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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43 Comments

1. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I wish Nokia did as well in other departments too. Maybe they will finally change their policy and start being competetive once more. Anyway, 808 is a clear winner. And N8 is still a class of its own. No suprise here:)

2. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

PureView FTW. Can't wait for it to get on a newer OS and body, despite my preference for Symbian and its superiority as a phone (with physical phone buttons especially)

3. adjou

Posts: 106; Member since: Jul 06, 2010

This is a camera fight between nokia's sensor and sony's. Very impress with the 808!

7. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Sensor was made by Toshiba not by Nokia. :)

13. deadhead

Posts: 17; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

actually both companies worked on the design, but is manufactured only by Toshiba.. just like the N8. Toshiba can't sell either of those sensors to anyone else, because of the collaboration with Nokia.

16. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

True.

25. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Really? Where'd you find that out? At work or I'd try to find it myself

4. CharlieAtInfinity

Posts: 253; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

I just love the low noise and the colour saturation.. okay I got to admit!! I love everything about the camera of the PureView!! There is just No phone in the market that has a better camera or even comes close to the camera of the pure view!! Good Job Nokia!!

5. AzhiKarim

Posts: 5; Member since: May 24, 2012

Nokia 808 Win!! the only thing this phone needs now is more apps and games ...

17. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

There is nothing to expect, Symbian is dying and developers are abandoning ship.

20. bbblader

Posts: 590; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

its a loop devs abandoning symbian because its dying and its dying because devs are abandoning it

21. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

But someone has started that loop and that not without a reason, right? Developers doesn't start abandoning OS just because...

23. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

OK. I admit it. I started that loop. After using the Nokia N97 for months, I finally got fed up with this piece of crap. I looked to see what was available to upgrade to. The Symbian phones I saw were also crap. I decided to abandon Symbian and got an Android phone (HTC Desire Z) and I love it. Even with it still running on GB, I love it. Even though I'm eligible for a hardware upgrade, I have no desire to change phones.

24. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"OK. I admit it. I started that loop." Symbian fans will find you! :D

45. depeche

Posts: 63; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Same thing happened with webOS. Palm died, and webOS was briefly resurrected with HP. HP pulled the plug one day as the excitement was picking up. The Pre 3 was never released.

26. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

Dude, it doesnt matter what happens to Symbian, what really matters is this Pureview technology that is beating the crap out of everyphone out there, and the best part of this is that it´s coming to WP8 as well.

34. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Yes, but my comment was reply to comment about apps and Nokia 808 PureView use Symbian. ;)

6. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

My gf would get it if it had wp7 on it instead...

8. wsucoug13

Posts: 164; Member since: May 04, 2012

Honestly don't see that huge of a difference between them. All look pretty good.

36. -RVM-

Posts: 331; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

My grandmother says the same.

48. K.E.N.

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

you better have your eyes checked.

9. cristianer

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 20, 2010

Yeah! 808 first and N8 second. I love these phones.

11. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1246; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

NOKIA is five years ahead of others in Camera department and five years behind with respect to other features, imho....

29. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Yes to the camera, the other part not as much... Neither ios nor WP have as many features and capabilities as Symbian (or MeeGo, RIP). Easier and less jittery, and in WP's case much more fluid and pretty, but still behind. Lumia series are (arguably) the prettiest in production, and I don't know of any other manufacturer that packs in as much into their devices, even their low end ones. NFC, FM radio transmitter, pentaband antennas, mobile hotspot capability, etc, etc. Give credit where it's due.

12. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

The pictures are so amazingly nice on the Pureview. But me personally don't have any use for a 41 MP camera @"@ But it still has really amazing pictures.

27. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

you dont understand, the 41 are used to oversample the pixels and lossless zoom to make the pictures look better, pictures still come out at 5 and 8 megapixels.

14. deadhead

Posts: 17; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Their 808 has defective optics btw .. loss of detail on the right side of the frame. Every set of optics is aligned individually (which is amazing), so I guess its normal for some of them not to be perfect.

15. imran_khan0786

Posts: 61; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

Excellent job did by Nokia. It will to sucess when it comes in wp8+pureview=awesome smartphone.

18. sajith930

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 26, 2012

Pls add Nokia N9 to this compare..Another good camera...don't abondened that sweet guy... thanks

19. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

Thanks, for a great camera comparison article. Much better than that other web site which shall remain nameless that I boycotted since last year.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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