Nokia N82 Vs N86 8MP Camera Comparison

Nokia’s most recent imaging flagship, the Nokia N86, claims to be one of the best camera phones on the market. With an 8MP camera sensor, a wide-angle lens, a Dual-LED flash and an aperture size that should make clear night photos, it is clear that the N86 8MP has the big guns out. But the main question remains about how its camera performs in comparison to Nokia’s tried-and-true camera flagship, the Nokia N82 with its Xenon flash and 5MP sensor


We performed a real-life comparison, and you can see the results below. First up, is a series of images taken on a picnic out in the Vincennes area in Paris, France. The N82’s images are on the left, the N86’s are on the right.

The first difference you should notice is how the wide-angle lens on the N86 makes you feel as if the pictures were taken further away from the point where the N82’s pictures were snapped. This isn’t the case in reality. I was holding the 2 phones next to each other and snapping the photos.

The second difference you should see, is that the N82’s images have much more of a yellow’ish feeling to them, which makes the colors look faded in most of the green areas (most visible on the 3rd photo comparison), but turns out a real nice picture in the Castle (4th photo comparison).

The third thing I’d like you to look at is these last 3 pictures taken at night. It’s true that the Xenon flash on the N82 has a very clear advantage indoors, but put it outdoors with objects far away and it fails to perform. This can be seen in the first two photos taken at night, where the buildings and the trees in the background are captured with more detail on the N86 thanks to its lens’ aperture size. While focusing on nearby objects (the can of coke), the N82 still outperforms the N86 but not by a huge margin.

All in all, I believe the N86 is a true successor to the N82, and the wide-lens, large aperture, bigger sensor, and video light advantages should be taken very seriously. You shouldn’t forget that it also has a Panorama mode built-in, and now with the v20, face detection and an improved camera performance.

What do you think of this comparison, and is the N86 in your opinion a great N82 replacement, or are you looking at other devices like the Samsung Omnia HD or the Sony Ericsson Satio?

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  • gotta hand it to the N86 there, looks indeed like a decent successor. the LED Flash performs better than expected, which is really surprising 🙂 but with all the improvements Nokia did in the Photo Department, i can only imagine how a Successor with Xenon Flash will look like – nothing short but awesome!

  • Miki

    Finally! Great comparison side by side 🙂 Excellent work

  • Miki

    Any chance you publish comparison between other manufacturers, like N86 vs C905 vs LG vs Samsung Innov8 or similar? So we can see different algorithms used in practice?

    • Hi Miki,

      Great idea ! We were considering a OmniaHD was N86 comparison but thx for your suggestion , will try to rope in more brands

  • suyog

    Nokia and many others are trying very hard to prove N86 is real successor but why they are trying so hard?
    Answer is simple “Many are still not convinced with argument”
    I hope they release proper successor 8MP, Xenon+LED, and CandyBar..
    Slider or anything with moving parts isnt great for long term usage.

  • ryan wentworth

    I fail to see the advantage the n86 has in this shootout. Just look at the leaves – the n86 clearly shows a blue tint, some discolorations. I wonder why you guys fail to see that? Pictures in the middle shows that the n82 is brighter than that of the n86. In the photo with the words “park” – the exposure on the n86 is just terrible, blue tint in the leaves, darker overall, and the details are harder to see.

    Just look at the photos with people on it, near the end, the n86 is overall blue! Reminds of what VGA cams used to take.

    The author mentions that the n82 is yellowish? Since when is blue tint better? Since when is a blue tint more natural? Sure the n82 pics are ‘warmer’ but its clearer and brighter at the same time! Being blueish in the n86 does NOT make it better looking.

    Look at the photo with the ducks being fed. The water in the n82 is so much better to look at and is again CLEARER than in the photo from the n86.

    I aint saying you guys are blind or is biased towards the n86 – I mean you can go ahead and justify the higher price of the phone, but please dont let it affect the judging of the photos. The winner here is clearly the n82.


