Can the Nokia N97 replace a Camera on Vacation?

5. August 2009 at 21:51

I have recently returned from my vacation in Spain where I put some devices through their paces. When I was packing I had to decide which camera to take and I was left with two options, either have faith in the capabilities of the Nokia N97 or be safe and take my standalone digital camera. I decided that it may be a good idea to take both devices, as it would give me a chance to compare the two and see whether the N97 can keep up with a standalone digital camera. So here are some pictures taken with both devices, they’ve been taken in almost every vacation scenario.

Left: Nokia N97 – Right: Samsung Digimax L730/Fujifilm FinePix S5800

(click to enlarge the images)

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What do these pictures tell us? Well… in good light conditions and also late afternoon, the pictures from the N97 came out pretty well. The colors are vivid and the detail is sharp, and I feel that the N97 would have been sufficient enough to replace a standalone camera. However, there were two areas in which the N97 could not compete. Firstly its performance in low light conditions was way below average, even when we were inside the pub. The flash and the night mode are simply just not powerful enough and unless you are less than 1.5 meters away from the subject, you will not going to get a decent image. Secondly when trying to capture that distant image, the N97 is limited to a digital zoom. This is no mach for the optical zoom found on most standalone cameras, which create a much crisper image no matter how far away you are.

So my final thoughts are that if you’re planning to take pictures in good light conditions and you’re not a major fan of the zoom functionality, then Nokia N97 can replace your digital camera. However, if you take a lot of your pictures in pubs, clubs or during the evenings, you won’t get the images your looking for unless you’ve packed your trusty digital camera.