Nokia 808 PureView Low Light test vs Canon EOS 550D, Olympus PEN E-PL2, SGSIII

| June 21, 2012 | 16 Replies

GSM Arena does a test now to see how low light works on the Nokia 808 PureView. It impresses when Xenon is used and outdoes the camera phones in low light no flash. But the likes of the 550D are on another league (though lens dependent too. A 50mm F1.4 on my 60D takes in soo much light at night). My 60D also has the added advantage of having an external flash (though another cost! and weight and something else to charge) which gives a little more versatility regarding light control (wall bouncing/diffusing/off camera flash etc).

However, for majority of usage when I want to take some indoor people pics or low light people pics, the 808 is what I need and does the job better than any other camera phone or even DSLR. For one, I can’t be carrying my DSLR everywhere. I can’t even carry a pocket cam everywhere. I can bring a phone everywhere though.

Looking at the pictures on my facebook in particular, I’d say they’d all benefit if they had the 808. Sometimes I’m looking at my tagged pictures in an album taken  I’m sitting there waiting for the gallery to load fully and remove that initial blur…nope, that’s just because it’s a blackberry. Not to mention they’re green, horrible and pixelated.



If, after reading this article, you thought that Olympus and Canon should start trembling with fear, you are wrong. Image quality is one thing, but cameraphones lack the versatility of the larger sensor cameras with interchangeable optics, so DSLRs and EVILs won’t be replaced any time soon.

Nor was that Nokia’s idea when designing the 808 PureView. The 41 megapixel sensor was set to annihilate smartphone competition and hopefully steal some users from the casual point and shoot camera market. That’s why its low-light performance is so important – casual photographers are quite likely to be taking photos at a disco or at dinner table in a restaurant, where lighting is far from perfect.

Fortunately, the Nokia 808 PureView rose to the challenge and put up a performance closer to that of its MFT and APS-C competitors (again we are only talking image quality here) than to its smartphone rival. The huge leap forward for the cameraphone world is complete. Now let’s hope this is just the first of many more PureView cameraphones to come.


There’s also a video here:

SGSIII’s video is soo bright compared to even the DSLR to the point some of the detail is a little washed out.

Cheers efekt for the tip!


Category: Nokia, Symbian

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Ammad

    *SGS3 videos comes on*

    AHHHH it burns!

  • yesir

    It seems only non-WP phones at Nokia have freakishly unique appeals.. the camera of 808 and the amazing UI of N9.

    Lumias, I guess, are targeted at more general audience.. the dumb mass.

    • Pdexter

      Well if 808 was unique and people would be intriqued by it will sell like GS3. Most people seem to be just waiting for WP8 with PureView reading blogs and forums (not the 1 or 2 Nokia forums and blogs left).
      And who vould blame them.

    • Thomas F

      imagine Harmattan with pure view vs. Wp8 with pure view….. What would you go for?

    • migo

      The UI of the N9 was only amazing to people coming from Symbian. You could have a UI that randomly re-arranges itself and it’d be amazing compared to Symbian.

  • migo

    I’d put the Olympus at slightly ahead of the PV in quality, but only slightly, and the sharpness of PV for zooming in I think makes it more versatile.

    • stylinred

      how the 808 resolves more detail

    • I wouldn’t. I like how Nokia (or Damian) is keeping to its principles and using only little noise reduction and post processing in general. Olympus loses detail in high ISOs due to it’s over-aggressive noise reduction. 808 PureView mode doesn’t and retains even a bit more detail than Olympus. And 808 has only 8 Mpix vs. Olympus 12 Mpix.

      And while 808’s pics has more grain you can get rid of a lot of it in Photoshop, but you can never get back the detail that Olympus’ NR lost. That’s why it’s better to have only a small to no amount of noise reduction in the camera. You can always do the NR afterwards in Photoshop if needed.

      GSMArena didn’t test at all the 5 megapixel PureView mode which makes the 808 even better performer in low light with the pixel size growing to 4 µm. That’s DSLR territory. I would have been nice to see also 5 Mpix photos in that test. How much less noise would there have been vs. 8 Mpix PureView and 38 Mpix mode.

      • “I like how Nokia (or Damian) is keeping to its principles and using only little noise reduction and post processing in general.”

        I wish they do allow for RAW saving and/or variable compression rate. (I’ve explained them why these would be advantageous back in March in a large, professionally-written photog mail.)

      • migo

        I’d never spend much time in Photoshop. I’d rather just have it come out the way I want it, but I can understand your point of view too.

  • Extraneus

    808 keeps impressing! I still think the 808 beats the Olympus, both in the still shot and the video… It even bests the Canon in the with-flash test!

    The ISO test, however, shows the limitations; the GS3 is of course utter junk in this category, but so too must the 808 conceit defeat at even 400 ISO – the picture simply isn’t passable…

    What’s with the bright light in the GS3 video?!? 😀

    • “808 keeps impressing! I still think the 808 beats the Olympus, both in the still shot and the video… It even bests the Canon in the with-flash test!”

      Actually, the 808’s true video resolution is better than that of the Canon, which is quite a feat in itself.

      (N.B.: in good light, the iPhone 4 / 4S / iPad 2 / iPad 3 also have excellent video resolution.)

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