Low-light Photo Shoot: HTC One X versus Nokia 808 PureView

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On my first day with the Nokia 808, I took it for a spin with the HTC One X at the University of Lagos. Because the phone arrived in the afternoon, I could only do evening shots, meaning a test of the low-light capacities of these two top dogs. I started with some daylight at the Lagoon Front of the university and the shooting went on till it was dark, ending around the Senate Building, so we have a range of scenarios here.

I have had months of being familiar with the One X’s camera and only a few hours with the PureView, but I really wanted to get going with this new baby. Hopefully, I will get better at understanding its technicalities.

5 megapixel PureView against 8 megapixel One X
Also note: The HTC One X was set to its maximum resolution of 8 megapixels. The 808 was set to 5 megapixel in Creative mode, which is the essence of PureView technology.

Enough talk! Here are the images. The One X is always on top and the PureView below in every image. All I did was re-size each image so it fits on the page. No post-processing of any sort here. Let’s go!

image
An evening shot of a plant set against the background of the lagoon. The sky is unnaturally blue.
cactus-dusk--noflash-1x-pv
Close-up shot of a cactus plant. The shot by the One X has this horrible blue hue that just messes it up. I took several shots and they all turned out the same. That blue hue shows up in some other shots of the One X too.
deadtree-dusk-1x-pv
Here is a shot of a tree’s branches without leaves. You can see the blue hue again in the One X’s shot.
unilag-audi-dusk-1x-pv
University of Lagos main auditorium. It is getting darker here, but there is still a fair level of daylight. No flash of course, at this distance. You can see the blue hue again in the One X’s shot, which turns out dark too (and the blue is there again). The 808 clearly captures more light and presents the scene more accurately.
University of Lagos Senate Building and car park
At this distance, the difference in results isn’t huge, but it is there. The 808 (lower shot) captures more light, as you can see. The cars in the park are clearer and so is the Senate itself.

Here are cropped images to show you what’s really going down:

senate-cropped-1x-pv
Here are crops of the same section of the above scene, so you can see the amount of details and lighting available in each shot.

plant-night-flash-1x-pv
A garden plant. Taken in darkness at a distance of about 2 metres. The One X’s LED flash (above) captures very little of the plant.
lighted-garden-1x-pv
Here’s a lighted garden scene. No flash was used here. The 808 captured a more accurate presentation of the scene. See the colour difference? The One X struggled to capture light.

Here are crops of the above scene:

lighted-garden-cropped-1x-pv
See the differences? In the 808’s shot below, details are clearer and you can even see features of the building in the background

I find it intriguing that the 808 could produce the above levels of details in 5 megapixel mode. Simply stunning. But that’s what PureView technology is about – it isn’t the number of megapixels that counts, but what its done with. The PureView does good things with its huge pixel count. Of course, the real test in this shoot-out is the effect of lighting, so we shall see more about the PureView’s other strengths in upcoming shootouts. It should be noted though how the One X keeps disappointing with the blue hue.

Photo shoots in other scenarios – indoors, party, etc – are on the way, so don’t hurry off. I already have some great indoor shots on my PC.

Wanted: iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III
If you own an Apple iPhone 5 or a Samsung galaxy S III and you are interested in hanging out with Mister Mo for a photo shoot, do let me know. It promises to be fun!

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11 comments

  1. Yeah, the HTC is damn out of its league league in competing with the Pureview. However, the HTC One X isn’t so bad itself as a camera phone. The blue hue and the colour over-saturation, though artificial and an obvious noise, kind of enhances its photos, and makes it fairly nice to look at.

    Good work, Boss.

  2. Oops. I also forgot to mention. But have to admit that the implementation of Pureview in the Lumia 920 is much better than the Nokia 808 Pureview in low light settings.

    So the question goes; what are those extra megapixels in the 808 meant for? Maybe just for lossless digital zooming!?

  3. Afewgoodmen,

    But have to admit that the implementation of Pureview in the Lumia 920 is much better than the Nokia 808 Pureview in low light settings. So the question goes; what are those extra megapixels in the 808 meant for? Maybe just for lossless digital zooming!?

    The 920’s PureView technology is a different approach from the 808’s PureView technology. The Lumia beats the 808 in flash-less low-light situations, and that’s about it. Everything else belongs to the 808.

  4. this is Luke coke and fanta. but I don’t think its fair enought on the HTC One X. The pureview is programmed to kick in its night (low light) mode automatically. I think it can only be fair enough for us to manually set the HTC to night mode (if there is such ).

  5. Belushi,

    It was very fair to the One X.

    That’s why I mentioned that I already had months of experience with the One X’s camera. I used both cameras in manual mode, adjusting the settings to best suit the scenarios.

    I picked the best shots from all the different manual settings that I tried out on both cameras. If the shoot was unfair, it would be in favour of the One X, as I am just getting to grips with the 808’s camera settings.

  6. And work. Please when next you do this kind of review, it would be fairer to set both devices to shoot at the same number of pixel to avoid undue accentuation of the performance of one device over another or if you choose, also include the 8MP with the 5MP outputs.

  7. Harry,

    lease when next you do this kind of review, it would be fairer to set both devices to shoot at the same number of pixel to avoid undue accentuation of the performance of one device over another

    That would be like saying when comparing the HTC One X with the iPhone 5, I should ensure that both their CPUs are running at the same clock speed. No-one does performance comparisons like that. Why should camera comparisons be done that way?

    My reviews are after differences in performance – What results these babies can produce. The idea of a comparison is to pitch the strengths and weaknesses of the participants against one another. That means using whatever features are put into them. That’s the way my cameraphone comparisons will be done.

  8. What I mean is, you can set their resolutions on 8MP. That is not close to adjusting the CPU speeds of devices which is not directly accessible. But then, you know your game.

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