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Nokia announces 808 PureView with an amazing 41 megapixel camera sensor

27 February 2012 by
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The Nokia 808 PureView is running on Nokia Belle operating system and the smartphone is the successor to the famous Nokia N8 camera phone

A 41 megapixel sensor in a smartphone is something you don't see every day. We are usually not fan of those extra megapixel which often do not add more than a larger file size without improving the image quality worth mentioning. But maybe Nokia has managed to something to convince me this time. In the presentation of the PureView they are also saying that 5 megapixels is more than enough for making large prints up to A3 size. The advantage of having larger images is that it is possible to crop into the parts of the image you want to use. But the question is: when did you crop your camera pictures the last time?

We can start off by mentioning that the Nokia 808 is running on the Nokia Belle operating system. An operating system that obviously still lives, but we are guessing the OS will vanish as soon as Nokia receives more momentum with the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 OS. 

Over to the sensational part of today's announcement. Nokia is making a smartphone with a 41 megapixel sensor. Yes, that's right. Forty-one megapixel in a mobile phone! Impressive indeed. They must have done some cheating with image interpolation to accomplish this? No, according to Nokia, it is a true 41 megapixel sensor inside the 808 PureView. But the largest images produced by the camera is 38 megapixels at the most. There are two aspect ratio available at full resolution. The 16:9 mode creates a 34 megapixel file and 4:3 aspect ration results in a 38 megapixel image. So you won't see any 41 megapixel image from this camera phone. Take a look at the illustration image below for which perfectly explains how this works.

Nokia 808 Pureview camera sensor

The 1/1.2 inch image sensor in the 808 PureView is almost five times the size of conventional mobile phone sensors and 2.5 times the size of the Nokia N8 which makes it more capable of capture more light. The size of each pixel (photosite) is approximately the same as a normal 8 megapixel sensor. You are able to use the full 34 or 38 megapixels and save the capture photo to a file, but what Nokia has done that is very clever is give the user the option to downscale/picture oversampling those 38 megapixels (7728 x 4354) down to 3, 5 or 8 megapixels. When down-sampling from 38 to 8 megapixel, every 4.75 pixel is used to generate 1 of the final pixel in the 8 megapixel result (38 / 8 = 4.75). With the lower 3 and 5 megapixels resolution even more base pixels can be used for the down-sampling.

Megapixels explained

The two images below are captured with the Nokia 808 PureView. One is in full 38 megapixel resolution and the other one is resampled down to a 5 megapixels image.

A 5 megapixel image captured with the Nokia 808 PureViews 38 megapixel image sensor
This is a preview of the full 38 megapixel photo captured with the Nokia 808 PureView. Click on "full version" link to download image

Not all 38 megapixels must be used for creating these lower resolution photos. It can also be used to zoom into the picture without reducing image quality. If the phone resamples the original 38 megapixels with a factor of 3.8 you will get a 10 megapixel image (38/3.8). When cutting out a 5 megapixel area from this you'll get an image which has a 2x zoom.

The same idea is used when doing video recording. The entire sensor is used when recording in full 1080p (1280 x 1080 pixels) with 16x oversampling and without any zoom applied. By reducing the oversampling a maximum of 4 times zoom is possible. With 720p recording, the maximum is 6x lossless zoom.

Zoom using Nokia 808 PureView 

Working with data from a 41 megapixel sensor was too demanding for a normal mobile chipset. Nokia therefore needed to develop a special companion processor that could do the pixel scaling before sending the result to the main image processor. Just like Sony Mobile has done to its latest Xperias', Nokia has managed to improve the startup time for the camera. The camera has captured a new image approximately one second after the camera key is pressed and the phone is locked and in standby mode.

The camera adds several millimetres to the thickness
Touch-to-zoom during image capture
Picture captured by a Nokia employee resized to fit the screen
Same image by the Nokia employee, but this time zoomed in at 100%
Images can be resized later by the installed image editing app
Backside of the Nokia 808 PureView
 

What Nokia has done is to make a mobile phone with a 41 megapixel sensor where the goal is to make better 3, 5 and 8 megapixel images. Very few has need for a full 38 megapixel image but now this is up to the user to decide. Those 38 megapixels images in will eat memory cards for breakfast. There is an option to save the JPEG files at Fine or SuperFine quality. The SuperFine quality was said to be around 95% compression of the files. Expect around 10 MB per JPEG file. That is 400 images on a 4 GB card. The side effect of having a 41 MP sensor is that Nokia can and will use this as a marketing number which of course will help selling the 808 PureView.

