Facebook Twitter Flickr

The King of Camphones. First the Nokia N8, next 808 PureView – now Lumia 1020?

More and more people are pointing out the Nokia Lumia 1020 doesn’t make as brilliant shots as its 41MP predecessor, the Nokia 808 PureView we all love so much here at the PureViewClub. I love it too of course, it’s what made me start the club in the first place.

In reactions on my posts here, some readers are asking me for detailed comparison shots, preferably in full resolution of both the Nokia 808 PureView and the Lumia 1020, in indoor settings even. Portraits if possible.

Others send me e-mails or direct messages on Twitter to ask me how I feel about all this – is it worth selling their 808 PureView to buy the Lumia 1020 or not? Is it worth selling their Lumia 920 or 925 for? They too, want to know specifically if the picture quality of the Lumia 1020 is better.

So I decided to share my thoughts, based on a few weeks of experience. It has become a pretty long essay, I’ve illustrated it with some of my own shots from the “Royal family” and I can only hope you’ll enjoy it.

A true masterpiece
I’m not going to lie about it, I’m not going to deny it either. As far as picture quality is concerned, I think that in Finland people sometimes curse the close to unbelievable imaging quality of the Nokia 808 PureView.

Most people adore its digital imaging capacities much more than its platform, although Symbian still has a gigantic fanbase. The Nokia 808 PureView is not just a proof of concept, it’s a true masterpiece in itself.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 comes close to the imaging quality of the 808 PureView however, and I must say I’m a bit surprised about the impatience of many readers. Especially here at the PureViewClub, we know that the imaging quality of the Lumia 920 has improved significantly in the course of a few updates.

The most important issues of the Lumia 1020 at this moment are the evident oversaturation (especially in darker circumstances), the noise in the high resolution results and the blurriness at both sides of the shots.

I’m sure the Lumia 1020 will get better than it is. Maybe much better even. But at this moment it’s images aren’t as “perfect” as those from the 808 PureView, and the question remains if they will ever be.


Size does matter
Pure physics say it’s close to impossible: it’s 41MP of a bit smaller pixels and I don’t think even the smartest software can fix that simple fact. It has been a basic trade-off.

The Nokia 808 PureView was slaughtered by many reviewers not only because of its antique (“dead”) OS, but also for its size. It was often condemned for being way too “bulky” or “an ugly brick” – even when hardly testing the incredible quality of the camera. Whereas that was the reason it was that thick: the size of the sensor simply demanded it.

So in order to design the thinner device the market obviously demanded and still with a 41MP sensor, there was no other way than to choose for a bit smaller sensor size, and hence smaller pixels.

Would it have been an option to choose for say a 32MP sensor with the same pixel size as the 808 PureView sensor? I don’t know – but the “oversampling ” effect would probably have been smaller, the “zoom reinvented” concept a bit less effective.

The high resolution shots might have shown less noise than the Nokia Lumia 1020 is showing at this moment. I specifically write “at this moment” since I know over in Finland they are still tweeking the software, as they’ve done so succesfully with the Lumia 920.


High resolution vs. PureView
What do we need high resolution shots for? I don’t know anyone spending a lot of money on large sized poster prints of their shots, which is what you can do with the full resolution result of the Nokia 808 PureView – it’s that good.

With the current software version, the high resolution shots of the Lumia 1020 do show more noise. Maybe a software update will improve it, we’ll have to wait and see – but I doubt it will ever be as good as the 808 PureView performs in this area.

In general however, the oversampled shots from the Lumia 1020 tend to be better, more directly usable than those from the Nokia 808 PureView. In general they are more crisp, show more definition and sharpness. Some argue that’s all about compression and software and far from “pure”, but I think the result is what counts.

The “old” 808 PureView was about oversampling to an 8MP, 5MP, 3MP or even a 2MP result. The “new” 1020 PureView oversampling is limited to 5MP, so my guess is the imaging team decided to focus on just one size for optimal oversampling effect. It will still give you a shot that is large and detailed enough to print or use as desktop image on your PC. And: it’s easy to share.


Print or share
Most important thing in my opinion is, that this is all about a clash of imaging cultures: “classic” and “modern”. The classic being the ones that like to be able to work on their shots on the PC, and/or print the very best result to enjoy it on the living room wall. The modern being the ones interested in sharing its result directly from the phone, preferably with as many as possible contacts via email and/or social media.

