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Nokia 808 PureView 41-megapixel camera magic explained

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Nokia 808 PureView 41-megapixel camera magic explained
The Nokia 808 PureView - for lack of a better word - is magical. Most if not all of users would be shocked when they hear about the 41-megapixel camera on the 808 PureView. But how is it even possible? Nokia explains that it worked nearly 5 years on this particular project and there are two main reasons behind the top notch performance of the PureView Pro imaging technology.

The first one is the sheer size of the sensor. At 1/1.2”, the 808 PureView sensor is huge, more than double in physical size when you compare it to the current cameraphone king, the Nokia N8. The actual size of a single pixel is thus 1.4 microns now, while on the N8 pixels are much larger at 1.75 microns.

1. Huge sensor

Here’s a quick summary of the Nokia 808 PureView camera sensor:

• Carl Zeiss optics of 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

Nokia 808 PureView 41-megapixel camera magic explained


2. Oversampling

The second and most important one is a technology called oversampling. Oversampling basically makes a perfect single pixel out of multiple captured pixels. This allows to keep the size of the image down and results in three main pros: great image quality, lossless zoom and excellent low light performance. Check out the video sample below to see how it performs at night for yourself.



Now, the actual pictures the Nokia 808 PureView captures are up to 38 megapixels in size (actual images are often over 10MB), but PureView is there not to bring you the largest picture but the best quality. You get the quality of the full sensor even when shooting at 5 megapixels and that’s actually the default shooting mode of the camera. Of course, when shooting in full size, you also get the most obvious benefits of cropping whatever you want with crystal clear detail of the frame.

The second big plus is lossless zoom. PureView disposes of picture degrading digital zoom and mechanically complicated optical zoom and comes up with “Slide Zoom” - a fast, direct and precise way to zoom without losing quality. How does it work? Say you’re capturing a 5-megapixel picture - in this case the phone would similarly use the full sensor image and only move up to parts of it until it hits the 3072x1728 pixel maximum for 5MP pictures. No degradation of quality, PureView.

The Nokia 808 comes with 24-74mm f/2.4 camera
The Nokia 808 comes with 24-74mm f/2.4 camera

The Nokia 808 comes with 24-74mm f/2.4 camera


On the 808 Pureview with Slide Zoom you just slide your finger up or down to zoom in or out. You have 4x lossless zoom at 1080p, 6x at 720p and the whopping 12x when you record videos at nHD (640x360). Zooming is completely silent. For stills, you have 3x lossless zoom. Mind-boggling stuff.  

Another killer feature of the Nokia 808 PureView is the combination of a large sensor allowing long focal length and large f/2.4 aperture. Just take a look at the bokeh effect on the picture below - that's something you usually get on DSLRs and high-end compacts. Additionally, aperture is kept at a maximum when you zoom in, so you get faster shutter speeds and reduced noise.

Nokia 808 PureView 41-megapixel camera magic explained


Why only now and what about the future?

Why only now? Even though it’s been five years in the making, it’s only now that the processing power allows your smartphone to process images larger than 20 megapixels. Many modern operating systems and chips still don’t.

Overall, Nokia says the PureView is a “quantum leap forward” in smartphone camera performance and something we’ll definitely see in future products. We agree about the former and keep our fingers crossed for the latter. This here alone could be a quantum leap for Windows Phone as a platform as well, not just for Nokia. Check out the white paper below for all the technical details, and also take a look at all the samples of the Nokia 808 PureView.


21 Comments
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posted on 27 Feb 2012, 13:22 12

1. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


Wow! Looks good too...Nokia will be in my radar come upgrade in 2014.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 13:24 17

2. zaryab_hussain77 (Posts: 102; Member since: 30 Jun 2011)


nokia takes away the camera round

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 13:31 8

3. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1260; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


41... 41... 41... 41... 41... 41... 41!!!!!! Raw!!!!!! That's purely amazing. But now they need to put huge storage space to store those amazing pictures :D Because we don't only take 10 pictures in our life time hehe

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 13:36 6

4. bbblader (Posts: 579; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


they did it has 16GB internal memory and has a microSD slot

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 13:40 7

5. Penny (Posts: 1135; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


Holy ish. I take back what I said about PA's analysis of Pure View from that last article; I did not think they were going to go high enough in megapixels to be able to zoom in that much with the clarity indicated. Turns out that's exactly what they plan to do, so I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

I truly hope that this camera rocks, because we all know that it isn't all about the megapixels, and in fact, the more pixels there are, the less light goes to each individual pixel.

I was just dreaming about getting a Leica D-Lux 5 this weekend, but this phone might go even higher up on my list.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 15:11 13

8. Victor.H (Posts: 410; Member since: 27 May 2011)


Penny, this PureView technology is really amazing. I myself had some doubts this was 100% real when I wrote about it a couple of days ago, so you were not alone in your skepticism. Also, hopefully we'll see it on Windows Phone sooner rather than later.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 13:50 7

6. refreak (Posts: 29; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


anyone whos planning to buy a new DSLR camera in next few months from nikon, cancon etc...

