lets start from that ..

Mega Pixels 8 MP means 8 millions of pixels in one particular pics that makes the resolution of 3264×2448 (=79,90,272), but beyond that there is Carl Zeiss; the most renowned name among the lens manufacturers and the Tessar Lens.

Aperture You can notice the changes in my Nokia N82 Tessar and Nokia N86 Tessar … Nokia N82 had Tessar 2.8/5.6 while Nokia N86 got Tessar 2.4-4.8/4.6. Sorry about the condition of my Nokia N82, but its more than 2 and half year old now and has seen lots of things.

What these numbers mean? Its about aperture, the opening that allows the light to pass in. Larger aperture means better performance for low light conditions and lower means better in illuminated environment. It actually says that Nokia N86 has a variable aperture, while Nokia N82 has only one setting F2.8, Nokia N86 boosts on three options F2.4, F3.2 and F4.8 as their specification page says.

Not only me, but many other people trying to find that where are the settings to control the aperture manually, but it seems that they decided to keep it automatically controlled only (after all they were making phones not DSLR).

Wide angle Do you know that Nokia N86 was the first phone ever to offer a 28mm wide angle lens? As the GSMArena link says, it offers your around 20% more larger view angle means you could expect much better landscape and scenery shots now. Wide angle lens get lower focal lengths that reflects in numbers (4.8mm which was 5.6mm in Nokia N82).

Mechanical aspects: 

Shutter speed When you talk about taking instant pics and get irritated of blurs then you must be actually talking about the term shutter speed. Not exactly sure that how much it was in Nokia N82, but Nokia N86 sure has a high shutter speed that could go max up to 1/1000 secs, sure you can’t drop your eyelids faster than this 😉

Camera Cover Nokia N86 got Slide Lens Cover for Protection & Camera Activation and the difference in mechanism could be spotted in the above pics. Sure its way smoother than we seen in Nokia N82. Good news.

Dual LED Flash Technically they call it Third generation of Dual LED Flash and even if many might be pissed off over Nokia for dumping Xenon over LED flash, it had its part of sense. LED is more favorable for phones due to lower power consumptions and size and for the consumer side, the profit is video light. Let me show you two videos: one with Video Light and one without video light.


I am sure you could spot the difference.


But adding to the conversation of Xenon Vs LED, I would also like to show you the difference of color re-production with a LED Flash and a Xenon Flash.. or may be its feature check out


And as AAS pointed out, Xenon also do well about freezing the objects at the moment better than LED. Check out their post for sure, though my results are opposite about illumination where N86 is better and natural.

Though I am still trying to find the way to use LED as a torch without any software, just from some hotkey like it was in Nokia E72. Anyone got anything?

Dedicated Camera Key Yes!! with Nokia N86, we got the camera keys again. After using Nokia E72, I really felt that how important it is to have a dedicated camera key and that should be well built too. After years of using Nokia N82, I really found the metallic camera keys of Nokia N86 a superb and solid upgrade over Nokia N82.

Software aspects:

Well! Living with similar software world for years spoils you this much that in first sight every symbian looks same to you and you think that things not moving. May be even I might have thought so, when first seen the interfaces, looked similar, familiar.. but it was to take a few days, when it started revealing that how much improved things have became with special focus over Camera improvements.. and its about each and everything.

Speedy processor makes processing of photos after shooting them like instant. Panorama mode was never like this much smooth. Everything feels like the way it should be even if symbian interfaces feel older than we might have seen in Maemo or other OS’s, but they work and they work superb.

Unfortunately, I lost the part of post, I was writing over software aspects… writing it again ..

Starting from the settings, there are the usual options available…

Menu –> Tools –> Settings –> Applications –> Camera –> Image

Menu –> Tools –> Settings –> Applications –> Camera –> Video

Even more details about the quality ..

