Galaxy Camera vs. 808 PureView: Shoot 'em up

GSMArena team, 16 January 2013.
Pages: 12345678

Hardware overview

To get it straight, the Galaxy Camera isn't the most portable digicam, just like the Nokia 808 PureView isn't the most pocketable smartphone. The good news is both devices have plenty to show for it: a massive sensor in phone terms, and plenty of zoom for a point-and-shoot.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
Samsung Galaxy Camera

The Galaxy Camera also has the biggest and highest-res viewfinder ever to be found on a camera. So, most users would be more than willing to forgive the fact that the Galaxy Camera just won't slip into a pant pocket. At 128.7 x 70.8 x 19.1 mm, the Samsung digicam weighs a rather hefty 300g. Keep in mind that it's 19.1mm at the thinnest part. It gets to 34mm at the lens, while the grip is 28mm.

It's a proper grip though, with a pleasant rubbery finish, providing a secure hold. Another thing to note is that the lens barrel and the grip are nearly level, so the device is reasonably comfortably to use for things other than photography, such as browsing pictures or the web, or any of the countless apps available for Android.

Nokia 808 Pureview Review Nokia 808 Pureview Review Nokia 808 Pureview Review Nokia 808 Pureview Review
The Nokia 808 PureView in black

The Galaxy Camera is clearly bigger than the Nokia 808 PureView. The smartphone weighs almost half as much at 169g and stands at 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9. It's a top-heavy device in portrait but the finish is quite grippy for a comfortable hold. It may have made sense to match the bump around the lens with something that would've served as a grip when held landscape in camera mode, but the device still allows a steady and secure hold.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
Galaxy Camera next to the 808 PureView

Now let's look at those screens. Samsung used a 4.8" HD Super Clear LCD unit of 1280x720 resolution, which is better than anything we've seen on a camera in terms of both size and resolution. LCD is probably the right choice for a point-and-shoot camera too, considering the oversaturated colors on Super AMOLED that could affect your judgment of the scene and choice of settings.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
The Galaxy Camera Super Clear LCD next to the 808 PureView's AMOLED

The Nokia 808 PureView makes a different choice but AMOLED makes perfect sense on a phone. The 4" nHD (640 x 360 pixels) display is based on Nokia's ClearBlack technology and, although the resolution is far from impressive, the screen tops our all-time sunlight legibility chart.

Sensors and lenses

The Samsung Galaxy Camera uses a 16.3MP backlit CMOS sensor, while the Nokia 808 PureView relies on a 41MP front-lit CMOS. The 808 PureView a sensor that's more than 3 and a half times bigger than that of the camera: 1/1.2" against the Galaxy Camera's regular 1/2.3".

Samsung Galaxy Camera Nokia 808 PureView
Sensor Type BSI FSI
Sensor Size 1/2.3" 1/1.2"
Effective Megapixels 16.3 MP 38 MP
F-number F/2.4 - F/8.0 F/2.4
Focal Length 4.1 - 86.1 mm 8.0 mm
Zoom 21x optical zoom Up to 4x lossless digital zoom
Up to 12x lossless digital zoom in video recording
Optical Image Stabilization Yes No
Flash Xenon (up to 6m) Xenon (up to 4m)
AF light Yes (AF red light) Yes (single-LED)
Video recording 1080p@30fps, 720p@60fps 1080p@30fps, 720p@30fps
Slow-motion video 768x512@120fps No

The 1/1.2" image sensor has 41MP resolution, but the maximum resolution for still photos is 38MP in 4:3 mode and 34MP in 16:9 mode. Yet, the PureView mode is likely to be most often used, giving you the enormous benefit of pixel oversampling and the impressive loss-less digital zoom.

Depending on the resolution selected, you can zoom up to 4x (but just 2.2x in 8MP mode) without sacrificing the picture quality. You can do the same with the videos, and the digital zoom there jumps to 12x in 360p, but only stands at 4x for FullHD footage.

An imperfection of the Nokia 808 lens is their relatively long minimal focus distance. This means that even in macro mode, the PureView is unable to focus on anything that's less than 20cm away from its lens. Its macro capabilities aren't nearly as good as those on some competitors, but you can, at times, make up for that if you use the zoom.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a digicam proper and it expectedly offers a few more manual settings (aperture, shutter speed). There are less restrictions too (variable aperture, focal-length, 21x optical zoom). Actually, the zoom length is what places the Galaxy Camera above the mainstream point-and-shoots.

An interesting thing to note is that while the two contenders have equally bright F/2.4 lens when used in their default wide position, the Galaxy Camera lens maximum aperture drops all the way to F/5.9 when you zoom in. A smaller aperture (indicated by a larger F-number) lets less light pass through the lens, so the Galaxy Camera is forced to up the sensitivity to make up for that. The higher ISO settings mean more noise though, so it's not like it doesn't come at a price.

Overall the great versatility of the zoom lens is enough to give the Galaxy Camera an advantage in terms of optics, but the Nokia 808 PureView has a clearly superior sensor. It would be extremely interesting to see how those two compare in our tests.

Flash

Both Samsung Galaxy Camera and Nokia 808 PureView pack a xenon flash, though the one on the Galaxy Camera is clearly more powerful. The xenon on the PureView has an operating range of 4 meters, while the Galaxy Camera manages up to 6 meters.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
The Galaxy Camera flash

The PureView 808 has a single-LED flash to serve as auto-focus assist and be used as video light. The Galaxy Camera has a typical red auto-focus light, but nothing to help low light video capture.

Nokia 808 Pureview Review Nokia 808 Pureview Review
The PureView's Xenon flash and LED AF/video light

Controls

The Nokia 808 PureView has just two hardware controls that are relevant to the camera app: the shutter key and the zoom lever (originally a volume rocker). Everything else is accessible via the touchscreen.

Nokia 808 Pureview Review Nokia 808 Pureview Review
There camera controls are on the right: zoom lever and camera key

There are more buttons to press on the Samsung Galaxy Camera but all the camera settings are only reachable on the touchscreen anyway. Centrally placed at the top is the Power/Lock key: press-and-hold to power up, then short presses to sleep/wake. A comfortably big and very responsive two-step shutter key is on the right surrounded by the zoom lever.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
The Galaxy Camera top controls

On grip side of the Galaxy Camera you get (top to bottom) the 3.5mm audio jack, the microUSB port for charging and computer connections, and a lanyard eyelet.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
The grip side

A small button at the top on the opposite side releases the pop-up xenon flash. Push to lock it back in.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
The flash release

At the bottom, the flap of themicroHDMI port is cut out in the actual battery cover. The SIM bed and the microSD card slot are in the battery compartment. The tripod mount hole is centrally placed at the bottom.

Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808 Samsung Galaxy Camera VS Nokia 808
The Galaxy Camera bottom

Next Page »

Pages: 12345678