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Some thoughts about PureView and the future

No shots at all in this post. I wrote most of this last night replying to someone reacting on my previous post, my “low light ode to the Nokia 808″. And then I realized I had written a reaction that could easily be a seperate post, so here it is.

Loyal club visitor Junnior Reis concluded “the Nokia 808 PureView wins again”, quoting Steve Litchfield’s famous line  “Not a Chance. Physics Wins. Physics Always Wins.

Both are right, probably. But I do remember Damian Dinning sayingPureview is a blend of new imaging software and hardware technology to create leading performance and capabilities. There are many different ways this can be applied”.

I believe Damian’s view on the matter should still count for something, being the one responsible for the almighty 808 PureView and deeply involved in the development Lumia 1020 for that matter.

Or, to quote an older Nokia slogan: “it’s not technology, it’s what you do with it”. That came with the Nokia N8 and Damian Dinning was reponsible for that masterpiece of mobile photography as well. Its 12MP camera is still really hard to beat even now!

Look at the competition. Every producer thought they could settle down after the “MegaPixel race” was over. And then out of nowhere, the 41MP sensor proved it really still mattered, with its brilliant software and a versatile interface that would enable you to do just about anything you wanted from the camera. It’s not just technology, it’s what you do with it…

A few producers joined the race again. HTC started yelling it was not about the amount of Megapixels but their size. We all know what the Ultrapixel is good for though: it’s generally considered the most painful failure in even HTC’s newest high-end device.

Sony keeps bragging they have the best mobile camera in a waterproof phone – that was actually true until Samsung released the Galaxy S5 with a camera that appears to be better than the one in Sony’s Xperia Z1 (which has been disappointing just about everyone).

And now we’re looking forward to Sony’s Xperia Z2 – I’ve seen a sample during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona,  there are interesting changes in the interface and a few innovations: it does look promising I must say.

In other words: the race for the best mobile camera is far from over and just about everybody is trying to convince the market they have it. Millions of marketing budget are spent to convince people to buy it – not just because of the camera of course, but it’s an extremely important feature.

Still, even after about two years, the large 41MP sensor of the 808 proves to be very hard to beat in quite a few respects. The 808 PureView unleashed the powers of Nokia on Symbian. The team could simply give it everything they got. And it did get everything: the 808 still is a landmark in so many respects, it has so much to offer it’s still dazzling, even two years later.

Nokia simply put in “everything but the kitchen sink” and why? Because it was going to be the very last device anyway: there wasn’t going to be a “next” device you’d be sorry not to have waited for.

But although I do admire the 808 PureView for all it’s capable of, and it really astonished me with its imaging capacities once again, I do love the future as well. And I think I’ve shown on numerous occasions the Lumia 1020 is often comparable with what the 808 can do.

There is no doubt in my mind the Lumia 1020 will be much better for many users, combining its fantastic imaging capacities (PureView oversampling, OIS and even Raw .DNG) with a gorgeous screen and a modern OS that keeps improving significantly – according to recent reviews windows phone 8.1 is even better than iOS and Android have to offer.

I realize the 808 is almost sacred to many others and its imaging quality is almost impossible to surpass, but the 1020 is doing an amazing job and everyone in the industry is convinced no recent camera phone comes close. Don’t forget the 808 PureView has never been considered a serious competitor in the industry since it was DOA running on Symbian.

The one ISO 100 example from the Lumia 1020 in my previous comparison has been far from perfect, I know – but like I wrote, I’m not going to keep it away from you just because of it. My mileage may vary, too. I was seriously very happy to see the ISO 200 shot was completely okay, since it showed me my 1020 at least wasn’t defective.

I think by now we have to accept the fact that the camera quality of the 808 PureView has been a “once in a lifetime” event. I’m not sad about it, it’s what started the PureViewClub in the first place. I’ll be using it until it will die on me (which might take quite a while still).

But I’m looking forward to what Nokia’s/Microsoft Mobiles’ imaging team will be offering in the next generations of their mobile imaging devices. And there will come a day when I will stop comparing the results to those of the 808 PureView, simply because it’s going to be impossible to obtain one (even after my previous post, someone was so impressed he asked me where to buy it…).

And maybe even there will come a day that Microsoft Mobiles will produce a phone that will actually easily surpass the camera quality of the Nokia 808 PureView, by having the guts to put the same or even bigger sensor in and the best lens available.

Guts, because it would make for a thicker device. I´m sure no-one reading this site would mind – it has never been a problem with the 808 either, not for the those who know what you can achieve with it. But we all know what happened when Samsung tried it with the Galaxy S4 Zoom… Size does matter.

I hope this explains a few things on how I feel about the 808 after seriously using it again (thank you for encouraging me to do so), my great love for the Lumia 1020 – and the future of PureView. If there is any future for PureView at all.

In Barcelona, during this year’s Mobile World Congress, it sure didn’t look that way, since – like I’ve written before – the concepts “PureView” and “ZoomReinvented” appeared to be completely absent at the Nokia stand. That looked like a big sign on the wall to me: it would actually surprise me if Microsoft Mobiles will still be using the PureView concept when marketing their future devices.

