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Nokia 808 PureView camera compared to the iPhone 4S and the HTC One X

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Nokia 808 PureView camera compared to the iPhone 4S and the HTC One X
Nokia 808 PureView with its 41MP camera module got test shots along with the iPhone 4S and the HTC One X, and, as expected, was superior in terms of almost everything, especially detail, low light shots and fast moving object, thanks to its gigantic sensor, with the macro shot being the only grey spot on the resume.

The folks that did the comparison noted that the color reproduction was a bit colder than the jollier, more saturated colors from the other two phones, to which they received a reply from Nokia's camera guru Damian Dinning himself, and the reply is worth posting in its entirety, as it reveals some good advice for future Nokia 808 PureView owners.

Hi, just wanted to take the opportunity to add some additional points to your comparison. Nokia conduct regular blind comparison tests using multiple devices including high end DSLR cameras, competitor smartphones and compact digital cameras and have done for many years. Through this we have gained a huge amount of experience and understanding in subjective personal preferences.

In the case of the N8, widely regarded as the benchmark before the introduction of the 808 PureView, we deliberately departed from the saturated colours ‘norm’ and optimised for a more natural look. The response to this was met with so much appreciation we wanted to use this as the basis of further development in the case of the 808. We also recognise that for some, images with more ‘punch’ may be preferred, a point you could argue is represented in your own commentaries. However, we remain convinced that for a large user group we expect to use the 808 we wanted to maintain the natural colour reproduction.

So for the first time we created two different colour optimisations. In full auto and scenes modes colour is reproduced with enhanced colour but not overly so. Whilst in creative we have followed the more natural colour optimisations we are passionate about preserving.Nokia recommend for the best all round experience use the 808 in its default 5mp setting. This will provide enhanced zoom capability, smaller file sizes for faster and easier sharing, greater levels of pixel oversampling and yet we believe based on our tests, still provide greater levels of details than any other smartphone. No doubt to create a level playing field I understand your choice in setting 8mp. 

However, this requires the use of the creative mode to gain access to the resolution setting. In doing so the natural colour optimisations a used as opposed to what would seem may have been preferred in your personal subjective view, the more colour enhanced setting provided by the auto or scenes mode options. In creative mode users are free to adjust the colour saturation and contrast settings as well as exposure compensation, should individual personal preferences differ from the default optimisations which were the results of capturing literally tens of thousands of test images across a wide variety of scenes.

Re close-up: The 808 uses the widest angle optics of any smartphone when used in its default fully optimised 16:9 aspect ratio. This does create something of a trade-off in close-ups. However, this is easily compensated for by use of the lossless zoom which of course is completely unique to the 808, a point I was surprised you made no reference to. Full zoom probably providing an end result with greater magnification than ‘broadly comparable’ smartphones.

Minimum focus is 15cm and this is achieved at all zoom settings unlike typical optical zooms. This shooting distance can be achieved through a variety of methods; close-up scene mode as a full time option, touch AF in any mode or close-up focus mode in creative accessed via a long touch of the viewfinder screen. Furthermore, as a result of the larger sensor, depth of field is reduced producing enhanced bokeh in close-ups, a further unique benefit many favour for separating the subject from the background.

Damian Dinning – Nokia
Looking at the comparison samples in the slideshow below, we can't help but wonder when will Nokia be bringing this photographic experience on a Windows Phone handset, be it in its rumored 12MP form for a Verizon handset.

source: CNET via WMPU

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posted on 14 Jun 2012, 07:35 6

1. dickwyn (Posts: 621; Member since: 07 May 2012)

pictures look nice

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 10:56 7

22. PhoneLuver (Posts: 481; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)

The Nokia is the clear winner here! I have to admit that all things considered the iPhone 4S did quite well.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 07:47 16

2. B3BLW29 (Posts: 238; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)

Yeah Nokia rules...

