back to article MYSTERY Nokia image-mangling mobe spotted in public

More images of Nokia's so-called EOS Windows smartphone have popped out on the web, and this time they show what looks like a final industrial design with a PureView-like camera. Last year Nokia released a device with an unfeasibly large (for a phone) sensor that downsamples images, and is capable of knocking out outstanding …

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Anonymous Coward

Cue postings about it being too big etc.

If it was possible to do such things smaller it would be done. Do you think pro photographers like carrying heavy cameras with huge lenses around? of course not, but they know that you need large sensors and lenses to get good results.

While this won't rival an SLR it will give you the best photo results on a smartphone.

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Exactly, there is underlying physics involved. As sensor size changes you are trading off and balancing factors such as pixel pitch \ gain \ dof at a given ap \ fov at a given focal length \ diffraction (coc) etc. A lot also depends on where money has been put in each system. Digital large format is virtually solely scanning backs used for landscapes, cameras are huge, lenses are actually pretty light considering the image circle involved. Medium format means you have lighter cameras, moderate lenses, you start getting af and even IS now. They also tend to be ccd rather than cmos so you find yourself overshooting, dealing with 1fps max normaly but true 16bit. 35mm tends to be cmos so you get liveview, higher isos faster frame rates (although sensor size is part of that) etc. Inpart due to the physics of the medium but also because thats what manufacturers built. You could have an 8x10 digital slr with IS AF lenses but it would be huge and insanely expensive and smaller fov lenses with wide aps would be monumentally HOOOge.

Camera sensors win on convienience, theyre starting to get IS and even optical zoom. Diffraction will play a part with clarity and forget thin dof, but I won't complain about them improving :-) Horses for courses, but don't believe the whole 'takes dslr quality shots' marketing balls. I'd happily switch away from insanely expensive and heavy gear if they did.

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More than just sensor size

I'm no pro, but I do have a D70 which I got nearly 10 years ago now which I used (alongside several books) to teach myself the skills. Without doubt, the computing power in a modern phone is substantially better than the D70. Asides from the quality of the optical zoom (which you have limits of physics and substantial costs), modern point and shoot cameras and camera phones can take excellent photos. My big personal problem with them is that it is infeasibly slow to use any manual mode due to the fact you have got to go through menus for a few minutes to setup your shots.

If there was a way of getting a few more rocker switches so that you could quickly change the aperture (maybe limited possibility due to physics), shutter speed or dial in some EV compensation, it would definitely be an option for more than a look-at -me facebook post.

That and a proper flash would go a lot further to creating good photos than a gaizeeelion terapixel sensors. A physically large sensor with downsampling will go a long way towards ensuring that each recorded pixel is as close as possible to what comes through the lens. The real challenge is to ensure what comes through the lens is what you want.

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But surely that still allows it to be too big?

You cannot fit an SLR into a smartphone. So you're going to have to accept lesser image quality. In that case why is something bulbous preferable? A lot of people would argue that it just falls between two stools — it's not compact enough to fit well with a mobile phone and it's not large enough to do all that much better than what does fit in other mobile phones. So it's too large for anything people want in a phone.

It's the same sort of logic that allows people to conclude that e.g. a 6" screen is too large for a mobile phone.

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WTF?

EOS

The EOS name intrigues me a bit, given that Canon use that moniker for their system of SLR cameras, lenses, etc. I haven't heard anything about Canon being involved in the development of this, and even if they had using the same name would seem to conflict with their EOS camera system

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LDS
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Re: EOS

The image spots a Zeiss lens, thereby Canon looks not involved at all, don't think it could be the sensor maker. Maybe "EOS" is just the project internal name, I guess it would be difficult to sell a Nokia EOS without Canon approval, especially spelled full capital (Eos is a greek word meaning "dawn") and referring to photo capabilities - AFAIK Eos is used by VW also, but it's difficult to mistake a camera for a car :)

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Re: EOS

Talking of Canon what's all this "multiple megapixels downsampled to smaller view for the user taking a lot of CPU junk?" Sure, if you're doing fancy image scaling but a 38Mpixel photo isn't as much data as you think. And just about every Canon EOS "D" camera has to do the job to display a thumbnail (and, incidentally, save the original CR2 which contains several RGB JPG previews of different sizes, the original CCD scan data - which isn't RGB because of the sensor layout, there's more "G", and requires a lot of processing, statistical averaging and white-balancing to get a viewable image that a user would want - and everything else it bundles into the file, and it takes nothing to write that data to the card and present it on the screen after a photo is taken.

