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Nokia "floating lens" technology is behind the Lumia 920 PureView camera magic

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Nokia
The Nokia Lumia 920 is here and it features the much anticipated PureView imaging technology, but if you hoped for lots of megapixels and oversampling, you won’t quite get it. The sensor is a paltry 8.7-megapixels, but Nokia promises that PureView is much more than just the megapixels and explained that it has built in its “floating lens” technology.

Floating lens takes hardware image stabilization to new heights and that’s exactly what Nokia was showing that early video of a girl riding a bicycle (you can check it out once again below). That image stabilization will be also of benefit when you take pictures, but it seems best suited for capturing smooth video.

"The shutter has to stay open longer...those few extra tenths of a second...exposes the shutter to the minute movements in your hand that causes blur in the images," Nokia’s Jo Harlow explained what makes “floating lens” tick.

In reality, this translates into the sensor capturing 5 to 10 times more light than other sensors.

"The Nokia Lumia 920 captures better images and video than any competitor smartphone." We’re eager to see the first real camera samples and see what’s the difference with the original Nokia 808 PureView and its ginormous 41-megapixel camera, stay tuned.

source: Nokia

23 Comments
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posted on 05 Sep 2012, 09:55 3

1. akita256 (Posts: 80; Member since: 26 Jan 2012)


I've been sitting here during the presentation watching Nokia's stock price fall like a rock. Apparently investors are not impressed with the new phone so far.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:04 1

6. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


So Sad :(

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:27 1

10. MeoCao (unregistered)


The specs are same as old Androids, but I guess the price will be much higher.

And the most important features of PureView are missing. Boy this does not sound good.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:36 2

12. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


Most important features of PureView missing? What have you been smoking? The only thing "missing" is a double digit mp count.

If you saw the comparisons of images they showed, that was one incredibly impressive camera.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:49

15. MeoCao (unregistered)


The most important features of PureView is taking pictures of distant objects and small objects.

Thre may be some improvement of the camera compared with other top phones but that's not PureView.

This is cheating, again.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:56 1

16. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


It's not the 808 camera and no one ever said it would be. What they showed however looked stunning and massively better than any phone I've seen (apart from the 808, obv).

I'd wait with judging it until I see the first hands-on's though.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 13:55

21. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)


exactly this is Pureview Phase 2, and im sure it'll beat all phones it is competing with in the camera department. the nokia 808 shows whats possible when you dont have to think about size. ofcourse if they had fitted the lumia 920 with the 41mp sensor it would have had to be bulky and people would complain its too big and just wouldnt sell

the 808 is a niche phone for select few. The lumia 920 will be sold to the mass's so needs to be stylish

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 14:49

23. saiki4116 (Posts: 302; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


When HTC launched ONE series,they too boasted about the camera module..it's real world performence that matters,let's wait and see how it stack's up with the competetion...because by the time 920 comes to the market...others companies wont sit idle.,,but to me it just appears a sort of gimmick till now...well that's my opinion...

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 09:55 1

2. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4600; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


First time I saw this commercial it was already clear for me that it will be something with image stabilization.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:05 1

7. blinkdagger (Posts: 81; Member since: 04 May 2012)


that green d**k is distracting. for me at least.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:12 1

8. Ohrules (Posts: 299; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


That is a worm eating into the apple. Don't worry I made the same mistake

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:37 1

13. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


Isn't it the android standing behind the apple then?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 09:56

3. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


Pricing is the factor between the Ativ S and this.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:04

4. jasongohjr (Posts: 75; Member since: 26 Sep 2011)


The video alone is impressive. But I Was hoping more from nokia...

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:04 1

5. omacmagics (Posts: 42; Member since: 27 Dec 2011)


I want to zoom in distant objects n d image stays clean like pure view. Don't give me crap about more light n "floating lens" bla bla. I would like to own another smartphone I already have an android. Windows phone could be an option but give me an awesome camera like the pure view 808 and I'll buy a Nokia windows phone. Not excited about MS OS, so d camera has to pull me in.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:26

9. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Darn! I am so disappointed in you Nokia!!!
Such a huge even and all you can come up with is 'floating lens' tech? Hm...i'll wait the results though. Still then, i am disappointed!

