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back to article 41-megapixel MONSTER mobe shutters Nokia knockers

Nokia's PureView 808, unveiled today in Barcelona, boasts a 41-megapixel camera - a spec that trumps rivals' 8- and 12-MP sensors spectacularly. Naturally your humble hack had a play with one on the Nokia stand. The hefty handset features an f2.4 Carl Zeiss lens and new pixel oversampling technology. Zooming in on an image is …

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Anonymous Coward

Oh dear

I really hope the CZ lens is better than some of the shite they've been putting on Sony cameras lately.

With all this oversampling and interopliation I also hope that the software is up to the mark.

Given that the Nikon D800 (36Mp) is expected to show up lots of flaws in lenses, good luck with this one.

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Headmaster

Re: Oh dear

I think you'll find that "interopliation" is considered a clear sign of a debauched soul in many parts of the world and is even a crime between consenting adults in several less open-minded societies.

Interpolation however is usually just a marketing gimmick and therefore simply a crime against the Nathan Barleys of this world, i.e. barely a misdemeanour. Caveat emptor.

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Re: Oh dear

Care to elaborate re the Zeiss/Sony lenses?

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

Except its not 41MP is it? its actually 5, and they admit that the pics are worse than that of a decent 5MP camera with good lens.

Just because something can do something doesnt mean it should do something.

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Re: Oh dear

I agree. The CZ must be better than the Exmor R in the Sony which is just pretty lame on my Neo as it is compressed way too much. The threads over on the Sony Mobile forums are awash with people condemming the decision to limit the file sizes. I was pretty excited about it landing, and got one as soon as the hit the UK but i was soon disappointed with the output.

I just hope the learn.

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Re: Re: Oh dear

@Mr. Wilks - think you're talking at cross-purposes with the person you're replying to. Exmor R is sensor tech, Zeiss is lens tech (I'm assuming you already know this) but - unless I'm very much mistaken - the original AC was being disparaging about the Zeiss branded lenses being sold for the Sony (formerly Minolta) Alpha-mount camera system.

Zeiss, like many other successful premium brands, monetises their name carefully but as extensively as possible. Hence "Zeiss" lenses on mobile phones. Whatever that lens is made of and wherever it's made, it is of course a world apart from the Alpha mount Zeiss lenses which probably have a hell of a lot more to do with Zeiss than the one on this (or any other) mobile phone/compact camera.

I'm not sure why the original AC was so down on the Alpha-mount Zeiss lenses. I'm guessing it's because he is a teenage Nikon fanboi who thinks the equipment you use to take a photo is more important than the photo itself.

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously?

Who calls the shots at Nokia?

They release something like this, then stuff on the same OS they so effectively torched last year.

Who is going to pay that much money, or take it on a 2 year contract knowing the likelihood of getting updates, fixes or new interesting apps is slim to none.

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Pint

Re: Seriously?

Being an optimist, perhaps they wake up eventually, then again, perhaps, I am not that optimistic.

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Gimp

Re: Seriously?

Are you serious? Of course some muppet will pay over the odds for it - although they need to do is price it high enough.

Being the first to do this will alo not hurt 'em regardless of how daft it appears now. Remember when people thought having a camera on your phone was a daft idea?

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Flame

Re: Seriously?

The 'softies can't bang out a driver for a new device like this as fast as the last few symbian geeks Nokia still has, obviously.

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Re: Seriously?

Sorry I seem to have missed the bit in the story where it said this phone has been released.

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Bronze badge

Re: Re: Seriously?

It makes me think that there is some pretty serious image processing software going on, and 41MP is a very virtual number. And they cannot quickly port it to the new-to-them OS.

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WTF?

Re: Seriously?

Ok...

So I have to ask... what phone do you own? What apps do you actually have on the phone?

That's a serious question.

I have a friend who has an iPhone and has a ton of apps that are more game than functional.

On the other hand, I have an iPhone because I had to replace my old phone that was dying. I decided on the iPhone because my new company is Mac oriented and I wanted something that integrated nicely. His phone is a phone and a toy. Mine is a tool.

I don't care that much about the OS of the phone as long as it 1) doesn't suck my battery dry. 2) Works as a phone and offers some of the apps that I use on a regular basis.

Nokia owns Navteq so they do offer Maps and turn by turn directions. And their maps don't drive you in to the bog or off a cliff. ;-)

So yeah, I might consider this phone or another Nokia phone if the price is right, and it meets my needs. Unfortunately though, Nokia needs to fix some of this apps like Mail and contacts... but thats a different issue.

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Anonymous Coward

Aren't we past this?

How much light can possibly be getting to pixels that small? Maybe the pictures will be nice outside on a sunny day but I can't imagine low-light performance will be any better than any other smartphone and probably somewhat worse.

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Re: Aren't we past this?

I imagine low light performance will be dire, then again, have you seen some of the posts your friends put up on facebook from a night out clubbing? Blurred and shaky appear to be this season's black.

