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Nokia Puts 41MPixel Camera In a (Symbian) Phone

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the that-internal-memory-is-going-to-go-fast dept.

Cellphones 204

judgecorp writes "We aren't sure what's the strangest thing about Nokia's new offering, the fact that it's got a 41 Megapixel camera or the fact that it runs Symbian. It has a very high resolution sensor and uses oversampling, apparently producing good results in low light. Users can either save a maximum of 38Mpixels, or else zoom and crop for normal resolution images. Observers expected a maximum of one more Symbian phone before Nokia shifts over to Windows Phone. This suggests either a longer life for Symbian — or maybe [that] Symbian was just an easier platform to make a show-stopping device that may turn out to be more of a concept phone."

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Screw Megapixels (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184679)

megapixel race is over now, megapixel after a some level do not matter. why dont they understand this simple thing??

Re:Screw Megapixels (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184755)

I usually don't recommend anything over 10-12MP unless you're going to be blowing up an image to poster-sized. I still use a 6MP camera and it's more than sufficient for daily use. I would much rather have a better sensor since I'm still reducing the image size anyway at 6MP.

I think the big issue is that the camera manufacturers pushed higher MP but never got around to telling Joe Public what exactly MP means to them. Sort of like Intel and AMD pushing faster clock speeds, but when max clock speed reached a plateau in the 3.6-4GHz range they didn't tell consumers a 2GHz quad core with a large cache will likely kill a 3.6GHz single core with a tiny cache so many consumers still go by clock speed alone.

Re:Screw Megapixels (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184867)

I usually don't recommend anything over 10-12MP unless you're going to be blowing up an image to poster-sized. I still use a 6MP camera and it's more than sufficient for daily use. I would much rather have a better sensor since I'm still reducing the image size anyway at 6MP.

Even at 10-12MP you're fine for poster resolutions. This is the resolution current DSLRs operate at (even most full frame ones), simply because it's where you're going to get decent levels of sensitivity in the pixels and not too much noise.

More so, because the lenses, even on DSLRs can't actually resolve that resolution except in absolutely perfect conditions.

Re:Screw Megapixels (5, Informative)

UngodAus (198713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185151)

You really didn't even pay attention to the summary, let alone the article did you? The core use here is for super-sampling with dedicated hardware that produces superior 5MP & 8MP images. So... they agree with you! They have created a better sensor. It just so happens that you can also use it in non-super-sampling mode if you really really must.

Re:Screw Megapixels (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185245)

The core use here is for super-sampling with dedicated hardware that produces superior 5MP & 8MP images.

But you can also "super sample" by making fewer, larger pixels that will collect more light each. Canon stepped back to a 10MP sensor for low-light performance in their G and S9x series cameras (they've since gone back up to 12).

Re:Screw Megapixels (1)

UngodAus (198713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185317)

I don't agree, if you average the input of 8 pixels, you reduce the error that you would get by sampling from one. Pretty basic statistics.

Re:Screw Megapixels (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185375)

Eight pixels instead of one? I think there's a lot of holes in your CCD grid.

Re:Screw Megapixels (1)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185509)

However, the signal-to-noise-ratio is higher for each individual pixel. I'm not sure how the noise does scale exactly with pixel area, so I can't tell whether plain supersampling helps that much or much at all.

A while ago I read rather vage explanation that camera makers for these kinds of tiny cams do introduce certain errors in the camera optics on purpose so that they can tweak their way around the resolution barriers for sharp images. This trick naturally relies on a post-processing step. I wish I had more information on this kind of trick to judge it.

Re:Screw Megapixels (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185809)

It's not just statistics, though. The sum of the light collected by the 8 is lower than the sum of light collected by the one - the surface area is smaller due to the extra circuitry and other non-light-collecting chip features.

Re:Screw Megapixels (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185655)

My 20Mp camera let's me crop and correct in post framing issues. I have created fantastic photos from casual experiential shots because if the larger image.

Also. at 20X30 a 20mp image looks a LOT better than a 10mp image does, IF printed on a printer that can do the resolution. the garbage printers at Costco can not.

Honestly, sell your old Canon Rebel and get a Rebel t2i and get a camera that sees in the dark and kicks the crud out of that paleolithic age camera... IF.....

If you have decent glass. Crap glass will not take a better photo on more megapixels. L series glass really shines with the big sensors.

