|A still image taken in the studio by the Nokia 808 Pureview mobile phone|
-- Please, click onto the image to access the uncropped full 38.4 megapixel image --
First of all, I'd like to clarify that this article isn't meant seriously. The Nokia 808 Pureview (808PV) isn't a studio camera. Medium format cameras and the Nikon D800E play in their own league when it comes to work in the studio. And they better do as the 808PV is positioned as a mobile phone ...
But just for the sake of having some fun, we can ask the question of how close the Nokia 808 Pureview (808PV) is actually being able to get to true studio cameras. And so we did :)
Above, you see "Young Fruits" in the studio, shot by the 808PV. I ordered some other young fruit but without going into to much detail, "Plan B" turned out to be it ;) You can click the above image to access the full resolution image. It isn't the JPG out of camera. It is the JPG after doing some post processing in Lightroom (no, the 808PV doesn't write RAW but this isn't a big problem for Lightroom). I basically improved contrast and adjusted colors a bit. I personally consider such things arbitrary as you can change settings in camera too. The image's EXIF data reads: 8.016 mm f/2.4, 1/100s, ISO 50. The image's physical size is 7.5 x 10.0 mm^2 (crop 3.45), i.e., the 35mm-equivalent EXIF data reads: 27.7 mm f/8.3, 1/100s, ISO 600.
- Read more about the 808PV compared to other cameras: 2012/03/icamera-nokia-808-pureview-part-i.html
- Read more about 35mm-equivalent camera properties: 2012/02/camera-equivalence.html
- To save you a few hours of frustration:
Do not use CameraPro, use the 808PV native camera app!
- Set the 808PV into creative mode, full resolution with 4:3 aspect ratio, super fine JPG, -1EV exposure compensation, sunlight white balance, ISO 50.
- The tricky part: Set flash to "Red eye reduction"
- Configure your studio flashes into slave mode.
- Focus with the Xenon flash allowed to act as focus assist, or with an external focus assist light source.
- Fire with 808PV Xenon flash:
- either covered by paper to remove its effect from the photograph
- or from a few meters distance where it appears darker
- or alternatively enforce the ND filter which makes the Xenon flash appear darker too.
The studio must be dark enough to make the 808PV use the flash at all. Because the "Red eye reduction" setting doesn't enforce flash in turn. The paper cover must not be too dark to hide it to the slave flashes though.
- Another tricky part: Your studio flashes need to be powered for f/2.4 ISO 50 (which is low power) or 3 stops higher power when using the ND filter (which is a bit above normal power, as would be used by ISO 100 f/9.6). But at the same time, the power must be low enough for your studio flashes to discharge twice within a fraction of a second. In my case, this required the flashes to stay at 1/2 power or below. Which I am perfectly happy with.
The 808PV has an ND8 filter which you can see with your naked eye when looking at the lens: there first is a protective glass, then a motorized protection shutter, then a motorized ND8 filter glass, and eventually there is the fixed aperture lens with focus motor (you can see the lens move forth and back). I wanted to make sure that the ND filter doesn't negatively effect image quality, so the image above has been made without ND filter. However, I have seen little or no negative impact of the ND filter on image quality. So, the above procedure may be easier to follow with enforced ND filter and I recommend to do so (if your studio flashes recharge quickly enough).
The results are pleasing. I invite you to click the image above to see the full size version. The quality is certainly good enough for most applications. And probably beats anything APS-C or FourThirds.
However, it isn't without quirks. First, enforcing ISO 50 is crucial. The pixels are small (1.4 µm) and therefore, the 35-mm equivalent sensitivity is ISO 600. I.e., the pixels aren't entirely noise-free and it doesn't help that they need some sharpening to get rid of diffraction blur. Moreover, the autofocus isn't fast and it isn't very reliable in studio modeling light (using the ND filter doesn't help either -- it is not switched off during AF ... ;) ). Therefore, the kind of studio work which would also use a tripod is quite feasible. But shooting is nowhere near as fast or reliable as with a dSLR.
Also, I had to ramp up the contrast a bit. It may be that the studio light from the sides create a little bit of stray light lowering contrast. Nothing serious though. And to be fair, the 808PV uses no lens hood :)
Look at the strawberry right to the peach, the bell pepper tip to its left, or the peach itself: IMHO, the level of detail is great.
However, before enthusiasm rises too high, I post the same subject shot with the Nikon D800E, for comparison:
|A still image taken in the studio by the Nikon D800E 35mm digital SLR|
-- Please, click onto the image to access the uncropped full 36.2 megapixel image --
So, while the 808PV delivers great results for static subjects in the studio which is good enough for professional use, it doesn't actually compete against the D800E or medium format. At least ;)