Anyway, back to the subject... The clever solution when you're playing about with low light and photosites a fraction of the size of a human hair is to combine them, effectively dropping the resolution and then measuring the captured photons across a 3x3 block. Sure, your 41 megapixel silly camera resolution suddenly drops to 4.5mp, but you will at least have a hope of actually seeing something before you have to crank up the amplification so hard that you detect radio Luxembourg.

Although given the use of the horribly sales-pitch phrase "pixel over-sampling technology" I wouldn't be shocked to find out that the sensor doesn't have anything like 41 megapixels and is purely a clever image processor hooked onto the back of a far more humble resolution sensor.

More interestingly (and completely unmentioned in the article) is the flash, it's hard to tell from the picture, and I could be getting my hopes up here, but is that a *real* xenon flash tube there?

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Re: Re: Aren't we past this?

Not really. There are a couple of things to consider here:

1. I understand the sensor is the size of that in a Nikon 1 (i.e. half the size of a Four Thirds sensor)!

2. There is increasing evidence on the engineering size that pumping the pixels can be a benefit. If you know what you're doing with them.

A typical image from this 41MP sensor will probably be just five megapixels in size but with the pixel binning techniques they're using (not to mention the possibility of exposing half the pixels differently, if they're using an electronic shutter) should provide clean images with a wide dynamic range.

This is Nokia the heavyweight R&D giant at its best IMHO.

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Silver badge

Re: Aren't we past this?

At 1.4 microns, the photosites of the 808 Pureview are pretty much the same size as those on the iPhone 4S or Nokia N9. The sensor is enormous (1/1.2" - twice the area of the N8's, 5 times the area of the iPhone 4S's), and it's sensor size (with optical quality) that ultimately governs image quality.

The samples at http://press.nokia.com/media/554/photo/list/886/nokia-808-pureview/ are exceptionally good. They remind me of scanned transparencies, rather than the output of a high-end DSLR, and the low-light sample is superb.

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Re: Aren't we past this?

Eh? The pixels are normal sized. It's the sensor that's huge: 1/1.2" Just sayin'. And sample photos are unbelievable.

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Silver badge

Re: Aren't we past this?

All other things being equal it's the size of the sensor that matters, not the pixels.

And the use of many small pixels allows you to perform smarter noise reduction than the simple averaging that larger pixels effectively perform in comparison. It does require substantial processing power though.

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Yes, that is a real xenon flash tube

Also seen on the N8.

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Thumb Up

Re: Yes, that is a real xenon flash tube

And an LED one too!!!

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Re: Aren't we past this?

Not only that, but an F2.4 lens?! Low light performance is going to be DIRE, and the lens is small enough that even the tiniest abberation on the glass is going to be a huge percentage of the lens size. Great on megapixels (and therefore detail), short on QUALITY OF IMAGE.

And a 1.3GHz single core will only just be able to turn this beast of a camera on inside ten minutes...

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WTF?

Re: Re: Aren't we past this?

"And a 1.3GHz single core will only just be able to turn this beast of a camera on inside ten minutes..."

WTF are you talking about ? Do you have any data on how processor speed correlates to boot time on a camera?

Oh, and what aperture lens would you put on for really good low light performance? Hint: smaller nubmers are better, but more expensive generally. F2.4 is pretty impressive for a mobile phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Answers!

Low light performance is really quite good, and getting better.

Camera startup time is less than 1s. And no, its is not related to processor speed, it's mostly related to how fast the camera system (which is dedicated HW on the GPU) can start up.

38MP images are captured and stored in about 1s also. Lower res (5 or 8MP) is about 3fps

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Jah

Re: Answers!

I'll be buying one. Belle is much better than Anna and Symbian ^3.

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Gold badge

Re: Re: Aren't we past this?

Samples are always going to be good. You're not going to under-sell your device.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Aren't we past this?

I just went and had a look at those pictures.

Yes they are excellent for a phone, and better than any other I've seen.

But look closely and you see that everything has about 4 to 6 pixels of blur, so the actual image details would be no different from an up scaled image from a 10MP device.

Plus there is a lot of noise on thise shots, it may not be the sparkly crap you get from most phones, but the artifacts from the jpeg compression and other image fudging.

In the real world having a 10MP device which only compresses images down to about 4-5 MB will provide far better results than a 41MP device compressing down to 9MB.

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Thumb Down

Re: Re: Re: Aren't we past this?

The HTC One series has F2.0 - I know what F-stop numbers are. It also only has 8Mpixels but takes unbelievable, outstanding, fantastic photographs (for a mobile phone).

The lens manufacture process means that the smallest possible abberation in lens curve is a fixed size - and therefore the smaller the lens, the larger the percentage of lens size those abberations are... which means the larger their effect on image quality. An f2.0 lens is 30% bigger than an f2.4 - with all the attendant benefits. In a 41Mpixel camera, for credibility alone, I would have chosen AT WORST an f2.0.

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Re: Answers!

Then I stand corrected on startup speed... but that save rate is dire (I can understand why mind, I'm just saying). Does it have buffering so that you can quickly take multiple exposures and store them after the fact?

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Silver badge
FAIL

Next up, the Nokia Android everyone really wants

WP7, like socialism, was an interesting experiment whilst it lasted.