Nokia 808 PureView highlights

  • Camera features
    • 41 megapixel sensor with pixel oversampling
    • Lossless zoom: 3x for stills, 4x for full HD 1080p
    • Carl Zeiss optics
    • Focal length: 8.02
    • 35mm equivalent focal length: 26mm (16:9) / 28mm (4:3)
    • f/2.4
    • Optical format: 1/1.2"
    • Total pixels: 7728 x 5368
    • Pixel size: 1.4 microns
    • LED light for video capture
    • Xenon flash for still images. Range 3.5 meter
    • Geotagging
    • File format: JPEG
    • 1080p HD video capture @30fps
  • Size: 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9mm
  • Weight 169 gram
  • 4-inch AMOLED touch display, 360 x 640 pixels, 16.7 million colours, ClearBlack display
  • Networks: GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS 850/900/1700/-2100 1900/2100
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • HDMI
  • DLNA
  • NFC
  • Micro USB
  • FM transmitter
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • 16 GB internal storage. Expandable with micoSD card up to 48 GB (including internal)
  • 1400 mAh battery
  • Talk time: 11 hours
  • Standby time: 465 hours
  • Nokia Belle OS
  • Nokia Maps with free car and pedestrian navigation

 




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satrun30002 years, 5 months ago
41 megapixel sensor with 16 GB internal storage. Nokia what the hell are you thinking!!
rikken2 years, 5 months ago
Another ugly phone with a screen resolution from the stoneage
argiriano2 years, 5 months ago
We have to admit that this is just amazing piece of technology.
Bonovox2 years, 5 months ago
Yes 16 gig internal but does have SD card slot
admad2 years, 5 months ago
Well, the camera capabilities are just awesome. Truly this is the ultimate camera phone. Too bad it's not ultimate phone, with low resolution screen, OS with no apps for it, single-core processor which doesn't really cope with 1080p video recording. This would be an overkill with android, 720p screen, and dual-core. Now it's just a gadget for hardcore cameraphones maniacs.
mriley2 years, 5 months ago
41 mega-pixels? does anyone really need that much resolution?
Plus, wont the file size of photos be massive? My guess is that they'll compress them hugely, but that will surely affect photo quality.
Seems like a crazy phone imo
Bonovox2 years, 5 months ago
The file size is between 10 & 13mb
false_morel2 years, 5 months ago
The final 5MP will be at just 1Mb in size..
These sample pictures were not compressed.
And I simply can't get it why people just don't bother to read!!
Read what these 41MP are about before commenting. This new technology from Nokia really deserves out attention!
Bonovox2 years, 5 months ago
I did read & understand it I was just stating what the 41mp size was
false_morel2 years, 5 months ago
That wasn't addressed at you Bono!
But rather at mriley..
NightBlade2 years, 5 months ago
I was really at first impressed by Nokia's achievement.
And then I realised that most manufacturers could just double the image sensor diagonal (i.e. stacking 4 sensors next to each other) and double the phone's thickness. And call it innovation.
Then again I might be overly critical.
[ This Message was edited by: NightBlade on 2012-02-28 20:10 ]
*Jojo*2 years, 5 months ago
Any actual pics of the said model? This will be nice. Really NO NEED to carry a digicam
NightBlade2 years, 5 months ago

On 2012-02-28 21:20:43, *Jojo* wrote:
Any actual pics of the said model? This will be nice. Really NO NEED to carry a digicam

Visit forum to view images
*Jojo*2 years, 5 months ago
@Nightblade - thanks matey. Looks like the C7 model
tranced2 years, 5 months ago
All I can say is that Nokia was smart to combine the marketing and mp strategy. Some will fall for this.
mriley2 years, 5 months ago
Found a vid of the camera in action, lossless zoom is pretty cool
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kAw14tA4uE
Bonovox2 years, 5 months ago
Nokia seems to know a good camera I must say.
mriley2 years, 5 months ago
Yeah, must be them 'carl zeiss' optics
Can't really see this as the successor to the N8 though, much more of a flagship phone. All other parts of the phone seem to be pretty average whereas the N8 was a good all rounder (thin, metal build, good display etc..)
This shows how thick it is >> http://youtu.be/9kAw14tA4uE
laffen2 years, 5 months ago
@jojo
Please take a look at the article explaining the entire 41/38/8 megapixel thing. Didn't I link to that in the first post? As always, it should be automatically inserted to the first post in the thread
NightBlade2 years, 5 months ago
That aperture sure is small for a 41MP sensor.
So basically this is their way of giving you a 8MP camera - by increasing the sensor size to get more light and at the same time cramming more MP into it to salvage any last drop of resolution they can get, for detail and PR purposes. And then scale it down.
And they give you the option to take a 38MP image if you don't mind the noise.
To be honest, it's the xenon flash that has my heart.
mriley2 years, 5 months ago

To be honest, it's the xenon flash that has my heart.

