Flashback: the Nokia 808 PureView was from the future

17 November 2019
A higher resolution sensor with pixel binning for zooming and low-light shots six years before Androids started doing it.

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Some people have misconceptions regarding these Pureviews being better than todays cameraphones, which is just wrong. The best phones of today actually capture better images. They're sharper. They have better dynamic range & overall improvements across the board.

The Pureviews had large sensors, but their image processing is outdated, and their hardware specs also limits the capabilities of the large sensor. Meanwhile the phones of today have smaller sensors in comparison, but use much better image processing algorithm, in conjunction with multi-image stacking & pixel-binning among other fancy tech to deliver outclass images.

Another area where the Pureviews perform poorly is low-light scenarios. The camera can't even hold a candle to modern phones in low-light photography due to it's small 2.4f aperture & lack of any night mode. Also the Pureviews are outdated in terms of video recording capabilities.

The point being, no technology ever remains the best. Newer technologies will always replace & surpass older ones.

That said, i look forward to see new phones pop up with such large sensors along with modern image processing algorithms. They would impress for sure.

  • Anonymous

By the way, the Cm1 didn't just have a larger sensor. The hardware also captured more light per time (equivalent f number) than the 808. But as I said, technologies like HDR+ coud lead to even more light already many years ago (HDR+ exists since 2013). Currently the Xiaomi Note 10 is the phone that captures the highest amount of light per time (and it also has OIS). Neither the Panasonic Cm1 nor the Nokia 808 are able to capture as much light per time as the hardware of a Xiaomi Note 10 or Huawei P30 Pro.

  • Anonymous

I loved my 808, and the SymbianOS running it. Camera was great but blew highlights; could never get a decent sunset shot.

  • Anonymous

SpiritWolf, 17 Nov 2019What the hell are you babbling about? Obviously you don't k... moreYou don't seem to understand the 808. Downsampling basically just averages nearby pixels. The same happens when you look at an image from a higher distance or when you don't look at an image at pixel level because a Full HD display only has 2 megapixels. This works because the intensity of light is the average number of photons per time and area. It's just quantum physics, not a crazy algorithm. But when it comes to hardware pixel binning, multiple pixels are read out together for getting an advantage in read noise. As read noise doesn't behave like photon noise, downsampling gives you more noise than hardware pixel binning.

  • Anonymous

Love the Community, 17 Nov 2019Since most of the Nokia camera engineers moved to Apple and... moreThis hardware is more expensive than tiny cheap /2.55".
Apple wants to keep profits as high as they can.

  • 46 xy

I m lucky enough.
I have used all the camera phone namely- Nokia N8, Nokia pureview 808, Nokia 1020.
Still having the Nokia N8 functioning...
Really miss the camera phone from Nokia (specially xenon flash ) and Walkman series from Sony Ericsson ( still using SE w995 )

  • Love the Community

Since most of the Nokia camera engineers moved to Apple and Huawei for prominent examples, why can't they reuse this? Xenon lights and all the advanced features and imagine what OIS can do to something like this.

While N808 Pure View holded many records for years (biggest, brightest and overly best camera, display with greatest sun contrast...) it still holds two. The best microphones on any phone (145 dB dynamic range) ever & best flash light (proper Xenon one) & night pictures with it. So blast from the past continues. It's also a contender for one of the best quality made phones ever as lot of people who had/have one (including myself) it's still working as perfect as the day one.

Vegetaholic, 17 Nov 2019Nonsense, other phone had already quad processors and beefy... moreThey had those processors because Spydroid was/is ineffective as OS. Needs desktop processor to run with minimal lag. Symbian, in other hand, didn't need much resources to run. Sadly Symbian is dead but Spydroid continues to suck. True it's disguised like real OS now but come on. It's still data farming tool, nothing more.
808 with its 1 core processor could record and run 1080p video. Show me ONE Spydroid device that could do same. Not 100% sure but if i remember correctly, even 2core Spydroids couldn't do it.

  • Anonymous

Jostian007, 17 Nov 2019The new phones still havent got the image processing of the... moreAlso fake HDR that leads to wrong colours.
Exactly what Samsung does.

The new phones still havent got the image processing of the 808, todays phones IQ is over-processed, smeary stuff when looking close, whereas the 808 looked very natural with subtle (DSLR like) processing which is still unmatched.

Duck of death, 17 Nov 2019"It took six years for smartphone cameras to catch up" Pos... moreYes thick (especially on camera place) and heavy but still better laying in hand than any Android phone ever.

Actually Panasonic CM-1 are the largest sensor in a mobile phone. But yeah its more like a compact digital camera on a phone.

The 808? Best in class, a breakthrough compact camera phone on its era, no doubt about that. But today i see better even on a smaller sensor side, but not surpass on everything.

"It took six years for smartphone cameras to catch up"
Post a side view of the 808 and you'll understand why. This phone was always an experimental device never intended to be a big selling phone, because it was as thick as a 90's phone.

To when they built good phones.

  • Terryeesti

It was good no doubt, but also so slow to process

  • Anonymous

Nick Tagataka, 17 Nov 2019I'm pretty sure some Chinese phones use Quad Bayer for real... moreBinning does not work for video.
Huawei does not record HDR not even with rear cam.

  • Anonymous

Nick Tagataka, 17 Nov 2019Unfortunately the non-Quad-Bayer CFA, FSI sensor and slow F... moreNot like that. You are ignoring crop factor.
The f1.5 of note 10 is equivalent to f9 on FF.
While 1/1.2" behind f2.4 is equivalent to f7.7 on FF.

Tons of other things give advantage to newer phones.
Newer sensors are better with less noise and more DR.
Newer software and tricks.
Imaging processing core of cpu is better now.

Pixel 1 has 12MP 1/2.3" and does not give better results than Pixel 2 that uses smaller 1/2.55".

The 35mm f1.8 GM from Sony does not have same aperture diameter than a f1.8 cellphone. It is much bigger. There are lenses that can close up to f32.
Most cellphones do not have even 5mm of lens aperture.

Anonymous, 17 Nov 2019Also keep in mind that whenever you look at an image in an ... moreWhat the hell are you babbling about? Obviously you don't know much about this phone. A lot of incomprehensible BS. Downsampling technology, lens sharpness, 2x crop etc etc etc.
As proud owner of 808 (and i use it daily) i thank you for a good laugh.

Anonymous, 17 Nov 2019True but so are the other phones in the same year... Lol, p... moreNonsense, other phone had already quad processors and beefy gpu's much more RAM and Android, besides camera 808 was junk of the past