Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 4S vs Nokia 808 PureView Camera Comparison

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 4S vs Nokia 808 PureView Camera Comparison:

In this article I want to compare the camera performance of three popular mobile phones: the Apple iPhone 4S vs Nokia 808 PureView vs Samsung Galaxy S3 / SIII. Three popular mobile devices, each one with its own unique offering.


The camera is probably one of the most attracting feature, because most of us are connected to facebook, sharing thought, image and videos that we’ve taken. When Nokia announced the 808 PureView, it actually changed our understanding on mobile phone cameras. Before the 808 PureView was announced, I viewed sample videos and images of various mobile phones, and didn’t found anything spectacular to write about. Indeed, in every generation, image quality is improved. BSI sensors have improved image quality by quite a lot. Even so, due to the popularity of mobile phones, mobile phone manufacturers always search for ways to sell more phones, and what’s better than to improve the camera performance.

Let’s start our comparison with a few opening words about each phone, introduce to you the basic specs of the cameras. I think the best way is to present the specs in a table, so you can see how the three cameras defer from one another.

Sensor Specs Samsung Galaxy S III (2nd mfr) Sensor Apple iPhone 4S Sensor Nokia 808 PureView Sensor
Product type Mobile Phone Mobile Phone Mobile Phone
Manufacturer Samsung OmniVision N/A
Commercial name N/A OmniBSI-2™ PureView Pro imaging technology
Size type 1/3.2-inch 1/3.2-inch 1/1.2-inch
Architecture type BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS CMOS
Array type Color Filter Array Color Filter Array Color Filter Array
Array type design Bayer Bayer Bayer
Sensor size 4.54×3.42 mm 4.54×3.42 mm 10.67×8.00 mm
Total pixels N/A N/A 41MP
Total effective pixels 8MP 8MP 38MP
Model name S5C73M3 OV8830 N/A
Max. image resolution 3264×2448 pixels 3264×2448 pixels 7728×5368 pixels
Image ratio 4:3 4:3 4:3
Multiple ratios N/A N/A N/A
Dust cleaning system No No No
Crop factor 7.6× 7.6× 3.2×
DXO color depth rating N/A N/A N/A
DXO dynamic range rating N/A N/A N/A
DXO low light ISO rating N/A N/A N/A
DXO overall rating N/A N/A N/A
Notes N/A Built on OmniVision second generation OmniBSI-2™ backside illumination (BSI) pixel architecture. Capable of 1080p and 720p video recordng, 24fps in 4:3 format and 30fps in 16:9 (6MP) format.. 35% improvement in low-light sensitivity over fist generation sensors. Relatively very large sensor compared to the competition at the time of launch. Utilizes pixel sampling and feautre up to 12x lossless zoom (nHD 640x360). You get 3x lossless zoom for stills, 4x zoom in full HD 1080p and 6x for 720p HD. This senso is approx. 2.5 times larger than the one used in Nokia N8.


This is not an in-depth lab-test comparison. I know that you want the bottom line and most of you probably didn’t reach this far. There are many things to consider above the image quality, and that’s the camera settings, manual controls, applications and other stuff. However, if you care about image quality, this is an easy decision.

The Nokia 808 PureView will give you the best image quality. The Samsung Galaxy S3 (I9300) has a great camera that in some places was able to outperform the Nokia (ie. WB), but not in overall image quality (ie. sharpness, high ISO, video quality, color accuracy, etc). Although it’s a bit hard to tell the differences sometimes, the 4S outperform the S3, but not by a large margin in my opinion.


Apple iPhone 4S Specs & Price >