    • Arashi

      The duck photo has visible motion blur – evidence that the hold wasn’t as solid as expected. Perhaps using a tripod would provide a more fairer comparison, in addition to using the same angle to take the photo – the effect of sunlight in the lens is not to be underestimated.

    • Amit

      I agree. Pictures of N82 look better.

    • Well , I will ask Rita to reply to you separately but from my experience with the n82 , n86. N86 picks up a lot more details than n82 and also the colors look very close to the real object. n82 makes the object appear a lot brighter due to the xenon flash which many users might prefer, but a Good Camera is one which captures the object as it is and n86 does a good job.

      • josh

        I was going to get the nokia n82 but then saw this and that is had a new sensor and new carl ziess lense, so i got the nokia n86 and the quility is good, even at night!

  • gdigenis

    hi, which firmware are you running on the n86? i am asking because it is not clear if these pics were taken with the improved software or not. i think you will find that there is a more noticeable difference when shooting videos of things that are close up or closer rather than farther. the videos are much better on the n86

  • N82 was still a gorgeous camera phone..oh well n86 do it good in low light..but i dont believe in the morning or outdoor shots

  • kohai

    What I get out of this is that my N82 is still good enough.

    I haven´t found yet it´s sucesor.

    Thought it would be N900 but it is as good tablet PC as bad phone and I have to use it as a phone 🙁

    Also the fact that it doesn´t have fm radio, nor music equalizer (by now) and only a landscape operating mode (not very useful when u have to use it while moving) finally made my decision.

    • suyog

      @Kohai, I am also in exactly same position as you are. Just cant find right successor for my 1.5 year old N82, still rocks.
      N900 , I dont think will be top imaging product also costly.
      BTW, It has FM radio, but you need to install app in current OS.
      May be it will come pre-installed in release version.
      I was also in same impression that FM radio is not there. But pleasant surprise.

      • kevin

        N900 has an fm radio and it can be used as an FM modulator. You can copy songs to ur N900 and hear them via ur car speakers.

  • karen

    You are right, N82 Pics are very clear, warmer and sharper than N86, But i dont know how the author says N86 is better than N82. Surely it’s a biased review

    • Karen, Just because the pictures look good / bad for you does not mean we are biased towards a device. The n86 is a great improvement over the n82 and N86 picks up lot more details than n82 and also the colors look very close to the real object. n82 makes the object appear a lot brighter due to the xenon flash which many users might prefer, but a Good Camera is one which captures the object as it is and n86 does a good job.

      Just watch this video captured in n86 and im sure you will appreciate the camera. N82 does not come close.

      And the battery life on n82 is pathetic if u use the flash a lot . N86 gives you better battery life.

  • Satya

    Hey Varun Krish, where are you. See the comments of Karen and reply her. How come you biased while reviewing both products or are you under the Impression of 8MP.

    • Hi Satya,

      Just back from a overseas trip 🙂 and i replied to the comments

  • Hung Yih

    Umm…We are comparing still photos here, not the video capturing ability. I do agree with karen here saying that the N82’s pictures are more vibrant and accurate. From what I can see, the N86 tends to oversaturate the colour, giving it a somewhat “oil-painting” like effect. Not to say that the this is bad but I really go for the night performance of a cameraphone as the pictures produced at daytime are undoubtedly superb.

    From my point of view, I dare say that the N82 is the better camera here.

  • SAMI


  • nitink

    In total dark,sleeping on the floor under the fan,I took snaps of a rotating ceiling fan using N82, xenon flash,I got crisp,clear still images,great camera.



  • nick192

    I find N82 better from ur comparison pics. N82 has accurate colors and better detailing.


    NO Need to see Carefully here…
    Looks like N82 is the Best …

  • Dani

    i want buy a n86 but
    the best cameraphne EVER its the c905a

  • Rares

    the n86 is much better,the focus is better ,even in night is a little better.

  • Sripad 0143

    i like n82 mobile camera. the best camera in all phones