Quite what are you doing to the image where THROWING AWAY data and some complex transform on the data needs anything more than a tiny processor doing some parallel operations? And if it takes a second rather than half-a-second, is anyone REALLY going to notice on a phone?

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Re: EOS

I mentioned the canon eos before and was told that it was only bloggers who were using the term, I guess el reg is now. I don't believe nokia have used it.

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Re: EOS

fwiw I think canons use ti designed arm chips running dryos. They will have a significant amount of custom functionality, but basically not a million miles away from whats in a phone. Some canons have multiple digic processors (i think my 7d has 2 and my 1dx has 3? ). One big factor that will affect the grunt required would be the bit depth, they're probably 8bit. It's also unlikely the phone will be doing much else at the time. That and the burst depth is rarely high on a phone so it is unlikely to have a queue of images to chew on like a dslr. Plus it depends exactly how they are reducing the resolution, it could be done right after the adc stage by an asic prior to the phones cpu even getting the image. Are there any specifics on how the pureview did it?

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Re: EOS

> using the same name would seem to conflict

I am still wondering why Panasonic have sued over LUMIA being almost identical to LUMIX. The Pansonic name is used for both cameras and phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: people don't pick and choose between phones based on the camera

Actually, old chap, that's exactly what I do do. The quality of the camera is not the ONLY factor, or I wouldn't buy a phone I'd buy a camera, but it is there as a factor in the decision-making process. I always carry my mobile, and if it has a decent camera, I can also have a camera with me. My first phone with a camera had about 1.3 mp, and I've hung on to my Nokia because the combination of pixels and lens quality gives me satisfactory results.

Whether or not I'm typical of a proportion of Nokia's customers, I don't know, and neither do you, but I suspect Nokia know

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FAIL

@ Eadon - Re: If you care about photography then use a real camera

Actually I do care about photography (a lot) and I have a lot of real camera equipment. However, I don;t want to carry that around with me 24x7 - it's too bulky and heavy to be a constant companion.

So, think about it...

Having something portable with a built-in camera, like this Nokia, is better than the alternatives of either carrying a separate phone and a dedicated point-and-shoot camera, or just a phone with a poor built-in camera.

EADON FAIL

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

Except that Nokia *have* managed to differentiate themselves from Android and indeed from other Windows Phone vendors too. They're doing a pretty darned good job in my opinion.

Which specific elements of Microsoft's hardware reference design to you think are holding the platform back? I'm not aware of any.

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Mushroom

Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

"As for the camera feature, people don't pick and choose between phones based on the camera"

Wrong. I bought a Lumia 920 specifically because it has the best Smartphone camera on the market,.

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

one of the major deciding factors on my 920 purchase was the camera... I have an EOS with L series lenses, I also have a Bronica which is occasionally dragged out to play... then there is a fully rugged compact for the beach, cliff diving and off road bugging...

but the convenience of an always on me camera, which spits out pretty decent photos is a huge bonus... I just guess that Eadon doesn't have young children!

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Devil

Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

"Nokia wouldn't be able to differentiate themselves from the pack of other Android vendors."

No Eadon, you explained it badly, it is the other way arround:

With Windows Nokia can differentiate themselves much better than with Android, see: it is the difference between selling phones and NOT SELLING THEM.

And Nokia so far has been one of the most successful smartphone vendors in differentiating themselves in the market.

Nice cameras, sad choice of OS.

Why Nokia chose Windows over Android has to do with who are the major shareholders in Nokia: Banks, and banks should lend money, not decide how to create products.

Nokia has until the end of the year to turn the tide around. Good luck.

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

"Having a camera that isn't totally shit", is one of my criteria for phone purchases. Being able to upgrade that to "having a camera that's actually pretty good" would be more than welcome.

MANDATORY CAPITALS

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

8 years ago you may have had a point eadon. Now camera phones, the better ones, are about on a par with p&s digital compacts barring a lack of real zoom. So I'm looking at a new phone in a few months, likely between the g pro and the note 3. Even with an office full of camera toys from 4x5 toyo's to rz67's and a nice pile of canon gear I will still be paying close attention to the camera as my phones nearly always with me. If otherwise the phones are similar I'll factor in the cameras because it saves the expense of a p&s for when I don't want to lug a dslr around, they aren't insanely heavy but they attract attention.

