Capturing images was rather easy, with the camera software starting up when pressing the camera button for a few seconds (in locked mode). The same key serves for auto-focus when soft-pressed. The interface is quite simple in automatic mode, with virtually no buttons to fill the screen – I prefer a filled-in UI, and hence opted for the grid combined with all the indicators:
Default scenes can also be chosen, for which the camera automatically chooses the settings:
Further options, such as bracketing for HDR or even for timelapse, are available under the settings menu:
The following set of tests will demonstrate the power of a 41-megapixel camera, whether PureView oversampling is worth it, as well as the usual photo samples with macro and low-lit scenes.
Please beware that these images come straight out of the camera, no editing (unless otherwise stated) besides the cropping that is required to show the detail at 100% – with little editing, these could very well pass for professional-grade images, at least for the untrained eye.
The first picture below shows a 100% crop of the second, full 41-megapixel image. Click on them to view at full resolution.
It wasn’t an optimal day for photography, with the Johannesburg town emitting a considerable amount of glare, and the detail at the 100% crop wasn’t the best, given the 1.4 micron size of each pixel. However, panning across the full image demonstrates why more pixels can sometimes be good, especially when capturing large scenes.
To compare whether there was any difference in capturing a 41 MP image versus a 5 MP PureView image, I took the two sets of pictures below, once again with their 100% crops preceding them.
The same duck that stands out in both pictures isn’t very sharp in the second (PureView) set, and it’s also recommended to always take a zoomed-out shot, so that it can be later re-cropped differently. For this test, PureView’s oversampling technology doesn’t seem very useful.
A similar test was taken of a structure supporting a bell, focusing on a sign. Besides the evident compression to keep the file size limited to 11.5 MB, my preference remains with the non-oversampled image (the first set).
Being at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, the flowers came in just handy to test the macro, or close-up, potential of the 808′s camera. Even though the specifications list 15 cm as the minimum focusing distance, I had to stand further away, and use the zoom function while in PureView mode.
The flower’s full image (41 MP) succeeds its 100% crop, the latter showing an impressive amount of detail of flower’s stem. Unfortunately, the camera seems to lack in dynamic range, overexposing many areas, hiding away the highlights.
The Nikon D90 with a macro 70-300 mm lens allows easier framing and focusing (image edited):
This lack of dynamic range is evident in the image below, where a waterfall hidden by a bokeh stands behind a bunch of flowers (taken in PureView 5 MP mode).
Just to show what can be done with simple editing, the image below is an edited version of the above one (increased shadows, reduced fill light, increased colour temperature, cropped).
In constrast, it much easier to frame a shot with my 12-megapixel Nikon D90 DSLR, especially since it carried the 70-300mm macro lens (image edited):
Some images taken at 5 MP lacked sharpness, such is the case of the flower below, as visible in the 100% crop.
The same shot, framed differently – since the 808 couldn’t focus from this angle – on the Nikon D90 with the 70-300mm macro lens (image edited):
Typically camera-phones – and even point-and-shoot cameras themselves – can’t capture night-time images very well, owing to their small sensors, in comparisons to DSLRs. I expected the Nokia 808 PureView to be different, but I was wrong. Although the Xenon flash may help when capturing a friends’ night-out, taking a picture of the city skyline at night is a train-smash – the first picture is in automatic mode, the second one in night-mode with flash set to fire (both in PureView mode, 5 MP).
I believe the crisis could have been averted with more manual controls. Sure, the exposure compensation, ISO and white balance can be changed, but even point-and-shoots nowadays allow the user to set the shutter speed and aperture setting – with these, photographers can customize what their phone captures and optimize for the night skies.
Video and audio recording quality are tested in the next page.