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Scenes from Crete (1) – captured with the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020

I’ve been making a selection from dozens and dozens of shots I captured during my week on Crete. I used the Nokia 808 PureView more than a long time (thanks to all of you encouraging me to do so again) – mostly in full resolution and with ND filter on. I used the Nokia Lumia 1020 a whole lot, too (34MP/5MP). And I did some occasional shooting with the Samsung Galaxy S5 as well.

Of course, I made some comparisons, and I’ve been cropping some of the results, but it just didn’t feel right to do only that – it didn’t do justice at all to the fun I had capturing these scenes. So this post isn’t just about comparing, it’s about the joy of using your mobile camera and sharing the results after having a great trip.

It’s what most people do on Facebook, I know, but I’ll share some more with you than just the shots – like some crops, and all the original files on Flickr. For new visitors it might be good to mention I didn’t use a DSLR at all: everything you see was captured using the phones I mentioned. In fact, I haven’t even owned a DSLR for years now, nor do I plan to by one ever again.

Here we go, it’s a more or less random selection of shots. The first one is from the Nokia 808 PureView – white balance on sunny, ND filter on, and for some reason I still had the flash turned on. Maybe that’s the reason the colors came out so well.


As you may notice the parasols haven’t even been set up although the sun was out that day – and although the air temperature may be fresh, the sun is already seriously burning by the end of April.

We came to Crete one week too early in fact, most villages and beaches were more or less deserted and the local Greek hotels and restaurants were slowly preparing for mass tourism that will start in the month of May.

Here’s what the coast at the town of Stalida looks like on an early season day like that, captured with the Nokia Lumia 1020


Detail in this shot is lovely by the way – check the crop of the stones in the foreground in the 5MP result


and what you get from the 34MP result.


Next you’ll see two destered beach scenes. First from Potamos beach near Malia  (Nokia Lumia 1020)


And one from the beach at Elounda (Nokia 808 PureView)


You might be tempted to say the sand in the Lumia 1020 has a way more yellow tint, but remember it’s a different beach on a different day. To satisfy your possible curiosity, here’s the same beach shot again, now from the Lumia 1020.


There is a difference in color still, of course, there often is, even after I changed the settings of the Nokia 808 PureView adding +1 saturation and +3 sharpness, as I’ve been advised to do here quite a while ago to more or less get closer to the standard settings of the Lumia 1020.

Here are two crops from both shots – you’ll see the 808 PureView appears to be quite a big lighter and cleaner (less noise) in the darker areas.

3 Nokia 808 PureView - Crete - Beach

3 Nokia Lumia 1020 - Crete - Beach Pro__highresSo what do you do on quiet days like that? You enjoy the quiet atmosphere and the fact there will be hardly anyone to wait for if you want a clean shot. And you go visit places – harbours, towns, churches. Let me share one shot I took in the old church of Hersonnisos next.


This looks pretty bright, but in fact this church in Hersonissos (normally an extremely busy tourist place) was very dark. In my second post I will share a few more church shots (from the bigger church in Elounda) – so let’s go outside again.

First with a few shots from the old harbour of Hersonnisos, where most of the restaurants and bars on the coast  were still almost or completely empty and waiters trying to seduce the few customers to spend their money. This is the backside of those restaurants at sea (shot with the Lumia 1020 from a cafe terrace built in  sea).


It was a bit of a grey day as you can see, so the shots aren’t too colorful – although you can never complain about colors on the typical Greek fisher boats. This is taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020:


And here’s more from the quiet atmosphere from the Nokia 808 PureView (in 8MP PureView by the way)


Now let’s pretend this we reach the end of a first day with two nightshots, both taken with the Lumia 1020. First from a place where they rent motorbikes during the season – still completely shut down the first day of our stay.


And next, very close to our appartment in the pitchdark night, an old-fashioned way to distribute current and phonelines along the road…


To me, that looks like a great shot to finish this first post about “Scenes from Crete”. I’ll be working on more soon, hopefully this evening or tomorrow. It may be all a bit different than you’re used to read here, but this how I chose to share my passion  for mobile photograpy with you this time.

