Hobbying photographer’s views on the Nokia 808 Pureview

the ultimate camera phone

My Nokia 808 Pureview

You may have not even heard of Nokia 808 Pureview as Nokia has not made much efforts in marketing this phone. It is the ultimate camera phone out there at the moment. I wanted to share with you my experiences with this remarkable device.

When Nokia announced this phone in February 2012 it immediately captured my interest. As a photography enthusiast, the idea of carrying a device with me anywhere I went that was capable of capturing good quality photographs was very appealing.

After the announcement of the phone I had to wait many excruciating months before I could get my hands on it. I bought it around 15 minutes after it became available in Thailand at the Thailand International Mobile Show 2012.

I’ve had the phone for a few months now and I’ve been very happy with it. Before I got my hands on the phone, based on the photos I had seen the phone looked somewhat bulky because of the camera bump. When I finally got the phone I was surprised how nice it actually looks and feels in my hand. The build quality feels sturdy, the material feels great and the shape of the phone makes it fit nicely in your hand.

the infamous camera bump of Nokia 808 Pureview

The camera bump housing the powerful Xenon flash, the superb Carl Zeiss optics, the 41-MP sensor, and the loudspeaker


I bought this phone mainly due to its great camera. I was naturally a bit suspicious about the 41-megapixel sensor, but boy did the phone’s camera really deliver!

It has Carl Zeiss optics, a powerful Xenon flash, in-built ND filter, etc. One great thing about it is that even when the phone is keylocked, you can snap a photo nearly immediately (takes around 2 seconds) when pressing the shutter button. You can choose one of the 3 shooting modes: Automatic, Scenes, and Creative. Automatic mode is good if you just want to take a photo quickly without the need to change any settings. Scenes mode let’s you choose between shooting scenes such as landscape, macro, portrait, night portrait, etc. I shoot mainly in Creative Mode where you can choose the resolution, aspect ratio, JPEG quality, capture mode (normal, bracketing, interval, self-timer), saturation, contrast, sharpness, flash (on, auto, off, red eye reduction), exposure compensation (-4 to +4), white balance, ISO, and ND-filter (off, auto, on). I usually shoot in Creative mode using 8-MP and change the various settings depending on the situation.

You can edit the photos you’ve taken with the phone’s image editor that is handy for doing all the basic stuff such as applying auto-levels, auto-contrast and red eye, and changing the brightness, contrast, saturation, and RGB levels. You can also rotate, flip, crop, and resize the images and there are some effects, clip art, and frames that you can use if you want.

When you take photos the current location data is saved into the images. It’s cool when you can see small thumbnails of photos you have taken where they were taken at on the Nokia Maps. Also when you upload photos to Flickr etc. it’s handy to share the location of the photos if you wish to do so.

The video recording is excellent as well. You can shoot in 360p, 720p, or 1080p. When you are taking pictures or shooting video you can take advantage of the ‘lossless’ zoom made possible by the gigantic sensor of the camera.

All in all, the camera is very impressive. Now I can take good quality photographs anywhere I go without needing to drag my DSLR everywhere with me.

Here are some photos from that I’ve taken with the 808 Pureview. I didn’t use a tripod on any of these photos.

a beautiful Bangkok sunset (f/2.4, 1/667 sec., ISO 50)

The low light performance is impressive.
You would think that a shot like this would have been taken with a tripod and using a DSLR
(f/2.4, 1/4 sec., ISO 200)

I took this photo freehand at a local music show.
I’d like to see anyone try to take a photo like this with any other phone out there.
(f/2.4, 1/50 sec., ISO 320)

The ND-filter is very handy if you want to have slower shutter speeds
(f/2.4, 1/3 sec., ISO 50, ND-filter on)

I took this photo at Terminal 21, a local shopping mall.
(f/2.4, 1/45 sec., ISO 50)

I took this photo at Mega Cineplex, at Mega Bangna.
The 808’s large sensor makes it possible to take sharp pictures like this even with shutter speeds like that.
(f/2.4, 1/12 sec., ISO 400)

Here is how the 808 performs in optimal lighting conditions.
Even though I zoomed in quite a bit the photo is still very detailed.
(f/2.4, 1/230 sec., ISO 50)


Here is a photo of the huge Reclining Buddha at the famous Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. This is a good example of how well the 808 can handle challenging situations. I took some photos at the same place with my DSLR and surprisingly the 808 held its own.
(f/2.4, 1/25 sec., ISO 100)

This PureView device is boasting some impressive audio technology. Dolby Digital Plus enables you to enjoy your music in 5.1 channels. The phone has Rich Recording which allows you to record sound without distortion at around 140-145db (four times louder than conventional microphones) that is simply superb for people who like to go to see bands play live. The sound quality is excellent on the videos recorded with the phone! I can’t wait to try out and record some of my drumming back home. The phone’s loudspeaker is very loud and produces a clear sound.

Check out the video below that I shot on Megadeth’s gig here in Bangkok this August. The picture is shaking quite a lot due to the crowd around me and the fact that I was forced to zoom in quite a bit because my location was quite far from the stage. Also I could have fixed the slight overexposure on the musicians by using the Stage scene or putting the exposure compensation to -1, I just didn’t notice it before later on. Focus on the sweet sound!

Loads of people bash on Symbian nowadays, but Symbian 3 with Belle feature pack 2 is actually very nice to use. I can get all the apps I need and the phone runs smoothly. I can’t argue with the fact that the app selection is limited when comparing to iOS and Android, but I’ve found all the apps that I have needed, such as Whatsapp, Tweetian for Twitter, Facinate for Facebook, Sophiecam for some cool photo effects, Foursquare, etc. Multitasking works very well and you can customize the phone with home screens (up to 6) that you can set as you like.

Here is how I have my home screens set up now. Some of the new widgets of Belle feature pack 2 are great.

I used to have my home screens set up like this before the Belle feature pack 2.

Video playback on the phone is very good. The video player handles most formats you throw at it with ease.

The phone has a 4-inch AMOLED 2.5D curved nHD display covered with Gorilla glass. Although the display has lower resolution than other smartphones nowadays it is still great to look at.

The phone has a 16-GB internal memory and you can use micro-SD cards for additional storage. I use a 32-GB micro-SD card which brings the total memory up to 48-GB which is more than plenty.

I love the phone’s turn-by-turn navigation. It covers most of the world, works splendidly, and even works offline. I have used the navigation a lot when driving in Thailand. Even while driving in Bangkok it works like a charm! It was also extremely handy when I was exploring Taipei and other parts of Taiwan. Being able to use the excellent maps offline is really great when you are traveling abroad. Just download the destination country’s map on your phone before you start the trip and it will there when you need it. The fact that Nokia recently announced new partnerships with BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Hyundai to extend its Navteq mapping platform to the automakers’ in-vehicle navigation systems tells a lot.

You can see more photos that I’ve taken with the phone at my 808 Flickr page.

This phone might not be the best for everybody out there, but I’m loving it and wouldn’t change it for any phone out there at the moment!

I didn’t go through all of the features or aspects of this phone. If you have any questions about the phone or about anything else, feel free to ask.


About j.t.l.

I’m a creative minded finnish fellow who is passionate about photography, making music, and traveling among many other things.


  1. That Thailand sunset picture is awesome! I actually had a lower resolution version of that, saved from Flickr as I recall. This full version is better though, thanks!

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