The only question remaining is will taking a picture with a note 3 make you look as much of a tit as those folks who take pictures with tablets?? :-)

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FAIL

Re: If you care about photography then use a real camera.

with the greatest of respect Eadon. That is a lot of hairy bollocks.

as is often said the best camera is the one that's with you. I don't carry a DSLR in my pocket, i do a phone.

and Nokia did not fake the photos in it's ads. there are many sample photos available for the 808 and they are pretty amazing. How you know that this one will be rubbish before it's even been made is beyond me.

EADON FAIL

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

Real photographers don't care that much about gear, it only really matters if you are doing studio shoots where you can control absolutely everything. Also, low light situations are still difficult for phone cameras.

There are a number of award winning photographers that have produced stunning images on very low end gear. Anything from superzooms to iphones.... And the Chicago Tribune has just laid off it's entire photo staff, saying it will train reporters to use iphones for photos & video. For a lot of professionals these days, a connected camera is much, much better than a standalone camera since immediacy is what wins eyeballs. In that context, a phone with a great camera is perfect.

Besides, most camera phones these days are 10x better than early digital equipment. I'm currently doing a project with some 10 year old high-end digital digital cameras and it's easier to get great pictures from an iphone.... Funny thing is that it's a processing & software issue (autofocus, metering, white balance, etc), not the hardware.

Finally, stats - http://www.flickr.com/cameras - no one uses cameras anymore (other than very high end stuff)

As someone once said, the best camera is the one you have with you.

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FAIL

Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

Actually, like the other people who have said so, so do I, I have ALWAYS chosen new phones due to their camera, because I enjoy photography, (and I don’t mean using instgram pictures of food), I want my mobile to do three things, communicate with people, take decent quality pictures, and sometimes play music, so I don’t have to carry a phone, MP3 player and SLR with me at all times.

Turns out there are quite a few people that don’t always need to be connected to the world on twater or facepalm, and we don’t need the super duper up to date online only version of temple run chewing up our data packets.

We like to see whats going on around us, and every now and then take pictures.

If I’m going out to take pictures, I take my camera(s), if I’m going out and I may want to take pictures, I take my phone because it has a decent camera on it.

EADON FAIL

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Aww Eadon, sounds like your party is coming to an end if you are having to refer back to ads from before the 920 was even released to try to mock Nokia.

The history of Nokia is a long one in regards to their design with cell phone camera's and the 920 is proving how well they can do it. This is going to give them a huge marketing opportunity.

The platform is taking strides albeit perhaps a little more slowly than many would like including me but with these devices and regular updates from MS I want to believe WP will fully establish 3rd position in the smartphone market and grow their apps market to be an effective competitor which should be good for everyone.

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

"Except that Nokia *have* managed to differentiate themselves from Android."

Yes, but not in a way that will sell many phones.

With Android, Samsung is capturing 43 percent of the handset industry’s profits — the other 57 percent going to Apple. Meanwhile, with Windows Phone, Nokia is capturing nothing. Given that vast disparity in performance, isn’t it about time Nokia and its leadership reassess the company’s commitment to Windows Phone and take a good hard look at Android? [1]

[1] http://allthingsd.com/20130508/time-for-nokia-to-switch-to-android/

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

@Eadon

"So "darned good" that Samsung ate Nokia's lunch. Nokia's value is now only 10% of what it was before choosing Win Phone as their new OS."

Er, what? Nokia's market cap today is about USD13bn, just before the Win 8 announcement it was USD34bn. A big drop yes, but not 10%.

If you mean "10% of its value compared to its maximum" then you'd have a point. It would be a useless point, but a point. It had been on a steady slide since mid 2008 (and then well below it's $250bn heyday) when it was about $100bn, so still not 10%

Feel free to have a go, it's a poor performance over the last five years, and the Windows Gambit hasn't stopped it, but get the basic bits right please.

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

Me too, the Nokia 920 is noticeably superior to almost any camera, phone or compact that doesn't have OIS, which is pretty much all of them. In low light the pictures are incredible, better than with your own eyes since the exposure can easily exceed 1/4 second, for stationary objects at least. With fill-in flash, albeit LED, night shots of people with cities beyond etc. are beautiful, without needing to carry a tripod and camera. Also, the actual phone call quality is superb, better noise cancellation than the Samsung owner's phone I talk to regularly. I like the integration of WP8, I am not even a fb user per se, just handy having it all available without using apps. Then there is the question of watching android owners not having giant Note II's looking to charge their phone in the evening before they go out when mine often has 50% or more remaining and is good to go.

