Feeds
80%
Nokia 808 PureView 41Mp camphone

Just how good is Nokia's PureView 41Mp camera tech?

Our pro photographer holidays in Stromboli to find out

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Sensory perception

Faced by the physical limitations of incorporating a high quality camera into a phone, Nokia opted for the largest sensor it could get away with – nearly twice the size of a compact camera and more than five times that of conventional phone camera sensors. While it's big, it's actually crammed with pixels of the same size of those used in compacts. Instead of capturing the output of each individual pixel separately – as sensors normally do – the trick is to combine the output of groups of individual pixels into a larger pixel.

Nokia 808 PureView 41Mp camphone

Big sensor – now what?

This technology allows the 808’s sensor to capture as much light information as much larger pixels and sensors would. However, the process avoids the loss of quality usually associated with small sensors filled with too many small-size pixels that typically plague compact cameras.

What this means is that while the 808 is capable of shooting images at full resolution – 38Mp effective – it is only really meant to produce distilled images at its 8Mp, 5Mp or 3Mp PureView modes. The difference being these images deliver unprecedented quality by camera phone standards.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the 808 PureView camera, as like many, I'd initially been drawn to the headline grabbing hype surrounding its astonishing pixel count, which rather eclipsed the technology behind this concept. Yet, true to its word, Nokia has produced a phone capable of incredibly detailed, sharp, nuanced and balanced pictures. As soon as I saw the results I was really and truly impressed.

Indeed, the idea of merging seven small pixels into one giant pixel, as Nokia puts it, seems to have achieved not only a new photographic benchmark but the upshot of it all is that the 808 PureView could hold its own with most advanced compacts currently on the market.

Looking at the PureView images – at 3, 5 and 8Mp – the level of noise is impressively low at all ISO sensitivities, with an almost complete lack of artifacts. Colours are accurate and natural across the range too, and images reveal an exceptionally broad dynamic range. White balance could be improved though, since it behaves somewhat erratically.

Nokia 808 PureView 41Mp camphone

Excellent low light performance for a camphone

Although the end results are not necessarily far off, in use, the automatic white balance keeps changing slightly in the same lighting conditions and for no apparent reason. Resorting to the preset WB settings instead, proved much more reliable. Indeed, the twitchy white balance is about the only thing I can take issue with, since the 808’s photographic skills are truly commendable.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Soft focus

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.