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77 Responses

  1. steve

    HI Mark I’ve just completed another test of the 808 vs the gh2 I edited both in lightroom and pull as much shadow detail as possible from both the 808 was shot 34mp sharpness on full at 50iso the gh2 was shot at 160 iso Raw with the aperture at 8.0 all hand held I hope this can finally put to rest those who claim dslrs have greater dynamic range.
    Long live the pureview concept.https://www.flickr.com/photos/90056083@N07/14078169432/

    • mirco

      You know that dynamic range also covers the highlights and this is where those small pixels loose. It is simply a physical disadvantage of smaller pixels as their full well capacity is smaller. Some would say “physics wins” and it would be right (though, most of the times it is used in wrong places, hence I don’t like the phrase).

      So, DSLRS have better dynamic range and I don’t see where your examples disprove it.

      • bigs

        the dyanamic range is good on the 808 images, but at any ISO higher than 64, the recovered detail in the shadows can be quite high. On a dslr or ILC, the sensor processing already has shadow details, so there is no introduction of additional noise when recovering shadows.

        • mirco

          It might be my fault but I don’t get what you are saying there… :(

          • bigs

            Basically saying that the 808 sensor recoverable dynamic range is impressive, and if pushed can get pretty close to larger 4/3 sensors and even APS-C, but the tradeoff is that there is alot of noise in the recovered detail.

            ie, the 808 cannot replace a 4/3 sensor camera or any camera with a larger sensor.

            • steve

              Im not sure what you mean when you say the dynamic range covers highlights too . My understanding of dynamic range is the range of light captured from highlights to shadows . And I think if you download both photos you will see that the dynamic range on the 808 is equall or greater then the gh2. It comes down to this if you gave me the 808 or a mid range dslr to shoot a great photo with I would chose the 808 because the resulting image would be superior.Im not saying there aren’t advantages to dslrs there are such as interchangeable lenses burst capture but the 808 sensor is amazing for its size. By the way you may download any of my photos and repost if you like.

            • mirco

              @bigs: Now I understand what you meant and, of course, I agree with your conclusion that the 808 (and neither the 1020) could replace a dedicated camera with larger sensors.

              @steve: Yes, dynamic range is of course the range between darkness (limited by a certain noise level) and highlights (limited effectively by the pixel size). The weak point of the 808 (and the 1020) lies in the highlights where you get clipped areas easily. You can work around it by underexposing the picture and pulling the shadows afterwards. However, this can be done to a greater extend with any large sensor camera as well (especially for a broader ISO range). Your claim would be that the 808 is so much better in the shadows that it offsets the problems in the highlights, wouldn’t it? I doubt that and your examples don’t show it either as there is not that much DR present.

            • Steve

              @micro: I just posted two crops from the photo’s I posted yesterday. I hope these clear up what Im trying to say regarding dynamic range. Unfortunatley the 808 dose not support raw output so will never be able to truly compare the sensor against the 4/3 format. Ive dropped the highlights in both photos to recover any details and lifted the shadows as well. As to the other issue raised”noise in the shadows” I think the 808 and gh2 are pretty close across the ISO spectrum on the gh2 160 to 12500 and on the 808 50 to 1600. From all my tests the two sensors are almost identical the 808 is slightly sharper with a little more noise.https://www.flickr.com/photos/90056083@N07/13901585949/

            • mirco

              Thanks for highlighting the clipped areas. This is exactly what I was talking about. The 808 clips easily in the highlights. The 1020 suffers in a similar way with only a slight advantage because of RAW… it’s simply the small pixels. The GH2 doesn’t seem to be a top performer concerning highlight clipping either (just compared it on dpreview) but it is clearly better. It also edges the 808 in the shadows, as you have shown here yourself.

  2. civichief


    if someone like e.g. Sony should match PureView with their own product, would you be open to switch to that product and feature it as main phone on PureViewClub or is PureViewClub fixed to Nokia’s PureView brand?

    • bigs

      somehow based on the track record from Sony Xperia handsets, Sony phone cameras have always been a few generations behind the mighty Nokia Pureview handsets.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Hi Civichief,

      that’s a good question. I’ve always taken Nokia’s PureView results as “basis” for many objective comparisons. Like Celsius more or less: is it below zero, it’s freezing. Is it better than PureView?

      So PureView technology is the thing to match or surpass. So far, in two years, I haven’t seen one smartphone doing better than what Nokia has to offer. The competition has been mainly between Nokia and Nokia.

      But now: the Nokia brand officially “is no more” where the high end mobile phones are concerned, and I’m not sure whether the PureView sub-brand will be used in Microsoft Mobile’s marketing.

      So what do you think: should I continu using the name or consider renaming the club?

