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iPhone 4S Camera vs Nokia’s 41 Megapixel Monster

Posted 29th February 2012 by    email Email article     share Share article

Nokia 808 Pure View or the iPhone 4S; which is the better phone for photography? We know both have awesome cameras. This blog is dedicated to finding out more about each camera and conclude the findings. Read more for all you need to know..

Recently Nokia have unveiled an amazing prospect, announcing a 41-megapixel-camera phone. Nokia have taken a colossal step forward in mobile technology. They have set their own bar on this one. Nokia have even backed up this great feat with more amazing technology within the phone itself.

The iPhone 4S has up until now been the top trump card when it comes to a camera phone. It features a high definition 1080p 8 Megapixel camera which is quite an achievement. Let’s see if it’s pole position on the market will be affected with the release of the new Nokia.

*Image from

Nokia 808 Pure View

This phone’s 41-megapixel camera is a breakthrough in smartphone photography, however anyone who is a budding photographer will know that it’s not all about the number of megapixels. It seems after reading about this amazing camera that Nokia are not aiming to shoot the biggest images. Rather, their aim is on keeping as much detail as possible in the different shots the phone will take. Once a shot is taken you can zoom in up to three times with no loss of detail. This makes each photograph appear as one huge image, providing much more scope for any desired editing.

The Nokia 808 Pure View shoots full 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second. The video includes the same zoom feature as with taking a normal photograph allowing zooming whilst keeping the same quality. It is also possible for the video camera to be paired with Nokia’s Dolby headphone technology that changes sound into surround sound. This means it is great for making short films and the possibilities are endless for a film-maker. Nokia also promises ‘CD quality’ sound recording which adds for professional sounding video.

*Image from

Of course it goes without saying that a 41-megapixel camera needs a lot of storage space to store all those high quality photos. Nokia thankfully seem to have been working hard with their Pure View technology that ensures the photo files sizes are kept to a minimum size. The Nokia 808 Pure View comes standard with a 16GB memory card and can be expanded to 48GB.

            *Image from

Apple iPhone 4S

Since the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple has been promoting it’s new and improved camera as a primary feature. The next few paragrahs below will give a bit more scope into whether the Nokia’s 808 Smart View is a contender to the current market leader.

The iPhone 4S has an 8 Megapixel camera. Apple may be implying that there are so many other cameras phones on the market that have high megapixel counts (Nokia 808?) when in reality not that many are needed for great picture quality. However the important thing to note with lots of megapixels means that all those pixels have to be packed into such a small place resulting in image quality problems. Apple claim that they have got it just right with their camera. As with the Nokia 808 Smart View the iPhone 4S can shoot 1080p HD video. This again is a great feature and they have also implemented their very own ‘video stabilization’ which is great.

*Image from

Apple say their new camera in the 4S allows 73% more light to enter the lens which is due to what they call ‘next-generation backside illumination’. With this camera more light means better performance, better quality pictures with much more clarity. What this new backside illumination feature does is flip the sensor over so light strikes the parts of the camera that are sensitive to light. This means the light impacts the receptive parts immediately without having to first go through a lot of circuitry.

Apple have also aimed to make the camera loading time as quick as possible. They say that in fact the 4S camera is 1/3 quicker than the camera from the previous iPhone 4. The lens of the 4S is f/2.4, which is half a stop better than the iPhone 4. This allows much more light to hit the sensor, which again adds to the overall 73% more light. The iPhone 4S is light and therefore the camera could tend to be very shaky and wiggle around when taking pictures and video. The new processing chip (A5) helps with the image analysis for this making it much quicker and able to process higher quality images. Apple seems to have designed the image processor around the hardware and vice versa. This congruence of technology works well which results in producing better battery efficiency.


Which to go for?

The release of the new 41 MPL Nokia 808 is a shrewd marketing ploy by Nokia to appeal to the vast numbers of people that rank image quality at the top of their phone purchase decision.  Hats off to Nokia’s marketing team for making this move as it’s already got the tech circles and general press/media talking about the product release.

