Battle of the 1.4µm phones. Samsung S7 edge vs Nokia 808

Started May 2, 2016 | Discussions thread
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bigley Ling Veteran Member • Posts: 4,448
Battle of the 1.4µm phones. Samsung S7 edge vs Nokia 808

This is a non scientific comparison between the S7edge which is currently rated one of the top smartphone cameras to date. The S7 touts a larger 1.4µm pixel size which is decently large, but compromises on resolution which is now only 12MP. There is another phone that also sported exactly the same size pixels, the very ancient 2012 Nokia 808. It too sported 1.4µm pixels but delivers a whooping 41Mp resolution thanks to it's over sized optic and sensor design. That being said, the whole camera assembly sits relatively small compared to the camera centric Samsung K Zoom and Panasonic CM1.

To get the optimum image quality from the S7edge, DNG capture was enabled and processed using ACR. The 808 only allows for JPG capture, and the only USM was applied to full resolution JPGs.

Anyway, here are the scenes shot with both phones sequentially. Full resolution images uploaded

S7 Edge bright daylight shot medium close subject

808 full resolution bright daylight shot medium close subject

As can be seen, both phones are using their optimum low ISOs to capture maximum detail, and lowest noise. The 808 chooses ISO64 over ISO50 to get more dynamic range. Since the 808's mechanical shutter can only sync with the sensor up to 1/666, the built in ND filter is used to keep a lower shutter speed.

Both images are quite comparable with excellent detail. There is a slight difference in focal length with the 808 being able to capture more of the scene, but in reality this would be negligible.

One of the advantages of the 808 is it's ability to defocus backgrounds. This shot is an example of this, where the net and the bouys are in focus and the background slightly defocused. The S7edge's smaller sensor means everything in this scene is equally in focus

S7 edge good light architectural type scene

808 full resolution good light architectural type scene

Apart from the slight wonky 808 capture, both phones are capable of capturing similar detail, and color. CA is visible from both cameras at the top left corner. What is of interest is if we pixel peep for detail.

S7 edge upsized to match the 808 resolution

The difference becomes more apparent now with the 808's resolution advantage 41MP vs 12MP. There is clearly more detail and texture captured with the 808. Also the 808 image seems to have less noise. This is interesting since the S7(edge) does have a more sensitive BSI type sensor, whereas the 808 has the much older FSI type sensor.

s7edge indoor shot medium light

808 Pureview 8MP capture indoor shot medium light

Again both phones is able to capture the scene easily with the S7edge taking advantage with it's fast f1.7 vs f2.4 lens on the 808. In theory the S7edge capture at ISO250 should easily outclass the pureview 8MP 808 shot at ISO 400.

The s7edge has the higher resolution and lower ISO advantage but the close up crops tell of a different story. The oversampling technique Nokia employs to combine the 1.4µm pixels works effectively, and combined with the Zeiss optics allows it to resolve very fine detail.

s7edge brightly lit indoor

808 Pureview 8MP brightly lit indoor

This shot is very similar to the last where the S7edge's fast f1.7 lens take presidence allowing for approx 1 stop advantage. Once again not much difference between the shots. The difference between 8 and 12 mega pixel is not visibly apparent, although there are areas where the s7 does seem a little sharper.

Theses are just some random shots I took when I was on a journey with the 808 and S7edge. The S7edge is a very capable camera, and it's autofocus is ridiculously quick. Refocusing happens real time with no CDAF lens shimmer thanks to the dual pixel PDAF AF system. This all happens while previewing and composing which means that depressing the capture button immediately captures the moment. The 808 on the other hand requires a half press to get accurate focus lock before fully depressing the shutter for any close up type shots (total time to shot taken 2 seconds minimum). The S7edge has OIS which I really did not test but it is known to be very effective for low shutter speeds. The 808 relies solely on it's higher ISO oversampling technology to get a higher shutter speed to prevent camera shake.

From the small sample of shots captured here, it is clear the S7edge works best at it's lowest ISO setting. Thanks to OIS, and it's fast f1.7 lens, this should not be an issue for most scenes. Some user intervention (pro mode) will be required to keep the ISO low and a steady hand will almost guarantee shots equivalent to 808's pureview modes. When it comes to capturing landscapes in good light the S7 edge yearns for more resolution, and this is where the 808's 1.4µm high resolution sensor delivers exceptionally high detail, with low noise. No one is really certain to how the 808 is able to achieve such levels of quality in such a small package, but one can theorize it has something to do with its image processor or could it be some FSI type sensor magic.

 bigley Ling's gear list:bigley Ling's gear list
Apple iPhone X
808 Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
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