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Nokia 7 Plus Smartphone Camera Review - Performance

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Nokia 7 Plus Performance

1/60 sec | f/4.2 | 21.0 mm | ISO 320
 

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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Nokia 7 Plus Sample Photos

 

Nokia 7 Plus Lens test images

 

The wide-angle lens, and the 12mp sensor work well together, to deliver sharp detailed photos, with good levels of detail in to the corners of the frame. In decent light, image quality is good and is really on-par with other smartphones available at this price point. Noise isn't really an issue, in good light levels, and exposure performs well most of the time. The only issues came where there were extreme differences in shadow and light areas as the dynamic range doesn't seem to be wide enough to be able to balance all parts of the scene. On occasion, particularly as the UK has been bathed in sunshine, skies were bleached-out when darker buildings, and so forth, were in the frame. Colour saturation levels are good, though, with greens not appearing too garish and reds popping from the frame. 

The telephoto lens has a good amount of reach to it but images are a bit softer (almost digital zoom quality in places) and in low light, shake can spoil shots unless you have some way of supporting the smartphone steady. Plus, when light levels really drop, you can't use the telephoto lens and are stuck with the camera's digital zoom which, as you can imagine, isn't the greatest photography tool out there. It's worth noting that most devices with dual lenses do this and it's not just a negative point of the technology built into the Nokia 7 Plus. 

Close focusing is good with the rear, 1x camera having no trouble at all focusing on our tiny figures but the telephoto lens wasn't as great at focusing in on detail. Also, when using the lens at its widest point, there were some issues with purple fringing creeping in around tree edges but this only occurred in the woodland shots. The camera also gave the ground a slight purple tint which suggests auto white balance got a bit confused but this only happened in the one shot. 

An HDR mode is built-in but unlike other smartphones, it's not something we'd recommend you leave switched on as it only seems to be good at brightening highlights and mid-tones, blacks don't appear to improve. Having said that, in the wood shots where light levels are lower, the dual cameras still perform well, with the overall exposure levels appearing to be good and shake not creeping in anywhere. Indoors, exposure is, again, good but noise does creep in slightly so when you zoom in on the images, you can see detail begins to drop off. This probably isn't helped by the fact that stabilisation is electronic and not optical. Focus can also take a lot longer to lock in under dim-light, too. 

As for portraits, the face smoothing effect, which can be reduced/increased, does what it says on the tin but unlike some other smartphones, it doesn't make people look overly plastic. It's actually quite a pleasing effect and will be popular with those who take daily selfies for their Instagram followers. 

 

'Effect' Selfie
Skin Smoothing 

 

Both selfies and portraits captured with the rear cameras are well balanced, skin tones are accurate and colours are pleasing. You can also use the Live Bokeh effects when capturing portraits, along with other shots you might want to add a bit of bokeh to, and for the most part, it's actually impressive. 

There are hardly any clipped edges where the software has struggled to differentiate between subject/background (as the mode does on the more expensive iPhone X) and the overall effect is really good and certainly makes subjects 'pop' from the frame. There was the occasional time when the phone said 'too close to the subject' and so some adjustment was needed but overall, the mode is just as good (if not better) than its competitors, such as the Honor 10

 

Live Bokeh Vs No Bokeh
Live Bokeh Vs No Bokeh

 

Live Bokeh
'Live Bokeh' effect

 

A feature we have to talk about is 'bothies' which is when the Nokia 7 Plus captures an image with both the front and rear camera at the same time. Quirky feature - yes, amazingly useful - not really. It works well, putting images side-by-side or putting one image inside the other, but we just don't really get the point of it. It's certainly not something we've ever thought of and won't miss it if it's not featured on another smartphone. You can, however, have a bit of fun with it: 

 

'Bothie'
'Bothie'

 

Nokia 7 Plus ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - On our test charts, noise control is good, with low noise, and higher levels of detail at the lower ISO speeds. At ISO800 detail suffers, but noise is well controlled. At ISO1600 detail and image quality starts to suffer a little and ISO3200 is worse still. In real-life use, images taken indoors where light levels are lower do show noise which means detail is lost. 

 

Nokia 7 Plus White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) is good, slightly warm under mixed light but good under fluorescent and Tungsten. In one of the woodland shots, the green of the leaves on the trees did cause a little confusion, giving the ground a purple tint, but this only happened once. 

 

Digital Filters - There aren't any digital filters built into the camera app on the Nokia 7 Plus, something that's a bit surprising as it's a feature most have. However, you can use Google Photos to apply digital filters or apps such as Snapseed. 

 

 

Panorama Mode - Panorama mode gives you the opportunity to capture both horizontal and vertical panoramas in full resolution. The mode is easy to use and results are excellent with no obvious stitching issues or lack of detail in good light levels. However, in low light scenes or where the dynamic range is wide, the smartphone does struggle to balance to exposure as well. 

 

Video -  The Nokia 7 Plus captures video at 2160p (4K) or 1080p at 30fps but there's not an option to shoot at 60fps. Electronic stabilisation doesn't work when shooting 4K which will be annoying for some but unless you have a 4K monitor, it probably won't bother you that much. Overall, quality is good with the footage looking and sounding clear, with Nokia OZO sound recording. Panning shots look excellent with no stutter or movement from walking spoiling shots. 

 

 


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