Nokia 808 PureView 41 MP camera sensor, 3x lossless zoom, other crazy imaging stuff to blow your mind

How crazy is Nokia 808 PureView camerphone with 41 megapixel sensor?

I wasn’t expecting much from Nokia during this Mobile World Congress. And I was expecting even less from the the successor to N8 – previous imaging flagship.

We knew for months that the N8 successor is in the works, we even heard about the optical zoom, big camera sensor and other cool imaging stuff. But we also knew that it will still run on Symbian. No matter how good a camera they can put into this thing – I couldn’t imagine any reason my aging N8 wouldn’t be good enough until the same tech comes to Nokia Windows Phones.

But as soon as they put the first Nokia 808 PureView slide on the screen at Nokia MWC launch event, I sat up, hardly believing my eyes. “Carl Zeiss 41 MP sensor“, the label below the camera said… What the heck?! How could they have fit 41 megapixel camera sensor in to this thing? And why do we even need 41 megapixels – the size of the image files will be enormous.

Then Nokia got to explaining things, and PureView 808 got even more interesting. Here’s a short feature overview video:

I hardly know anything about cameras, so do not ask me to explain all the details. If you interested – there is a pretty detailed white paper about all the cool stuff inside Nokia PureView 808. You can download it here (*.pdf). Here’s some info from the paper on how PureView works:

The starting point is a super-high-resolution sensor. This has an active area of 7728 x 5368 pixels, totalling over 41Mpix. Depending on the aspect ratio you choose, it will use 7728 x 4354 pixels for 16:9 images/videos, or 7152 x 5368 pixels for 4:3 images/videos …

When you zoom with the Nokia 808 PureView, in effect you are just selecting the relevant area of the sensor. So with no zoom, the full area of the sensor corresponding to the aspect ratio is used. The limit
of the zoom (regardless of the resolution setting for stills or video) is reached when the selected output resolution becomes the same as the input resolution..

For example, with the default setting of 5Mpix (3072 x 1728), once the area of the sensor reaches 3072 x 1728, you’ve hit the zoom limit. This means the zoom is always true to the image you want…

The way Nokia PureView Pro zoom works gives you many benefits. But the main one is undoubtedly ‘pixel oversampling’.

Pixel oversampling combines many pixels to create a single (super) pixel. When this happens, you keep virtually all the detail, but filter away visual noise from the image. The speckled, grainy look you tend to
get in low-lighting conditions is greatly reduced. And in good light, visual noise is virtually non-existent. Which means the images you can take are more natural and beautiful than ever. They are purer, perhaps
a more accurate representation of the original subject than has ever been achieved before.

Key specs for Nokia 808 Pureview imaging/sensor part:

  • 41Mpix sensor with pixel oversampling
  • Lossless zoom: 3x for stills, 4x for full HD 1080p video
  • Carl Zeiss optics
  • Focal length: 8.02mm
  • 35mm equivalent focal length: 26mm, 16:9 | 28mm, 4:3
  • F-number: f/2.4
  • Focus range: 15cm – Infinity (throughout the zoom range)
  • Construction:
    •  5 elements, 1 group.All lens surfaces are aspherical
    •  One high-index, low-dispersion glass mould lens
    •  Mechanical shutter with neutral density filter
  • Optical format: 1/1.2”
  • Total number of pixels: 7728 x 5368
  • Pixel Size: 1.4 microns

Video camera:

  • Video resolutions: Full HD (1920×1080) 30fps [Default], HD (1280×720) 30fps, nHD (640×360) 30fps
  • Lossless Zoom: 4x1080p [Default], 6x 720p, 12x360p
  • Frame rates supported: 15, 24, 25, 30fps
  • Stereo High Amplitude Audio Capture (HAAC)
  • Three shooting modes: Auto, Scenes, Creative
  • Integrated video editor for trimming video

Other specs:

  • GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • WCDMA 850/900/1700/-21001900/2100
  • Bluetooth 3.0, HDMI, DLNA, USB 2.0, Micro USB connector and charging
  • USB On-the-Go
  • 3.5 mm Nokia standard audio connector with TV-out
  • Secure NFC, WLAN. A-GPS FM transmitter
  • Size: 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 mm (17.95 mm at camera)
  • Weight (with battery): 169 g
  • Volume: 95.5 cc
  • 16 GB internal user memory
  • Support for up to 48 GB with an external microSD memory card
  • Screen size: 4”
  • Resolution: 16:9 nHD (640 x 360 pixels) AMOLED
  • 16.7 million colours
  • ClearBlack display
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass
  • 1400 mAh high voltage Li-ion battery

Recommended retail price before taxes and subsidies for Nokia 808 Pureview is 450 Euro. Which is higher than a for a  previous imaging flagship – N8 – at launch. But for this kind of leap ahead in camera tech – it sounds worth it.

In the end, the only thing I can say is – Wow, Nokia! I thought it was impossible to get me interested in another Symbian phone, but you went ahead and did it. After Pureview – is there any point to buy a stand alone point&shooter?

For Symbian – that’s what I call going out with a bang. What a way to wave goodbye…

And now we begin the wait for Nokia Windows Phone 8/Apollo flagship with PureView. How about putting 60 or 82 megapixels in it, Nokia? Not that we really need it, but, you know, just to blow our minds again this fall 🙂

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • Baigorriabernardino862

    the better of nokia?

  • JD!

    Burning symbian to rescue again? and Again… and Again !!!

    With this it has become burn proof lol

  • GSMSavvy

    When is this super camera phone projected to hit the African market?