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Re: If you care about photography then use a real camera.

. and Nokia did not fake the photos in it's ads

Yes they did:

http://www.intomobile.com/2012/09/06/did-nokia-fake-its-still-lumia-920-images-too/

http://petapixel.com/2012/09/07/yup-nokia-faked-the-sample-photos-in-its-pureview-promo/

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Re: If you care about photography then use a real camera.

The point is that as much as you lot keep pulling out those couple of marketing screwups, there's oodels off photos and videos produced my Nokia, professionals and normal users that clearly show the quality of it's imaging capabilities.

Really, change the record!

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Stop

Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

To everyone replying above, hasn't anyone told you yet - Don't feed the Eadon!

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differentiate themselves from ... other Windows Phone vendors

Would that be the Nokia logo on the brightly coloured angular phones that differentiates them from the other brightly coloured angular win phones?

(I'm guessing the idea is that you actually notice them in the wild, not that I have seen many.)

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

Nokia 808 has the best Smartphone camera.

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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

Why do you care? I mean, I don't care about the company that makes the most profits - that's money taken from consumers, that isn't going into the product you've bought.

I care about who makes the products I like. I mean, by all means say you'd prefer a Nokia phone running Android, fine. But, "I wish Nokia switched to Android, to make them more profit"? Plus it hasn't worked out so well for Motorola, HTC, etc...

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FAIL

hmmmm

Too big and too fugly imo.

However I do think some people really do want this sort of camera technology in their phone, problem is that they want it on an Android or Apple phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmmmm

" problem is that they want it on an Android or Apple phone."

Uhm, well the rapid growth of WP market share (8.4% in the UK now) seems to say they want it on a Windows Phone too...

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Re: hmmmm

I suspect that at least 70% of smartphone users don't care about the OS. Certainly of the handful of non-techies that I've advised on phones/tablets in the last 6 months only 1 was wedded to his iPhone, and not willing to change. The rest only cared about what it did, and would shift to whatever platform had the price or features they were after. There's still a good number of people who haven't heard of Android, even though they're using it on their phone. "Oh, I've got a Samsung Galaxy"...

I've just pushed a friend off iPhone onto Android (which I'm nervous about given how non-technical he is). But the Galaxy Note 2 has the stylus that will be brilliant for him. He's loved his iPhones for the last 4 years, but switching doesn't worry him in the slightest.

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Re: hmmmm

"problem is that they want it on an Android or Apple phone."

If I had the choice I would go for Android but I wouldn't have any real problem switching to Windows Phone for a genuinely superior camera.

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I've been waiting a long time for this.

The only thing that stopped me buying an 808 was Symbian and that stupid low res screen. Don't get me wrong, I had a 5800 which served me well for a long time, but it really doesn't cut it as a modern OS. I might be the only person who likes windows phone, but after owning 2 different variants on android and a WinPho device at the same time, the windows one was the one I found myself using most. That with a good camera fits my usage requirements pretty much perfectly.

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Gimp

Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

I'm rather curious what's your definition of "modern OS".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

"what's your definition of "modern OS"."

A hybrid microkernel based design would be a good start...

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Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

My biggest problem with it is the UI (which I suppose you could argue is an "App" issue rather than an OS issue as such... ) The bones of symbian, the call quality, the battery life, the memory management - those are all very good but it has always felt like the S60 UI was a bit of an afterthought. Something knocked together from leftovers of S40 rather than something properly designed for touch control. It's come a way, since then, but there's still a sense that they didn't really try as hard as they should have and it's a lot less good than the competition. I don't know if that 640x360 resolution was a technical limitation or just a way they could cut the development budget by reusing stuff from the C6 but for something at that price point it really wasn't good enough.

Perhaps symbian could still be a serious player if it'd not been killed off the way it was - after all, the first couple of versions of android were bloody terrible, but that's gotten really nice now. What I want from a "modern" phone OS is something that handles all the "phone" stuff as quickly and easily as possible. iOS isn't bad, I think the current iterations of android are better, and as it happens I like WinPho better still... but I don't think any of the three are _bad_ as such these days.

It's a tough question to answer outright, except by example. I'd argue that winpho is a "modern" os, that android is, that iOS is aging a bit, but is still OK. Hell, I liked WebOS, thought there was a lot of potential in that, but the poor thing never really had much of a chance.