The 808 obviously is “classic”, the 1020 “modern”. With the 1020, you won’t use the high resolution result for a large print on the wall, but it enables you to edit the shot on the device to get a 5MP (or smaller) result you want to share. I’m not making this up as an excuse: it’s just a different philosophy towards digital imaging, or: imaging in the digital era. It’s what Nokia calls Zoom Reinvented.

When I understood the high resolution shot of the Lumia 1020 is meant to edit on the device itself and not for sharing the 34MP or even 38MP result as it is, I just about completely stopped publishing them. It’s hardly useful to compare it with the full resolution shots of the Nokia 808 PureView, which quality is unique in itself. It probably doesn’t get any better than that.


It’s good though to note there will be some oversampling when saving your edit from the high resolution shot. Not as strong as the first time (from .RAW to JPG), but still. The Nokia 808 only allowed you to make a crop from the full resolution shot – without oversampling when saving what you selected.

The quite fanatic focus on these “full res” shots is remarkable. I love the quality, no doubt about it, I’ve shown incredible details countless times here at the club.

But it’s not like I ever printed one of the full resolution shots, nor was I ever inclined to e-mail it to a friend or post it on my Facebook wall – it’s simply too big and it’s not even possible to post a photo that size on Facebook, let alone tweet it…

I only shared the full resolution results from the Nokia 808 PureView on Flickr, to show its mind-blowing quality. I’ve shared resized versions here at the club, as I’ve shared incredible details from 34MP or 38MP shots. It”s something many owners of the 808 PureView do and I’m sure it inspired Nokia to come up with “Zoom Reinvented”.

The high resolution shot of the Lumia 1020 is only meant for editing on the phone, since like I wrote, it will oversample your edit once more.


OIS and Rich Recording
But there’s more: the Lumia 1020 offers Optical Image Stabilisation – the Nokia 808 PureView doesn’t. From the Lumia 920 we already know how effective OIS is to make shots in darker circumstances.

Also, thanks to OIS, video results from the Lumia 1020 are better, and after I finally discovered you can manually turn off the bass filter, stereo recording appears in fact to be comparable to what used to be called “Rich Recording” in the Nokia 808 PureView (I have no idea why in the standard settings of the Lumia 1020 the bass filter is set to 100KHz).

Settings menu
The settings menu of the Nokia 808 PureView is a dream, very effective and versatile – I already wrote a long post about it more than a year ago.

In comparison with the Nokia Lumia 1020, it even offers the possibility to manually set the desired saturation (clearly missed on the Lumia 1020!), contrast and sharpness. In “capture mode” it offers bracketing, interval and a self-timer, we still miss the last two in Nokia Pro Cam.

On the Nokia 808 PureView it’s extremely easy to change the resolution and aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3), JPG quality (like you would ever set it other than “superfine”?) and color tones (standard set to “vivid” on my 808).

On the other hand, the menu on the Nokia Lumia 1020 – to change white balance, focus, ISO, exposure time (!) and exposure value – is beautiful and very practical as well. Now you can even set the exposure time to no less than four seconds (you’ll need the camera grip for that).

In the settings menu, you’ll find the shutter delay (so you won’t move the camera when it’s making the shot) and bracketing option. One step further in settings, you’ll find different framing grids, aspect ratio (a bit too far away in the menu in my opinion) and capture mode (standard 5MP and high resolution).

In (even) “more settings” you can choose to wake up the camera by pressing and holding the camera button, or whether you want to make shots by tapping the screen when using the built-in camera app (so not Nokia Pro Cam). Here you can decide which camera application you want to open when long pressing the camera button.


I guess in general it goes without saying that Windows Phone 8 is miles ahead of Symbian by now. No wonder.

Apps first. I’ll start with Harald Meyer’s great imaging applications, and there are quite a few apps for sharing on Symbian: Gravity for Twitter and Facebook (both have their own app as well) and WhatsApp.

So there are quite a few apps for shooting and sharing (in fact, there still is a surprising amount of applications you can find in the Ovi Store, but compared to what Windows Phone has to offer of course it’s very limited).

The interface is a totally different story. Nokia Belle works with the icons we know all too well from the way they are copied by other platforms. The interface of Windows Phone is much more interesting visually - like how it uses your shots as a “desktop” in the Gallery menu. It looks fantastic and I think it’s a plus for a smartphone that’s all about imaging.


Another great plus of the Lumia 1020 is the display itself. That of the 808 PureView isn’t bad at all – it’s just quite small, especially compared to the size of the Lumia 1020′s. I think readability in bright sunlight is more or less comparable, but personally I just love to work with the bigger screen size.

