We review the Nokia 5’s 13-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel selfie camera, to see if the new Nokia mid-range mobile is a great way to capture your everyday life. From low light photos to Full HD home movies, we fully test every feature and present our sample photos and video.
We’ve been seriously impressed by the quality of the camera tech on affordable mobiles so far in 2017. Check out our round-up of the best budget smartphone cameras if you want to see some of our favourites, including the likes of the Sony Xperia XA1, Motorola Moto G5 Plus and Lenovo P2.
That’s great news for the consumer of course, especially as those cameras are one of the most important parts of a smartphone, as far as our priorities are concerned. We now use our mobiles to snap every aspect of our lives, to save our memories or share with others online. So it’s reassuring that we can pick up a comparatively cheap handset and still expect good photo and video quality.
The Nokia 5 costs just £180 here in the UK, offering some solid specs for that price. On the back end you’ll find a 13-megapixel camera, while the front-facing snapper features an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens.
So is the Nokia 5 a fresh entry for our best budget phone cameras feature? Here’s our full camera review, complete with samples so you can decide for yourself. Head over to our in-depth Nokia 5 review for everything you need to know about the rest of this affordable Android.
Nokia 5 camera review: Specs
Here’s the technical details of the Nokia 5’s front and rear cameras.
Rear camera specs
f/2.0 aperture lens
Phase Detection Autofocus
Auto HDR support
Two-tone LED flash
Up to Full HD resolution video at 30FPS
Selfie camera specs
Wide-angle f/2.0 aperture lens
Up to Full HD resolution video at 30FPS
Nokia 5 camera review: Camera app and features
The Nokia 5’s camera app is a pretty simple-to-use affair. Launch it by tapping the app or with a quick double-push of the phone’s power button and you’re ready to point and shoot, in full auto mode. You get a handful of toggles there on screen, including the ability to activate the LED flash, HDR mode and a timer function. You can also switch between the front and rear cameras, swap to video mode and flip to another camera feature, with a choice of just two available: panoramas or the increasingly obligatory ‘beautify’ mode.
We’re certainly not disappointed by the limited number of extra features, as the majority tend to go unused on most smartphones. The Nokia 5 also has manual controls, which more advanced users can take advantage of to capture specific shots. Unfortunately these are buried away in the settings, which makes them rather slow and awkward to bring up.
Shutter speed is pleasingly nippy, thanks to the phase detection autofocus. The lens locks onto your subject quickly and responds well to sudden changes in lighting as well as focal point. We only noticed any kind of ‘lag’ when shooting with HDR enabled, in a high contrast scene. In these situations, you’ll need to wait a wee while as the camera takes several shots and blends the results.
Nokia 5 camera review: Photo quality
With the light on your side, the Nokia 5 produces some perfectly good photos. The PDAF tech allows the lens to snap onto your subject no matter how close or distant they are, and the result is clean, crisp shots almost every time. Only a couple of our up-close snaps came out with some blurry sections and had to be disposed of.
Colours are well represented, with quite accurate and well-balanced hues. That means no striking vibrancy unless you happen to be shooting a particularly vivid scene, as you’d expect at this price point.
Moving subjects can pose a problem if they’re anywhere nearby, however. You can expect hyper kids and active animals to appear at least partially blurry, even with HDR deactivated and solid lighting conditions.
Likewise, low light is a problem. Our test shots were very murky and grainy, until we switched on the LED flash for close-ups. Even then, colours were generally washed out and the end result was less than satisfactory.
Still, for the majority of situations, the Nokia 5 does a good job of producing photos that you’d be happy to keep and share online. Check out our gallery of Nokia 5 camera samples below.
Nokia 5 camera review: Video quality
You can shoot up to Full HD video clips with the Nokia 5, complete with digital image stabilisation to cut down on those shudders and shakes. The end result is decent for a budget handset, as you’ll see from our video sample below.
We’ve seen more effective stabilisation for sure, as walking and shooting still gives you some rather jerky footage. If you limit your motion and you’re not shooting in a dark area, your video should come out well. The mic does a solid job of picking up audio and the lens tends to keep things sharp.
Although the Nokia 5 doesn’t have a dedicated timelapse or slow motion video feature, you still have a means of shooting timelapse/slow motion video. This is accomplished by changing the shooting speed when you switch to video mode. You can record footage up to 3x normal speed, or down to 1/3x normal speed (with slower speeds only possible at 720p resolution).
Nokia 5 camera review: Selfie camera
If you’re into snapping photos of your gorgeous mug, the Nokia 5 offers up an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for all of your selfie needs. This again supports HDR and comes complete with a timer function.
Our test selfies looked decent in a range of lighting conditions, even when the light started to get dim. The wide-angle lens captures plenty, which makes the Nokia 5 good for group shots (we refuse to use the awful word ‘groufie’; selfie is bad enough) as well as capturing a shareable photo of yourself stood before some glorious vista.
If you’re chilling in the club instead, the Nokia 5 can even light up your face by beaming a bright white screen at you. It’s a reasonably effective way to get a snap, although we ended up looking somewhat like spectres.
Check out our in-depth Nokia 5 review for our full thoughts.