Nokia 808 PureView – picture perfection



Yes, yes, the oh-so-amazing Nokia 808 PureView. Yeah, yeah, we know. 41MP camera! Oooh! Great, so what? My phone has a triple octa-core 48GHz processor and 500GB of RAM. The screen is 3000 x 8000 and the PPI is just over 2480. So what’s so special about your chunky “I need to go to Weight Watchers” 2012 phone, running an outdated OS that makes my Atari 2600 look like super HD? Huh?

OK, calm yourself inner Galaxy iPhone 9SSS. This isn’t about specs. It isn’t about best screens or processors or any of the things that your mum wouldn’t understand. “It can send text messages, right?” Yes mum. That’s why you have a Nokia 3310 in your handbag.


Night mode on the 808
Night mode on the 808

This is about a device that has an asset that you can truly appreciate and utilise for your own enjoyment and satisfaction. The 41MP sensor on the Nokia 808 PureView, along with all of the PureView technology inside the beast, is something to shout about. Still. Yes, even in May 2013. Because Nokia have yet to release this awesome camera power on another device. So even in May 2013, the best camera phone to trump all of the Ones, the S4s and the 5s is still, yes I know this sounds weird, is still, the Symbian-running Nokia. (By the way, it would be totally wacko if Samsung had released their most recent Galaxy in time with Apple’s iPhone 4S. There’d be the 4S and the S4! Mum really would be cafuddled).


 OK, so what am I banging on about? Well to put it simply and in all-caps: I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER. I have never even had one lesson in the art of photography. In fact, the only teaching I have ever had was from my dad when he said to me, “Son, you’re holding the camera the wrong way around. Keep it like that and you’ll end up taking a picture of yourself.” Pictures of ourselves??! Ha! What a crazy notion, to think that we would ever actually take a picture, with a camera, of ourselves! Hahaha! Oh man, this world is just crazy.



 But no, I am not trained in photography at all. And yet, when I go out into the busy streets of New York City, or the calm of its Central Park, or on a road trip to somewhere less hectic but just as American, I find myself lost without my red Nokia 808 PureView. Because when I remember to bring it with me, I can take some really great photos.



The strange thing about the 808 PureView is that it makes you think you are a good photographer. I know it sounds bizarre, but when I’m out and about with it in my pocket, I can’t help but frame scenes with my eyes and think, that’ll look good on Twitter or Flickr, and one, two, I’ve taken a snap with the 808, edited the picture on the screen a little, cropped it, saved it, uploaded it and moved on. I admit that I am a fan of doing all the above with my N9 as well, but it’s with the 808 PureView that I really bother to think about a photographic composition and then snap it.


 And why not? The thing cost me $500, I have to put it to good use, right? Well yes, but again, the 808 PureView is one of those rare pieces of electronics that we buy from time to time that really does prove itself to be a great, great purchase, and huge value for money. The options onboard within the Symbian Belle FP2 camera UI are so plentiful, even professional photographers would be delighted to use it, I’m sure. Because of my dearth of such knowledge, I tinker around quite a lot, playing with white balance and ISO, experimenting to see if I should use more or less exposure, and whether I want to go for a full-on 38MP photograph, or a 2MP PureView zoom… the multitude of configurations is, to be fair, a bit mind-boggling when you first start to use it, but after a while (4 months in my case) you become quite accustomed to the variety of settings and gain more confidence in selecting the right buttons and knobs for each scenario.



Of course, the big mouth-gaping feature of the 808 PureView is the detail on zooming in. When you take a photo either in full resolution or in PureView mode, the detail that can be seen up close when you zoom in is literally jaw-dropping. Especially to those who are looking over your shoulder with an HTC or Motorola in their pocket.

 Check out these zoomed crops from the pictures below. Not too shabby:


2013-04-14-0804 copy




2013-04-14-0831 copy

This one is my favourite. Could you make out the name of the restaurant on the dock from another phone’s zoom? I doubt it! I’m pretty sure no one could get “MARINERS” from another phone’s zoom!


2013-04-27-0877 copy

Symbian Belle FP2 has really grown on me, that is, it has regrown on me, as I have been a fan of Symbian for a long time, but this is the first time in a while since I have purchased an expensive Symbian phone and used it as my main device for an extended period of time. The OS is just fine, y’know, and I’m happy to tweak it with superb apps like ‘Belle Extra Buttons/StartMenu’ and ‘Tactile Calls’ to make it more Meego-y and less S^3-y. It is plenty fast and zippy and the fact that the screen is 360 x 640 only bothers me when I’m looking at a particularly good shot I’ve taken, only because I’m thinking to myself, wow, I bet this would look great on my Mac’s screen, or the HD TV. But usually, knowing that it is a great shot is enough, and I really am not bothered about the relatively low PPI and 4-inch screen. I’m very happy with it because, basically, I can use it one-handed and not look like a total numpty when in a call, because it doesn’t look like I’m holding a Kindle to my ear.