You don’t only see what you’re framing better, it’s also more comfortable to show the result you got (including the great detail you can share from what Nokia Pro Cam captured in high resolution – it never fails to amaze people).

In general, the hardware is much faster on the Lumia 1020 and its software is much more stable, although Nokia does still care enough about the 808 PureView to update the software on a more or less regular basis. I love the speed with which the Lumia 1020 connects with my PC (and the fact it doesn’t give me a “blue screen” like the 808 PureView often does to my laptop…).

When you look at the extra’s however, the 808 PureView scores many points with HDMI out, USB-on-the-go support and of course micro-SD slot (up to 64GB). All of these the Lumia 1020 lacks. From these I only “miss” the micro-SD option, but I know some people really care about the other two.

I should add that focussing on the Nokia Lumia 1020 tends to be easier than on the 808 PureView, and you can get closer to the subject with it (15cm in stead of 20cm) – from there you can still zoom in to get even closer to the subject.

So in general, whereas the Lumia 1020 is no doubt the modern smartphone, the 808 PureView is the more complete – in fact it’s one of the most converged devices Nokia ever produced: a masterpiece, once again.


So in all, is the imaging quality of the Nokia Lumia 1020 as good as or even better as the Nokia 808 PureView? No, its not that good but it’s damn good.

It’s better than any other smartphone camera has to offer, and maybe even more important, it gives you fantastic tools to edit your shots on the device itself – including the possibility to reframe or even turn them, or zoom out from the shot you actually zoomed into. That’s very innovative.

As a smartphone, I think it goes without saying the Lumia 1020 is ahead of the 808 PureView in just about all possible aspects, although some will argue it doesn’t depend on “being online” as much as the 808 PureView, which moreover has a longer stand-by time (one of the great advantages of the now “dead” OS).

I guess you want to know which one I use as my “daily driver”, and maybe you’re surprised it’s the Nokia Lumia 1020. I love the design, the platform and last but not least the quality of the 5MP results – including the ease with which I can work with my shots and share them on Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram, since it’s so easy to choose a 1:1 format (I belong to the “modern” user I guess, although it took me ages to join Instagram :-).

But I’m used to carrying more phones, so I practicallly always have the 808 PureView with me as well. To compare the results when I have time for multiple shots, and for those moments I feel the full resolution result really matters to me.

If you already own the 808 PureView and you’re completely satisfied with its imaging capacities, I guess you can stay with it, it probably won’t get any better than this for quite a while (like the Nokia N8 was King of Camphones for years).

If you have the Lumia 920 or 925 and you’re really into mobile photography, without a doubt the upgrade to the Lumia 1020 is highly recommended.

If you have to decide about a new smartphone now – and you’re really into mobile imaging – I’d choose the Nokia Lumia 1020, not just because it has a great camera with fantastic editing possibilities on board, but also because it’s running on a much more interesting platform that’s growing fast.

As far as mobile imaging quality goes, I guess the simple conclusion is the Nokia 808 PureView still is King. But it’s getting harder and harder to buy one (it’s out of production as far as I know, and has never been available at all in some parts of the world).

So now that the old King isn’t quite dead yet, but his country is shrinking fast (and it never was very large to begin with), I think it’s time to welcome and salute the new Prince, in the hope that future updates will turn him into a worthy successor of the Throne of Mobile Imaging.

Please join PureViewClub on TwitterFacebook, FlickrGoogle+ and Instagram

Lightning Ad 3

 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn

82 Responses

  1. […] shots. The high resolution format is on the Lumia 1020 to edit, not to share. I’ve written before you can’t compare them to the near perfect quality of the full resolution shots of the Nokia […]

  2. […] written before – and quite extensively even -  what I think about the Lumia 1020 – also compared to the Nokia 808 PureView. The […]

  3. […] Also worth reading is the comment section on his post. My last thought about the matter for today: it looks like the Nokia 808 PureView will gradually be degraded as a smartphone, but it still hasn’t stopped making the best shots coming from a mobile device (see my previous post). […]

  4. Fernando

    Nice work Marc! i’ve really liked so much.

  5. 808obsessed

    jaw dropping article marc. u’ve said it all.congrats. i sent u a set of pics comparing da full res of 808 and 1020 indoor lowlight. and how when,i zoom in with 808 u cam read clearly the letters but cant with 1020. i hope u’ve seen them. it was a link to my public folder over skydrive.

