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).