Nokia 808 PureView Camera – Pictures & Video – Comparison with Nokia N8 & Samsung Galaxy SIII

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Zoom Test

Almost in every picture and in most conditions we got pretty much same results from these three devices as above and of course 808 PureView was the leader among all of them. However one of the most focused features in Nokia 808 PureView’s camera was its lossless zooming capability when shooting with PureView mode (at 8MP, 5MP or below). So we did have our concerns to check how the theory (what Nokia has explained in making of PureView camera) actually works.

We sure need a full image at no zoom to compare with the 2x zoom level. So let’s just have the following view of the tree. — Please excuse us for not adding the Nokia N8 in this comparison as we just missed that one at that time —

Noticeably the one from Galaxy SIII (on right) looks more cool and vivid as most of the Android devices including iOS manipulate at more extent with the shot but that can be added later in post-editing. In Nokia 808 PureView we indeed had an option in the camera app to produce a vivid image as well as we could have added more color saturation and sharpness but the above picture was taken at normal default settings in both devices. But wait! that vividness and sharpness is only looking cool in a small preview like above. You must need to check the full resolution images of both to see what’s the difference.

Full Resolution – 808 PureView, Galaxy SIII.

Following is the 100% crop of the above image. Can you see the difference? We see that, much detail and sharpness as well as good colors of the leaves in 808 PureView’s version

But we were talking about what the Lossless Zoom actually is and how does it work in 808 PureView. Well it amazed us how did it maintain the detail with still no noise. You can see how all those massive pixels can be useful to provide zooming capability as an alternative to optical zoom in smartphones. (We do have our reservations about that it may replace optical zoom completely, we’ll cover and talk about that later in full review of the device.)

For now just look at the following 100% crops from the same picture taken at 2x zoom from both of the devices.

Full Resolution at 2x Zoom – 808 PureView, Galaxy SIII.

For quick understanding, you need to know that the 8MP image from 808 PureView is actually a downscaled version of all 38 megapixels that makes it having smaller pixels than any other 8MP camera or smartphone. In that way total of ~5 pixels make a single sharper and detailed pixel and in the end you get 8MP picture having that great detail with almost no noise.

And when you use zooming feature in PureView, it’s not actually a zooming (or digital zooming). The PureView camera algorithm expands the pixels away to its proper sizes at 38 megapixels resolution and gives you the cropped section covering only 8 megapixels of the field view from the full sensor resolution. So there is no (digital or optical) zooming involved in PureView hence no upscaling is performed in any way and you get 100% quality what you get at full resolution with no zoom. Be assured that currently you are not able to use any zooming feature when shooting at full resolution of 38 megapixels.

So if you now understand that there is no upscaling performed while you zoom-in in 808 PureView, that’s the only reason you get no distortion or degrading the detail of the image. That’s not the case with any other smartphone phone. If you know what digital zoom actually is, you will know that it’s technique to worse the image quality. I never use digital zoom because it only performs interpolating or upscaling which you can do later in any software on your computer. remember that — more the digital zoom worst the image quality is.

Night shot at 2x zoom.

In day light or where the light was enough for camera to produce a good picture, the zooming capability was enough to tell that it really is loss less. But how will it perform at night? I tried the 2x zoom at night in front of a beautiful wedding hall and I believe the 808 PureView kept all the beauty what that hall usually presents at night from the outside.

100% Cropped parts below. Click to enlarge.

Full Resolution at 2x Zoom – 808 PureView, Nokia N8, Galaxy SIII.

In above shot I needed to use manual ISO 800 in 808 PureView as Galaxy SIII wasn’t not able to keep up with the visuals of the building at auto ISO due to using lower ISO settings. The second issue was with Nokia N8 as it does not provide manual ISO settings and instead provides only three manual levels of ISO low, medium and high. So I put the N8 at its higher ISO. The result is again in favour of 808 PureView. We can see a raising noise in gradient areas but much better detail in PureView’s version than the other ones. Plus the lens flair effect is really pleasing in 808 PureView which N8 also tried to make with it. I can’t tell any thing about the Galaxy SIII version, it’s just not comparable.

Well I also thought to get another shot with 808 PureView with auto ISO settings where it used the ISO 640 and was much better in gaining the detail, of course better than above ISO 800.

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