Nokia 808 PureView gets reviewed on DPReview – “Nokia blows its competition out of the water”.

| July 31, 2012 | 26 Replies

The Nokia 808 PureView sets another milestone in getting itself reviewed on DPReview, a highly respected camera review site.

They’re impressed with the detail capture.

It’s hard not to be impressed by the 808’s performance here, especially at low ISO sensitivity settings. At its maximum resolution of 38MP the 808 is capable of capturing a ton of detail, and pixel-level image quality is up there with some of the best cameras around. In its 8MP PureView mode pixel-level image quality is extremely high at low ISO settings, and even up at its highest ISOs, the 808 gives a lot of ‘proper’ cameras a run for their money.

On page 4, we hear from Juha Alakarhu how optical zoom in the 3MP N93 resulted in a very low F-number at the telephoto (zoom) end. This meant at 3x zoom, there was more noise and more blur (if exposure time was too long). With PureView, the F-number remains the same. Juha says the best way to show it’s not all about the 41MP is to see the images. So true. As incredible as the specifications on the 808 PureView’s camera sounds (to the point that we’ll get moans from Sony and Olympus) they only have to see results, such as GSM Arena’s blind camera tests, that make said whiners eat their words. The proof is in the eating of the pudding and the 808 produces some of the sweetest pictures around.

Regarding PureView coming soon to Lumia? Er, no. It doesn’t sound like it will appear any time this year.

Nokia only announced our collaboration with Microsoft a little over a year ago. You don’t develop something like PureView in such a short time. We have already announced that our plans are to bring Pureview technologies to our future Windows Phone portfolio.

A brief, wonderful summary of what Nokia achieved in the past 10 years of imaging. I wish this was how they introduced the 808.

Nokia has long heritage of producing excellent camera phones. We made our first camera phone, the 7650 ten years ago. The N90 was our first device with autofocus and Carl Zeiss optics, the N93 featured our first optical zoom in a mobile phone camera, and the N95 introduced a 1/2.5″ sensor. More recently the N82 was our first cameraphone with a xenon flash, the N86 had a variable lens iris, the N8 had a 1/1.8″ image sensor, and now we’re introducing the 808 PureView, which introduces an even bigger sensor, and our proprietary oversampling.

It makes me smile because I remember my folks at the time telling me this camera phone thing was just a gimmick.

Pros and Cons?

Not a lot on RichRecording, but this is a camera/photography site so I wouldn’t have expected a lot of talk on video.

  • Excellent detail resolution in all modes
  • Very good image quality – detailed, colorful JPEGs
  • Impressive photographic feature set – controllable ISO, WB, scene modes et al
  • Generally reliable AF and metering
  • Automatic white balance works well in all but the trickiest of light
  • PureView allows ‘zoom’ without penalty in image quality
  • Excellent video quality (and sound)

Things Nokia needs to improve on (Cons)

  • Highlight clipping problematic in scenes with wide tonal range
  • No one-shot HDR/dynamic range expansion function (but bracketing is available)
  • Metering can be rather wayward in bright light
  • On-screen histogram only available while exposure compensation dialog is open
  • Interface somewhat dense in ‘creative’ mode
  • Obscure on-screen icons for ND filter and white balance in creative mode
  • On-screen ISO indication just shows ‘M’ when any setting other than Auto is selected
  • Non-optical ‘zooming’ doesn’t allow control over depth of field
  • No image stabilization in still capture mode
  • Red-eye can be an issue in flash shots (but red-eye reduction works well)


Pretty impressive. I’m concerned that they found the camera UI a little fussy. It is so much improved from the S^3/Belle interfaces, but I’d have to agree that there is still improvements to be made to make the options clearer and easier to use. Still, it’s a much better offering than that lump of turd Microsoft dared to put in as their Windows Phone camera UI. Yes tap to snap a photo is nice, and swiping to see the gallery is good enough to be stolen by google for jelly bean, but everything else was designed by someone with a goal to frustrate you into punching walls.

As a phone, they don’t like Symbian too much but that’s not news. They like the vertical zoom on the 808 and say the pinch and zoom has never felt natural on their iPhone. Whilst they praise the simulated zoom for maintaining the high quality, they do note that it does lack that background blur at the telephoto end. A major issue they note is something called ‘highlight clipping’

Final Word:

There are inexpensive compact cameras that offer more photographer-friendly features than the 808, but as a cameraphone, the Nokia blows its competition out of the water, and significantly narrows the gap between dedicated cameras and portable communications devices to the point where ultimate convergence seems all but inevitable (and probably sooner than some commentators had realised)

The 808 proves that Nokia can innovate, and its PureView technology has piqued the interest of serious photographers, being one of the most important innovations – arguable the most important – in mobile photography since the smarphone era dawned five or so years ago. As such, the 808 is intriguing not just in itself, but because of what it represents. Things could be about to get interesting…

I believe there’s also a gold award in it for the 808.

Thanks Bhairav and tulip for the tip!


Category: Nokia, Symbian

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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]