  3. buxz777

    hi mate , did you delete my post? or do they get moderated before being allowed up?

    cheers hope all is well and your weekend good

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      For some reason it sometimes takes a while before you can see your reaction. Only if people share links I need to check them. That’s all. Thank you for your kind reaction. I never understand people hating anything. Hate is such a waste of time.

  4. buxz777

    great article marc and just thought id add my opinion to the comments section

    first of all it never fails to amaze me how people who love the nokia 808 hate on the 1020 , I have noticed a tendency for 808 users to get quite defensive over the 808 when it comes to 1020 posts in general , this is seen in the comments on your articles and on all about Symbian when steve does his shootouts

    I used the 808 since it was launched and it is an awesome camera , it made me get back into photography because it was always with me and produced such clean pure images , I always loved nokias camera phones back to the n82 , I was young when that hit and not many networks took it up in the uk , it was like a dream device I got when it was really quite old .

    nokia then moved away from xenon flash with devices like the n86 , n96 etc and I was worried we would never see xenon flash equipped devices again , the versatility it offers over led flash in typical quick pub shots etc is so much better once you get used to it , it really is hard to go back to led flash

    when the n8 hit I was really happy , it was matching my £250 point and shoot camera but was just missing optical zoom or a way of getting closer when needed and the xenon flash wasn’t quite as powerful as my point and shoot

    after nokia swaying about with xenon and no xenon I wanted to buy what 1 2 3 4 5 6 n8s lol as many as money would allow just incase nokia never made a camera phone like it again

    now when the 808 was announced I was literally ecstatic I remember showing my friends the video , 41mp they would say who needs that , but I looked the tech up , listened to Damian Dining say things like its not about the pixels its what you do with them , it filled what the n8 couldn’t it could get me closer to my shots whether it be through pre zoom equivalent to 3x optical zoom with no loss of quality or through cropping into a high detail image at a later date

    I again wanted to buy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 808s again as many as money could buy and allow , as I was worried nokia wouldn’t make another phone like it , especially now they were running on windows phone

    I then tried the nokia 920 with the new pureview tech …… I appreciated what nokia had done with ois and understood it was a good thing and my night time shots were very good for handheld images with a little sensor , but where was my xenon flash , where was my big sensor , where was my oversampling the pure images I had grown accustomed to with the 808?? I was really worried now , is this what pureview was going to be?? couldn’t they mix the 808 and the 920 , everyone was thinking the same wasn’t they?

    roll on the 1020 leaks and me getting more and more excited everyday until it was finally here , yes 41mp , yes large sensor , yes modern design , yes a modern smartphone o/s , yes a 64gb model , yes xenon flash and one big massive yes that nokia had carried on making the best camera phones they can for us and the market we are in

    we should embrace the 1020 , let nokia know they can do better , that we want better , but we shouldn’t hate on it , we should be grateful the prince is here to carry the crown on from the king

    both devices are great , nokia did with the 1020 what they could and when you think about the camera tech , the design , the weight , what nokia fitted into a device that they were limited with by todays urgent need for the slimmest phone , a market that had slaughtered the 920 for being to heavy , restrictions that Microsoft and a new o/s had restricted on them surely everyone has to see it as a piece of great innovation and design?

    both the 808 and the 1020 are great devices but in all honesty the 1020 offers me more versatility , you hear many users of the 808 saying they carried tow devices , I did too , because the 808 was lacking in smartphone functionality ….. please try and list an item on eBay and also try and book a hotel room through agoda website , yes its possible but how painful and cumbersome is it , so much so that people carry two devices , that’s also pretty cumbersome

    the 1020 is the first phone that lets me carry one device , it fly’s the 808 flag of pure images , great oversampling , shoot now crop/zoom later , xenon flash , rich recording etc then adds to it with ois and things like raw capture and a o/s that lets you do things you should be able to do on a modern smartphone

    yes the 808 is great , yes its awesome , but lest not hate on the 1020 instead lets be grateful its here and hope nokia/Microsoft continue the pureview tech we all love and come here for ;-)

    • Navvarr

      Hi Buxz, good to see you on here.
      I think people, myself included have a fondness for the 808, last in a long stream of amazing Symbian phones, hence the fervour with which we can end up defending it.
      I’ve looked at the 1020 and its missing a lot of features I use- extra memory cards for one, the fm transmitter for two- and a lot of other features I really don’t want to have to do without, since I’m so used to having them.
      When Nokia made the 808, I reckon they broke the mould, they’re not going to make another device that does so much, its a one off. I can identify with someone like you wanting to buy a load of the same device- I want to do the same with the 808- for the time being its my phone of choice- and likely to be for a while yet.
      Perhaps the best future lies with the modding community, non official support for old devices- I’ve not installed ‘delight’ yet- but I’m only every heard great things about it- its something I will get round to doing and give my own 808 a breath of fresh air.

      • bigs

        we can only hope the 1020 gets replaced quickly with 1520 specs but retaining the full 41mp camera module from the 1020. At least then the external memory card issue will be resolved.

