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Impressions of the Nokia 808 Pureview

December 7, 2012

In late August I bought a Nokia 808. After using it for three months and printing some photos taken with it, I now feel ready to share my assessment of this groundbreaking camera phone. Rather than writing a comprehensive review, I just want to share a few things that have surprised me about the phone, and, as someone who takes and processes photos almost every day, comment on the performance of the phone’s most distinctive feature, its 41-megapixel, 1/1.2-inch-sensor camera. I’ll also show a few photos taken with the phone.

My objective is to share my impression of the phone with people who are considering buying one. Overall, my impression is very favorable.

The 808’s specifications and a detailed description of its features can be found in’s review. DPreview gave the 808 a Gold Award.

The photos that I printed this week were impressive: comparable in quality to photos taken with my Lumix LX3. For my work I now use a Lumix G1. I would say that the 808’s photos are not as good as those taken with the G1, particularly in terms of clipping highlights and in terms of precision focusing. The 808 lacks the G1’s ability to reduce the focus frame.

My only disappointment with the phone is that internet signal reception is poorer than that of my previous phone, a Nokia E6, so checking my e-mail is often a frustrating experience.

Perhaps my biggest surprise is the phone’s remarkable battery life. I hesitated to upgrade from the Nokia E6 because, with judicious power management, the E6 went for up to four days without needing to be charged. I dreaded the prospect of having a phone that must be charged daily. I’m delighted that the 808 goes for three days between charges.

Another delight has been shooting HD video with the phone and then playing the clips on my TV by connecting the phone to the TV with an HDMI cable. Full HD video shot with the phone looks great.

The phone’s camera lets users adjust many settings, and the lossless zoom (silent in videos!) works very well.

The phone’s major advantage over other camera phones is its ability to capture quite decent images in low light, partly because of its large sensor but also because of its powerful Xenon flash.

Here is a photo that I shot of three friends last night.

Friends at Hotel Accord, Pondicherry

Friends at Hotel Accord, Pondicherry

Here’s a photo of cows at the farm on which I live.

Cows at Annapurna farm, Auroville

Cows at Annapurna farm, Auroville

This is a photo of plastic bottle labels dumped beside a truck terminal in Pondicherry, one of my favorite (photo) shooting grounds. I imagine they’ve been discarded by a plastic bottle recycler.

Plastic bottle labels discarded at Pondicherry's truck terminal

Plastic bottle labels discarded at Pondicherry’s truck terminal

And here’s a 100% crop of the area denoted by the red rectangle in the above image.

100% crop from the above image

100% crop from the above image

Here’s a macro of the labels.

Waste beverage labels

Waste beverage labels

Finally, here are images of cows foraging in the rubbish dumped beside the truck terminal. Almost all Indian livestock that graze on such mixed municipal solid waste have some plastic in their digestive tracts, and cows have been found to accumulate up to 50 kilograms of plastic in their rumens, sometimes killing the animals.

Cow foraging in mixed municipal solid waste illegally dumped beside Pondicherry's truck terminal

Cow foraging in mixed municipal solid waste illegally dumped beside Pondicherry’s truck terminal

Cow foraging in municipal solid waste at Pondicherry's truck terminal

Cow foraging in municipal solid waste at Pondicherry’s truck terminal

Several others have posted their assessments of Nokia’s 808 in WordPress blogs. Like many of them, I conclude that the 808 is a very capable camera and, by the way, a decent phone.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. arush permalink
    December 14, 2012 12:55 pm

    Great review!!
    Could you tell me what settings did you used to take all these pics..i believe they are definitely not in auto mode, would be really thankful to you..

    • December 22, 2012 7:06 am

      Hi Arush,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I don’t have time to figure out what the 808’s settings were on each photo, but you’re right that they were not shot in Automatic mode. All were shot in the 808’s Creative mode.

      All shots were post-processed in Adobe Photoshop.

      I find that images directly out of the 808 all have excessive blue tint.

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