This is a CAMERAphone, depending on how you define a mobile phone. It is relatively smart, though not top of the class, so you get a fair bit of your social media connection and internet whatnot. In this era of Apps and Gazillion Apps, the PureView seems rudimentary, with the basic apps to process your photos, nothing to the slickness of iPhoto or Photoshop but enough to get a stray ear or finger out of the frame and brighten that most embarrassing photo of you puking after a binge.
I have very minimal needs for my phone, so this serves me well especially since I still have the N9. The one key difference from the N9 is Whatsapp which runs on Symbian but not MeeGo. The service has improved a lot since I last PAID for it on iOS, now it is the better alternative to iMessage and almost platform agnostic. And it's FREE.
Until iOS6 is released, one thing that beats the iPhone is the turn by turn navigation. Nokia Drive is pretty accurate and now includes voice guidance with street names. Fun to hear things like SLE to CTE pronounced as "Slay" to CTE with an American accent.
Symbian Belle is relatively light footed, and definitely streamlined for this monster of a camera. Except for a quirk while shooting continuously for some time, it had not crashed.
Now the CAMERA part.
Nokia effectively squeezed in a compact camera into a phone. It is the equivalent of a Ricoh GX series type camera. While the 41 megapixel specification seems incredible, my experience is that you have to treat it like any point and shoot. Do not expect something to compete with say a Nikon D800. The sensor SIZE is 1/1.2" which competes with most top of the line compact point and shoots. The dense pixel count is used with pixel binning, so you don't get huge files.
There are plenty of reviews online, I have posted a few previously, so I won't repeat with a review, rather I will share my experience.
Incidentally it is the bi-annual Singapore Garden Festival again, lovely to attend, tough to photograph.
I left my GXR behind, determined to test out the PureView in a "lucky I have my camera phone with me" situation. It was very similar to my first experience with the Ricoh R5, thus why I say treat it like any point and shoot.
The first thing to note is how fast you can start shooting. Dedicated camera button. It allows you to jump to the camera view from a locked screen with a screen saver running in almost 1 second and you can actually shoot by simply pressing the camera button again.
I haven't tested how fast it can focus, but it is relatively faster than average for a mobile phone. Focusing is activated on the touch screen with a default to Autofocus, but with a long press, you can then select from Automatic, Close up, Hyperfocal and Infinity. Would have been nice if they could do something like Ricoh's snap focus.
There area 3 modes, fully automatic, typical scene mode or "creative". Which basically means semi-manual. You have no control over shutter and aperture, but have access to ISO control up to 1600. There is exposure control and surprisingly a built in ND filter.
Zoom is purely digital, but with cropping instead of extrapolation, and is silent. It does not work in "Full resolution" mode. One magical touch, you can zoom in Video mode silently without losing resolution.
The PureView theoretically should work quite well in low light situations, but I noticed the shutter speed tends be in the low 1/10 to 1/30. This unfortunately means blurry picture for me. Shaky hands and the fact the phone is held in an awkward position most of the time rendered a lot of my photos blurry. I also find that touching the screen to focus and shoot makes it worse. Stabilizing on a post or fencing did not help me either.
The screen though large has a lower resolution which makes the blurry pictures hard to detect unless you spend time zooming in. Everything looks good zoomed out.
Here are some less blurry photos. They are untouched except for some cropping.
Nokia also threw in 5 free photography apps which includes Panoramic shots and an Instagram copy.
I am pretty impressed by the Panoramic stitching.