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Trollface

Pay attention "Bub".

WP7 is no experiment, it's here, so deal with it.

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Happy

Easily done

Just bought myself a Not-Nokia, not-Windows phone. Motorola. Android.

Dealt with :)

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Unhappy

Sadly, you're right

It is here. Thankfully, you are wrong: why should one "get over it"? How defeatist. The customer is king, remember? If the customer does not like it, it has failed, e.g. Vista. Never, ever "get over it" if you are paying for "it".

Just suffered my first few days of W7 at work (after XP). Horrible is too kind a word. Those fussy, bulky, almost old fashioned-style window borders and scores of options in a ribbon competing for attention and space. So you can 'disable' them, except they reappear as soon as you choose anything. And slow! Aaaaargh!

Thank Heavens OS X is getting leaner and cleaner if anything, for the most part. MS needs some good designers trained in Europe.

Still, W8 should make it even worse, so W7 will be just a short footnote (except for those of us in large firms that have just jumped to w7).

Symbian is excellent at what it does. I heard good things about the (not-Android) Nokia Linux implementation.

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Devil

That's what every socialist said, from the commies to "new" labour.

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"WP7 is no experiment, it's here, so deal with it."

WP7 is here, but the sales are not. Even the N9 has outsold WP7 in Q4 from ALL manufacturers.

1) How long before Nokia is the only WP7 manufacturer?

2) How long after that will there be no Nokia?

Then WP7 doesn't exist anymore. Do you really think the other manufacturers will be fooled again by Microsoft? Microsoft will have to pay the manufacturers to sell WP7 handsets. Now that will be a burning platform.

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socialist?

New Labour? I think not, Edward Heath claimed Bliar was more right wing than him and as for the Prince of Darkness.

Dennis Skinner yes but he never claimed to be New Labour

It's good that Capitalism is doing so well........

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WTF?

Re: Sadly, you're right

Lolwut? W7 is a dream.

I mean maybe if your hardware sucks balls, W7 might also suck, but I've been running W7 for two years and have not had a single hard crash. Not one BSOD. Ever.

It's their first decent OS.

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Trollface

Re: "WP7 is no experiment, it's here, so deal with it."

If MS gives up on WP7, all they have left in mobile is patent-trolling Android handset manufacturers, and that's kinda ignominious. So they have their Potemkin mobile OS that nobody would be caught dead using, and then Android brings in the Real Money. For now, anyway.

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Unhappy

Re: Re: Sadly, you're right

A thoroughly interesting point, and succinctly made. But you do seem to have missed the subtle difference between W7 and WP7, and thus possibly misdirected your anger.

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Anonymous Coward

/You/ May be right!

The fact is that some of us have got so fed up with Windows, over the years, that /whichever/ version happened to do it for us, we are not going to put it in out pockets.

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Devil

Line up, line up for Nokia's new 41MP camera..

.. that also serves as a mediocre mobile phone.. but then again, most won't give a shit about that.. because they have a 41MP camera!

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FAIL

Re: Line up, line up for Nokia's new 41MP camera..

Er, I think Nokia's got the boring mobile phone bit sorted out. We're still waiting for some other unnamed manufacturers to iron out the gremlins in their models if you hold it wrong or if you use it for more than half a day.

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Happy

Re: Line up, line up for Nokia's new 41MP camera..

Maybe that manufacturer can license the Nokia technology en get it to the market quick and with a real Phone OS.

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Meh

Can that lens..

...of that size resolve 41 megapixels? 18 at best I'd say, so rather pointless.

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Boffin

Re: Can that lens..

"there is no need for an optical zoom" - you heard it here first, wonder why SLR manufacturers never figured that one out either? Could it be because it is complete bollox, or could it be possible that the laws of physics (with regard to optics) actually haven't changed, and you actually do still need a fairly decent bit of glass to get a top-quality photo?

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When are people going to learn that a large megapixel count does not mean great photos unless the optics are on pare.

my ancient 2 megapixel SLR camera with excellent lenses produces much better photos than most peoples compact 10 megapixel cameras.

its like the who megahertz wars of the 90s and 2000s again

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Silver badge

While in principle I agree with you, at least they've seen a bit of sense and stuck a Carl Zeiss on it - they score more hits than misses in my experience. Although 41Mpx is overkill, 2 is considerably underkill. You'll get nice shots on account of the optics, for sure, but won't be able to print them very successfully at anything more than 4x5, tops. It would be enough for me to upgrade the body certainly, though at the moment I'm stuck on 6Mpx and not tempted to upgrade any time soon.

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Silver badge

When are you going to learn

That megapixels ARE important. They mean you can do more and better image processing. The optics are also important of course, but more MP DOES mean better quality.

Check out some of the sample images taken with this camera. Then learn something about digital image processing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When are you going to learn

Yes James Hughes, when will you learn?

Those image look very good when viewed at about a quater resolution. But look closly and they are just recording the blur from those tiny lenses and sensors (physics is the problem not the maker), and then they then compress the image so much that it's full of jpeg artifacts (ie: down to ~9MB from the raw ~120MB).

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