interesting, for me the main point of a smartphone is to have pc-like capabilities…

By | March 1, 2012
interesting, for me the main point of a smartphone is to have pc-like capabilities while on the go and not an excellent camera. Yet I must admit that symbian battery usage is excellent and that other than financial apps, I wasn't actually missing anything crippling using it. And it its also an extremely stable os – uptime like a Linux sever. 🙂

Reshared post from +EuroTech

Best camera wins award for best mobile: Nokia best of Show!
Nokia won the best of show award “Best New Mobile Handset, Device or Tablet at Mobile World Congress 2012"(MCW) in Barcelona for their Nokia 808 PureView

At the MCW Finnish Nokia revealed their 808 PureView mobile. It´s thicker than the state of the art mobiles on the market, it´s heavier than Nokia´s latest Windows Phone models and it has only a 4” screen with a meager resolution of 640×360. On top of that it runs the decade old Symbian OS.

So why did the PureView win this prize: it has a camera with a resolution of 41 megapixels! That´s much more than the current DSLR champs, Canon´s current flagship pixel grabber stops at 21 MP, even the mighty Nikon D800 captures just 36.3MP. A staggering 41 MP, but why put that in a mobile phone and is this really the best camera as the title suggests?

Q: Why do we call it the best camera?

A: “The best camera is the one that's with you" wrote commercial photographer
+Chase Jarvis in his book, a sentiment shared by many of the best professional photographers. The best walk-around camera in the world for pros is probably the Nikon 3DS which, with a 28mm lens and its standard battery pack, weighs 2 kilo without extra lenses, tripods etc. The Nokia PureView is 170 grams and is 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 mm so just slightly larger than your average phone and easier to carry than an extra point and shoot.

Q: Why would I ever want to grab 41 megapixels?

A: Nokia has a very good answer: because you can´t get a optical zoom in such a small package so digital zooming is the only solution. The camera mobile will normally give you a 5 or an 8 MP photo, but you can zoom in on every detail in these 41 megapixels.

Q: What use is this resolution if it gets all blurry behind a piece of plastic called ´lens´ in a mobile?

A: It´s a real lens, developed by German specialist Carl-Zeiss exceeding the qualities of lower end DSLRs. Nokia claims it has ten times the precision used in normal lenses and the photos are proof that the optics are not limiting the capabilities of the large sensor.

Q: Sounds exciting, but does it help avoid the typical mobile shots in low light: blurry, noisy shots at a party?

A: Yes, it does. It has an aperture of f2.4, which is better or equal to what you now have, but when zooming it will not go down like most point and shoots or lower cost replaceable lenses do. A typical Nikon zoom lens is an f3.5 – f5.6 , the best of class Canon Powershot 100 carry goes from f2.0 to f5.9. (Larger numbers = smaller aperture)
A large lens opening means higher shutter speeds so no more shaky images of that oh, so funny moment in the bar where your friends have trouble recognizing faces, let alone the fun.

Q: So if I use the PureView without zooming, will it be worse than my excellent iPhone 4s?

A: Nope, this is the real strength of the 41 MP sensor: it´s five times as large as the sensor in the latest Apple model and the PureView combines all these pixels to harvest all available light. This sets it apart from all camera phones or point and shoots.

The former best camera phone was the Nokia N8 but the new model has such a large sensor that it outclasses everything else except the higher end DSLRs. The details are too complex for a short article but for people who know a thing or two about camera sensors we will just say that digital noise is easy to get rid of with so much oversampling at hand.

Q: So can it replace my DSLR?

A: Looking at the quality of the pictures, the excellent video capabilities where oversampling is used to get you excellent HD quality even in low light, the digital zoom option, the answer is a ´no, but better have this camera at hand than your pro gear at home´. It will never be as good as prosumer gear, but for every day, walkaround usage it´s a perfect replacement for a DSLR dangling around your neck.

Q: More goodies?

A: Lots of them, like a very strong Xenon flash, stereo sound recording, getting your videos right even in difficult circumstances, macro improvements and numerous other features. Most interesting for photographers will be the bokeh, which is absent from all mobiles and most point-and-shoots. The lens is double the focal length at 8,4 mm so you can get rid of the ´everything sharp´ look that consumers love and photographers hate.

Q: Why was this not done on a modern mobile OS instead of the old Symbian platform?

A: Nokia took five years to develop it and it couldn´t be done on a newer platform. Neither Android nor Windows Phone support the special handling needed to combine pixels nor are they capable of using the special processor Nokia uses to scale the pixels smartly back to the super quality 5MP sweet spot consumers want.

Symbian is old, but don´t forget it´s an extremely capable and fault-free OS. The OVI maps are excellent for navigation, the other apps are mature and make the PureView 808 a perfectly capable smart phone if you can live without the latest and hottest apps.

Oh, and you didn´t ask, but yes, you can make phone calls with it. It´s actually a very good smart phone for intensive usage as has a larger than normal battery

Q: So the professional jury was right in Barcelona?

A: If we had been part of the jury, we would have picked the same winner, but you be the judge! Listen to this enthusiast, and clearly Finnish engineer and tell us what you think? Best camera or worst mobile?

Further reading: http://europe.nokia.com/PRODUCT_METADATA_0/Products/Phones/8000-series/808/Nokia808PureView_Whitepaper.pdf

Example potos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nokiaofficial/sets/72157629100338650/

Author:+Max Huijgen

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