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Then you have the real star of the mid-high tier (80-100 DxoMark) where OPPO rules supreme with its $799 R17 Pro. It offers an incredible camera punching well above its weight.

So, where does it leave a $499 smartphone camera? We have coined the term ‘social media sharing’ camera where it is a good allrounder for capturing candid moments in fully automatic mode. You want good daylight and office light (500 lumens) as well as above average low light shots. These tend to score close to 80 in DxoMark.

Nokia uses Zeiss lenses in this model so add extra points as well.

The Nokia 7.1 rates at the top end of the social media sharing cameras offering the best overall performance we have seen in this class. Not to say there may be better – but we have not seen them!

The main camera sensor is likely a Samsung 12MP ISOCELL Fast 2L9 Dual pixel with fast autofocus (2PD/AF). It is in the Galaxy Note 8 that is particularly good at depth-of-field effect for taking bokeh.

Interestingly the second is a mono camera with fixed focus and is likely a Samsung ISOCELL S5K5E3. This adds additional definition for bokeh. Depending on post-processing software it may improve low light.

2PDAF has been around for a while – the Samsung Galaxy S7 was first to use it. Nokia uses the equivalent of a 24MP separated into left and right to produce a 12MP image. This enables 100% full-pixel focusing (called on-chip phase detection) that is faster and more accurate than Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) that uses about 5% of the pixels.

The selfie camera likely uses an 8MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K4H5 frequently used in tablets. Here the trick is the wider 84° Field of View for groupies and boothies.

Samsung Sensors are as good as comparable Sony Exmore, and it makes sense for Nokia to align with it as a supplier, as it has done for AMOLED screens and memory/storage.

This uses the Android camera app, so you get Square, Bokeh, Pro, Photo, Panorama and Video. Auto HDR and flash are for stills only.

There is no OIS (optical stabilisation) – EIS cuts in for [email protected] video.

Daylight, outdoors

Nokia 7.1

This is a spectacular shot. Accurate colours, wonderful definition (shed on mid right and bird), good shadow definition under the jetty, and even definition in the clouds – all on a $499 snapper. ISO 100, 1/2500 sec, 6.3MB.

Indoors Office Light 500 lumens

An almost perfect shot rivalling the $1599 Huawei Mate 20 Pro for the toy dogs fur definition. Colours are accurate, and tone (contrast) is even. Where many cameras badly blur the background, e.g. the toaster) there is more than enough detail. ISO 160, 1/125sec, 2.6MB.

Nokia 7.1

Low light 50 lumens

I am blown away with this camera. No other $499 snapper has captured the details or sky on the monitor nor the definition in the HP logo on the printer. Colours are as good as it gets. ISO 640, 1/40sec, 4.3MB. Lack of OIS means hold it still.

Nokia 7.1


8MP is a tad low when you see OPPO putting 20MP or more on its selfie cameras. Let’s just say that it produces excellent selfies and groupies (84° FOV).


Dual-Sight simultaneously takes a picture with the rear and front camera, placing each image side by side. Dual-Sight also lets you enhance your bothies with 3D personas, masks, and filters. When you have your bothie looking perfect, you can stream it directly to Facebook or YouTube right from the camera app.