After that we get around ten options, when we customize the toolbar displayed on right of the screen, when we open the camera …


Camera view is the old one, but one could notice the details

The left bottom side has the battery icon and then quality icon next to that (showing 8M means 8MP now), in next to that its the count of remaining photos that could be snapped with current remaining free space, I am not exactly sure about the icon next to that, but that’s probably says the same the remaining space.. the last icon is GPS one. If its not showing x then it means that location is locked and you are ready to go with GPS info tagged inside the pics.

As told by one of my friend on twitter, I noticed a probably bug in Nokia N86. After taking an image with GPS info on, even when you close down the camera, you find a GPS icon on the right top of your phone screen, when nothing is using GPS right then. Not sure what it is..

I find myself specially hooked up with panorama mode of Nokia N86. Its nothing that we haven’t seen it earlier, but it never seem to be this much smooth and perfect in any earlier camera. Earlier only right and left key, now have became four ways. The speed of processing makes it instant to move on after it takes one shot and the results..

Though things get changed with moving object and situations a little, but its sure not a fault of Nokia N86.


Image editing options are like they were always… very basic.. same contrast, brightness, frames etc..

But what’s the big deal here is the basic video editing options..

So.. what you say… wow!!!

Do you know what impressed me about Nokia N86 most? It was the macro mode performance of wide angle lens. Its just not the pixels, but see the finer details in next few random samples I took in my office…

So, what’s say? Do you still believe that there was nothing in this world better than Nokia N82?

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Nokia N86-New Customization Options

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When I took Nokia N86 in hands then it seems just the same software wise as I have seen with Nokia N82 or any other Symbian OS v9.3, S60, but this time it was rel 3.2. Let’s see what made me excited about it.

When taken the first look, it was like any other non-touch home screen, I would have seen. Same vertical top configurable icons on standby and then a list of services like Chat, Mail, Calendar, Sharing .. just the same, we are so used to see in other Nokia Smartphones series …

In the first look, it was just the flash based screen saver that was new and good thing to me about Nokia N86 (though thanks to my twitter friend, I got the same on my Nokia N82 as well) and really made me realized that I should have explored my Nokia N82 much more.

But the magic begins, when I went more inside, inside the customizations .. ..

Even the themes option was much more richer and cooler than Nokia N82 or Nokia E52. There were plenty of options for standby itself in terms of four standby themes and sure vertical Icon bar became my choice and still the same.

I seriously looked back in Nokia N82 and Nokia E52 that are with me, but these were sure new options that I seen and now I wonder if there was something such in E72 or other devices that I have gone through. Don’t remember that anything such was anywhere. Why I am so happy about it? See yourself the new look of the screen, just after the vertical icon bar standby screen.

I really wonder that if Vertical Standby screen is a much better idea than the traditional horizontal ones.

Not only standby themes were new, but even our Menu view got some new options ..

May be most of the people are happy with grid and list views only, but what about these two new options?


Call Image option works in both ways, either you call or receive and there is more of it, you can even set a video as your ringtone for some particular person. Isn’t it cool?

Video Ringtone Call Image

Loads of event options: You can set tones for many things here like when the battery is charging, when battery is empty and like that ..

Not just that but the theme options extends to much more …

Here is what kind of Audio theme you want to choose for whole phone use experience …

This is where you define that what background your phone will carry, while calling someone. ..

This is the place where you choose.. you can check the left pics of N82 that how much more options are here now ..

Sure, the animated Time screen is my favorite, but many might have liked Slideshow more, though I still think that if someone was using the Music player option as ‘power saver’ 😉

Even the kickstand that seems to be a new showoff for probably the biggest non-touch screen, have plenty of options to configure about.

And it found the lovely feature that was not available in the times of my Nokia N82.. the over the air update ..  though mine has already the latest one. I love to get updates myself 😦 don’t you?