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 11:10 1

18. haseebzahid (Posts: 1775; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


people are never satisfied ant pureview launch everyone said it cannot compete DSLR :\ wtf too that then also said its way to big :\ now if it cant be shrink in 4 months people want it back in the phone :\ PV is a future Tech untill it is shrink down to average size + WP starts to accept it we should not worry about it too much its a smartphone not a cameraphone like N8 or 808

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 11:17

19. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Ok. I got to agree on that...
But i'm still a l'le disappointing because i've been supporting Nokia so much. And no 3.5 mm jack? Are you kidding? Don't know about 920 but 820 doesn't seem to be having that...what do i do if i want to plug a better headphone instead of the one they supplied?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:31

11. -box- (Posts: 3566; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Well, guess Nokia still hasn't gotten around the OS restrictions for camera modules. I was hoping they'd at least have a 16MP (yes, I know MP count isn't everything) to compare with the Titan 2, but ah well. Still very exciting. Disaapointed that they don't have another cyan model.
Also noticed a very obvious lack of info about what carriers these will be on....

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 10:42 1

14. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


Did anyone not see the Galaxy S3 versus the Lumia 920 comparison they showed? It was like watching a 1983 disposable camera versus a DSLR. If the camera on the 920 is as good as those marketing shots, this camera is gonna kick the living s**t out of basically any phone besides the 808.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 11:06 2

17. haseebzahid (Posts: 1775; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


i dont understand when PV was anounced all people were like the back is too big , it looks ugly, who wants that big fat camera . now they made this new tech and again same old story i think no one can be happy at all in this era. they just dont even know wht they want. all the people have in brain is specs specs specs nothing more

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 11:31

20. nadun_SL (Posts: 3; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)


well they failed to pack a high res cam into a thinner body.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 14:12 2

22. lumialove (Posts: 75; Member since: 16 May 2012)


the F/2.0 aperture is the lowest found any smartphone. Think of aperture as how “open” a lens can get—the more open, the more light comes in. That’s crucial as light is what camera’s crave and is the key to getting a good image. You want to buy an expensive lens for your DSLR? Search for one with an F/1.4 aperture—basically the lower the number, the better. Reaching F/2.0 on a camera-phone is a pretty big deal, make no mistake about it. It will also greatly help to make your photos better as the shutter speed can go faster.

back-side illuminated sensors (BSI) —it’s what is found on the iPhone, Titan II and many Samsung phones. It puts the wires behind the sensor, allowing more light to be received and once again, making brighter photos. We’ve wanted Nokia to do this for a very long time and now they have.


The Lumia 900, Lumia 920 and 808 PureView

Sensor size is also crucial. Here, the bigger the better and the fact is, most smartphones have tiny sensors. Why do some “pro” DSLRs cost so much? It’s because they have a giant sensor (it’s also why they’re so big). The Lumia 920 sports a 1/1.4” sensor that beats many phones who roll with a smaller 1/2.5”. That brings us to megapixels…

Photographers hate megapixel discussions because it’s all consumers focus on, instead of all of the above. It’s often the least important aspect as those pixels won’t improve your photo much. It’s good for cropping, yes, but other than that?


Nokia said they could have added more than the 8MP to that 1/1.4” sensor, as some of their competitors have on their devices. But as we mentioned last night, jamming more megapixels on a sensor can have negative consequences, like reduce image quality. The more pixels on a sensor, the more light you need to illuminate them all. In turn, cameras with high megapixel count tend to have worse low-light performance. That’s right folks, putting 16MP or 32MP into a camera can be a bad thing, especially if it’s on a small sensor.

No, Nokia took the good route here—the one that photographers would have preferred: larger, BSI sensor with less megapixels so there is less noise in low light conditions.

Throw in their whole “Floating lens”, which is a mechanical form of image stabilization (aka better than software based) and we’re talking a whole new category of a camera phone. I'VE seen some of the images and so far, I really like what we see. Expect more in the future

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