Fight: N8 vs HTC One S/X cameras

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Ah. So there is someone else out there in the blogosphere who takes smartphone camera testing as seriously as me. Well, almost as seriously...(!) In this case, 'Deaconclgi' over at 'My Nokia Blog', who takes his beloved Nokia N8 and HTC One S and puts them through a set of demanding shots in varying light conditions, exploring the detail and coloration in their photos.

(Although the HTC One S was used here, the camera in it is identical to that in the One X, so the comparison applies to both.)

From Deaconclgi's intro and conclusion:

As some of you may know, the HTC One S (and X) has the best camera that HTC has ever made. It has great specifications coupled with a great camera software suite and lightning fast shooting performance. I recently added the One S to my stable of smartphones and decided to put it to the test. Now, I don’t have any fancy lighting or other equipment, or even PC software to crop the photos so this is about as raw and unbiased, unprocessed method as you can get.

Basically, I found subjects to capture in varying lighting, distance and object conditions, loaded them to my laptop, and fired up Windows Live Photo Gallery to simply view the photos. I then used Windows 7′s built in split window organization feature and the built in Snipping Tool to take a screenshot of the equally zoomed photos.


The Nokia N8 continues to impress with its 12MP detail yet I find issue with the amount of digital noise/pixel noise that it shows in low-light. What surprised me most is that the N8 viewfinder becomes a grainy mess in low light. Thankfully the photos come out better than what is show in the real time viewfinder. The color accuracy is still a crowning achievement with the N8 as well.

The One S does a FANTASTIC job, especially considering HTC has had some of the worst cameras in the past. In ideal lighting conditions, it is a top notch performer. The camera captures plenty of detail, and provides eye pleasing results, even if a little saturated. Turn off the lights or find yourself outside at night and things get soft and purple like Barney. Even with the soft and cuddly purple, I am surprised at the overall photon capturing ability of the BSI (Back Side Illuminated) sensor on the One S. It appears to do an admirable job. I really hope that HTC can fix the sharpness and purple tinge in a future software update as those are the big negatives to an otherwise solid camera effort from HTC.

N8 vs One S, low light, no flash

Sounds about right. I've reviewed both the HTC One X and One S for The Phones Show and concluded each time that their cameras were undoubtedly the best that HTC has produced, but still some way short of the results from the Apple iPhone 4S and a long way short of those from the Nokia N8. HTC seem to have gone all out to apply colour and edge enhancement, leading to wierd purple coloration when the light's low and unpleasant artefacts when you look closely at an image.

In contrast, the N8's policy of 'no enhancement whatsoever' produces photos which look less saturated but are usually a lot closer to real life colours, with digital noise left as-is, from the sensor, i.e. no noise reduction gets applied. What you see in the photo is what the N8 camera sensor saw and not the result of a few rounds of 'software knows best' filtering....

Nice comparison, Deaconclgi, I'll race you to the big, big Nokia 808 PureView / N8 face-off. See you on the other side!


Source / Credit: My Nokia Blog