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We all know by now how well (or not) the Nokia N8 stacks up as a smartphone. But considering its camera is so competent in its own right, we decided to put it through its paces.

Nokia pulled out all the stops to let us know about the N8's photo chops, bringing out renowned photographer David LaChapelle to Australia to use the phone in a serious shoot.

Click through for sample images taken on the N8 — straight from the camera, no post-processing here apart from resizing for web display.

The mechanics sitting behind the f/2.8 Carl Zeiss lens (with an effective wide-angle of 28mm) is a 12-megapixel sensor measuring 1/1.83-inch. Nokia has chosen to keep the aperture fixed at f/2.8.

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Straight out of the phone, on automatic settings, the N8 produces vibrant colours. They look true to life, and even more saturated on the camera's screen than they do when viewing the same image on a computer.

This image is also useful in looking at how the N8 deals with exposures given the strong light coming from behind the subject. Looking at the histogram (inset) shows a relatively even exposure with only a small amount of detail lost in some highlight areas. This performance could also be put down to the ND filter in-camera, used to compensate for the fixed aperture lens in bright conditions. Click here for the full resolution shot.

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Automatic orientation

One nice touch on the N8 is its ability to automatically detect the orientation of the camera (portrait or landscape) and rotate the image when importing onto a computer. Simple pleasures. Click here for the full resolution, unaltered from the phone.

There's also a range of in-camera editing options, including saturation control, red-eye removal and colour filters that can all be applied after taking the image.

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Often, backlighting is a good opportunity to test whether a lens shows examples of chromatic aberration (or fringing), which normally shows up in areas of high detail, like the branches of the tree. The N8's lens doesn't show it at all, which is a good sign. The 100 per cent crop is inset.

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There's a dedicated scene mode on the N8 to cater for macro shooting situations — and when used, produces some really good results. There's a good level of detail and sharpness is excellent across the frame, with only a minimal amount of drop-off towards the edges.

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Sure, the N8 has a night mode, but there is no way to extend how long the shutter stays open for. Still, the N8 does pretty well for this night shot; the EXIF data shows the N8 snapped this at ISO 800. The xenon flash too illuminates subjects fairly evenly — even though when it fired on this shot, there wasn't much for it to bounce off.

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