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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Soft focus

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.