Nokia 808 PureView: Just How Good Do the Images Look in Real Life?

Macro & Food Shots, Conclusion

Macro Photography - Nature


Nokia 808 PureView

The 808 PureView allows for close-up focus, so let's check out how well this focus mode works with some flower shots.

The 808 PureView has managed to convince us so far that even a mobile phone camera can take good shots, and that the camera tech for mobile phones is advancing to a stage where image quality is probably on a par with some digital compact cameras.

Here's the same shot with a 16:9 aspect ratio. As with most smaller camera sensors, sufficient ambient light is crucial to getting good shots. With sufficient ambient light, ISO values can be kept low and shutter speeds can be set relatively fast, which will result in less noisy and blurred images.


Nikon D800

The D800's larger sensor manages to get a more balanced exposure here, with saturated colors. Most digital compact cameras tend to under expose slightly when it's bright and sunny, and the images from the 808 PureView has shown that it suffers from this as well. This can be rectified with exposure compensation, which thankfully, the 808 PureView offers.


Nokia 808 PureView and Nikon D800 - 100% Crop

You can still make out the details on the petals, which is impressive considering this image is taken with a smartphone camera. And do bear in mind, an average person will not zoom in this level, thus the images are more than enough for web use or even small prints.

The level of detail here is good, and would have definitely been better if we had shot with a dedicated macro lens for the Nikon D800.


Macro Photography - Food


Nokia 808 PureView

Food photography is one of most popular types of photography, so we decided to give it a go with our humble dinner. For this we also utilized the close-up focus mode to enable a shallower depth-of-field.

We used the close-up mode for this shot, which allowed us to place the lens closer to the subject. The aspect ratio here is 4:3, with a resolution of 38 megapixels and ISO400. If you're not intending to blow up the image and it's just going to be shared online, the image quality is more than enough for this purpose.

At a resolution of 33 megapixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9, the 808 PureView surprised us when we shot this image at a light sensitivity setting of ISO100. While it looks good at this size, let's take a closer look at the 100% crop.


Nikon D800

Shooting at ISO400, the D800 manages to achieve a very shallow depth-of-field and good noise control. Color here is similar to the images from the 808 PureView, so let's take a look at their 100% crops to examine the level of  detail.


Nokia 808 PureView and Nikon D800 - 100% Crop

The low light forced us to bump the 808 PureView's light sensitivity up to ISO400, and the 100% crop revealed that noise is very obvious here, with a loss of detail as well.

The D800 shows that a larger sensor does indeed help greatly in low light situations. Shooting at ISO400 still retains a great deal of detail and keeps noise levels low.


Wrapping Things Up

A day of shooting has showed that while camera manufacturers try to fit in more megapixels in their camera sensors, size still matters. A larger camera sensor will generally result in better image quality as it's easier to keep image noise suppressed when shooting in low light and at higher light sensitivity settings (ISO values). Having a large megapixel count sounds very good on paper, but not all camera sensors can take advantage of all those pixels and put them to good use. So what do we think of the Nokia 808 PureView's performance?

For night shots, as long as they are going online or printed at small sizes, the Nokia 808 PureView is still able to capture good night shots at higher ISO settings (provided there is still sufficient ambient light). This was taken at ISO800.

 A 100% crop reveals excessive noise as well as image processing, which results in the image looking like a watercolor painting if you zoom in too much. Thus while still able to shoot at higher ISO settings, it's best to keep the images small for actual use and sharing.

If you're comparing it to a digital compact camera, then the 808 PureView is somewhat comparable, or may even outperform some compacts in terms of image quality. And if you do not intend to pixel-peep or print your images at large sizes, then the noise and loss of detail is definitely not a deal-breaker, especially when a digital compact camera would probably exhibit the same flaws when it comes to low light performance (though the actual extent of differences will definitely vary from model to model). And while the Nokia 808 PureView is handy (it is after all a mobile phone first and foremost), don't forget that digital compact cameras offer more manual controls as well as better handling due to their dedicated physical controls.

At the end of the day, the Nokia 808 Pureview is quite an interesting convergence device melding the best traits of a smartphone and compact camera, while pandering towards more casual users who might like the idea of a single do-it-all device. As a smartphone, it's bulkier than any others in the market, but if you prefer to do away with a dedicated camera, then the Pureview 808's proposition stands out pretty strongly - only if you don't care much for the platform driving the phone.

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