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back to article Pure boffinry: We peek inside Nokia's miracle cameraphone

These days, “tech” means anything except technology. The word has become so debased that a group of marketing people talking about their ideas for websites are a “tech scene”. And hosting meetings for marketing people to talk about websites in London in 2013 actually makes you a “tech entrepreneur”. The concerns of real …

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Anonymous Coward

or

just buy an actual camera for heaven's sake.

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Re: or

While I still use my old-fashioned flim SLR for photography once in a while, it, much like its younger DSLR siblings, is bulky, large, and requires more than just pants pockets to keep on you. What do you consider an "actual camera"?

The compact digital cameras that mimic the old point-and-shoots aren't exactly head and shoulders above the Lumia 1020 on paper, and for good reason: for day-to-day photography (not just selfies in the bathroom mirror), smartphones have been destroying those $250 compacts. You (almost) always have your phone, so that quick pic at the bar or out on the lake (I'm a fisherman) is going to be handled by it. No need for a dedicated camera that is only slightly less limited than your phone (or more if being able to upload immediately is a major want/need).

If you want to take artsy selfies, portraits suitable for hanging, landscapes, nature photography, action shots, or low-light shots, the DSLR is still the best bet, as it has swappable lenses, larger CMOS, and much better optics. But as I said above, the problem is the size and bulk that prevents everyday use, plus the much greater cost. At the same time, I know that some of the camera companies are trying out compact DSLR-type cameras, in hopes of carving out a niche between smartphone and prosumer photography. This could make such a job harder... or promote a very nice middle-of-the-road option for people to use in a point-and-shoot-sized body.

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Re: or

"just buy an actual camera for heaven's sake."

Well if you're going to follow that line of reasoning, why not prefer a typewriter over a computer? Some of use are still impressed by ambitious engineering you know! It seems that the tech world is *drowning* in cynicism these days.

Of course I do have one fly to insert into the ointment mind you. Meego version with real keyboard please!

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Mushroom

The best camera is the one you have with you

If your Hasselblad or Nikon D600 is sat at home, you're not going to capture the photo of %MAJOR_EVENT%.

For example, the reason we got so many videos of the Russian meteor is because so many drivers have cameras in their cars, and almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera.

I don't think many people had time to run for their DSLR or broadcast-quality TV camera.

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Windows

Re: or

@Chris N - >"or just buy an actual camera for heaven's sake."

================================

The TFA just said that a comparable camera might cost you £20,000.

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Re: or

ummm no... i don't think there was any suggestion that the Hassblad was comparable. in there same way that a Range Rover or Merc isn't comparable to a motorbike... they excel at different jobs in different environments.

as someone with a D300s and full set of studio lights (and an Olympus XZ-1 for when i want something lighter) i am interested in this Nokia unit and will demo one when my current contact runs out.

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Pint

Re: or

Its not the buying of an "actual camera' thats the problem, its carrying it around.

So now, if Nokia would just offer some choice in operating systems.

I'd happily take a Ubuntu version of this phone.

Monopoly abuser Microsoft with its straight jacket OS with the garishly colored tiles is just not an option.

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Re: or

Your loss then.

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Stop

Re: or

"Monopoly abuser Microsoft with its straight jacket OS with the garishly colored tiles is just not an option."

You're not concerned about Android owner Google's monopoly on search then?

You can change the colour of the tiles and the size of them. Can you do that with icons on Android or iOS?

I bought a Lumia last week - it's bloody great. The designers remembered that it's meant to be a phone first and a 'device' second. Windows Phone seems perfectly good - far more polished than Android. We've got 4 Android devices in this house and not one of them works 100% properly.

I'm also seeing a lot of Lumias being fiddled with on trains and in pubs - there's a vocal group of commentators on here who despise them, the public seem to think otherwise.

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Stop

Re: or

"just buy an actual camera for heaven's sake."

...and carry it everywhere, every day. Because that's what mobile phone cameras are: They aren't 'cameras that you might have when you want them', but a product that you constantly have on you.

You're kind of missing the point.

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Stoli89

An excellent article that finally captures the technical achievements behind this incredible smartphone. I suspect this article will become the simple hyperlink response to the army of trolls that have chosen to attack rather embrace this level of innovation.

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Anonymous Coward

Not many true innovators

Sadly there are not many companies like Nokia left, sadly many people conflate the impressive product design at Apple as true innovation whereas they are merely packaging existing technologies in a way that consumers find appealing.

This is truly impressive stuff and I hope it helps turn Nokia around.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not many true innovators

"This is truly impressive stuff and I hope it helps turn Nokia around."

We'll see. But if Nokia want to make cameras, why don't they do that, instead of pushing water uphill with Windows Phone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not many true innovators

"But if Nokia want to make cameras, why don't they do that, instead of pushing water uphill with Windows Phone?"

