Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Nokia 808 PureView Camera Comparison


The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and the Nokia 808 PureView are somewhat similar products, with both the devices aimed at cameraphone enthusiasts looking at packing the best camera on a phone. While the approach taken by the two companies are largely different, the intention remains the same. One has added phone features to a point and shoot camera, while the other has added a point and shoot level camera on a phone. But in terms of camera, for a novice user who doesn’t dabble with too many settings, how do these devices fare? Lets find out.


What you saw above was a quick slideshow of all the samples and their respective differences. Lets take a deeper look of those samples now. Starting with the most differentiating aspects of both these cameras is the low light. Both the cameras were set in auto and shot at their respective resolutions. Here are the two pictures for a side by side comparison –


The Nokia 808 PureView takes a more noisier and less processed pic, while the S4 Zoom takes a brighter and a mushier post processed pic. The colours are more accurate on the 808 picture but there are reasons why the S4 zoom is brighter. In the auto mode, the ISO goes up to 1250 on the Zoom while the 808 goes only upto 800. And due to a higher ISO, the S4 zoom must have predictably had more noise and hence needed some post processsing noise reduction.The shutter speeds are very similar though, with the 808 at 1/6 and the S4 zoom at 1/5. Full resolution samples –



The post processing noise reduction is evident with the lack of detail on the table and the yellow beak of the bird. Overall the 808, even though noisier takes the better pic, but this was on auto mode. Meaning, the 808 took pictures with 5MP oversampling, while the S4 Zoom provides more flexibility with a 16 MP picture. That stays true for all the 808 pictures, do keep that in mind.


In this above photo which was taken in very similar conditions, the Nokia 808 consistently maintains the ISO 800 and the darkness while the S4 maintains its ISO rating at 1250, with a mushier brighter image. It’s subjective to choose the better image of the two, but both have the same tradeoffs as the last one. The S4 zoom lacks in detail while the 808 lacks in overall brightness which is much needed for a low light image. Full resolution samples –



Having established the low light capabilities and differences between the two cameras, lets move on to the other interesting section – macro photos.


In this macro shot, the 808 excels in rendering the detail to perfection while the S4 Zoom struggles to focus on the right object. While it is definitely a one-off issue, notice the other difference that is the Bokeh. The 808 has a milky bokeh with a f2.4 lens while the S4 Zoom has a deeper depth of field due a f3.1 minimum aperture at the lowest focal length. Lets take a look at a few more comparisons in full resolution – (808 first, Galaxy S4 zoom second)



Did you notice the depth of field differences in the two images above?



Another standard Nokia 808 problem is that it under exposes images even in brightly lit conditions. While it compensates for detail using oversampling and is totally devoid of sharpening or noise, the S4 zoom trumps it by producing a more likeable image with bright details in shadows which are lacking on the 808.



One aspect in which the 808 really fails is the macro distance. In comparison to the ~4 cm focusing on the Galaxy S4 Zoom, the 808 is nowhere near, as it struggles to focus in low light conditions. Also you can note that the 808 produces images that are consistently “cool” toned with a bluish tint to all the images. It does seem more natural but the S4 Zoom’s colour balance is more likeable.

Now lets take a couple of proper outdoor samples. As usual, the first one is 808 and the other one is the Galaxy S4 Zoom.



To be fair, the above sample was taken in 8MP auto mode on the 808 to provide it some parity with the Galaxy S4 Zoom’s 16MP mode. Surprisingly the crops were almost accurate in size. As expected, the 808 was under exposed the detail it resolves is phenomenal. Take a look at the closer crop comparison –


There is no edge sharpening or noise on the 808 sample while the heavily post processed image on the S4 Zoom is brighter and more likeable as output image. Here is another comparison in outdoor conditions –



Again pretty similar performance noted here. The 808 is under exposed but with no post processing but the S4 zoom is bright and over processed with the electric lines showing some jagged edges.

So, that’s it for the quick comparison of the two cameras. A very close competition between the two, and we felt that both were quite good overall. Both the phone/camera hybrids has its own advantages and disadvantages. The S4 Zoom definitely has the advantage of optical zoom and the 808 is more compact while providing decent lossless zoom. The low light capabilities are more natural on the 808 while the S4 Zoom provides more usable and likeable pictures. In the end it comes to subjective preferences, one who likes to post process the images might prefer the 808 more, while the casual instant sharing types might lean towards the S4 Zoom more.

We have told you what it’s like and provided all the samples for you, but it’s time for you to tell us what you think. Let us know your thoughts on which you like better, in the comments section below.

Photo Credits Siraj

Author: Bharadwaj Chandramouli

Bharadwaj is a content creator who has been obsessed with technology since the early days of smartphones. He loves talking about tech, is a fan of good design and photography. You can follow him on Twitter @gadgetbuff_ to know what he's upto!