Re:Screw Megapixels (4, Informative)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184907)

Nokia understands it. They have a whitepaper on the technology which explains the use of the chip. Mainly, it is used for digital zooming.
Link to whitepaper: http://europe.nokia.com/PRODUCT_METADATA_0/Products/Phones/8000-series/808/Nokia808PureView_Whitepaper.pdf [nokia.com]

Re:Screw Megapixels (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185357)

Mod up parent and reduce the rest of the comments into nothingness.

Pictures are 5MP standard.
On the short end, combining pixels help to reduce lens abberations due to pixel size.
On the long end, placement of relevant pixels in the centre reduces lens abberations.

And it could not be done in WP7, as the processing power is simply missing there.

Re:Screw Megapixels (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185329)

BECAUSE MEGAPICKELS!

Typical consumers don't buy a camera based on the quality of it's optics. People could give two shits about Carl Zeiss and probably only know the name because someone on TV oooh'd and awww'd about something with a Zeiss label.

Typical consumers don't understand the circle of confusion or why a small cell-phone or compact camera sensor is going to produce inferior images to a larger sensor.

Typical consumers don't understand depth of field, fstops, the zone system, tonal quality, dynamic range, or any of that other nonsense.

A typical consumer CAN compare two numbers and figure out which one is larger. Since this something everyone can do, that is where camera marketing has focused.

Canon, for instance, pushes sensors with huge megapickle numbers, but side by side their resolution is the same as the competing level Nikon or Sony. The only way you're going to get an actual resolution increase over the ASP-C sensor is going larger. All other factors being equal, a full frame sensor (35mm) produces a better image than an ASP-C. A medium format sensor (60mm) produces a better image than full frame (35mm), and so on.

So why is Nokia peddling on the megapickles instead of the oversampling or the digital zoom abilities, or the sensor size?

Because of understandable marketing.

Optics (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184685)

Unless it has a DSLR-type lens, the limitation is going to be optics, not resolution.

-taktoa

Re:Optics (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184767)

Look at the sample shots. 41MP be damned, those photos look goooooood.

http://cdn.conversations.nokia.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Archive2.zip [amazonaws.com]

Me likey...

Re:Optics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184797)

It has Carl Zeiss optics. For the focal length of the lens (f2.4), it should be quite decent.

Re:Optics (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185251)

Kodak used Carl Zeiss optics, and their cameras always tested well for it, and look where it got them.

Re:Optics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39186003)

FWIW, because it has no optical zoom, the main benefit of this many pixels is that you can do electronic zoom up to some reasonable point without losing resolution excessively.

Re:Optics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185055)

Well, they're decent... for a phone. Won't make me throw away the camera though.

Re:Optics (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185331)

What exactly is wrong with them? Can you point out something?

Re:Optics (1)

batistuta (1794636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185075)

You think so? I just see vibrant colors, not 41megapixels detail. With a clear blue sky like that, and plenty of light, you minimize the problems of small sensors/lenses.

It is known that you can print up to A3 size with a 6 MP camera. So the only advantage would be when using digital zoom. If I zoom in those images I see a noisy sky. Sure, it can be a problem with jpg format. But in any case, the same picture could have been obtained with a 6MP camera.

Re:Optics (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185433)

Those are nice shots, but they were also taken by a professional photographer in perfect lighting conditions. The ability of the average user to reproduce these will be reduced to "Happy Accident."

Now, a person with a good eye for composition and lighting will be able to turn out some pretty nice stuff on a consistent basis, and if you're looking to be able to make calls and play Angry Birds on your camera, more power to you.

Re:Optics (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185461)

Hmmm, good point. My Galaxy Nexus take barely usable shots in broad daylight but churns out murky crap at night... maybe it really is time for a bigger camera.

Re:Optics (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185811)

Pretty much this. An iPhone (which, until the 4S had spectacularly bad cameras) can take good pictures under optimal conditions. ANYTHING can take good pictures under optimal conditions. Especially if you're looking at it on Facebook on some random browser at 400 pixels across.

Have the light wash out, have the subject move, put the subject close or far away, print poster size - then you're pushing hardware.

Re:Optics (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184809)

Yup, there's a physical limit to how much light you can get through a lens the size of your pinky nail and all the megapixels in the world won't change that.

