Nokia 808 PureView 41-megapixel camera magic explained

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:




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.


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.



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.


Related phones

808 PureView
  • Display 4.0" 360 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 41 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1400 mAh(6.50h 3G talk time)

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21 Comments

1. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

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

2. zaryab_hussain77

Posts: 104; Member since: Jun 30, 2011

nokia takes away the camera round

3. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 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

4. bbblader

Posts: 590; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

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

5. Penny

Posts: 1848; Member since: Feb 04, 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.

8. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 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.

6. refreak

Posts: 29; Member since: Dec 18, 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

17. karanstyle

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

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

7. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

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

9. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

A bit hyperbolic, but it is quite an achievement.

10. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 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

11. Le05K

Posts: 18; Member since: Nov 04, 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:).

14. shadez10

Posts: 427; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

copying this technology to android is in progress... sony's desperate move... ahahahha... xD

18. karanstyle

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 26, 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!

20. shadez10

Posts: 427; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

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

12. xmusicianguy

Posts: 96; Member since: Jul 13, 2011

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

13. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

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

15. joypratyay

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 22, 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.

19. karanstyle

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 26, 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.

16. joypratyay

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 22, 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..........

21. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 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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