I used video calling as well, with my youngest brother on the other side using E52 and same complaint.. why can’t Nokia start using more than just VGA for front cameras? I mean I understand that better pixels will ask for more data, but you can make that vary from settings.. at least people who have better data plans, wont complaint .. yourself check how the pics might look like in low light conditions..

Yeah!! you are fully allowed to use the pics above for scaring your kids .. he he he

Obviously, it inherits Full Quick Office and PDF reader from Nokia N82 .. and Zip too.

What I wish more for.. if Nokia  starts adding popular services like Flicker, Picasa, Facebook etc in their list of Share Online services by default.


Lots to say about … but how could I have left the mention of FM transmitter even if it has a very simple interface …

The camera interface wont be covered all in this post itself, but keeping it short.. it adds much expected Panorama mode

I really really think that if Android or iOS has something like this panorama mode… just see what results it could obtain from even a newbie …

Options for customizing the much richer toolbar now…

It also adds geo-tagging, though I was just surprised to see record location option in my Nokia N82 as well. Just for that purpose, I installed Location Tagger from Nokia Beta Labs, is that brings Record Location in or it was the last firmware update? Anybody?

If you think that these were the minor updates then one more feature is here .. Face Detection

For people finding about the most important feature of Nokia N86 camera .. the variable aperture… check out the exposure setting thing..

So, anything I missed that is new in Nokia N86? Sure tell me… I wanna know…

A closer look over N86 exteriors and hardware

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You must say that I am late to the party to take a trial of Nokia N86, but being with this beast for just a few days, sure make me realized that it was a sin to be lost in amazing world of Nokia N82 only. Its nothing to offend Nokia N82 and its Xenon flash, but sure N86 seems to be a worthy successor for Nokia N82 and amazingly on each ground. Thanks WomWorld/Nokia, I really wanted to get in touch of advanced camera feature before Nokia N8 arrives itself.

Even since the rumors, the focus has been on wide lenses and high megapixels though a closer look over Nokia N86 features really makes you thrilled that how much thoughts were given over the making of Nokia N86.

Nokia N86 was always compared to Nokia N82, even when it was close of being a proper successor of Nokia N95 (dual slider with GPS and 5MP, which once broken new grounds for Nokia and been a longtime success story). It was beautiful to watch how Nokia was learning from experiments like Nokia N96 and Nokia N85 to put itself back on the charge of camera phone fight again, a journey to beat itself for the first spot.

Since I own Nokia N82, so it was more relevant for me to compare it with and to understand that what it got more …

Size and shape: Like Rafe from AAS said, I also would agree that Nokia N86 got just a very different world than the one, which made Nokia N95 form factor a huge success once. After Apple and Google, the market was being dominated with slimmer and touch oriented devices and when there were less of physical buttons, people were asking for slimmer and slimmer devices. Sure, the heavy shape was not that much welcome than it would have been then.

Though it looks opposite, but it was thinner and shorter device than Nokia N82 except extra width to incorporate 2.6” screen.

Nokia N86 dimensions: 103.4 x 51.4 x 16.5 mm, 69 cc
Nokia N82 dimensions: 112 x 50.2 x 17.3 mm, 90 cc

There were many other exterior changes for good like dedicated unlock key, removal of kind of extra gallery key (not needed actually), card slot was pushed under the battery cover and with metal piece covering the body, we got a tiny charging light as well… ye!!!!!!

And who could forget that kickstand that was wonderful when one wanted to enjoy the movie play.

Not only that it was also possible to define some app to be fired when you open kickstand, probably due to the small ‘click’ under the kickstand as shown

Screen: Nokia N86 was probably the second device from Nokia to feature an AMOLED screen (N85 first), when Nokia N82 had only a TFT screen, not only that but it was a 2.6” screen than earlier 2.4” screen of Nokia N82.

Lovely were those brighter colors and even if there were words of poor performance in direct sunlight, for me, it was sure much much better than my Nokia N82 screen. But sure, it wasn’t something comfortably usable under direct sunlight thing.