    • yoon

      I made the same conclusions.
      taking pics indoor is way better with the 808.
      I don’t like the automated nightshot funchtion, gives a lot of noise.
      and kind of miss the ND filter too, and some easy setting from 808 on the 1020.

  6. Rajkumar

    But Sir 808 is just an year old device, and we are all talking and discussing like its an extincted one. SG4 was launched couple of months after S3.But S4 isnt referred as extincted one. Today you go in market,lowered s3 is in popular demand too. Even Samsung hasnt discontinued it seeing its demand.!

    Nokia N8 was launched in 2010, till 2012′s end, it was amongst the hot talked topic for symbian Nokia lovers.

    Sir, this used to be my most favourite topic over internet.. i bet there isnt any more discussed loved device than this.. :’)


    But why all of sudden Nokia erasing its the predecessors,foundations as extinct ?

    Such heartbreaking steps by Nokia only led its senior employess left Nokia and made Jolla os.. Even now a petition to give source code of Symbian is all over there..Because we all know the power of this OS..

    If Nokia have to give compromises,cant do anything then such 800$, high price tag of 1020 isnt justified at all. They need to lower its selling price.

    We all have to work hard to earn the money,save it for buying a product. A normal day to day life customer dont go into such technical details, he will be satisfied but for people like us, who are seeing, are knowing, with this compromise and with heavy eyes, going and buying ,then adjusting ourself to focus on sideways benefit, it pains sir..

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Hi Rajkumar,
      I don’t recall mentioning the 808 PureView is dead. I still do adore it’s imaging capacities, and I think I’ve quite clearly written it still is King of Camphones. But it’s country is shrinking.

      The Nokia 808 PureView is out of production as far as I know. It’s the last (and I might add best) Symbian device ever produced. There are less and less Symbian users after Nokia left its own platform. The application development has come to a halt.

      It’s impossible to compare it with the Galaxy S3 that is still very popular even after the launch of the S4. No wonder: it runs on the same platform that is being developed at incredible speed. And it’s still being produced, mind you.

      It’s close to impossible to buy a new Nokia N8 (grab it when you can, it will probably be very cheap), and the same will happen to the Nokia 808 PureView – it’s not that I agree with it, it’s the way it is, no matter how we feel about it.

      • Rajkumar

        I referred about the above, to highlight that things were going good, but each time Nokia chose the way.. We were waiting with hopes for symbian donna updates, 808 everything was going good, belle fp1 updates were rolling out, Nokia promised future updates, we were discussing so more n more on modding firmwares etc, suddenly company announced closure of symbian platform. Every promise it made, it broke.. 808, a hardly year old device, masterpiece in imaging, is suddenly out of production, company itself curbing it..its whose fault, us ? It showed minimal approach to promote it, then its company’as wrong decision nah ..?

        Why are we silent, and letting things go through our hands ?

        Its all bout the compromises,and habit of getting adjusted Same has been done this time with 1020.. I have shared in previous about that.
        Sir, on internet,virtual world, everyone comes with a mind to show proficiency, with freedom, thinks himself/herself as supreme of his thoughts.. People are discussing so much of these-that technical things,anyone will come on a blog, he will share nd curb other his made technical knowledge, be it random only..

        Nokia have kept such a high price of 1020, boasting about 41 mp everywhere and justifying its price tag. Such a big sum of money, when a normal person who go in a store, its difficult for him too to buy it.
        And when sir, we know the reality behind it, the real technical things, with knowledge that it has lower iq, going and buying it, it pains sir. Boasting on internet is a different thing, But in real world,things are quite different..

        We have to unitedly act together and do justice from our side.

        You guys luckily have this platform, to share your thoughts, so much power in your words, whatever you write, people will take it is right.. And if you come on your own, u can bring a revolution..

        Please do justice for not so money rich customers, take initiative for everyone and compel Nokia to either reduce the price tag or bring up the compromise list, faults asap without delay..

  7. Nice piece Marc, the newcomer is the new king for me, don’t think the old king is dead, he just abdicated, well still make appearances for special occasions but for all the everyday work, the new, slimmer, faster and more modern king wool do a better job with much less effort and more of a 21st century attitude . Glad we have so much choice within the pureview kingdom now :-)

    • Massis

      Stephen, the old king never abdicated, he was just thrown in the dungeon and kept there jealously.

      Nokia should remember how the Count of Monte-Cristo novel ends :)

  8. Excellent article..

    Pretty much mirrored all of the thought I have given this since deciding to sell my 808 in favor of the 1020.