The truth however, is that once you reach an image size of 3MB anything larger does not make a significant difference in quality when printing standard size photographs.  So having a 41MP camera is great but will not make much difference if your intention is not to print anything larger than a 7×5 print.  Therefore the iPhone 4Swill take equally good quality pics as the Nokia 808 for the majority of users.

But, where the new Nokia 808 really excels is in its’ digital image quality for power users with a need for deep zoom capability.  The Pureview technology represents a major step forward for mobile technology and allows users to zoom into an image with no loss of quality to an amazing level of detail.  This announcement will be music to ears of anyone with an interest in digital image or movie editing.  Of course many factors come into the decision making process when buying a phone, from operating system, aesthetics, display area, apps available etc..  But as someone with a passion for quality digital photography the Nokia 808 gets the thumbs up from me!


Nokia 808 Smart View

iPhone 4S

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  • Anonymous

    There is no debate here when it comes to a phone camera. The N8 trumped the 4S and the 808 blows to N8 out of the water.  PureView is a quantum leap in imaging technology…it’s got the point and shoot companies scratching their heads.  From loss-less 1080p 4x zoom to exceptionally noiseless low-light shots, no other mobile device comes close.  Coupled with a industry leading Xenon flash PLUS hi intensity LED for night video/torch, the hardware is versatile and impressive.  Sorry, this article was a waste of time.

    • Anthony

       What price is the Nokia?  In terms of the article being a waste of time, no way, its an opinion and everybody is entitled to one!

      • Belle

        Opinion is fine, however spreading absolute rubbish is not.

        So having a 41MP camera is great but will not make much difference if
        your intention is not to print anything larger than a 7×5 print. 
        Therefore the iPhone 4Swill take equally good quality pics as the Nokia
        808 for the majority of users.  

      • Anonymous

        What to buy? Simple… It depends on what the buyer deems critical.. If a great App platform with a large selection of Apps with a decent/acceptable camera, then you would go for iPhone or high-end Androids. If a great camera is your main reason accompanied with an acceptable app platform, then the 808 pureview would be your choice. WP7 will fit in there somewhere… still trying to work out who the target audience is.

      • Anthony

         An area of concern to me is the OS on the new 808?  strange decision? would put me right off…but then again, I cannot see much that would pull me out of my utopia that is MAC OS…it works, its great and thats it!

      • Anthony

         I own an iPhone 4S and while not perfect (try using SIRI when its mission critical!!) I have to say that the pic quality is fab!

      • Mutu

        Agreed. What comes to taking shots in dark conditions, it’s pretty much about size of sensor and about the lens, no algorithm can replace lack of light and the image gets noisy. Even with as low resolution as 3MP, the results will be significant, comparing a shot taken by 38MP sensor with 1.4µm pixel size and squeezing to 3MP using the oversampled data with good algorithms.

        Therefor where iphones each pixel is produced from sensors 1.4µm pixel (with some algorithms ofc), 808s pixelsize on sensor basically increases to almost 5µm (sqr(38/3)*1.4µm) with pureview, because it uses the same 38MP area for the 3MP image. So, basically each of the final pixels would get get about 5*5µm²/(1.4*1.4µm²) = 12.75 times as much information but they might limit it to 7(7pixels combined) because of optimization, anyways lower noise is guaranteed. So pureviews oversampling gets more effective the less MPs you go for. On good conditions those megapixels allow you to take low noise 8Mp and lower pureview shots, using loseless zoom or cropping image afterwards having great quality. Even as its not only about megapixels, its still important, from what the pixels consists from, aiming for less noise. I bet image taken by 808 with 5MP pureview mode might compete against iphones 8MP shot with effective resolution, if not already under sunny day conditions, but definitely in any darker than that.

        Not to mention about recording a video with fullHD to nHD with 4 to 12 times loseless zoom, only losing advantage of oversampling with close to max zoom, and the new nokia rich recording with 20Hz-6db, 40Hz-3db – ~16-17kHz up to 140-145db without peaking and as stereo.