In an ideal world I'd take Winpho's ease of use, with Android's customizability, iOS's stability and Symbian's efficiency... doubt I'll get it tho.

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Bod

Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

"A hybrid microkernel based design would be a good start..."

Real world advantage of is?

Modern doesn't always mean good.

My view of the mobile space is it's got obsessed with cramming heavy layered, resorce hungry, desktop derived OS into mobile devices and relying on manufacturers to beef up component performance enough to cope.

While Symbian had on top of it a weak UI until the latter days, it was designed entirely to provide an efficient and resource light OS for mobile devices. They were finally getting on the right track when Elop decided a bloated and inflexible OS was more suitable.

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Holmes

Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

QNX?

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Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

Not sure if you were aware of this (with you saying you used the 5800), but note that the 808's OS, particularly the UI, is much improved over what the 5800 had (as you say, imagine judging Android or IOS today by their first versions).

Although yes, I can understand not wanting to buy the last of its kind for a platform.

I don't know the reasons for the 640x360 resolution (which was interestingly way ahead of the competition in 2008-2009, though sadly lacking now) - I can see it being a case of not worth the risk of changing it for one last device.

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My biggest problem with it is the UI

What the hell is wrong with Belle's UI? It's nicer than android (quite similar though)

The problem with Symbian is a lack of smoothness in certain situations, The difference between S60 and Belle was at least 75% of the way to getting it right. If it hadn't been canned, it would have got there, and pretty soon, I think.

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Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

" I don't know if that 640x360 resolution was a technical limitation or just a way they could cut the development budget by reusing stuff from the C6 but for something at that price point it really wasn't good enough."

FACTS:

Nokia E90 Communicator (which is in front of me, operating right now with my main SIM)

http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_e90-1857.php

Announced 2007, February. Released 2007, June

main screen: 800 x 352 pixels (secondary: 240 x 320 pixels)

Symbian OS v9.2, S60 rel. 3.1

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interesting

I use my phone for 6 things (in order or priority): music player, email (gmail), web browsing, facebook, camera and being a phone.

All of those capabilities are cross platform - my "app" usage is largely via my tablet so I'm not that bothered about keeping them on the phone. Also, the people I know who have a WP handset (its on our work choice list) seem perfectly happy with it.

Therefore, in terms of being a distinguishing feature between handsets, the camera performance is pretty key for me at least, about the only other feature I'd care about would be water proofing but I've gone 10+ years without dropping my phone in a pint so thats a nice to have.

Anyway - for me this could be significant, especially if some of the minor gripes people seem to have with WP8 get fixed in 8.1 (e.g. independant volume control)

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Re: interesting

The lack of options on the volume control is a bit crap. Also there doesn't seem to be a way to save a half-composed text message - which given the number of times I'm interrupted doing this is even more annoying.

Other than that, I think the other major downside is apps related. Firstly the major lack of them, and secondly the limited way you can display them. Even iOS (which just gives you an indistinguishable grid of icons lets you organise them into different screens or into folders. Neither of which can be done with WinPho, it's the single home-screen or the alphabetical list of apps only - although at least you can change icon size. Both have the fault of forcing you to dive into the settings menu to turn on Bluetooth, change brightness etc. - where Android is brilliantly customisable.

I can't vouch for the music player. At least you're no longer stuck with Microsoft's truly horrible Zune PC software. Which actually makes iTunes, and even Sony's efforts, look good. Email and web browsing are fine and Facebook could be superb. You can either use an app, web interface or use the built-in client that puts Facebook right into your contacts. Which kind of takes over the phone, but if you're happy with that you'll love it.

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Re: interesting

There are various WP apps available that allow you to stick a tile on the front screen for the Bluetooth on/off switch (as well as wifi and flight mode).

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Re: interesting

Squander Two,

Yes, I had one of those on my last WinPho handset. Which was very useful. But the one I really wanted was a brightness control. So you can crank brightness to the max when you're outside in the sun, and can't read the screen. So it can't be buried illegibly half a page down the settings menu. iOS doesn't allow this either, and the easy-access to the brightness control is only on the iPad, not the iPhone (where it's most needed).

It was also a shame that there were only these WiFi/Bluetooth/Aeroplane Mode apps, and nothing else. I'd have liked to have shortcuts to a few options as a possibility.

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