Re:Optics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184965)

larger sensors (larger than point-and-shoots)

Re:Optics (4, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185155)

That's true, but this isn't a tiny lens. The spec sheet doesn't give the actual lens size, but it does say there's a 1.5 inch sensor in there, which is a clue to the real flaw with this product. It's not really a phone with a surprisingly good camera, it's actually just a consumer level compact camera that happens to also be able to make calls. The big idea of getting rid of the optical zoom and just downsampling in the box, gaining both hardware simplicity and the advantage of averaging out noise when using less than max quality is fundamentally sound, but it probably isn't ready for real-world deployment in an actual consumer level compact camera... hence the decision to slap a phone on he back and pretend it's not a consumer level compact camera. This probably explains the decision to put symbian on it, the CPU of the camera this really ought to be probably wasn't beefy enough to run anything modern at a decent speed.

Not for taking 38 Megapixel - for 5 megapixel (5, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185347)

The point is not to take 38 megapixel images. I don't know why everyone is focusing on the megapixel, that is not the story here.

The story here is the approach they take, 41 megapixel oversampled images processed algorithmically to produce superior 5 mega pixel images. The story may even be Symbian, definitely not the 41 mega pixel sensor.

Re:Not for taking 38 Megapixel - for 5 megapixel (1)

xystren (522982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185767)

I think people are focusing on the overkill of 38 megapixel image on a camera phone. Sure, it's kind of cool from a technological perspective, but from a practical standpoint, considering the limitations of aperture, focal length, optic distortion, etc., constrained within the tiny framework of a phone is pretty pointless - even Zeiss optics have their limitations. Also, as mentioned previously, one can only allow so much light into a small and tiny lens (which is limited by the form factor of the size of the phone.)

The concept of taking a oversampled image to produce a superior lower mega pixel image is not new. It's called a loss-less digital zoom (which does sound like an oxy-moron) but as you mentioned was part of the story's approach. My old Sony DSC-V1 (2004) with a 5mp sensor has a similar feature - set your saved picture size down to below 5mp and you would get an extra bonus of loss-less digital zoom due to the oversampling. Interestingly enough, that camera would not permit you to digitally zoom beyond anything that would sacrifice quality.

Re:Optics (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185413)

While optics become a limitation, the sensor size is larger in size not just resolution (thus better aperture and less noise).

But I don't think you can have it all on your cell (I wished a F/1.4 11mm-5000mm lens but that would be kind of bulky - if possible).

To me, the news come down to
1. The bandwidth of the sensor to pull all that data out in a "fair experience" for the user
1.b. The embedded processing capabilities (DSP, etc)

2. The capability of analyzing a 41 megapixel image, with fairly low noise and try to interpolate to obtain very good results on night shots using a cellphone.

Re:Optics (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185437)

Ah.. yes. I forgot...

3. A fairly good quality digital zoom that can crop 41MP to 4.1MP to avoid more complex optical zoom mechanisms.

Re:Optics (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185897)

You don't need the digital zoom - that's what all the pickles are for. Just subsample. That allows you to have simpler, better lens. Zooming is faster. It allows the 'photographer' to decide what to do with the picture later. That's important in these miserable little 'cameras' since the form factor and lack of a decent viewfinder make it hard to compose, especially when the subject is busy yorking up all the Doritos in the corner. Gotta get that special moment!

Not too many pixels in fact. (5, Informative)

rnbc (174939) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185513)

Actually since this is a near diffraction limited lens working at f/2.4 the spot size is going to be about 0.56um * 2.4 ~ 1.344um on the focal plane. The cycle size is about double, or 2.688um.

Considering it uses a Bayer array, and the pixels are spaced at 1.4um, the green pixels will be spaced at 2um (minimum distance to next green pixel). To properly sample you need at least 2 pixels per cycle (said Mr. Nyquist), but since pixels are not exactly points (they have an area) astronomers working in diffraction limited imaging advise 3x sampling in practice.

What this means is you would need a pixel size of 2.688/3/sqrt(2) ~ 0.63um (or 0.9um if using a Foven-style sensor) to properly sample this lens. 1.4um vastly undersamples the lens, as can be seen near the central area in the available samples: they are razor sharp in the central area, and otherwise are limited by aberrations.

A practical article describing this, with example images, can be seen here:

http://samirkharusi.net/sampling_saturn.html

Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (4, Informative)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184691)

"This suggests either a longer life for Symbian — or maybe Symbian was just an easier platform to make a show-stopping device that may turn out to be more of a concept phone"
Or perhaps the phone has been in development for some time, maybe it takes longer than Marketing announcement cycles to design and deliver new technology.