Twice the power of the N8 xenon flash
Still miss using proper flash on my old C901, the LED on SGS 2 isn't quite the same
Bonovox2 years, 5 months ago
Xenon flash never appears on Android phones cos they are all getting so thin. Only one I seen was a HTC with a Xenon Windows phone. But I think this will be good just wish they made another metal clad design. But Symbian Belle is a huge improvement and also having more ram and faster processor is a plus

_________________
Material things don't matter,but Rock n Roll does!!!!
[ This Message was edited by: Bonovox on 2012-02-29 00:27 ]
*Jojo*2 years, 5 months ago

On 2012-02-29 00:57:48, laffen wrote:
@jojo
Please take a look at the article explaining the entire 41/38/8 megapixel thing. Didn't I link to that in the first post? As always, it should be automatically inserted to the first post in the thread


@Laffen - He he he , OK. Thanks
korbindallis2 years, 5 months ago
[quote]
On 2012-02-29 01:25:00, Bonovox wrote:
Xenon flash never appears on Android phones cos they are all getting so thin. Only one I seen was a HTC with a Xenon Windows phone. But I think this will be good just wish they made another metal clad design. But Symbian Belle is a huge improvement and also having more ram and faster processor is a plus
You didn't hear of the Motorola XT720 back in 2010 which had Xenon running on Android
[ This Message was edited by: korbindallis on 2012-02-29 01:14 ]
Bonovox2 years, 5 months ago
Ah I forgot that one
idumbakumar2 years, 5 months ago
640x360 on a 4 inch display?? are u joking?? come on nokia.. i hate this part..no matter whatever may be the display technology... we need higher resolution...
Ravager2 years, 5 months ago

On 2012-02-29 07:17:18, idumbakumar wrote:
640x360 on a 4 inch display?? are u joking?? come on nokia.. i hate this part..no matter whatever may be the display technology... we need higher resolution...

Right me if i'm wrong but i believe it's because of the operating system, Belle doesn't support resolutions over nHD. It should have had a design language closer to the N9 and WM operating system.
false_morel2 years, 5 months ago

On 2012-02-29 11:03:20, Ravager wrote:

On 2012-02-29 07:17:18, idumbakumar wrote:
640x360 on a 4 inch display?? are u joking?? come on nokia.. i hate this part..no matter whatever may be the display technology... we need higher resolution...

Right me if i'm wrong but i believe it's because of the operating system, Belle doesn't support resolutions over nHD. It should have had a design language closer to the N9 and WM operating system.

They can port Belle to newer ARM architectures and also higher the display resolution!
But this means every app on Nokia Store will have to be adjusted for this!
And since Symbian now is relegated to a second tier OS, and making its way out of the entire smartphone market in the years to come, going for such a step is just not worth it!
[ This Message was edited by: false_morel on 2012-02-29 10:14 ]
false_morel2 years, 5 months ago
A nice interview with Dinning going through the camera UI at the end..

And here are the full highlights of the Nokia 808 with PureView technology: (make sure you read them all)
- The PureView technology has been developed for the past five years and in parallel with other technologies implemented in recent Nokia camraphones.
- Lossless Zoom: 3x for Stills, 4x for 1080p video, 6x for 720p video, 12x for nHD video.
- Dual modus sensor supporting both aspect ratios: 16:9 at 34 effective MP, and 4:3 at 38 effective MP.
- 26-76 mm zoom range, maintaining same aperture over all the range! This means 3.5 stops advantages enabling up to 6x faster shutter speeds!
- Contrast to optical zooming, distortion is kept at minimal level!
- Zooming is all silent as there are no optical elements moving back and forth. (Important in video capturing)
- The lens is produced at 10x more precision than SLR lenses to cope with the 41 MP sensor!
- The whole camera module is at 50% to 70% less in size compared to similar range zooms!
- Maintain same 15 cm minimal focus distance for the whole zoom range!
- The huge sensor enables a longer focal length of 8.02 mm (equivalent to 26mm and 28mm depending on the aspect ratio), which coupled with the wide F2.4 aperture enables Bokeh effects current compact cameras can't achieve!!!
In comparison, the high-end Canon G12, has a 6.1-30.5 mm equivalent to 28-140 mm, and at F2.8-4.5!!
- The 41 MP 1/1.2" sensor has a native pixel size of 1.4 microns.
- Offering Slide Zoom: Swipe up or down on the viewfinder to automatically adjust the zoom steps and the output resolution of the desired photo!
- Processing at 1000 MP/sec and 16x oversampling than conventional cameras and smartphones!! There is a built-in GPU in the camera module to help in the process!
- Nokia Rich Record: Capture sound at 140-145 db, more than even some professional cameras can achieve, and at minimal distortion levels enabling CD-like quality!!
- Oversampling eliminates Bayern pattern problems which could lead to certain artifacts! Which in turn leads to pure high-quality detailed 5MP photos!
This last statement could be the key that oversampling does indeed beat the bigger photosites approach to better quality!!
This will remain to be tested. Of course some experts will have their say on the issue soon enough. But if turns out to be true, then we can safely claim that Nokia have re-invented digital photography!!
Meanwhile, due to the bigger sensor alone, at 1x zoom and 7-to1 oversampling ratio, the Nokia 808 PureView should be able to outperform any compact digital camera in the market today in terms of IQ! In exception for the freshly announced Canon G1 X which in turn takes another different approach to conventional compact digital photography!

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