        • Marc @PureViewClub

          I wouldn’t hold my breath though. But I fully agree: that would be a fantastic move. I suggest the Lumia 2020 :-)

          (I admit I thought of 1616 first (2 × 808), 1920 next (thinking of the 920 of course). 2020 represents 20/20 vision. Maybe you can think of an even better number :-)

      • Paul

        Navvarr, I have the 808 and have installed Delight, it really does give it a new lease of life. You can install unsigned apps and I still use it for the things that WP8 can’t do. If a 1520 spec’d 808/1020 comes along, for a decent price, then I will be interested. WP8.1 already looks like a vast improvement over WP8. I can only look forward to WP8.2 or whatever they call it. Microsoft are listening, maybe not fast enough but certainly faster than previously. So I will monitor the market, purchase when I want to and in the meantime enjoy what I have, the 808, for as long as possible.

      • buxz777

        hello mate ;-) nice to bump into you again , isn’t it funny how great tech and the love for it can bring people together across the internet ;-)

        glad your enjoying the 808 still it is a great device it let me down when I was travelling in Thailand though with web based activities and had me running for a laptop or internet café on several occasions , mainly booking rooms and internet banking and the such ….. but I can see why people love it , I just cant understand all the hate for the 1020 from some users of the 808 , I would of thought people would have been happy too see the camera centric design of large sensor and oversampling with xenon carried on in the 1020 ;-) like I said somewhere else I am sure the next 1020 type device will suit 808 users more due to nokia having less restrictions to work with this time round ;-)

        hope you and the family are well and life good mate :-)

        • bigs

          I do not think 808 users hate the 1020, but rather the 1020, was not up to the standard 808 users were expecting. There are of course Symbian loyalists that dislike the change from Symbian to Windows, and then there are others that just do not like Microsoft.

          Ultimately though, the 1020 camera quality even with RAW support requires alot of tweaking to get close to the ultimate output quality the 808. I believe if Nokia/Microsoft had used the same size or possibly a larger sensor and optic, the image quality would have surpassed the 808. Sadly this was not the case, and a smaller sensor and optic have been used instead. Although the 1020 may have newer features and technologies like optical stabilization, thinner profile, and higher sensitivity BSI sensor, the per pixel IQ is still compromised.

          • MF

            I disagree that the 1020 is not up to the same level as the 808. Agree that the 808′s image does look cleaner, but it had been shown before that this comes down to image processing rather than sensor size, cross talk etc. A 1020′s jpeg image, even more so for RAW, if processed with preference for greater noise reduction, will be similar to the 808. This was demonstrated by Damian previously even before the Black update. Yes, you are right this requires more tweaking but this has nothing to do with sensor size.

            • bigs

              in 808 and 1020 low ISO comparisons, the 808 as you said does have a cleaner result and still has excellent detail. The 1020 has less processed result but then the noise is more visible, yet reveals no more details over the 808. That combined with permanent corner softness occasional one sided manufacturing issues and possible blooming in daylight all adds up in impeding the 1020′s overall performance.

              There is no doubt the 1020′s less processed JPG or unprocessed DNG is desirable for low light high ISO shots. That combined with OIS makes the 1020 the preferred low light cameraphone.

              So if you predominantly capture low light images the 1020 is still the leader, whist for good light and landscape photography the 808 is really quite remarkable.

          • MF

            I would also point out that there is virtually no acknowledgment by the 808 fans on the importance of OIS in improving the lowlight image quality. To me the benefits of OIS far outweighs the small reduction in sensor size which has also been compensated by the BSI tech.

            • bigs

              absolutely agree, as I said before, there is without a doubt the 1020 does capture more desirable low light and high ISO image. The issue of concern for 808 fans is the 1020′s low ISO daylight performance with respect to Iq noise etc.

              As for compensating a reduction in sensor size with BSI tech, it seems even Steve Litchfield is aware of potential BSI issues of cross talk between pixels in harsh light or high contrast situations. This does not occur in traditional FSI sensors.

              It seems the most recent Isocell BSI sensor resolves this, so it is hoped that a 1020 successor will sport this technology and then the advantage of BSI will be more evident.

          • MF

            And then, there are a bunch of jokers amongst the 808 fans that blindly cheer for their phone without doing any thinking. For example, when Marc did that lowlight test where the 1030 was badly blurred these guys straight away proclaimed the 808 to be king. It comes down to sheer closed mindedness rather than something that has been objectively thought through. Not everyone, but sadly most are ideologically driven.

    • Tut tut…

      *Rubbing my eyes in disbelief*

      Embrace a half-a$$ed mediocre downgrade device from Nokia 808 PureView Pro? Even a downgrade from Nokia N8?

      What has the world come to?

      • Marc @PureViewClub

        You really like getting reactions do you? Well, here’s one: I simply don’t agree, but you knew that already, didn’t you? :-) Did you ever use the Lumia 1020 at all?

        • :-) Nope! I usually stay away from the bull$h*t mountain, but I saw the smoke miles away.