    I agree 100% with everything you observed about the camera quality.

    In my case, the platform had most to do with my decision. The Windows OS works so much better for my everyday use than Belle, that the camera being ‘close enough’ or “still damned good” was more than enough for me to make the change.

    In addition to general image processing updates, my wishlist…

    Update ProCamera –
    Add all of the settings offered in the 808
    Add ability to save current settings as preset!

    In a future camera, I like your idea of a 32MP with larger pixels. This time around that would have been good enough. Some zoom is necessary, but would happily sacrifice a bit of it for better pic quality..

    I have also for the most part stopped publishing high res with one exception – macro photography! As with the 808, the full res on the 1020 really pops when shooting closeups!

    Thanks again for your article and this site – it’ll be interesting to see how it grows and changes along with the technology we’re following..

    • bigs

      Good point, if the 1020 came out with a 32Mp sensor and incorporated BSI tech as well, the image IQ should have outclassed the 808 with ease. It is also possible since the pixels are larger the lens may have worked better with this combo and not resulted in soft corners and sides.

  9. Rajkumar

    The question is when will Nokia provide the fixes !? With GDR3 ? Device launched in July, and its october now..
    After some more months,a tiny so that users get accustomed to the quality provided and raising issues slowly slowly subside ?

    Nokia keep testing patience of your fans.. :)

    Its sad to see, the audience who disliked the image quality initially, but who bought the devices, now writing essays like this and telling themself and everyone to get accustomed to things given.. Nothing can be compromised with the image quality..And In Nokia family, wiith each device the image quality is improved from previous generation. However in 1020, we are compromising with lower iq. We accept it has blurryiness on both sides, but its ok, we will crop them
    , we are accepting, ok colours are false and oversaturated, but yeah now lets divide us to two groups..
    We accept it has significantly lower audio recording, but its ok.. We can be adjusted to that, we are getting ois nah..!
    The flash is poor, choosing slow shutter speed,ghosty effect in pics, but for that we have to either accustom ourself or manually set each time for good image quality.
    808 provided 8mp, 2mp, 3mp modes which were really beneficial for various cases, now only 5mp mode..and asking users why u need 8mp mode ? They cut the precious 12x zoom nHD video option from it.. Now if you will request, they will asky why u need it.. ?

    If i talk about symbian-issue, its itself a long point. Everyone hated, disliked the closing of royal symbian platform.
    But now if anyone asks you, we are telling ourself only, actually windows isnt that bad.. And recent bought of Nokia by Microsft, removal of NOKIA logo, initially every single NOKIAN rejected this, everyone went emotional, hearts were broken, many expressed their cry over blogs.. But within small time, this news is old too, nd now we think, actually it isnt that bad. ;)

    One thing we are doing is–COMPROMISE.

    If Nokia requires time to fix the errors, why they launched it in so hurry ?
    They are focusing benefits of ois to compensate the image quality, but why couldnt they have given same or better quality than 808+ “OIS” ? Shifting to backward and improving sideway logic means what !?


    Selling at price equivalent to a top notch compact camera,a good dslr but providing lower image quality inferior to its predecessor itself whose iq, company itself compared to a dslr..

    Why are we compromising and getting adjusted ?
    Nokia too knows, where will we go.. giving us some edges against competitors, so obviouslyly users will prefer it only but preventing from premium quality.. Marketing ?

    Even if a single user complains, company have to listen.. And when almost 95% users dont like this… Nokia need to look into the issues and fix things ASAP…! Much of the time, moments of users are lost due to these faults..

    • bigs

      Well said Rajkumar. I guess if the 808 was never released, these issues of compromise may never have come to light. It is almost like the 808′s existence is a curse to the 1020. I think Nokia outdid themselves when they released the 808 back in 2012. The purpose was to make a phone camera that had lossless zoom, and over sampled output to improve the standard non zoomed in shots. The full resolution output feature would be just used as a sales gimmick to entice buyers. They assumed 808 users to only use the lower resolution pureview features. Little did they know that the full resolution shots were actually very usable, and was not only sharp at the center of the frame but also at the corners. This meant shots captured at full resolution was very much usable. The zoom reinvented for the 1020 was nothing new, except for the fancy post oversampling ability in the 1020, re sizing and cropping was already available and doable on the 808. Thanks to the better IQ from the 808, even without post pro camera oversampling, the quality from crops was outstanding.

