In the past year or two, smartphone cameras have been going through what could easily be called a radical evolution, both in terms of hardware and software. And it makes sense, given the fact that more megapixels don’t equate to better image quality, regardless of what those flashy adverts and exaggerated claims might have customers believe. There’s a lot of other factors that make the imaging experience on a smartphone a good one. And even though flagships handsets undoubtedly offer the best when it comes to mobile photography, mid-range smartphones are slowly getting better and better with each passing day as well.
Lenovo’s K8 Note (price starting at Rs 12,999) and and Nokia 6 (Rs 14,999) are two of the most-popular mid-range smartphones currently available. But which one of these offers a better overall imaging experience? Let’s find out!
- Single-lens 16MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture
- Phase Detection Autofocus
- 8MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture
- Manual controls for Focus, White Balance and Exposure
Lenovo K8 Note
- Dual-camera setup at the back with 13MP and 5MP lenses. Primary shooter has an f/1.7 aperture
- Phase Detection Autofocus
- 13MP selfie camera
- Manual controls for Shutter speed, White Balance, ISO, Focus and Exposure.
- No OIS
Day Light Images
Given the minuscule lenses in smartphones, it is imperative that good lighting conditions are usually required in order to capture an impressive photograph no matter how impressive the specifications are on paper.
Below are two sets of images captured by Nokia 6 and Lenovo K8 Note, showcasing their color reproduction capabilities in well-lit conditions.
It is important to understand that the focal point in the scene to be captured plays a big role in how the resultant image turns out, especially in brightly-lit conditions.
Shown side-by-side below are two images captured by the Nokia 6. The one on the left doesn’t have a specific focal point, while that on the right has the top-left portion of the roof as the focal point.
The two images shown side-by-side below have been clicked by Lenovo K8 Note. Notice the difference in exposure in the two images, simply because one doesn’t have a specific focal point while the other has.
Images Captured In Mixed Lighting Conditions
There are times when lighting is rarely adequate for capturing good images. But even with mixed lighting conditions, one can experiment with color, contrast and other settings to lend images a unique and interesting perspective.
Here are a few sets of photos captured using Nokia 6 (left) and Lenovo K8 Note (right) in good to mixed lighting conditions.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) Images
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a feature that’s found in almost all smartphone cameras these days. Dynamic Range actually refers to the details in the bright and shadowy areas of an image. For a good image, objects in both light and dark areas should be detailed. HDR is a function (or more of a shooting mode) that helps in striking a good balance of the details in bright and dark spots of images. Of course, it depends on how good the camera software is when it comes to handling HDR.
Here are some sample HDR images – shown side-by-side with their regular versions – captured by the Nokia 6
Check out some sample HDR images – shown side-by-side with their regular versions – taken by the Lenovo K8 Note
Depth-of-field: Real & Fake
Smartphone cameras these days are capable of capturing images that have some depth-of-field (also known as ‘Bokeh’ effect), just like DSLR cameras do. While some employ software tricks to achieve depth-of-field, others do it via the dual-camera arrangements. Talking about our test subjects, Nokia 6 only has a single camera at the back, while Lenovo K8 Note comes with a dual rear camera setup having a 5MP secondary lens, that can be used for generating ‘Bokeh’ effect in images.
The secondary lens works simultaneously with the primary lens, and the ‘Depth Enabled’ option can be toggled in the K8 Note’s camera app for this to function.
It’s worth noting that the ‘Bokeh’ effect generated using the secondary lens is not that good.
Below are some examples from the K8 Note’s camera, shown side-by-side. The image on the left is the regular one, while that on the right has been captured using the ‘Depth Enabled’ option. Notice how the normal image actually ends up having a better overall depth-of-field effect.
On the other hand, Nokia 6 (below) manages to produce a decent depth-of-field effect, despite having a single primary camera.
Note that the above images from the normal mode of K8 Note and the ones from Nokia 6, are a true representation of the depth-of-field effect. On the other hand, the images captured using the ‘Depth Enabled’ feature in K8 Note deliver a fake ‘Bokeh’ effect. We believe that Lenovo K8 Note needs a lot of improvement in this department.
Low Light Images
Being able to capture good images in dimly-lit conditions is often a challenge for smartphone cameras, regardless of the price segment. But with advancements in mobile technology, they are slowly getting better.
Low light conditions are generally the best way to see how much digital noise creeps into the images. Shown side-by-side below are two images – normal and HDR – captured by Nokia 6 at night.
And shown side-by-side below are low light samples – both normal and HDR – captured by Lenovo K8 Note.
Selfies continue to be the rage in today’s socially-connected world. Nearly every smartphone user captures a ton of selfies (and then uploads them on social media networks) on a routine basis.
Here are some self-portrait images (normal and HDR) captured using the front camera of the Nokia 6.
Shown below are the selfies (normal and HDR) captured using the front camera of Lenovo K8 Note.
Both Nokia 6 and Lenovo K8 Note can capture panoramic images, which are actually composed by stiching multiple images together.
Here is a sample Panorama photo captured from Nokia 6. Overall stitching is good, but sometimes, moving objects (like people) aren’t properly included into the resulting image.
So Which Smartphone Delivers A Better Camera Experience?
Having extensively tested the cameras on both Nokia 6 and Lenovo K8 Note, we can say that we overall prefer the imaging experience on the Nokia 6. The smartphone delivers sharp images with accurate colors and good contrast. While the K8 Note’s camera is not as bad, but compared to Nokia 6, images captured by Lenovo K8 Note look washed out and lack sharpness. This extends to images captured in nearly all lighting conditions.
Our final vote goes to the Nokia 6! What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.