          To quote:

          I’m not an a$$h*le.
          I am actually one of
          the nicest people
          *you* will ever meet.
          *You* are just pissed
          because I can see
          through *your*

          *You* and *your* not necessarily referring to any person in particular.

          But you already knew that, haven’t you? :-)

          Camera gimmicks help – but for best quality you need a (much) bigger sensor – SL

          At which at some point someone apparently changed opinions.

          I guess some have “selective memory” and better yet “selective imagination”!

          Well, one could probably add this into the mix:

          “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” – PJOG

          I guess it’s time for the fat lady to sing. Goodbye for now! :-)

          • Paul

            steelicon is a regular forum contributor over at AAS. He seems to be about as extreme a Fanboy of Nokia and 808 as iPhone and Android fanatics, he revels in controversy and I’m not sure if he even believes what he writes any more, it’s just like he wants to see his name on the web, his 15 minutes of fame if you will (AW), but hey, I have an 808, I would like a 1020, but it will be the 64Gb or the replacement, if and when it comes. And if it doesn’t then some other manufacturer will do it, with Android or with Windows Phone or another OS. How do I know this, because it’s the way of technology, everything eventually becomes similar and at least good enough. So enjoy the technology, enjoy the competition and enjoy the debate, but don’t hate!

      • buxz777

        wow seriously a downgrade from the nokia n8? cmon mate be realistic , it has

        #bigger sensor
        #better xenon flash
        #rich recording audio
        #full manual controls
        #raw support
        #camera housing with tripod mount
        #six lenses and improved optics

        that’s just off the top of my head ;-) now all you have done by saying that the 1020 is inferior to the n8 is discredit anything you say as your just not being realistic

        the 808 is a great device and it is a shame that the 1020 is missing a memory card slot (I have the 64gb version so it doesn’t effect me as much) its a shame it doesn’t support mhl or tv out via cable and its a shame that the sensor size is a little smaller then the 808 but saying the n8 is better then the 1020 is ridiculous

        I am sorry marc I couldn’t not reply to that statement and its comments like that one that make me scratch my head and wander what peoples problem is with the 1020? I can understand peoples hate towards Microsoft/elop for killing off Symbian and loving the 808 as it was a great device and Symbian was part of our history but all this hate towards the 1020 is crazy

        yes I think we should embrace it too , nokia could have just given us another 920 type device , played it safe , small sensor , slim design , pumped up the cpu/gpu , left xenon out but they didn’t they gave us a great phone with a great design ,a camera hump that was risky in design terms to house the bigger sensor and xenon flash , they worked around o/s restrictions that was in place at the time that stopped them doing it the 808 way , they managed to make the device slimmer yet keep a big sensor and then mount it on some crazy ball bearing type ois mechanism , they tried to bring the 808 goodness to us despite all the restrictions and problems in place

        I expect the next 808/1020 type device will be better and suit more 808 users better as the o/s restrictions are less now , now nokia can fit a micro sd slot and let users install apps there , nokia can now use a better cpu/gpu to help with the camera work , the o/s will apparently support usb2go and screen mirroring for sharing , jpeg processing will get better the more nokia work with the o/s and the cameras , so you will be able to do the other things you love from the 808 that the operating system wasn’t ready to support yet and still have a great camera and xenon flash

        lets not forget that windows 8 was built on a new kernel etc and then nokia still bought the pureview tech to it and overcame all these restrictions ……. it isn’t as easy as you make it sound buddy I bet nokia wish it was ;-) so yeah I think we should embrace the 1020 not hate on it , its a stand out device in the world of black android slabs with tiny sensors and no xenon flash

        instead of hating on the 1020 why not think of it like this …… the 1020 is for people who couldn’t work with Symbian any more and liked the 808 concept but wanted something else so they didn’t have to carry two devices ….. for people who loved the 808 camera but were willing to miss out on hdmi out and tv out and fm transmitter for a top camera on a top smartphone …… an intermittent upgrade to the 808 if you will …… the best nokia could do with what was in place and with a true upgrade coming soon ;-) its gotta be better then all the hate after all both phones are all about what we love so surely we should appreciate the work and effort gone into both of them and at the same time hope the n8/808/1020 type phones carry on for all of us lol ;-)

        • Paul

          ditto buxz777, looking forward to the next iteration hopefully. Totally agree about the 64Gb version of the 1020, that should have been the standard, Microsoft need to eliminate these carrier exclusives and just put out the best product for everyone…

          • bigs

            64Gb built in memory is very much welcome when one wants to dual Capture DNG and JPG at the same time. I too agree 32Gb 1020′s should not really have been released especially since the 1020 is aimed at capturing high resolution images, and HD video.

  5. Richard Hibberd

    Have just read your thoughts on Pureview,very thought prevoking.I am glad I still use my 808 and have no thoughts at present of changing it. I have just seen the BBC news about Microsoft buying Nokia. I thought they had already bought it?

  6. Parsian

    Nokia/Microsoft need to utilize the silicon tech to obtain better S/N ratio and dyanmic range. Samsung’s ISOCELL can do just that, NOKIA needs to utilize similar or identical sensor fabrication technique for its sensor to obtain better dynamic range and also, they should go for bigger pixels and jack the processing power.

