It can be said that Nokia N8 has been in market for well above 1 year and 6 months and with its 12 MP Carl Zeiss tessar optics and Xenon flash still ruling as the best camera in cameraphone category of mobiles. Before N8, we had N86 with 8MP camera with biggest sensor at the time and N82 with Xenon Flash. Proving its camera prowess for a decade now, Nokia has moved one step ahead by creating a 41MP sensor and has named it PureView. The first ever PureView device is Nokia 808. Does it have enough to be another decade of Nokia ruling in cameraphone category? Read on as expressed by Vesa Jutila, Head of Symbian Product Marketing at Nokia.We had a privilege of meeting Mr. Vesa Jutila, Head of Symbian Marketing at Nokia presenting about Nokia 808. Thanks to @subeshprakash for inviting me to the event.
After a brief introduction by Mr. Vipul Mehrotra, It was time for Mr. Vesa Jutila to take over the stage. The way he unfolded the details and showing off the pics clicked, it was not hard to notice his child like restlessness to uncover each pixel captured by Nokia 808 with mammoth 41MP capability.
He went on to explain the underlying principle of Nokia 808 PureView, super high resolution sensor and image oversampling. The image sensor has a active area of 7728 x 5368 pixels, which is 41MP. Nokia has specially designed the sensor for this capability and claims if any other phone manufacturer can make it happen. The phone has default capability of capturing image of size 5MP and can be set to 3MP and 8MP. Most will be assuming 41MP sensor taking images of 5MP size! Here is the magic of “Pixel Oversampling”. When a image is captured, many pixels are combined to form a single pixel.
The size of sensor is 41MP while the image captured is 5MP size. Suppose the image is of ratio 4:3, the 5MP image resolution will be about 2640 x 1980 pixels. What PureView does is, it combines many pixels and create one super pixel which is about 8 times of original, hence rendering a 5MP image.
The advantage of over sampling is it reduces noise from the image in low light while almost zero in good light. Over sampling is highest at no zoom and lowest at full zoom. As the images are still of size 3MP, 5MP or 8MP, the storage size of picture is not big and in some KBs, thanks to Nokia processing algorithm. There is no optical zoom yet PureView shots are equally good at full zoom. The quality is maintained by not actually zooming the images (digital zoom) as done by other cameraphones but rather selecting the part of 41MP sensor. The zoom is decided on the resolution of image selected till pixel count is equal to the resolution selected.
Continuing from above example, in 5MP setting at no zoom, the over sampling is maximum hence resulting in 41MP. When at full zoom, the image size is 5MP and so is resolution, i.e. 1 to 1 mapping of pixel and no over sampling. So at no zoom 5MP image will have 41M pixels (over sampled to 5MP) and at full zoom 5MP image will have 5M pixels i.e. as normally sensors of mobile camera behave.
Here are few sample images clicked from Nokia 808 on giant screen. “They are all unedited”.
In case you are a pro-photographer and want more control over you pics, there is a mode to take full resolution images which is 38MP and is as close to RAW.
Taking pictures of about 41MP and then oversampling pixel to desired size, all done in a fraction by 1.3 GHz processor and a dedicated companion chip for all imaging power. On a rough estimate Nokia 808 can process about 1 billion pixels per second. We were all shocked when we did not see “Processing” screen when saving full-HD video at 30fps. It has preset setting for VGA to full-HD and and frame rates 30fps and 25fps. In short a complete video capable smartphone. LED light to guide you through in low light condition.
With all the processing power and over sampling in place, Nokia 808 PureView can take images in approximately 6 times less time to capture same image.
As per official white paper, at ISO 100, conventional digital camera has shutter speed of 1/30th of a second while Nokia 808 PureView uses 1/180th of a second. Also, if a conventional digital camera with shutter speed of 1/30th of a second needs ISO 600 while at same shutter speed Nokia 808 PureView needs ISO 100.
With this fast shutter speed, you can easily say good bye to blurry, distorted images.
How many times we have felt irritated trying to zoom in to images while shooting video and there is a lot of clicking noise and shakes. Nokia has come up with a novel approach. Swipe up to zoom and swipe down to zoom out. Well that’s not all, as described above when zooming on PureView it actually selects the pixels rather actually zooming the image. So when you swipe up to zoom, it shows a rectangular box, which indicates the portion you’ll see on zoom. You can adjust on the area you want to zoom into. The moment you lift your finger, voila… zoom to the pixel – not I’m not talking of zoom into part of image but rather only place you want to see – a technology previously used by man-made satellites in outer space. The zoom is smooth and sure, no shake-no noisy clicking sound – first time correct.
In still images, 3x lossless zoom. In video, 4x lossless zoom in full-HD, 6x in 720p lossless HD and whooping 12x lossless zoom in nHD (640 x 360).
Even after clicking picture on Nokia 808 PureView at full zoom, you can still digitally zoom into image. Image counting the threads of a cotton shirt. Yes! Mr. Vesa Jutila clicked a picture of Nitish Kumar and he zoomed into till we could clearly see the threads of his shirt.
Not only imaging is top notch, so is the sound quality. It can record near CD quality sound in video with Nokia Rich Recording. There was a showcase video of fireworks on giant screen and every felt being right there at the place. Not even slight distortion or noise. It can be rightly claim, there is no equal to Nokia 808 PureView in terms of imaging and audio performance. But as mentioned, it is a premium device and aimed at a niche, price will be very much the deciding factor.
The good news is “Nokia 808 is the first phone to use the PureView technology. Nokia is looking forward to introducing it to other phones and platforms and not just Symbian.”
Apart from Nokia 808 PureView on display, we got a sneak peak of Nokia Belle FP1 which brings some great loads of improvements. Faster processing, new widgets (highlight – picture widget of different size which change when you enter the screen). New map integration which tags your pictures clicked (with GPS on) to Nokia Maps. So when you check directions you can always cherish the view without being physically there. Also there were quick share to Facebook and Flickr as you take pics.