Keypad: The keypad of Nokia N82 was something unique about that device, I really don’t remember any other with similar keypad. Even if smaller and of more height buttons were annoying to some of people, they were proven to add blind typing much better than anything else in the smart phone world.

In comparison of that, Nokia N86 keys were also a much better improvement from flat keys of Nokia N95, Nokia N96 or Nokia N85. Very very good tactile feedback and amazingly spaced, Nokia N86 were sure a dream for even normal candy bar shaped non-slider devices and it was impressive that how slider was working even after leaving almost no visible spacing.

Speakers and music keys: Specs says the same about both, but I found Nokia N86 seriously louder. Someone asked me that if its louder than Nokia 5800 or Nokia N73 and I said it is. The incoming calls or SMS seriously surprises people with a loud tone, when you are with a Nokia N86.

Though its not the same with the loudspeakers. I tried to took some calls on loudspeakers and it was sure not that louder than even cheaper Nokia phones might have been. Music is enough loud, but not sure if that is reaching as high as people told me about Nokia N95, but for me, its louder than Nokia N82 for super sure.

Scratch resistant: The word was attractive to me, but I got disappointed when seen the scratches on my trial Nokia N86 on very first day. Hold your breaths, its not against the claims, but actually was the lamination on the screen that got the scratch, not the screen itself nor the other parts (lower parts around navigation keys, call, end call buttons also have a the same scratch glass surface as screen). Sure a must thing for any mobile you going to purchase.

I am not removing the lamination as its a trial device, but sure could assure that its pretty strong thing when it comes to resist scratches.

Internal build and back cover: I must say, I am hugely disappointed with the back covers that take much scary physical pressure to open them. I mean its plastic and you place a mechanism that need pressure and nails? It will break, may be not today, not in few months, but its always susceptible for the same and its not a good thing.

Though what’s likeable  is the camera cover that is sure a good improvement than Nokia N82. A metal slider (plastic beneath) that slides over a glass surface, smooth, light and protective. Something like people even wishing in Nokia N8.

When we dig more deeper then there are two things, one that I like and one I hate. What is like is battery is loose and easy to remove and what I don’t like is SIM slot is something like those Blackberry models that needs you to slide in the SIM card, sure prone to scratches and ultimately destroying the SIM, if you have habit of changing the SIM frequently.

But there is something that I am still wondering about what that might be. May be readers will suggest something. There are two metal points just in side of SIM slot that seems to be pushed by the back cover, may be some way to tell the phone that battery cover is open or close. But the question is where this thing is being utilized in software?

Processor, RAM, Internal Memory and Card: This must have been one of the fastest processor in non-touch, when it was released. An ARM 11 343 Mhz processor, which was same with Nokia N97 and N97 mini, sure does an impressive job, specially with the camera itself.

RAM is on the same point with 128 MB, which has been considered adequate since long until touch screen and whole new world of heavy apps arrived.

Interesting was to see that even if it has 8 GB internal memory, the C: drive or the phone memory itself seems to be going lower than Nokia N82 (last snapshot). Strange!! Isn’t it? Though one could not expect every device to have application memory as high as 1 GB, but still less than N82? I must say Nokia N82 showing an impressive 81 MB free, while just 54 MB in case of Nokia N86. Haven’t seen any performance issue or memory full till now but …

The biggest missing thing been 3D Graphics HW Accelerator that Nokia forgotten after Nokia N82. Really Nokia was some extra generous, when making Nokia N82. Has the same guy sacked out from Nokia?

GPS Unit: You would be surprised that Nokia N86 is probably one the very few lucky ones (in fact the last one) among S60 3rd version to receive life time free ovi map navigation (Ovi Maps 3.03 here). Not sure why, but I find the GPS performing lesser than Nokia E52 in low signal areas, while in open both perform similar. I found it similar to GPS of N97 Mini or Nokia E72 as it was locking in half a second when I was trying tweets from Gravity from a cold start and that too over edge connection, not over 3G connection.