    • mirco

      Yes, dynamic range and speed are fields where the current generation of PureView lags. The dynamic range is a general problem of small pixels and binning them doesn’t help. I don’t see yet how this could be improved without trading the high resolution for bigger pixels (sensors in smartphones ain’t gonna get bigger soon). Samsungs ISOCELL seems to achieve this mostly with a real time HDR mode.
      Then, with speed I don’t only mean the time it takes to launch the camera but things like focusing. Again (unfortunately), Samsungs implementation of phase detection autofocus is a good step in the right direction.

      • MF

        The 1020′s focus speed is quite reasonable before the M8 and S5 came by with new tech. The issue with 1020 has only been with the capture-saving speed.

        • mirco

          Reasonable for a smartphone, sure. Compared to dedicated cameras… not so much ;) It’s like with the dynamic range. All PureView devices feature reasonable DR compared to other smartphones only ;)

    • mirco

      I never understood what would have been a realistic usecase for a mouse coupled to a Symbian phone. I still own a N8 and at that time I thought those were really cool features… HDMI, mouse, keyboard, usb-otg… almost a workstation, I thought. Of course, I tried all of it but what can I do with it? Neither the N8 nor the 808 had the processing power nor the software to draw any benefit from tunring it into a “workstation” by attaching screen, mouse, keyboard and an external drive.
      This endeavour already becomes pointless due to the fact that the whole GUI was just mirrored to the HDMI port (except for videos and images where one got 720p). Furthermore, you need to bring along a HDMI adapter, a USB adapter (eventually together with a Hub) and whatsoever. Who does this?

      • @mirco

        Ah the troubles of a 1st world country wherein such a citizen of a higher strata cannot, or will not, relate to those citizens living in a 3rd world country, or anything lower than what one is accustomed.

        Who does this? Some people living in South / South East / East Asia.

        People who do not have the luxury to buy another device.

        People who left their other device.

        People who cannot carry another device anymore.

        The solutions are endless – use your imagination, if you dare.

        • mirco

          Don’t make up silly 1st world vs. 3rd world stories. You don’t know a *** about me.
          Instead, give me a realistic example of a use-case: What do you do with a mouse coupled to a Symbian phone? Which software do you use and what kind of work do you do? If there are endless possibilities, you should be able to name one.

          • Marc @PureViewClub

            Staying friendly never hurt anyone, as far as I know. Please try to keep the club a nice place to visit when I’m out of town, thank you.

            • MF

              Marc, aside from the 3 asterisks I think mirco’s post is rather reasonable. I’m curious about the use case as well and would like to hear it.

            • mirco

              Yes, you are right. It was a little unnecessary. However, I really don’t like being accused of being a 1st world snob… even more as I cannot see the connection between what I have asked him and what he accused me of. Escpecially given the fact that somebody who can afford an 808 could hardly be considered as a 3rd world citizen…

              However, @steelicon, I am still waiting for one single use-case scenario ;)

      • fhvr40

        I use my 808 also as a “laptop replacement” when traveling. I use Logitech diNovo BT-keyboard with integrated Mouse as remote when connecting the phone to a TV in hotel (Video output or HDMI with short cable). I never use the mouse with USB, though, the BT-solution is perfect for showing slide shows, editing documents, powerpoint etc. UTG is important to me for usage with USB-storage and card-readers to share files or photos “on the fly” without needing any of these “cloud services”.

        • mirco

          Thanks for your response. Would you mind going a little bit into details. For example, which software are you using?
          Don’t you find it a little bit cumbersome to work in such a closed environment (compared to a small laptop)?

          • fhvr40

            I have not to work too much while traveling, but important is – if it must be it can be. I use Quickoffice for documents, Adobe Reader, Profimail for Emails and Opera mobile. Most important is LCG Photobook for all tasks with photos as slide show or organizing/sharing with others of the group. I use a cardreader with 2 slots for SD(XC) and microSD(HC) with USB OTG showing 2 more drives (G and H) on X-plore. So I can manage Photos from others cameras and mix up with my own from 808. And I have all done through the hour or two before bed – they get back their SD’s at next breakfast.
            I would wish more speed, but before I went with my tiny OQO e2 (5″ UMPC with keyboard, BT, WLAN, UMTS) running XP, also not working too fast. If the 808 can’t fullfill the business needs in some future I will use the OQO again running Win 7 Pro.
            But that means another device, another power supply etc. Since a few years I always travel with carry-on baggage only – real freedom, but every peace counts.

  7. Ztuka

    Further more, it is easy to hold the 808 with only one hand and snap a shot in both landscape and portrait mode without droppibg the phone. Try it out with the bigger devices such as 1020….underrated in real life…instant shots, no delays to talk about also. Real life situations again…

    • MF

      Wanna talk about easy grip, how about the 1020′s Camera Grip? NOTHING beats that. It is almost impossible to drop the 1020 no matter how you hold it – between 2 fingers, high above head, single-handed portrait orientation, any position you name it.