I have ranted and raved at it though. Why? Because I thought I had the wifi bug. Ugh. It’s was so annoying. I thought I was connected to wifi (because I just connected to the wifi)  and then while I was in the middle of Tweetian and wanted to send a tweet (which makes sense) the spinning circle never stopped spinning. It would seem that the wifi had disconnected itself and I would have to reconnect it. Very annoying.

BUT HERE’S A HAPPY UPDATE! After a little fiddling with one of the settings for wifi, I switched ‘Power Saving’ to ‘On’. Previously I had it set of ‘Off’ thinking that power saving meant it would disconnect if I wasn’t using it (which I didn’t want it to do). However, I was totally wrong. Thanks to the Symbian Master himself, Steve Litchfield, I was encouraged to ignore my own misconstrued logic and switch that to ‘On’. I also enabled ‘Advanced Power Saving’ and my wifi has been rock solid all day. ALL DAY! Fantastic! That Litchfield certainly knows a thing or two about the quirkiness of the Symbian operating system! Never doubt that man!! Haha. :^)




Now when it comes to sheer camera prowess, there is just nothing that can beat the Nokia 808 PureView. For now. Read this post in a few months’ time and you’ll sneer at the screen. It’s a certainty that the next Nokia Camera Beast will be running the increasingly-popular Windows Phone. I just hope Microsoft give Nokia the software freedom they need (and bloody deserve!) to get what they want into it and make it the most competitive camera phone on the market. And going by Nokia’s track record with such things I’m sure they’ll succeed.



I’m not worried about the 808 PureView falling into obsoletion just yet. And even when the new Nokia Lumia FancyPants comes out later this year, the 808 PureView will still be seen as the “one that did it first” and, hopefully, for a long time to come.


All of the above photos (except the ones of the 808 PureView which were taken with my N9) were taken with the 808 PureView, mostly in Auto modes, whether they were in PureView 8MP mode or Full Resolution 38MP mode. Click on them for more dirty resolution! You are welcome to visit Flickr and see these and other photos I’ve taken here.

Also, don’t forget All About Symbian and PureView Club for loads of news, reviews, tip and tricks! :^)

Lenny Bonsignore
Lenny Bonsignore
Lenny Bonsignore @LennyBons34 is Owner/Editor- in -Chief of OneTechStop, Sports fan, Tech guy, & Mailman by Day [email protected]

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  1. great article and some really amazing photos – thanks for sharing 🙂 I have heard you on a few podcasts talk about the N9 and now i will be following you on twitter also – looking for more 808 photos!
    I too have the 808, dont have the wifi bug but have the 3g issue, waiting for fhe 3g update to come through as it appears to help… the telephony update made it worse i think…( i have a vietnam 808 i bought from negri and live in texas)
    I am still relatively new to the 808 and learning the settings etc.
    I do find it dfficult to get a pin sharp photo, it seems much easier to do on my N8…not sure if i am still not used to the way the camera takes photos or just the way it focuses… time will tell. Also having the amzer case doesnt alow you to use the manual shutter button as its very stiff.
    Of course tips would be greatfully accepted!
    Looking forward to more photos from your 808!

    • Thanks mate! :^) I tried that case, didn’t like it, plus why would I want to cover up my sexy red 808?! I’m just being careful with it. I have had better results with macro photos by moving AWAY from the object and zooming in (in PureView mode only). Have it on Close-up setting and try that. Because of the way the 808 is built, it won’t actually focus on anything closer than about 15-20″. So take a step back, zoom in on the flower/face/whatever and try that. Keeping the phone as still as possible really is the key to it all though, if you ask me. I’m still learning too, but I love it! :^)

      • Thanks for the tips on macro shots, its very difficult to take shots of flowers/plants as of late as its always windy!
        The N8 had better distance capability (closer, i think 10cm) for macros but of course the sheer size of the sensor just gives the 808 the advantage.
        Almost qives my 12 yr old Sony F707 a run for its money (has a 58mm Carl Zeiss lens) but it can zoom to within a couple cm 🙂
        I didnt use a case with any previous phones, but decided to after i saw how scratched my N8 got… i did buy the official Nokia case with cap for the lens but havnt used it yet…i might just cut out the Amzer to allow me to use the manual shutter key…

  2. Amazing pictures, especially the zoomed in ones. I have never used an 808, but would live to one day.
    I actually think it will still be a while till we see 41mp on a Windows Phone, maybe a 12, 16 or even 21mp, but not 41. Maybe as a prototype device, but not cor the masses.
    Not sure, perhaps I’m wrong.

    • Thanks, Chris. Only time will tell! I really think something is coming soon though. Just hope the model name doesn’t have an ‘S’ in it!! :^)

    • For now! Dun dun derrrrr!! I know you know something Richard, but whenever it comes, I’m going to be very excited! When you back over in NYC? :^)

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