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 07:50 2

3. surethom (Posts: 967; Member since: 04 Mar 2009)

I just dont get how the HTC can be so grainy in normal light compared to the iphone, HTC are promoting the One X as a great camera phone, but it is worse than the almost 1 year old iphone.

HTC need some more time & money on the software side, not sure if it over compression or just bad optics???

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 08:58 3

11. aaronkatrini (Posts: 242; Member since: 06 Jun 2012)

I'm a huge HTC fanboy, but they sure need to improve camera quality.
As for the Nokia, those 41mpx are only for marketing. True photographers know pretty well that more Mpx you have the worst your photos gonna get. I think Apple was the smartest here, even though Sammy's GS3 would have been appropriate to compare.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 11:44 1

23. ChiX017 (Posts: 308; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

R u kidden mE! its about what Nokia has done with the 41MP which is great on any level!

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 12:14 2

24. Extraneus (Posts: 121; Member since: 02 Jun 2012)

"True photographers know pretty well that more Mpx you have the worst your photos gonna get."

What on earth are you on about...? I suggest you do a re-read-up on the 808 and how it handles it's many megapixels.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 16:10 1

26. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4335; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

Excuse me..err...Extra-(a)neus???
I'm not against any phone here, but just for you...the phone having a 41mp sensor doesn't mean you only have that option to click..."it" has lesser choices of course. And by what the comparison above means is (duh!!!) the 808 has a better sensor...you can see it for yourself!!
And while doing so, feel free to knock yourself out!! "Hater of 'EXTRA' megapixels-neus"!!

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 13:15

29. aaronkatrini (Posts: 242; Member since: 06 Jun 2012)

Ok, so who you think is beter. Any Canon DSLr with 18mpx or the 808 with 41mpx?

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:30 1

30. hiBreed (Posts: 90; Member since: 29 May 2012)

Stop canvassing, u are a fu**ing apple fanboy, i can bet all my eggs that u haven't read anything about the pureview, u only saw the headline '41mp' hypocrite. didn't mean it as an insult though

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 09:25 1

14. -RVM- (Posts: 331; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

But notice that it is better than iPhone in low-light conditions.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:32

31. hiBreed (Posts: 90; Member since: 29 May 2012)

Im quite sure you meant everything optical (read not screen)

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 07:51 1

4. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Although the photos might look better in comparison the underlining aspect is if it was a comparison on the rest of the phone handsets themselves besides the camera features than the 808 hasn't a leg to stand on,only a very small niche group of people would actually spend a couple of hundred smackers or use up a two year contract upgrade for a handset like the 808

Nokia reps had told us recently that pureview was years in development and unfortunately for nokia it only became fully developed for use at a time when Symbian is on its death bed. The technology is also not compatitble for the forseeable future with windows,but that saying windows sales stats have shown to be poor also in comparison anyhow so maybe Nokia hasn't lost anything there

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 09:25 2

13. Penny (Posts: 1672; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

Well, this IS a comparison of camera quality, so let's leave the debate about the rest of the phone for an appropriate time and place.

Here in the U.S., the phone is only going to be available off contract, so there's no worry of it taking up a two year contract. The only obstruction will be the off contract price, which hopefully should be at or below the $600 mark. Although I wouldn't use this as a primary device, just because I am unfamiliar with Symbian, I would definitely want to try it out.

I don't know how you're saying that the technology isn't "compatible for the foreseeable future with Windows..." when all rumors, statements, and articles point to the fact that they are developing this for one or more Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 09:41 2

15. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

600 for a phone just for the camera? Are you serious,if its just for the camera you can get far far better professional standalone cameras for cheaper,and phone wise at that cost you can get far far better phones. As you said pureview on other devices are rumours,Nokia reps have said to us for the foreseeable future to us its Symbian only and windows 8 now looking to be delayed to 2013

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 09:49 1

16. Penny (Posts: 1672; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

I wouldn't buy it just for the camera. The reason I am looking to get a few off contract phones is because I want to play with the various operating systems as well, and this is as good a reason as any to try a Symbian phone.