      • Ztuka

        I have that grip for my 1020 but still, that isnt a solution because of the size for of pocket…always carry the 1020 and grip isnt that practical…

        • MF

          I put the case on most of the time even for regular use, it’s really not that big. The only reason that I take it off occasionally is purely due to aesthetics as I love the look of the 1020 without any case.

      • bigs

        agree the 1020 grip is definitely a nice accessory, but the whole idea of using a smaller optic and sensor on the 1020 was to give it, the thinner profile. By adding the grip on for day to day use, would make the phone thick again.

        • MF

          The camera grip is not intended for permanent use, although I sometimes used it in that way. It is mostly intended for those times when you will be out taking lots of pictures and need the extra power and grip. The slim profile of the 1020 is still a very attractive feature for most people when used as a smartphone rather than a dedicated camera.

  8. Richard Shepherd

    Ditto to most comments, I continue to walk around with my 808 and 1020 and I think it will be quite a while before I buy another phone. I never used to be one for upgrading every year, more like every 2 years or more…

    As for the future, the Pureview philosophy will never die, it just might not be Microsoft that continues to innovate in the Imaging Hardware & Software. How about these guys….


    I know it’s not a phone but there is one interesting thing in a review of the new Illum:
    “What was originally being done by multiple pieces of glass can now be done through computation, which is how the Illum works”
    I can therefore imagine a day when Lytro type tech doesn’t need such a big lens and instead a giant processor can mega-crunch numbers for the algorithms. Maybe one day this will get into a slimmer device (maybe a phone?) and might cost less than $1,599 ! This certainly fits the Pureview philosophy and Nokia Refocus already kinda simulates it :)

    Full Lytro Illum review:

    To be honest with that price it’s already a super niche device but what will the technology lead to?

  9. When I bought new phone after 808 I will always have two phones with me! No matter what is in my right pocket I will always have my 808 in the left pocket and if nothing better comes out I will buy DSLR and Nokia :)

    • PS. I really hate myself for selling my N8 so I won’t do the same mistake with 808!

      I only hope I will be able to fix my 808 screen when I will have money!

    • Same here, I always have my 808 with me at all times. Its my camera, gps and music player. For my right pocket, I chosen a Blackberry Q10 (small enough, yet very good for social / chatting).

      I gave the 1020 a chance, but the yellowish tint in photos, even after Lumia Black update, and that 4 seconds delay between photos put me off. Sold it after 3 months.

      Long live the king 808!

    • bigs

      the same goes for me, even if the 808 is not being used as a smart phone, it still is like a connected camera, so it will travel with me where ever I go

      The image quality the 808 puts out amazes me every time I use it

      Here is one I just took a few days ago.


  10. Richard

    I think Pelican camera could be a way to achieve the goal since it doesn’t make the phone too thick. But I don’t know how Nokia is gonna get OIS on it though, because it has 16 lens on it.
    I have heard that Nokia has been working with them for a while, but I guess we need to wait for a very long time to see the first lumia device that has it…

    For someone who doesn’t know Pelican Imaging, here’s the link

    This video mentioned how pelican camera solve the thickness problem on camera phone.

  11. david

    Great article. I plan to keep my 808 for a very long time, I know it is an absolute relic. Collectors item? Possibly.

    I’m curious what a complete, efficient, up to date, open source, minimalist OS would do in terms of maximizing its usability?

  12. Navvarr

    The 808 for me is still the only phone that does it all.
    To give you some examples, I’m a keen hillwalker in Scotland.
    I’ll get up at 3.00am drive to the mountains whilst playing my music through the car radio using my FM transmitter -something no other phone seems to offer.
    Whilst walking I’ll use Sportstracker app to log my movements, with the maps preinstalled on my 808 so I have ‘openmaps’ online and offline wherever I go -again, something no other phone offers.
    If I get lost, I can use Nokia Maps -again, preinstalled maps- with my own mountain summits logged into my favourites -I can use the ‘walk to’ to use a line of sight bearing to get to a point I want to get to. -Very handy feature when on the side of a misty mountain with no landmarks to use as bearings.
    I use a Mugen Power 3,000mA battery which fulfills my battery needs ALL DAY -never comes close to running out -ever. -Again, the Lumia 1020 doesn’t offer this option either.
    -oh and of course the Camera- yes, the best camera period- I’ve had the N80, N95, N86, N8 and now the 808- each phone better and better.

    Just a few reasons why I’ll NOT be parting company with Symbian / 808 for the foreseeable future- no other phone offers me all these handy features in the palm of my hand.

    • Dave

      FM transmitters can be readily replaced by bluetooth streaming (more reliable for sound quality).
      Nokia maps – available on WP, with features actually updated (live sight is kinda funky, that doesn’t work quite right on the 808).
      Sports Tracker – available on other platforms.
      For the 1020 you can get the camera grip which gives an additional 1000mAh, or you can just use a portable USB charger (I’ve got a 3000mAh device).

