By Stephen Schenck | June 28, 2011 1:36 AM
Nokia’s N9 may have a uncertain future thanks to the questionable decision to put MeeGo on the phone, but it’s still giving us plenty of reasons to pay attention to it, including its supposedly very-high-quality camera. We’d heard just how fast the smartphone could be at taking pictures, thanks to the camera hardware and software, and now the company is offering a closer look at just what makes the N9′s camera so special.
The goal for the N9 was to translate the image quality of the 12-megapixel N8 into a much smaller package. In the end, Nokia achieved a camera that’s 70% smaller than the N8′s, and though only an 8-megapixel device, offers competitive quality. One of the big benefits comes from the N9′s very large aperture lens, letting it capture up to 75% more light than the N8. The lens is also wide-angle, framing a larger portion of scenery.
One neat trick is how the N9 makes use of its image sensor’s geometry. Technically, it has an 8.7-megapixel sensor, with is utilized at 8-megapixel for 4:3 shots, and 7.1-megapixel for 16:9 wide shots. This balancing act, best understood via Nokia’s illustration above, gives it high resolutions in both modes, instead of just cropping down a 4:3 image for 16:9 mode, wasting the space on the top and bottom.
That’s not Nokia’s packed in to the N9′s camera, including full-time continuous auto-focus and its brightest LED flash ever. All in all, it feels like Nokia put as much thought into the N9′s camera as some manufacturers do for complete smartphones.