Well DONT !!
Buy this camera instead,

whats more ! U will get a phone in it,...
Think of it as a camera which can be used to make calls, sms etc...

I bet Nikon wont offer dat 2 u

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 23:11 1

17. karanstyle (Posts: 188; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


Even offer GPS location to keep the memories whereas Digi Cams with GPS cost like hell....
And Its just All-in-One!! :-D

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 14:11 7

7. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


This is an absolute sensation.
Greatest image capturing achievement since the invention of camera.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 15:24 3

9. -box- (Posts: 3778; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


A bit hyperbolic, but it is quite an achievement.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 15:33 5

10. -box- (Posts: 3778; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Despite its apparent size, it's really not that big. Taller and wider than a C7/701, but slimmer than a 5230 Nuron (at the camera module), which isn't terribly thick. Right around a half-inch thick at its widest point is still easily pocketable, and with the camera node being blended into a bump rather than just poking out as it was on the N8, it's less likely to get snagged and nicer to hold in-hand. Granted I was hoping for something closer to the Lumia 800/900 design language, but the continuation of the feel and design of the C7/700/701 and Lumia 710 is not a bad thing

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 16:36 6

11. Le05K (Posts: 18; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)


Now. If only Nokia did't kill symbian, Oh well will wait till it come to WM, or maybe somebody will copy this technologi to android:).

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 23:02 4

14. shadez10 (Posts: 401; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


copying this technology to android is in progress...

sony's desperate move... ahahahha... xD

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 23:14 2

18. karanstyle (Posts: 188; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


Infact, Nokia has always been the first and the best when it come to Technology Innovation.

And Apple & Android just do some more R&D and do it even better But the NOKIA is the FATHER!! :-D
Nokia Rocks!

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 08:20 2

20. shadez10 (Posts: 401; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


indeed it is... and when they copied what nokia made they will say its the first and revolutionary... especially on apple.. ahahahha...

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 16:55

12. xmusicianguy (Posts: 96; Member since: 13 Jul 2011)


WOW! Put it on Verizon and running Android! I'll buy one!! 41 MP HOLY BLEEP!

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 20:51 4

13. lubba (Posts: 1310; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


You have two choices, join Nokia and WP or stick with Verizon and Android and pray.

posted on 28 Feb 2012, 03:58 5

15. joypratyay (Posts: 4; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)


OVERSAMPLING IS GENERALLY USED IN THE FIELD OF REMOTE SENSING FOR SATELLITE IMAGE PROCESSING FOR BETTER IMAGE INTERPRETATION , I KNOW THIS BECAUSE THIS IS MY FIELD , BUT I NEVER THOUGHT THAT IT COULD BE USED IN A PHONE!!! AND HOW IN THE HELL DID A ARM11 PROCESSOR IS ABLE TO HANDLE SUCH A TASK IS BEYOND ME!! I'M NOT A GEEK BUT THIS HAS TO BE BECAUSE OS THE OS IN THE PHONE , WHICH IS SYMBIAN.
HANDLING SUCH A LARGE SENSOR AND THEN DOING OVERSAMPLING ON THE PICTURES IS A HUGE HUGE TASK.... AND IT CAN EVEN DO IT IN THE VIDEO CAMERA MODE, IT CAN DO A 1080P VIA A 1.3GHz ARM11 SINGLE CORE PROCESSOR!!!
PROVIDED THAT THERE IS AN AMAZING GPU BEHIND IT THE BEST ONE EVER TO BE PUT ON A PHONE BUT EVEN THEN HANDLING SUCH A GPU IN A PHONE IS AN OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AND THAT IS LARGELY BECAUSE OF THE OS ITSELF.
THIS IS REALLY FANTASTIC TECHNOLOGY AND IT MAKES ME WONDER THAT WHY IS THERE SUCH A HUGE FUSS ABOUT THE NUMBER OF CORES, DUAL CORE, QUAD CORE!!! THIS IS JUST INCREASING THE OVERALL COST OF A PHONE AND NOTHING ELSE.

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 23:18 3

19. karanstyle (Posts: 188; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


I totally agree with you and with the power of Symbian OS THAT IS RUNNING A 41MPx AND PROCESSING ITS 41MPx & 38MPx IMAGES SO **QUICK** THAT TOO ON JUST 1.3GHz (Single CORE PROCESSOR) WITH JUST 512MB OF RAM.

WHEREAS aNdRoiD needs HUGE H/W Specs to Run BASIC STUFF!!

Note: TO ALL ANDROID FANS ppl ADMIT THE POWER OF this SYMBIAN OS.

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 13:28 1

16. joypratyay (Posts: 4; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)


http://www.gsmarena.com/d_dinning_interview_nokia_808-review-728p2.php
Here you go Damian Dinning explaining how satellite imaging technique(remote sensing) has been used for the pure view..........

posted on 06 Mar 2012, 05:13

21. Altair (Posts: 324; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


For everyone who want's to know even more about this amazing technology. Here is an original document about it:

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

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