Nokia 808 PureView smartphone unveiled with 41MP camera

By on February 27, 2012, 12:00 PM

Nokia has unveiled the 808 PureView smartphone featuring a 41-megapixel camera at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The handset runs Nokia’s dated Symbian operating system, a factor that could ultimately lead to US carriers passing on the opportunity to offer the PureView in the states.

Popular Photography notes that the PureView has been in the works for more than five years which could explain why it’s running Symbian OS instead of Windows Phone. The WSJ claims that a spokesperson said the technology would be coming to other devices but a timetable wasn't given.

Aging operating system aside, it’s the camera that is certain to garner the most attention for the PureView. At 41MP, the pixel count is even higher than Nikon’s $3,000 D800 DSLR professional camera that captures 36.3 million pixels. But if you know anything at all about cameras or photography, a high megapixel count doesn’t always equate to better quality photos.

First and foremost, the output file won’t be 41MP, but just 5MP at default settings. While the image sensor does technically rely on well over 30 million pixels to record data, it uses what Nokia calls ‘pixel oversampling’ technology that combines eight pixels into one in order to produce a cleaner image with less noise.

Nokia is also touting up to 3x “optical zoom” (4x in video) without image loss thanks to the massive megapixels. Instead of actually zooming in, however, the camera simply selects an area of the sensor to record data from rather than collecting everything taken in. The company has limited the zoom range to prevent upscaling so you can’t zoom in further than the input resolution.

Other features include a Carl Zeiss lens with a F/2.4 aperture and unlike most camera phones, it comes with a real flash.

Nokia has posted a sample photo gallery online but as always, these should be served with a grain of salt. Either way, don’t let the marketing-friendly 41MP lure you in too hard; this is no replacement for even a low-end DSLR or Micro Four-Thirds camera.

Other features include a 4-inch AMOLED display running at 640 x 360 with Corning Gorilla Glass and 16GB of internal memory with support for up to 48GB using an external microSD card. Other key hardware wasn’t noted in the specifications list on Nokia’s website.

The 808 PureView will initially be released in Europe for 450 Euros (roughly $600 USD).




User Comments: 9

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Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I'm so bummed that this didn't come with Windows Phone. Here's to hoping they put it on their next high-end WP device.

Guest said:

I would love to get one of these as soon as they come with Android. I hope they come out for Windows Phone 7 as well, because I like to wager on how long it takes to get infected.

Arris Arris said:

41 mp, seriously, with a camera phone sized lens and what? CCD size sensor. Will have to read up on this phone but my first thought is "shame on you nokia".

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can't help but laugh to myself about this.

Guest said:

There is no shame in this. Trying new things is not a shame its a welcome. Even if this is a failure, this will lead to new topic and further development. Please don't discourage innovations, Its only because of those innovations, we are this far in science and technology advancement.

rvnwlfdroid said:

Personally, I would rather see faster shutter speeds and more control, better optical zoom capabilities x8 or more. 40+ MP is all fine and dandy but if the hardware is not capable of taking a nice clean image what is a higher MP going to get you. IMO

Ihmemies said:

Guest said:

There is no shame in this. Trying new things is not a shame its a welcome. Even if this is a failure, this will lead to new topic and further development. Please don't discourage innovations, Its only because of those innovations, we are this far in science and technology advancement.

For example "Gorilla Glass", the glass used in most high end smartphones these days was invented decades ago and it was a failure. Only in 2007 the value of the research was finally realized. It's too early to say anything definitive about Nokia's new technology yet.

tengeta tengeta said:

megapixels are the cpu clock-rate equivalent of cameras. people drool over the number but for true quality and performance its a joke.

Chazz said:

rvnwlfdroid said:

Personally, I would rather see faster shutter speeds and more control, better optical zoom capabilities x8 or more. 40+ MP is all fine and dandy but if the hardware is not capable of taking a nice clean image what is a higher MP going to get you. IMO

That is the point of this. This isn't Nokia just throwing a bunch of megapixels at a phone. The pictures will be output at the regular 5MP or 8MP size. They use all those megapixels to allow you to zoom in on those 8MP pictures and still have a clear shot and to overall make the picture much clearer. Sure you have the option to shoot at 3x MP but that isn't the point. They want to reduce the noise of a normal camera phone picture. I'm not sure if this sorta downsampling will work but it's definitely a nice try and I don't knock nokia for trying new things. Also the lens is just about the biggest I've seen in a camera phone.

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