      Basically the 808 is like the true king in hiding, and while the 1020 takes the throne, the 808 humbly takes the back role, knowing it is the better phone camera, once camera to rule them all :)

      • dss

        We are lucky that Elop came in a bit too late into the 808s development.. otherwise I am pretty sure it was going to stay as a “project” and not a consumer product.

        The 808 is one of those rare over engineered products that slip trough the corporate cracks.. enjoy it.

        • Massis

          An evil Nokia solution could be to release an update for the 808 to decrease its IQ and set the 1020 as the real king :P

          • bigs

            hmm better not update your 808 no more then. I do not think it would be an evil Nokia solution, but rather a Microsoft Initiative! There are theory’s throughout the net that talk about how they made XP run slower after an update, just to make Windows Vista feel faster.

    • bigs

      Even a simple shot like this shot from the 808


      look at the detail when the image is cropped in!


      Zoom reinvented was achieved in 2012, not 2013 ;)

  10. “microUSB slot” etc? [cough] microSD!!!!

  11. Richard Shepherd

    Thanks again Marc for great info. I’m still trying to decide what to do about buying the 1020. It’s pure luxury to get one as I’m Deco keeping my 808 for the camera. As you and others have said though I would like a bigger screen with a camera almost as good as the 808 and also the ever increasing new platform that does have a future. I’m currently carrying around the 808 and a google nexus 7 and the nexus 7 does all my internet browsing. I would probably be happy carrying the 808 and browse on the 1020.

    I was waiting for the 64gb O2 1020 in the UK but it only comes attached to some eye-wateringing expensive 2 year O2 contract. I would happily just buy a handset but they insist on selling me a giant contract with it, so I think now I will settle for a 32gb but I will probably wait for a UK price drop. Or, what will appear at Nokia world Dubai 22nd October? There may be some surprises that might attract me with a bigger screen and could I live with “only” 20MP camera :-)
    Thanks again Marc, this all helps in my buying decision…

  12. Check out my first high resolution shot with 808 PV :)
    84.4 MP :) sweet! More coming soon :)

    • Alok

      You have the gigantic resolution 84.4 mp , but when i zoomed into your photo, the 100% crop seemed to be same as u take 34/38mp from 808. I didnt got that gigantic zoom as as from some gigapixel photos. Did u took multiple clicks of same scenery and combined them altogether ?
      It would be helpfull if anyone share his/her knowledge in this..

  13. Ayush

    Actually, more than noise, its the painting effect at 100% crop and over-saturation of colours, which cause displease for this premium camera.

  14. Harsh

    Marc, mashallah you are a blessed artist and writer. The last para, you concluded it best with the king-prince reference. It said all. :)

  15. Marc, this could be your best post yet. Absolutely LOVED it mate! Thank you for all your hard work in this brilliant field. I for one will not be selling my gorgeous red 808 – I just love it too much! :^)

  16. Massis

    Brilliant article, balanced as usual.

    I would say I belong to the 2 schools you mention. I like to print photos, or at least, to be able to share them, and I like to share on Flickr as you know.

    I guess you can do both with a 1020. I wouldn’t edit on the device for “good pictures”, I would edit for quick shares. When I want to work on a picture, when I find it more a photograph than an mere capture, I post it on Flickr and edit it on my PC. When I want to share an instant emotion, I use twitpic or alike.

    One can use the 1020 according to the need, or the moment, and these 2 schools are not exclusive of the other.

    • bigs

      with the 1020, one needs to “de process” the images before enlarging or printing.

      • Massis

        Why that, if I use the untouched 5MP pureview shot?

        • bigs

          yes even the 5mp pureview images are plagued with the edge sharpening, which seems to make images come out noisier.

          • Massis

            Do you own a 1020 and have you tried printing an untouched 5 MP PV shot?

            I mean I trust experiments over assumptions, that’s why I’m asking.

            When I bought my 808, I printed (well, fujifilm and so on, of course, not a home printer :) ) different shots to see how they would render. I was satisfied, the Lumix TZ5 moved to the garage :^)

            Steve, at AAS, says that untouched 5 MP Pureview shots from a 1020 are on par with an 808, don’t you agree (if you have a 1020)?

            • bigs

              No 1020 yet, but if you want to test, you can just download some samples and get them printed off if need be. I am sure at 6×4 size, there will be no issues. Over sharpening images is good for screen view, but not good for printing. It will make enlargements seems tacky, digital, and overdone. Personally before printing, I would apply some Gaussian blur, to help reduce the grains, and artificial edge sharpening. The key is to get the image as close to analogue as possible.

