Sony Ericsson K850 vs. Nokia N95: 5 megapixel shootout

GSMArena team, 04 September 2007.
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Camera features

Although they differ in terms of looks, camera interfaces of the two phones have very similar functionality. And naturally, both possess extensive setting - white balance, ISO settings and effects work in the same way on Nokia N95 and Sony Ericsson K850. Slight differences start with the shooting modes - the Sony Ericsson K850 has Panorama mode in addition to the ulra fast BestPic – a burst mode that allows you to take several quick snapshots and then choose which ones to keep. The Nokia N95’s has a sequence mode with a user-defined interval which works great for making time-lapse movies for example. It does allow for Burst shooting too, but it’s way slower than the BestPic mode. The preset shooting modes equal in number on both devices - seven different modes as well as automatic settings. The picture size is of course user configurable varying from VGA to 5MP resolution. Both handsets allow you to turn the autofocusing off. The flash modes include red-eye reduction on both handsets. With the N95 you can also choose whether the flash should fire every time you shoot or automatically according to the available light.This setting is needed when you want to use the flash as a fill light for shooting portraits when there is a bright background behind the subject. The Sony Ericsson K850 doesn’t have that option and it’s a real pity as the xenon flash could work out great as a fill light. There is a slight difference in self-timers in favor of Nokia N95 - the delay period is adjustable, while K850 doesn’t sport such an extra. On the other hand the K850 features metering mode settings and focus-assist beam settings. Nokia N95 lacks both (the latter quite naturally as it has no focus assist beam light) but has sharpening and contrast settings. Strangely enough N95 doesn't have a setting for picture quality (JPG compression) either.

Nokia N95 Nokia N95
Shooting with Sony Ericsson K850 and Nokia N95

Overall, the Sony Ericsson interface outperforms the one of Nokia. The camera istelf starts more quickly and the menus are easier to go through.

Finally, we need to mention the dedicated camera keys of Sony Ericsson K850. It is equipped with a sliding key to switch between camera, video and review modes and a separate on/off camera key. When you turn on the camera, several keys from the alphanumeric keypad light up and allow quick access to some of the features. We shouldn't forget the automatic camera cover, too. Nokia N95 has quite a modest answer here - only a manual slider for the lens protector, which actually acts as an on/off button too.
K850 vs N95 - 4:3

Overall camera speed

The Sony Ericsson handset scores by a good margin when it comes to the speed of autofocusing and the general shot-to-shot time. In most of the scenarios that we used in our tests, the K850 managed to focus more quickly than the Nokia and showed a shorter shot-to-shot time.
K850 vs N95 – 4:2

Previewing you photos

We all know how good it is to preview your shots as soon as they've been made. It allows you to go immediately for a second shot if something has ruined your composition or you can simply brag about your super cool snapshot in front of everybody. When it comes to previewing your pictures both handsets score equal. The Sony Ericsson K850 shows a somewhat more detailed image, while the N95 results look more washed out. The animated slideshows the K850 creates are also better than the ones by Nokia. It has a snappy zooming on the photos that works in large steps, while the N95 zooms slowly in small steps. The Nokia N95 however wins our hearts with the large screen and when it comes to legibility under sunlight, Nokia displays have no competition at all. So we will simply write down this test as a draw - each gets 4 points.
K850 vs N95 – 4:4

In this heavy-weight championship series the Sony Ericsson K850 managed to collect a total of 31 points, while the Nokia N95 managed to beat it by a slight margin with a total of 34 points.


Here we are at the end of this shootout. GSMArena was once again an arena for the battle of the titans. We hope that this article will help you decide between the most popular 5-megapixel choices on the market if you are going to buy your next phone based on its photographic abilities. In this heavy-weight championship series the Sony Ericsson K850 managed to collect a total of 31 points, while the Nokia N95 managed to beat it by a slight margin with a total of 34 points. Those numbers are indicative only and you should give more weight to the results of the tests that matter most to you. It was a close call, but this time we prefer the Nokia model. The main issue with previous Nokia cameras - the overprocessed look is gone with the N95 and the experience Nokia had with their photo mobiles so far seems enough to compete with the years of Sony know-how in the field. As a last note, let's not forget that Sony Ericsson K850 firmware is still in beta. If the photo quality changes significantly with the final version we will revise the article.

Total 5 megapixel shootout score: K850 vs N95 – 31:34

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