Samsung Galaxy S4: the next contender of the Nokia 808 PureView? (Analysis part 1)

I'm used to write and truly believe there is nothing that will be able to come close to the Nokia 808 PureView. It seems to me there is no way any smartphone camera could achieve a similar, let alone better result than the Nokia 808 PureView without having at least a similar camera sensor and the famous Carl Zeiss optics.

But an enormous comparison now shows that - no, not even the HTC One - Samsung's next Galaxy S4 appears to be a strong contender... Yes, Samsung, the company a lot of my readers love to hate so much. The "plastic fantastic" company that is mainly known for its copying, not for its innovations.

Nevertheless, Samsung is taking the smartphone industry in a way Nokia can only dream of, and now seems to have incorporated a camera in its next flagship that even comes close to the Nokia 808 PureView... Excuse me?

It's the conclusion of this article over at the Russian site This is Eldar Murtazin's popular site, although he's not the most popular blogger and well-known for his not so favorable way of writing about Nokia.

He had his visitors (a daily amount I can only dream of) vote for the shots made with the Apple iPhone 5  HTC Butterfly, HTC One, Meizu MX2, Nokia 808  PureView, Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Note II, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z. I wish I had the time to perform a test like this...

I'm not going to copy all shots, the original post is here, and here's an detailed explanation with the outcome of this blind test. When you use Google Chrome, it will translate the Russian text to any language you prefer. English gives a pretty good result.

In this first post (it's simpy too much for one post alone), I will only link to a few examples of this extensive test and show you some of my own details and crops. It's too much to get in all in one post, so this all about the shot at the Moscow Red Square.

From the Red Square in Moscow, the results from the
Nokia 808 PureView (10% of the votes, picture above)
Nokia Lumia 920 (11% of the votes)
Samsung Galaxy S4 (37% of the votes)

These links will open in different browsers, and when you magnify them (just click on each) you will clearly see the difference in color and sharpness. I'm just giving the results of the original test, not saying I agree with it.

For instance, the Lumia 920 has the worst detail if you look at the stones of the building. Detail of the Nokia 808 PureView is much better, and the Galaxy S4 performs surprisingly well indeed. To compare I made a few screenshots of these three.

Original screenshot (Nokia 808 PureView)

Original Screenshot (Galaxy S4)

Original screenshot (Nokia Lumia 920)

I know from experience that it's hard to avoid in a test like this, but it's remarkable only the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 4:3 format, giving it a slight advantage over the other two (in 16:9). Of course, all the screenshots have the same size, but I had to enlarge some of the shots to get a similar result.

It's clear to see the Lumia 920 is oversaturated and detail is lacking. The Nokia 808 PureView in my opinion has the best shot, although the colors might be a bit "cold" - I don't know if the "vivid" setting was used in this test, my impression is it isn't.

And even bigger disappointment to me however, is the way the HTC One has captured the scene. You'll find the original here, below is the screenshot I made:

Original screenshot (HTC One)

To show you what I mean with differences in detail, I cropped the central part of the building and enhanced the results. Here they are: Nokia 808 PureView first, next Samsung Galaxy S4.

And yes, it appears the Samsung Galaxy S4 offers more detail after this "treatment", but there is a reason for that: pretty much the same crop is a lot smaller on the Nokia 808 PureView than on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Here are the originals to show what I mean.

(187 x 137 pixels)

(296 x 242 pixels)

So I didn't have to enlarge the original crop of the Samsung Galaxy S4 as much - no wonder you'll loose less detail when enlarging it to 640 width. Still: the result from the Galaxy S4 is surprising I must say.

Compare it for instance to what you get after enlarging the next two, that don't even come close to this: the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC One (which is extremely disappointing in this case, I must say).

So much for my first analysis of the shots provided by There is so much more to discover I will write a few posts like these, comparing several of the results from the incredible amount of smartphone camera's they have been testing over there.

Next week I hope to receive my own review sample of the Samsung Galaxy S4, and I'm looking forward to make my own comparison. I still have to wait for the HTC One, and I don't have an iPhone 5, which I will include in the next "analysis". I hope to be able to write part 2 of this analysis later this weekend.

Update: I'd like to add a comment from Musa Demirci I found on the PureViewClub Facebook page: why did they choose the 5MP setting of the Nokia 808 PureView, instead of 8MP PureView? That's a very good question indeed, to which I don't have the answer. And it will most certainly account for some of the differences. A remarkable choice, to say the least.

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Via  AllAboutSymbian