              The 808 image output is more similar to that from DSLRs. It tends to have a softer appearance at 100% view, and detail fidelity is impressive. Thanks to this, the image can be manipulated to have more contrast, saturation, etc all while preserving detail. When enlarging you want to preserve as much detail as possible.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Thank you Massis, I did my best :-)

  17. bigs

    Nicely written Marc. Like the images of all three phones together, but one must not forget the forefather of all Cal Zeiss implementations in Nokia cell phones, the Nokia 90 ;), and also to the old king N93, which did rein more than 3 years without being beaten by its successors, the N95, and the N82.

  18. spaceyjase

    Enjoyed the post. There’s clearly a lot of love for Nokia’s imaging tech and the 808 specifically.

    There’s certainly a lot of feedback on the image quality of the 1020, although I do feel that most is a bit pedantic and miss the ‘big picture’ (literally!). I’ve had my 1020 for a couple of weeks now and it’s quick to use, has some new camera features and a fantastic interface. I did begin using it with a critical mind; those fears have resided over the past week as using the device makes me smile, far more so than the last smart phone I had (which I won’t mention!).

    I do like my 808, I’m going to keep it forever (creepy) as there’s a lot of decent hardware in there. I stopped using it as my smartphone due to poor calendar support and a few other missing features, even though it was my ‘go to’ device for being out and about for photography (it’s great on a push bike); even in addition to other devices. The 1020 removes that need to keep an additional device without sacrificing every day imaging quality.

    I’m more than happy with it. I’ve put some pictures on flickr too, if you want to check ‘em out :)


    I’m looking forward to getting a camera grip this week and experimenting further with the device.

  19. Thanks Marc for your well written and well thought article.

    No doubt software updates will improve the 1020′s IQ

    I am still content with my 808. I take my time. Prices of the 1020 are allready going down. See: http://www.gsminfo.nl/mobiele-telefoons/nokia/lumia-1020/prijzen-los-toestel

    • bigs

      yes we should take our time and wait to see what updates can do to remedy these issues. Although I seriously doubt software can fix the lens issues in question. Maybe Nokia can discretely release a rev B version of the 1020 which addresses this hardware issue

  20. Sriv

    Marc u started the article with “Some readers are asking me for detailed comparison shots, preferably in full resolution of both the Nokia 808 PureView and the Lumia 1020, in indoor settings even. Portraits if possible.”

    I was excited that you may share some more comparisons.

    You know Marc, many of us don’t have more than one phone,cameras that we can review and compare ourself. :( Hence we rely on you, internet websites only.

    Everyone says 1020 isnt as good. But i have very strong intension that with more usage,settings, results will be equivalent or better than 808. Auto mode isnt great one in it.

    I would love to have a specific section here on club, where you just update daily or frequent shots of comparisons(same iso levels)..

    Fifty’s or hundred sets of iq,vq,aq comparisons. ! Please. :’)

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Hi Sriv, I’ll see what I can do, promiss.

    • civichief

      Have you taken a look over to allaboutsymbian.com or allaboutwindowsphon.com ?

      they compared the 1020 to N8, 808 and last week to the new Xperia device

  21. franzfume

    Nice post, really. 808 is a dead end no way around that. 1020 is still perfectible.
    Just one thing, nice or bad the image in 1020 are much more “processed” in software. So there’s lot of chanche that things can grow better just by updating software.
    If you remember even the very first version of Symbian in 808 wasn’t perfect ,,,,

  22. Bansod

    Marc, you have shown here the pic of n8 with 808 nd 1020, it was obvious if you have shared some latest comparisons of three mobile cameras too but, even N8 beats 1020 in colour rendition and detail.. On website, scale down three of them to 5mp for right comparison, 1020 have oilyness in pics, softness..and poor white balance too.


    • Marc @PureViewClub

      I think I pointed out quite a few times that the 920 got significantly better after a few updates. I’m sure some of the issues you are pointing out (multiple times even) will at least in part be fixed.

      • Bansod

        Hmmm, so i just searched on official nokia discussions and foound out this.


        Marc have you checked this with your 920 too ?

        I am sure the hardware is of top notch, its the software processing, which is bottle-necking its performance.. One thing i have querry, why dont 1020 go for iso 50 ? Even Z1 uses bsi sensor and it goes to iso 50 as base level. We have seen advantage of iso 50 in 808..

