The Nokia 6.1 Plus has a dual rear camera system comprising of a 16MP f2.0 primary sensor and a 5MP f2.4 depth sensor. On the front is a 16MP f2.0 fixed focus camera.
Camera quality in the past has been a strong suit of Nokia devices, although things have changed a lot since then. Still, the camera is one of the main features of the Nokia 6.1 Plus, so we were curious to see what it offered.
First, let's take a look at the camera app. Nokia has included a somewhat basic camera app here that is light on the essentials but includes some of the gimmicky features. For example, the pro or manual mode is very barebones here, letting you adjust the metering, autofocus distance (auto, infinity, and macro), white balance presets and exposure compensation. There is no shutter speed control, no ISO and no fine-grained control over the manual focusing and white balance. The mode is just here for the sake of it and brings little to the table.
On the other hand, the app includes Nokia's absurd-sounding Bothie feature, which combines shots from the front and rear cameras into a low-resolution image or video, and whose usefulness is largely suspect. There are also some Snapchat/Animoji style AI filters here that aren't very good and a beautification mode that can be enabled and adjusted with a slider. You can also switch to panorama or the portrait mode, but there is no countdown timer option.
In videos, you can choose to live stream directly to YouTube or Facebook from within the app. There's also a 4K time-lapse function and a slow-motion mode that records in 480p at 120fps. But enough about the camera app, let's talk about image quality.
Looking at the daylight image samples, two things come to notice, the excellent color reproduction and the accurate white balance. These go a long way in ensuring the images coming out of the camera look natural and close to the original scene. Further inspection also reveals a good level of detail without too much smudging from the noise reduction algorithm and excess sharpening to combat it. The general level of image processing seen here is at a mature level, which makes the images coming out of the Nokia 6.1 Plus some of the best we have seen in this price range.
However, the images aren't faultless. There is a fair bit of noise that can be seen in the shadows even in daylight images, although admittedly most of our daylight images were shot in overcast conditions. The overcast conditions also brought forth another weakness of the camera, and that is the dynamic range, which isn't especially impressive. The camera does very little live dynamic range adjustments, and if the image has a bright source of light such as a lit signboard around a dark background, then it will get completely blown out.
Fortunately, the HDR mode works very well. In most scenes, the HDR mode helped bring out a lot of detail in the shadow areas, giving the images a much more balanced look. There was also good highlight recovery in areas such as the sky, which lets you see the clouds more clearly in some of the samples. However, even the HDR mode doesn't do much against smaller bright objects, such as the lit signboards, which will still be overblown.
Lowlight performance is also not a strong suit of the Nokia 6.1 Plus camera. While the images are usable, they are dark with much more aggressive noise reduction that also softens the entire image.
The camera also has a fairly capable portrait or Bokeh mode, which produced some good results.
Regarding video quality, the Nokia 6.1 Plus can capture 4K30 without EIS or 1080p30 with EIS. The 4K image quality is excellent with great detail and color, but the shakiness can be an issue. 1080p crops the image further and isn't as sharp but is still a great looking image overall and unless you are going to play these videos back on a 4K television, 1080p is the way to go here.