The dedicated camera market is dying. Integrated multifunction devices are the future.

Nokia have jumped on board the fastest growing mobile OS platform - which has a larger eco system than the competition (e.g. over 90% of desktop PCs run Windows, and Microsoft just went from zero to 7.5% in the tablet market in 6 months). Windows Phone also has a number of technical advantages over the competition such as a far more secure underlying OS and inherently better performance. The only thing holding it back is application availability, and that is improving all the time...

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Re: Not many true innovators

It's true, but why don't they employ a few more people dedicated to polishing their mobiles and making them glitter like the iphone, so as to attract consumers? The average consumer doesn't care about genuine technology and capability as much as about how good the thing looks, how cool it makes them look, and how apparently whizzo it seems.

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Devil

Re: "the fastest growing mobile OS platform"

Inevitable xkcd reference

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Re: Not many true innovators

The iPhone hasnt really glittered to me for a few years now.

It's basically stood still.

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Re: Not many true innovators

"The dedicated camera market is dying. "

No. The dedicated COMPACT camera market is decreasing because of mobiles. The dedicated low-mid range camcorder market is dying because compacts, DSLRs and phones can all do that.

The dedicated mid to high end camera market is just fine.

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If it's easy *anyone* can do it.

It's tough to push the limits and this thing does.

Now if you could only dump Windows....

But thumbs up for some serious technical trickery.

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your arrogance remarkable .

without windows we wouldn't even here to talk about this phone, without windows Nokia may not exist to this point. Windows had powered personal computing since it appeared. windows had powered the world of business for decades. Without windows you may still living the age of caculus. Windows phone OS is the most smooth, modern, well designed the OS. That is to my opinion a million times better than the ulgy, slow, laggy android and another million times more interesting that the ishit.

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Re: If it's easy *anyone* can do it.

Oh dear. Droid conformist fanboy time.....

Innovation only happens when different things are tried. At the moment, as flawed as it might be, WinPho is a heck of a lot fresher than iOS or 'Droid and gives Nokia another differentiator against the Apple & Samsung corporate juggernauts.

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Coat

Re: your arrogance remarkable .

>Without windows you may still living the age of caculus.

Hmm, I'm trying to differentiate between 'ripping you a new one' or just ripping your pathetic rhetoric to shreds, let's see if it's possible to kill two birds with one stone...

Integrate this, if you can...for a function f, operating on x, you'll find the upper limit of the 'age of caculus[sic]' to be infinity...

<extra credit>

if (X = windows) then

x-win is NULL (and void?)

(See;

x = windows =>

x - windows = 0

x-windows = x - windows

x-win is the preferred notation

0 = NULL...

So it's either MS Windows or X-Win... I'll get my coat, it's got the full set of Knuth's "The Art Of Computer Programming" in the numerous wheelbarrows hanging off the tails...

</extra credit>

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Re: your arrogance remarkable .

NERD ALERT!

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WTF?

Re: your arrogance remarkable .

"Windows phone OS is the most smooth, modern, well designed the OS" - I think I just wet myself. Excuse me while I stop laughing...

Smooth is hard to define, but I think a system that is capable of showing an error box and making the "ding!" at the right time is able to be called "smooth". When Windows is busy, the two can frequently be unsynchronised for the first ding! in a while. I guess separate processes draw the report window and play the sound, but it can be disconcerting to hear the ding! after I've dismissed the message.

Modern? I guess Windows RT/Metro/Modern/Whatever is indeed "modern" if you define modern as looking like AOL in the late '90s. Maybe you weren't around then. I was, and I still remember those damn weird CompuServe email addresses.

Well designed? As in pile everything into C:\Windows\System32 (etc), stuff all the settings into a huge monolithic settings file, and have FAT repair/recovery software that crashes if there are actual real faults in the disc structure (there's a reason I do most of my FAT repairs on a Linux box), to to mention in the day I made a few euros for myself fixing XP boxen that would bluescreen at start-up with UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. In goes Hirren's CD, load the NTFS driver, run ntfschk, sorted. Why the hell couldn't XP have done that by itself?

Or maybe you meant well designed as in the UI, not the OS itself. In which case I would say that it would be a really shitty deal to try to use a touch-specific OS like Android on a desktop machine with typical desktop machine interfaces (you can get by, for sure, but how does one "pinch" using a mouse?). Touch metaphors and BIG BUTTONS belong on smallish screen touch devices. Small icons and traditional input metaphors belong on traditional desktop devices. For some reason Microsoft are trying to mix all this up. Yuck.

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Re: your arrogance remarkable .