        Nokia,kindly provide two mode–auto for users loving current false, warm processed pics and option 2 for a minimal raw like processed pic as N8,808 and give user complete range of settings for adjusting as per requirement. Marc, do you agree with me ?

  23. marko

    Here in the Philippines, Nokia Store is selling the 808 PV for only PHP 9,000 ($ 235 ) ,and it will cost only $184 if paid in cash, probably they are selling the remaning stocks of this smartphone. Should I get it? I don’t really care about the OS, I don’t care if syambian is dead because all what matters to me is its camera. I prefer the 808 PV because it produces more natural colors unlike 1020 which is quite saturated. 808 has ND filter while 1020 has none.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      In a heartbeat for that kind of money. Even two if you can afford it. As a spare, or to make a profit on eBay :-)

    • WorldElegance

      Wait… what? Where?

      I am really itching to buy another one. I have a red one and would like to have a spare. XD

    • Howard

      Hi Marko, which Nokia store did you get this information? I’m very interested in getting one. I’m from Manila.

  24. Junnior Reis

    808 is arguably the masterpiece !

    No smartphone in the world, provides image quality even similar !

    Precisely for this excellence, it can be compared to the world’s best compact camera (Sony RX100), and the result:

    A surprising victory of Top Line Symbian !

    Check it out here:


    • A quote from the link you provided:

      Overall the RX100 is better, but the difference isn’t all that big.. at least in those particular cases. Regardless, in terms of flexibility the RX100 is superior..

      • Junnior Reis

        Guy… Consult an ophthalmologist urgently !

        In virtually all images, 808 is better or equal results offers the RX100 !

    • deadhead

      In these cases the 808 did better in some of the photos, which is astonishing considering the size of the devices and their intended purpose.

      A proper smartphone vs. high end compact camera

    • bigs

      A good question the RX100 samples, are they JPG out of camera, or RAW converted? If it is out of camera JPG, the full potential of the RX100 is not being utilized.

      Good to see though 808 performance as per usual being put against a powerful compact digicam.

  25. Junnior Reis

    After a long time … Incidentally long time, here to read a post smart, coherent and mostly true !

    Anyway you gave the plunge and admitted what was obvious from the beginning, ie 808 PureView is much better than 1020 and remains the best cameraphone in the world, as 1020 is arguably the best smartphone 808 !

    Despite the brilliant text, congratulations … I leave here my criticism, that it should have been written before, it would show all the further in advance that Nokia failed / lied in saying that 1020 is a successor of the 808, when in fact it is a legitimate successor to the 920/925 / 928 !

    P.S: Now that you have returned to be lucid, maybe I go back to the club !!!

  26. Linus P.

    Many thanks for your post here. I have owned a Pureview 808 and so far I do love my phone. Besides, I am now using a Lumia 900 and I think it’s time to say goodbye it to pick the Lumia 1020 up. So I am going to get the two top camera phones of Nokia. I look forward to seeing your next post all about 808 or 1020. And your photostream as well. Have you got a flicker account or kind of it sharing photo blogs? I’m exited to see your photos shot by 808 or 1020 guy.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Thank you Linus, you will find all links to most of the other “branches” of the PureViewClub at the bottom of the post. Flickr is on http://www.flickr.com/pureviewclub (no surprise there). There is a PureViewClub Group on Flickr as well by the way, feel free to join!

  27. Kjetil

    I think you pretty much nailed it, Marc. Very well written! I own a 808 and 925. My Black 1020 is on the way by mail now ;) Guess the 925 has to step aside.

  28. Al

    I’m amazed that people are surprised that the 1020 full resolution shots are not as good as the 808′s. As you say, it’s just physics.

    I’ve just sold my 808 to buy the 1020. I’ll miss the HDMI out, removable battery and SD card, but I won’t miss the web browser!

    Why did I switch? Because I wanted manual focus, manual shutter speed and the reframing ability, plus OIS for video.

    I bought my first Symbian phone because I had previously owned a Psion Revo, one of the last of the Psions. Psion had entered into a partnership with Nokia to develop and promote a new OS, and Symbian was the outcome. Psion handed over the baton to Nokia, if you like. I now feel like I’m in a similar situation with Windows Phone; there was enough of Nokia to make me see switching as a possibility.

    I’m pretty happy with the 1020 after one week. I don’t miss the 808, and I thought I would.

    Thanks for the article, Marc.

  29. Peter

    Good post! Nicely written with lots of good points.