      However the one thing that the 1020 doesn’t get right is still images. The 808 is still clearly – for me at least – the better stills camera. For video its a different matter, as the OIS is darned useful.

      • Navvarr

        Yeah, I use bluetooth streaming with my Nokia Bluetooth headphones- I use the FM transmitter in the car for convenience.
        Nokia maps on the WP doesn’t have the same functionality as my 808- favourites don’t integrate like they do in the 808 and line of sight is very easy to use when you select ‘walk to’ its very easy to use.
        I’m aware sports tracker is available on every other platform, again its not got the same functionality on every platform though. On the 808 you can output a file to Google earth, and see your walk on Google Earth.
        I also downloaded and converted open street maps for use on my device offline- again a feature not readily available on other devices which tend to assume a data connection and want to stream over 3G or 4G- not much use to me on a remote hillside.
        I’ve used portable chargers before on phones- believe me, if your stuck on a Scottish mountain with a dying battery in wet windy Scottish weather you don’t want to be messing about with wires and spare batteries (been there) – so much easier to have a decent integrated large capacity battery -along with a couple of spares- I don’t tend to tempt fate too much.

        I personally don’t like the photos the 1020 produces- I too prefer the 808- both in video and stills it produces the goods almost every time.

        I’ve looked into using other phones- the Lumias, the Android devices and the Iphones just don’t do what I want a phone to do- the 808 for my uses is still the swiss army pocket phone of choice for me.

  13. Massis

    Marc, I was thinking more or less the same when heading back from the swimming pool to home today.

    I still love my 808 (and more than that, I still use it for photography) but I was wondering one point no review really raises. We always have comparison, which is the basis of benchmark/comparison, fair enough. And people (specially lovers/haters) will focus on the small differences to assess that “808 beats them all yay” or “Samsung sucks” or whatever. But the question that popped to my mind was: Do these small differences between 1020 and 808 really matter, I mean, in every day life? As an amateur photographer, I believe I have high standards, but are these small differences (visible when pixel peeping) really relevant?

    Of course, the answer is subjective. And, my answer is: no, they won’t make a real difference on the final result. When I take back my 808, I’m more struck by how quickly the pics are captured and by the shot-to-shot time than anything else.

    And my own conclusion was: would I recommend 808 to anybody? Yes, but ONLY as a camera. Would I recommend the 1020 to anybody? Yes, to someone who wants a modern smartphone and a bleeding edge + capable camera.

    The problem with the 808 (and the 1020) is that Nokia have put the standard quite high. I do want (at least) 3x lossless zoom.

    And as you suggest it, nobody can tell will that 41MP product line be maintained or not.

    Future will tell, but I know for sure that at least: I will keep the 808 as the last and perfect Symbian device, and probably the 1020 as the last 41MP smartphone designed and produced by Nokia.

    Final thought as a 808 + 1020 user: it doesn’t require to HATE the 808 to love the 1020. The fact that I still use the 808 doesn’t diminish the value of the 1020, and vice-versa.

  14. Very great reaction, Marc !
    For now, you’re right, the 808 seems like an iconic device. And yet I’m really having a hard time to use it as a smartphone. Only for the camera is still really good but for the rest, not at all. So, indeed, when some future device has the same sensor or a better one, 808 comparisons will stop.
    Regarding Pureview and ZoomReinvented, it could disappear but I think it would be a huge mistake. It doesn’t mean anything for the general public but it’s also because Nokia didn’t do anything to make them known. Catchphrases and slogans are what works the best in ads so they should keep it. A “Microsoft Lumia Pureview” sounds good…

  15. Richard Yates

    Sad but true, there must be a risk that Pureview as such will disappear – it just depends on whether Microsoft see it as a selling point. I hope it does.

    It is interesting to see the others trying to catch up in different ways, and I always enjoy the comparisons you do with other kit – sometimes with very surprising results good and bad

    I hope you can widen the site to include all developments in mobile photography in the future. There is such a good crowd of gifted photographers here that it would be a shame to have the site fossilise for want of newer phones

    More than anything else though I hope that Nokia’s gifted team does manage to stay together and produce ever better new kit. Good luck to them for the future

    • deadhead

      Its a huge selling point, and they know it.. I doubt that they will get rid of the name

      • Harry W

        I do hope Microsoft will continue to make a camera centric phone, similar to Samsung’s decision to maintain the ‘zoom’ range.
        For the camera centric version, I don’t think it needs to be uber thin like the current trend. Some additional thickness is fine, which will allow for more hardware such as a bigger sensor, external memory, higher capacity battery, HDMI output, better xenon flash, removable battery, waterproofness, perhaps even a tripod mounting hole etc.

    • Microsoft Mobile, erstwhile Nokia, will again get a potato then brand it as PureView and release some promotional stills and video taken by a professional camera then claim it as taken by aforementioned PureView potato. Add numbers to it, too, probably in the form of YYYY or version X.X.