Sure there are some legacy issues with any Windows family OS, its partitioning/drive lettering scheme and its boot drive layout. Its a bit whacky to a Unix/Linux/BSD/Mac (okay Mac is technically BSD) guy but its what they built and it made sense at the time.

I have said in the past it would be great to take the Win 8/Server2012 Kernel and rip out all of these legacy requirements (I suppose dropping 16bit support back in Windows 7 went some way to achieving this), this, I believe would create a lean mean OS fighting machine, make it extremely modular (ala Windows Emebedded) and put Hyper-V components on it. I think then you have a very different beast, upon which you can run any version of Windows/Linux but is a new genesis of Windows OS going forward.

I find the Unix style FS layout more sensible yes, but there is a reasoning behind drive lettering that also make sense. There are arguments for and against.

I am fairly sure NO ONE has ran into 0x5b boot errors on their mobiles, I mean please! If they have then their phone is likely borked.

The Modern UI is a bit *stupid* on the desktop but absolutely makes sense in a mobile platform, information literally at your fingertips. This is quite a difficult thing to achieve on android, HTC came close with BlinkFeed on the One though.

Now thats not to say there aren't faults with the platform, especially seeing as I dont even own a WinPho 8.x device YET.

However, you seem to be arguing against WinPho 8 as a Desktop OS or am I missing the point?

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Mushroom

Re: your arrogance remarkable .

.... and have FAT repair/recovery software that crashes if there are actual real faults in the disc structure....

If you do ever run into a recentish Win box that has its OS partition configured as FAT rather than NTFS, could you do me a favour? Find whoever built it it and tell them they're a fucking idiot.

Thanks.

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WTF?

Re: your arrogance remarkable .

Hmm...

Slight sense of humour failure detected...

I wonder which of the following people wish were true;

1) Calculus is dead

or

2) Windows somehow replaced calculus

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Re: your arrogance remarkable .

Im pretty sure unless you go into "recovery tools" and run cmd, you cannot format a boot partition as FAT32/exFAT on anything => Vista. Don't hold me to that and unless you were doing an upgrade it would probably complain about the existence of any FAT type partition... just my $0.02

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Mushroom

Re: your arrogance remarkable .

"all the settings into a huge monolithic settings file"

You must be thinking of Linux. Windows uses a database format for storing settings.

"and have FAT repair/recovery software that crashes if there are actual real faults in the disc structure " - you have broken hardware - I have never in the last 15 years seen CHKDSK 'crash' ever, on many many recovery attempts.

" made a few euros for myself fixing XP boxen that would bluescreen at start-up with UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. In goes Hirren's CD, load the NTFS driver, run ntfschk, sorted. Why the hell couldn't XP have done that by itself?"

It can - you just boot to the recovery console

"For some reason Microsoft are trying to mix all this up. Yuck."

They are ahead of the curve. It works great on touch screens.

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Mushroom

Re: your arrogance remarkable .

"it would be great to take the Win 8/Server2012 Kernel and rip out all of these legacy requirements "

None of these things are in the kernel. Windows has a modern hybrid microkernel architecture, and the vast majority of functionality is via loadable modules..

"make it extremely modular"

It already is - see above.

"put Hyper-V components on it."

Erm no. Hyper-V runs below the kernel and is a true hypervisor. You run a kernel instance in your first VM to manage the system. Just like VMware does it. (Linux unfortunately can't escape the legacy monlithic kernel model, so has to run a hypervisor as part of the kernel.

"I find the Unix style FS layout more sensible yes, but there is a reasoning behind drive lettering that also make sense"

Drive letters are optional. And date from CPM, etc.

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Facepalm

Re: your arrogance remarkable .

Yup I see my vast number of mistakes in that post, apologies! So in essence what I'm describing has already happened?

I'm sure it still carries around quite a bit of legacy code though, despite their best efforts to remove it. You are in a better position than me to understand it so thanks for clearing it up for me. My point really was to say that MS should ditch the legacy portions completely in their next iteration, Hyper-V by default perhaps?

I will start using 2012 more, I've made a switch to Mac OS X / Linux recently, purely because of the work I've been doing.

I suppose drive lettering was a sensible option for users in CPM / DOS for simplicity instead of /dev/xxx and mounting. Correct me if I'm wrong, which I likely will be given my lack of sleep!

Facepalm due to my stupidity...

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Re: your arrogance remarkable .

"without windows we wouldn't even here to talk about this phone"

I'm sorry, what? I actually own a Lumia but I can't decipher your comment.

The history of personal computing is not all about Windows. Other operating systems have come and gone and if Windows hadn't have been so successful another one would have. It's not true to say none of us would be commenting without Windows, it would be true to say that we would be commenting on OS/2 or Amiga OS or something Appley or something from DR or NeXT or BeOS or a hundred other choices. Hell, we could even be commenting away on an Oric Ionos running a Tangerine GUI.