Of course, all the original shots are in a dedicated album on Flickr (where I just noticed some absolutely amazing shots by Detko Dave that almost make me feel embarrassed for what I’m sharing here :-) Here’s part 2 by the way.

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14 Responses

  1. mike

    Marc!!! You visited my country! Wow! I thought it was a bit early to visit Crete, or any other island for summer vacations, but the weather is much better than northern Greece (where I am).

    Elounda is a famous place in Crete ideal for summer vacations! Good choice! :)

    I’m also planning to visit Crete in the summer to see some friends!

    As for all those lovely photos, it was a good idea to bring both the lumia 1020 and the 808. I think the “prince” lumia 1020 hasn’t reached yet the “king” 808, but maybe Microsoft brings some more software updates, to totally remove the yellow tint. As for low light, of course, it is more safe to use the lumia pureview series with OIS and BSI sensors, than the 808.

    Nice photos, again!!!

    P.s. There is someone else that also uses the name “Mike” too, so maybe I’ll change it to eg Mike07

  2. Nikhil Joshi

    First of all thanks for considering 808 pureview again in it comparisons and hope I was not harsh in pushing u to do so :-)

  3. Junnior Reis

    Marc beautiful pictures, really a very beautiful place.
    Greece is a country that for sure in future want to know.
    Both 1020 and 808 fared very well, absolutely sensational, nothing to question these cameras !!!

  4. Mike

    This makes me want to comment on the ND filter. The little pair of sunglasses that slots into place when needed on the 808. I really miss it on the Lumia 1020. I was away in Malaysia earlier this year and found that the Lumia 1020 couldn’t cope with the strong sunlight and a lot of pictures ended up blown out. I also think that when set up right, the 808 has better dynamic range.
    I am actually leaving the Lumia 1020 behind and going back to carrying 2 phones, a Galaxy S4 and the 808. WP is missing too many apps I use regularly on the S4 and its camera cannot compete with what I expect having used an 808 for 2 years

    • Navvarr

      Was kinda tempted to go for the SG5 and keep the 808, for that same reason.

    • MF

      ND filter has nothing to do with blowing highlights, dynamic range, etc. The ND filter uniformly reduces the amount of light entering the camera, it does not distribute light according to the dynamic range. This same function can be achieved by using a fast shutter speed, which for the 1020 is very high at 1/16,000. This speed is more than enough to ensure images don’t get blown out in strong light.

      The real value of ND filter is to be able to use a very slow shutter speed under good lighting conditions. An example would be if you want to capture water-flow motion.

      With regards to dynamic range, I believe it has been shown many times before that the 1020 actually has better dynamic range straight out of the camera. It is a fact that the 808 doesn’t cope well under strong lighting conditions. To preserve highlights you need to deliberately under-expose the 808. The 1020 copes slightly better.

      Some people have argued that you can do some post-processing to lift shadows from the 808 with good results. Sure, you can. You can actually get even better results with the 1020′s RAW file, not only can you lift shadows you can even recover highlights from the 1020!

      • mirco

        I agree with you in almost all points (especially concerning the ND filter). However, it has to be noted that the 1020 might only be slightly better in the highlights than the 808. Compared to dedicated cameras (even good P&S) it remains a weak spot even when using RAW. The dynamic range of small pixels is limited… In the case of the 1020 I cannot recover as much details as with a Panasonic LX3 for example. Underxposing the shots is still beneficial.

  5. luizribeiro

    dear friend. already follow you awhile, but never made comments. Today I have a nokia and sony z1 808. It is impressive to see the quality of photos 808. Seems that Nokia knew he was dying, and gave the maximum in 808. Device that will go down in history. its fine materials. and I’m like you, never going to have a dslr. hugs.

  6. Nice piece and nice photos Marc, thanks for sharing your holiday