FM Transmitter: A thing that I came to know about only when was with Nokia N900 and still wonder that why Nokia doesn’t implement a way that you might enjoy the music while transmitting it … Use cases are infinite. I was happy to feel it again with Nokia N86, think you are in hostel and could broadcast your channel on daily basis or exciting things like that.

Camera: I am talking in last, making it short, but it doesn’t mean that camera is one of the features of Nokia N86, its the whole N86. Superbly quick camera and turnaround time, inbuilt geo-tagging, fine tuned and more intuitive panorama mode now, macro shots now more closer and sharper and not to forget variable aperture that’s changing the entire game about colors and low light performance.

Is it hard for you to spot the differences between the four pics above? Two are from Nokia N82 with Xenon Flash and two with Nokia N86 with dual leds. No prizes for guessing…

Though front camera is crap like always.. just VGA. Hope Nokia will read someday that Facetime and video calling like things might need a better camera at par with the growing data speeds on Smart phones now days.

Well! I was thinking to finish it in one shot, covering camera and software details, but its sure a big task to cover the tiny details and will be also boring for readers if the post goes around 5-6 pages. So though to take a break here. Will be back with the words over Nokia N86 camera and improvements it got from Nokia N82 (Sure the most exciting part as it was not easy to win a Nokia N82 fan) and then finally the software tweaks like new home screen (people might not notice the change initially).

So, keep tuned in, if wanna know more about Nokia N86 and sure send the suggestions in my way that what you wish to see in my posts more.

Unboxing Nokia N86

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Like Apple fanboys, there always been many Nokia N82 fanboys all around the globe, those who never given up over this device and same keeping the legend alive even after three years when people have completely forgotten that how first iPhone was. Living three years straight and still roaring to continue the journey that could be only some brave heart, that was our beloved Nokia N82.

Collecting fanboys all around the world, with Nokia N82, all of sudden, Nokia, who always liked to challenge its own device with new variations, found itself against its own device as ‘a rival’ that seemed to be invincible to get challenged. Was hard to challenge the legacy of Nokia N82, but Nokia given a try with Nokia N86 with high pixels and so many other features. Before getting hands on Nokia N8, I thought to just get familiar with evolutions of camera technology with a new trial from WomWorld/Nokia, a successor of the legacy, Nokia N86 and ….. I was not knowing that this going to surprise me this much.

Lets see… Layman’s un-boxing today and some boring blah blah…

After a long wait after requesting a Nokia N86 from Katie, finally yesterday was the day, when that DHL guy arrived at the gate of my office. I am sure that he and my office colleague might have started to think that I am some kind of import/ export guy or smuggler 😉

That’s a tough thing to be a office person. You get a trial device delivered and you know that out of all excitement, you wont get time to open it before the late eve, when you reach home. But, thanks to WomWorld and my office routines, I feel myself much patient person now 😉


The package: The package shouts camera first even if Nokia N86 now have free ovi navigation as well. All around the name was mentioned as Nokia N86 8MP, sure the first new thing in comparison of Nokia N82 package.

The strange thing was the mention of N-Gage as I didn’t found any N-Gage game icon in the phone, while it was there in my Nokia N82 as well. Is the free game offer with Nokia N86 discontinued? Not sure!! Will try to look into it.

The contents inside the package: A slimmer box than Nokia 5800, Nokia N86 comes with all the usual accessories, we have been familiar over the years except two possible missing components; TV-Out cable and might have been important traditional to USB power converter (it has a mini-USB port for charging).

But there was one thing, I was most happy about … it was the first time, I was trialing a pure white device (I wished to have hands on while Nokia E72 in past). What is beauty to watch …

Matching white stereo headphones and upgraded battery 1200 mAh (in comparison of N82) sure going to be treat to me 🙂

Specs: If you start comparing on specs sheet, then you will find that Nokia N86 wasn’t only ahead of Nokia N82 on megapixels, but there were many new things in this worthy successor.


GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 900 / 2100
HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 – American version


103.4 x 51.4 x 16.5 mm, 69 cc


149 g


AMOLED, 16M colors
240 x 320 pixels, 2.6 inches
– Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
– Scratch-resistant surface


Yes, with stereo speakers
– 3.5 mm audio jack
– Dedicated music/gallery keys


8 GB storage Internal , 128 MB RAM

Card slot

microSD, up to 16GB


GPRS Class 32
EDGE Class 32, 296/ 177.6 kbits
3G HSPDA, 3.6 mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, UPnP technology


v2.0 with A2DP


v2.0 MicroUSB


8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, wide 28mm Carl Zeiss lens, autofocus, dual LED flash
Variable aperture, geotagging, ISO 800
Video VGA@30fps
Secondary Camera VGA videocall camera


Symbian OS v9.3, S60 rel. 3.2


ARM 11 434 MHz processor


Stereo FM radio with RDS; FM transmitter


A-GPS Support, Ovi Maps 3.03


– Dual slide design
– Digital compass
– WMV/RV/MP4/3GP video player
– MP3/WMA/WAV/RA/AAC/M4A music player
– Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– Voice memo
– Kickstand
– Flash Lite 3.1
– TV-out


Standard battery, Li-Ion 1200 mAh (BL-5K)
Standby Up to 312 h (2G) / 264 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 6 h 18 min (2G) / 3 h 54 min (3G)
Music Play Up to 25 h

Build: Complaints first …

Call it raised expectations due to E72 and N97mini like premium devices, but now I have started expecting more metal in Nokia devices. So, it was disappointing to see a hard to open plastic back.

The other complaint was from the SIM slot. The mechanism of inserting and removing SIM seems prone to scratching SIM due to pure mechanical nature. I was really more happy, if they would have placed the similar tray mechanism as was in Nokia N97mini or even slot mechanism like Nokia N82.

The good points ….

First is the beauty


Though it feel almost the same bulky as was Nokia N82, but addition of kick stand was a fantastic decision and same was the metallic border.


Same way, I think that the new keypad design was to answer the complaint of tiny keys in Nokia N82 (but I loved that design) and dedicated music keys were sure a wish granted people demanding for the same in Nokia N82.

No pen key as its already discontinued withy almost all Nokia phones, but notifications lights on Menu key and a tiny charging light was absolutely making the design ticking all boxes.

The placement of Memory card is under the back cover seems fine, because for inserting/ removing card, you wont be needed to remove battery and also protects from dust etc.

Same way, we find a smooth and improved camera cover with Nokia N86 here

Nokia N82 and Nokia N86

Leave the build and superb camera a side, geo-tagging and FM-transmitter are something that making me excited enough. It looks like Nokia was thinking to remove all the complaints from Nokia N82, when they made Nokia N86.

Though processor and RAM specs are the same, but we got a huge 8GB internal storage than 100 mb internal storage of Nokia N82. With upgraded OS, option of geo-tagging, complaint of dedicated music keys, metal casing, better camera cover mechanism and addition of un-lock button in side.

What I liked after starting the device was the screen saver… well I am sure that there might be a screen saver like this for Nokia N82 as well, but where you will get an Amoled Screen like Nokia N86. I agree with all the talks that might be going around super amoled and all. It rocks.


I also placed both the devices into a macro test and below were the result. Guess yourself that which one is of Nokia N86 and which one is of Nokia N82?


Any differences here?

Though one thing that made me worried was scratches over the lamination of screen. If it was my own device then I should have changed the lamination, but now I have to live with it in next two weeks. Again mind asking the same question, how safe the big screen touch device are from such scratches??

So, this was it … there gonna be many talks around this new member of the family, keep tuned in and guide your questions/ suggestions in my way. What I should do more with Nokia N86?