Think harder before typing...

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Anonymous Coward

pureview 808?

is this the same camera as in my pureview 808, 41mp sensor? looks like the same size...

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Re: pureview 808?

Despite the headline spec similarities, there's no common part between the 808 and the 1020.

The 808 has

- a slightly larger sensor (1/1.2" rather than 1/1.5")

but 1020 has:

- a back-side illuminated sensor for better light gathering, lower noise.

- a wider lens aperture ( f/2.2 rather than f/2.5 )

- mechanical-optical stabilisation (808 uses software stabilisation for videos, and no stabilisation for stills)

- a six-element lens for better overall image sharpness (808 is a five-element lens)

The HAAC microphones are the same, I believe. The 808's fantastic sensor overshadowed its class-leading audio recording ability: subsequent Nokias used the same technology, in mono, but the 808 had true stereo recording.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: pureview 808?

"subsequent Nokias used the same technology, in mono, but the 808 had true stereo recording."

Newer Nokias can do Stereo recording too - there is a software update coming from Nokia to enable it.

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Re: pureview 808?

that f/2.5 for the 808 is f/2.4 (or even slightly less)

AND 1020 has stereo HAAC mics

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Anonymous Coward

congrats

When I look at that schematic of the imaging unit, I can't help thinking that this is someone's blood, sweat and tears - and likely that someone is immensely proud of what they achieved.

Well done, that man!

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Headmaster

Re: congrats

There are quite a few women in that team too.

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FAIL

Re: congrats

Move out the way the PC brigade has arrived!

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Impressive

When Nokia finally goes titsup.com, I hope this technology gets widely licensed, so that it will appear in phone platforms that anybody actually wants.

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Re: Impressive

It already did, it's called an 808...

(As an aside, it's interesting to note that whilst users of other platforms often say they wish Nokia hardware was available with their preferred OS, you never hear that of Apple's. Kind of says something about what those people think of their hardware.)

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WTF?

Re: Impressive

If ever there's tech that deserves patent protection, then this is it.

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Re: Impressive

That makes loads of sense... impressive!

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"The concerns of real engineering innovators..."

...could be the extent to which a bunch of iffy application programmers using crap like Java, network admins, and parts bin hardware assemblers are claiming to be engineers, and then in turn looking down on people they consider inferior, in some form of self-aggrandising food chain.

I've successfully programmed computer for the nations defence, but that doesn't make me an engineer. Just because others have purloined and debased the term "engineer", let's remember that amongst Reg readers we do have a small proportion of genuine, qualified and professionally recognised engineers, and they're not mere code monkeys like the rest of us.

Respect to real engineers! Death to imposters!

Yeah. That last bit really needs a Soviet style motivational poster to work properly, but the Reg can't even make the bloody icons work when you make a new post. And another thing, what happened to the icon overhaul? C'mon, Reg, I read your soddin' adverts, and that's as good as paying your salary! New icons NOW.

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Trollface

Re: "The concerns of real engineering innovators..."

There are adverts on El Reg?

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WTF?

Re: "The concerns of real engineering innovators..."

>There are adverts on El Reg?

Yup. You're commenting on one right now.

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Details forthe devil

As some one who prints photographic exhibitions for a living, and uses a whole host of cameras for fun, I can say that this is one of the most exciting cameras I've seen. Potentially on a par with the shifts brought about by the Nikon D1 (professional press camera at a quarter of the cost of predecessors) the Canon 5D2 (full frame and hd video) or the red one.

I was slightly gutted when there were no 808's available to buy when my iPhone took a dive. Now I'm looking forward to the imminent demise of my current pocket slab, hopefully around the time when the 1020 is available.

A phone is a phone - I'm sure that the majority of the apps I use will be available on winphone, that the sound (talk) quality will be up to Nokia standard.

But this camera looks to be a truly ground breaking belter of a pixel beast. Hope some one works out how to get it to dump raw footage, ala magic lantern.

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Re: Details forthe devil

As someone with a 920 that talks to a Samsung S2 regularly, I can assure you the sound quality of Nokias is far superior - I have had to give the person a old Nokia that I can call for the longer calls. It might be the so-called noise-cancelling on Jelly Bean - which apparently can only be disabled once the call is connected - but it sounds like Darth Vader most of the time. Noise cancellation works beautifully on my WP, people don't even realise I am leaving a noisy cinema or bar or on the train.

And, the camera, well, happy to have the best low-light, stabilised camera on any current phone be superseded by an even more amazing camera - obviously from Nokia too. Apple could never innovate something like it - or the audio system, all there hardware is mediocre, behind-the-times, perfect for the US/uninformed market basically.

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And one of the first things elop did was kill r&d. It's hugely impressive but we won't more big leaps from nokia for some time.

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