And I do have to say, even for the price of $600, this wouldn't be a terrible value as a camera. I have a 10MP Canon S90 point and shoot that cost $300, and a 21MP Canon 5D MKII dSLR that cost $4,400 (with lens, flash, and all other accessories). I definitely don't expect this to match the quality of the 5D MKII, but I am curious to see if it can get better shots than the S90. If it is significantly better than the S90, and it provides adequate smartphone functionality, then I would probably call this phone a great value -- especially considering that other high end smartphones cost $650-$850 off contract with not even comparable functionality in the camera department.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 09:56 3

18. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Well it could be suitable for yourself so,but you'd be in the very small niche category to which it might sell.
I've seen the reactions and general public opinions combined with months of sales figures from day in day out in the industry and its gives you an overall view of the devices and nokia sure will be in for struggle

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 10:00 2

19. Penny (Posts: 1672; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

Absolutely, I wouldn't expect this device to sell in notable quantities in the U.S. Nokia has always released off contract phones in the U.S. that are not tied to a carrier, and these phones never sell in large quantities.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 18:08

27. ripp747 (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)

Good Points

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 10:10 2

20. Sasparilla (Posts: 6; Member since: 14 Jun 2012)

Well obviously its not worth it to you, but there are folks interested in the best camera phone bar none (photo bugs probably), who don't care about the OS, then it will be worth it to some folks.

That's why the N8 sold in significant numbers in the U.S. for an unlocked phone when no U.S. service provider offered it.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 12:19 1

25. Extraneus (Posts: 121; Member since: 02 Jun 2012)

Have you considered the fact that potential customers (like me) specifically do NOT want to carry around extra gadgets, like a separate camera?
Keep in mind also that many (like me) have a tablet to deal with any app-needs they might have, and will be perfectly happy with a Belle phone, which, incidentally, is much more energy efficient than the competition...

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 07:55 2

5. mercorp (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)

Why no galaxy s3?

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 08:02 9

6. mafiaprinc3 (Posts: 580; Member since: 07 May 2012)

technology behind pure view sure makes vids & pics look amazing,now nokia needs to implement this tech in wp8

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 08:09 7

7. Anthony_Gonzalves (Posts: 46; Member since: 11 May 2012)

Nokia is king in optics department.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 08:26 2

8. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Nokia really needs to bring the 808 to a U.S. carrier, T-Mobile preferred (as they have recent history with Symbian). There is such a significant difference that Nokia can really make a name for themselves again just by demonstrating what they can do and why it makes them special. Even if they only sell a few thousand, that's still that many more out there providing free publicity

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 10:14

21. Sasparilla (Posts: 6; Member since: 14 Jun 2012)

Sounds nice, but it doesn't look like any U.S. carrier is going with it.

In the U.S. the best option is probably buy it outright (finally landed on Amazon recently in the U.S. but only one seller so maybe its not quite here yet) and go with Straight Talk (their AT&T network SIM) and unlimited everything for $45 a month no contract.

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 08:51 2

9. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

no chance for other phones its a obbvious victory here

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 08:54 1

10. CharlieAtInfinity (Posts: 253; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

Damn good shots by 808 :D cant wait to test it myself!!

posted on 14 Jun 2012, 09:03 1

12. Suts_97 (Posts: 124; Member since: 05 May 2012)


posted on 14 Jun 2012, 09:51

17. Sasparilla (Posts: 6; Member since: 14 Jun 2012)

The 808 has finally popped up on Amazon in the U.S. for ~ $700. Only one retailer so far on Amazon (so not sure if its just a "preorder" or what) but this is a step forward to getting the 808, probably we're getting close to the 808 coming to the U.S. unlocked (like the N8) and there will be more vendors added to the Amazon page (and the price will come down) in the future months.

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