Nokia E6 review: The E spirit
8 megapixels photos but without the autofocus
The Nokia E6 is equipped with an 8 megapixel camera for a maximum image resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels and it’s accompanied by a dual-LED flash. However, this is Nokia’s 8MP fixed-focus camera module, which trails behind in the 8MP shooter race.
The user interface is far from friendly - there are only three shortcuts available in the viewfinder. Those allow you to toggle camcorder and still camera, set the flash and access the rest of the customizable settings.
The remainder of shooting options is put in the Settings menu (which is an update since Symbian^3 where you needed to go to another Settings menu). Here you can change scenes, ISO, white balance, exposure, adjust contrast and sharpness, turn the Face detection on/off, activate self-timer, etc.
As for geo-tagging, it lets you record your current location in the EXIF information of the photos, using the built-in GPS.
Unfortunately, image quality is a traditional weak spot for the 8 megapixel fixed-focus Nokia smartphones. Even some of the problems we met with before are solved, this is still not enough. The contrast and the colors are good, but despite its 8MP resolution, the captured detail isn't all that much, there is excessive noise too and corner softness.
On the other hand if you don't need the full 8MP resolution (an let's be honest - most of us don't) then after a quick downsizing the results are quite acceptable and should satisfy most of the users.
We tried a close-up shot – a known weakness of fixed-focus cameras and we weren’t surprised at the results. Anything closer than 50 cm and you can kiss any semblance of sharpness goodbye.
Photo quality comparison
The Nokia E6 enters our Photo Compare Tool to join the other 8MP fixed-focus shooters. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.
There you can see for yourself that the Nokia E6's 8 megapixel fixed-focus camera falls behind most of the competition.
Very good video recording despite the lack of auto-focus
Still imaging is not the E6’s strong suit but the video recording helps the camera save face. The Nokia E6 shoots in 720p resolution at 25 fps and offers digital image stabilization. Clips are stored as MP4 files.
To sum it up, the videos shot with the Nokia E6 did manage to impress us. The amount of resolved detail is good, colors look nice, noise levels are kept low. Most videos stayed very closely to the 25fps mark and were very smooth.
The price of the lower compression affects the file size – 15 seconds of video take about 26 MB.
The Nokia E6 camera also uses the clever zooming technique that Nokia first used on the N8. It allows you to zoom up to 3x while shooting 720p video without losing sharpness or detail as you normally would and generally works very well.
Here’s an untouched video sample from the Nokia E6 – 720p@25fps. You can also check out this longer sample we uploaded to YouTube.
Video quality comparison
We entered the Nokia E6 in our Video Compare Tool database too and put it head to head with other 720p mobile camcorders.
The still shots might not be impressive, but the HD videos are definitely something to look forward to. The videos produced by the Nokia E6 are quite good whatever you are comparing them to.