        Don’t hesitate to correct me if something wasn’t right ;)

        Some nice links:

  • Varun Luthra

    Read my review on Nokia 808 @

  • Andy

    Hi Guys according to T3 ( the price for the Nokia 808 has been issued at £464.98

  • Media Lightbox

    Hi Guys according to T3 ( )  the price for the Nokia 808 has been issued at £464.98

  • Sebastian Böckelman

    808 wins any time!

    “The truth however, is that once you reach an image size of 3MB anything larger does not make a significant difference in quality when printing standard size photographs. So having a 41MP camera is great but will not make much difference if your intention is not to print anything larger than a 7×5 print. Therefore the iPhone 4Swill take equally good quality pics as the Nokia 808 for the majority of users.”

    Well it depends on the printers DPI..

  • Anonymous

    What a load of crap. You look at some specs and marketing jargon and without any testing or samples conclude that, yes, iPhone and PureView take equally good photos.

  • Jacob

    Is this a joke? Iphone 4s camera is not even close to the old Nokia N8. The Iphone 4s has never been the best camera phone. I made a test myself, between Nokia N8 and Iphone 4s, and the diffent is big. Iphones camera is a joke compare to N8, so it make no sence to compare the Iphone to the 808

    • Anonymous

      Couldn’t have said it better, the N8 is the currently far ahead of the 4S, so how much better will the 808 be?  It’ll generate 3/5/8mp images so far ahead of the current crop it’ll be unreal.

      Commentary from someone who doesn’t have a freakin’ clue, sounds like they’re effectively Apple fanboys, making out that there will be no difference?

  • Kingsindian

    This is a sloppy and very poorly written article. Take a simple example, it credits the iPhone 4S for using faster lens at f/2.4 which contributes to the “73% more light compared to previous iPhone” which is supposedly an advantage the 4S has over the 808. It completely neglects to mention that the 808 also has f/2.4 lens! I hope it is just a simple oversight not with intention to mislead, but this alone would deserve a failing grade in a term paper.
    Other glaring omissions:
    1. No mention at all about the oversampling technique which is actually the main point of the 41Mp sensor.
    2. No mention at all about the 808 image sensor which is much larger than those used in any point-and-shoot cameras let alone cameraphones.

  • ssj5__

    lol this article i think was jst made by a apple guy or sum1 who jst got paid for promoting Apple Iphone 4S.
    BTW dude/babe whateva u r  get ur facts right first of all,
    There is a oversampling technology in “Nokia 808 PureView” which improves the quality of Image. dat means e1 if u r Cropping d image u still maintain dat Image Quality at its best..
    Secondly Its 41 MP image sensor nd not Pixels, it means u get e1 d finest detail about Image wen u zoom in without any loss of Detail..
    they had already said dat images are made in 3 MP, 5 MP nd 8 MP.

  • Anonymous

    “Therefore the iPhone 4Swill take equally good quality pics as the Nokia 808 for the majority of users.”

    Lol!  Just add the Xenon flash and your every day photos – people inside for example are instantly 100x better on the 808!  I’ve seen so many blurry 4S indoor photos.
    The 808 has much wider dynamic light range for a start, many details are lost in regular iPhone 4S photos/videos just because they are in the bright/dark part of the photo.  The 808 is also better at low light photos (even without the flash), even the N8 is better at low light than the iPhone 4S and the 808 has a much larger sensor with newer sensor tech.The dumb comment about the mb of the photos made this article laughable – thanks to jpeg they are all 1-2megs like every other camera on the market.  Even many DSLR’s have the jpeg compression set to 1-2 meg as default.

  • vipul

    if anyone has ever read a bigger crap article written by an apple fan boy who is totally ignorant of the facts and just trying to mislead people by some bs… man… you must be lucky… but this guy has to be somewhere on the top… i bet…

  • Anonymous

    What is this shit?

  • justclickin

    Lol it this true?
    I can’t believe it and I bet many might not be aware of this.
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  • dslrpundit

    Sample files? Side by side comparison?

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