Nokia 808 PureView camera comparison
It is probably wiser to compare the Nokia 808 PureView to standalone cameras, considering its shooting specs, but we snapped a few photos for comparison with most of the flagship smartphones currently on the market anyway.

Thus we are pitting the 41MP sensor in the PureView against the previous top cameraphone from the Finns, the Nokia N8, and against the current market darlings iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X, LG Optimus 4X HD, Sony Xperia S and the still very popular Samsung Galaxy S II.

Outdoor - details:

All of these handsets capture a pretty good level of detail, corresponding nicely to their respective resolutions. The natural outliers seem to be the Nokia 808 PureView and N8 with their big sensors. The phone with the PureView technology performed best here - we shot in the same 8MP resolution most of the test phones have for comparison’s sake.

In this mode it merges a few pixels into one super pixel, making a good use of its 41MP sensor, and this oversampling leads to averaged-out noise and greater amount of detail than usual. The PureView shots came out clean as a whistle in terms of noise, and there seems to be no processing/sharpening whatsoever, thus preserving even the most intricate level of detail even in the shadows, which is pretty evident when you look at the theater’s columns and ornaments. Since there is no sharpening of the pics, they look soft compared to the others, yet very clean and noise-free.

The Nokia N8 ranks second in terms of detail - it also produced softy pictures with a lot of detail, but not as noise-free as Nokia's latest, due to the smaller sensor than the one on the 808 PureView.

The rest are pretty close, but noise is an issue and the processing they do often introduces artifacts. Excessive sharpening is very easily observed in the case of the HTC One X and the Sony Xperia S. The Xperia S has the advantage of its higher resolution, though, and catches more points, ranking third.

The Galaxy S II and iPhone 4S come very close to the Xperia S detail, with the Galaxy S II upping the exposure and using more noise-suppression, resulting in a tad less distinct detail than the iPhone 4S.

Both the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S II overexposed shots, more so in the case of Samsung's latest, which led to less distinct detail on it compared to the Galaxy S II.

The LG Optimus 4X HD seems to take the opposite approach of the iPhone 4S, suppressing noise too much and smearing a lot of detail in the process for the sake of a cleaner pic. The worst offender in terms of detail, however, seems to the the HTC One X, where a lot of fine print gets lost in translation, and on top of that its pics are pretty noisy too.

Click on an image to open in the popup gallery, where you should preview it in full size (double mouse click or keyboard shortcut space) 



Color representation:

Smartphones oversaturate colors and boost up contrast compared to reality more often than not, since that is what most people demand. Such is the case with the HTC One X, Sony Xperia X, iPhone 4S, Galaxy S III and the Optimus 4X HD. The Nokia N8, on the other hand, is colder than reality, and so is the Galaxy S II, although just a tad. Overall, the Nokia 808 PureView got the most accurate color representation, which is easily explained by the shooting mode we chose with it (Creative mode with default setting for natural colors).

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