Re:Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (5, Informative)

suy (1908306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184879)

Or perhaps the phone has been in development for some time, maybe it takes longer than Marketing announcement cycles to design and deliver new technology.

I can't find now the link (maybe it was on a video), but they say they have been developing this technology for four years.

And BTW, the summary is somewhat unfair. On the announcement [nokia.com] they have posted (besides some impressive photo samples) a whitepaper [nokia.com] were they clearly say that is not about quantity of megapixels, is about the quality you get when you average the results given by each one. I've also seen some of the videos were you get a very smooth digital zoom without loss of quality, and is quite remarkable.

Re:Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (0, Flamebait)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184993)

And BTW, the summary is somewhat unfair. On the announcement [nokia.com] they have posted (besides some impressive photo samples) a whitepaper [nokia.com] were they clearly say that is not about quantity of megapixels, is about the quality you get when you average the results given by each one. I've also seen some of the videos were you get a very smooth digital zoom without loss of quality, and is quite remarkable.

Bleh, you're boring the appletards with technical details.

Re:Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (3, Insightful)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185017)

Is there some modern variant of Godwin's law that applies whenever you mention Steve Jobs or Apple in an unrelated conversation?

Re:Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185869)

Yes, the variant is called "mod point".

Re:Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39186015)

Is there some modern variant of Godwin's law that applies whenever you mention Steve Jobs or Apple in an unrelated conversation?

iGod's law?

Re:Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185111)

There is one-time big marketing&buzz potential with 40Mpx camera that you can hardly hope to generate later again. It doesn't make sense to launch the phone with OS declared dead year ago if you have another phone with the "right" OS few months later (this Symbian phone should be on sale in May, Windows Phone 8 should arrive in Q4).

Actually the problem seems to be that both WP7 and WP8 are incapable to handle the image processing just now.

Re:Or perhaps this isn't Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39186027)

This has been in development for more than five years. That's why it's running Symbian.

mazimum? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184693)

Users can either save a mazimum of 38Mpixels

You lost me there.

Who are they? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184695)

Enjoy being irrelevant, Nokia.

Re:Who are they? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184811)

Gosh I was modded down quick. Ok Slashdot, enjoy your GeneriCo Ballmer Phone-7.

"Observers expected a maximum of one more Symbian" (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184697)

Shouldn't they expect a mazimum?

Question is.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184713)

Is it really pixels or is it phonus balonus theoretical pixels?

I have and Olympus FE-47 cheepie "14 megapixel" which has worse actual resolution than my old Nikon Coolpix 800, which only is 1 megapixel.

Re:Question is.. (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184735)

Well there's no way they're going to fit a lens capable of giving a great picture onto a phone.

Re:Question is.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184773)

Well there's no way they're going to fit a lens capable of giving a great picture onto a phone.

Oh, I think they could, but it'll cost ya.

I'mma think this is more like the behavior of the Olympus FE-47, where it saves a picture, which has a resolution of 14 mp, but the actual quality leaves something to be desired.

I'm looking elsewhere, from camera phones, for my next camera anyway, why do I need some kind of quality like that when I'm going to have fingerprints and dust all over the lens, anyway?

Re:Question is.. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184881)

Oh, I think they could, but it'll cost ya.

Even £1500 lenses for DSLRs aren't capable of resolving this kind of resolution across a full frame.

Re:Question is.. (2)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185593)

Actually, they are. (Nikon thinks so, at any rate, since they just made a DSLR with that kind of resolution.)

What you should ask is "Are these lenses capable of delivering a MTF significantly different from zero at a frequency of 5000 line pairs per picture height?" (In engineering terms, this is 2500 cycles per picture height.) This is an unambiguous criterion for being able to make use of that extra resolution: can the lens deliver detail up to the Nyquist frequency of the sensor?

The answer is pretty unequivocally yes, as can be shown by several tests. The simplest of them is to consider teleconverters. I don't have a 48MP camera handy, but I *do* have a 12MP camera and a 2x teleconverter. Any lens capable of resolving 3000 lp/ph well with a 2x teleconverter will be capable of resolving 6000 lp/ph without it, since an ideal teleconverter just magnifies the image. I have a $125 lens (the Zuiko Digital 35mm f/3.5 macro) which easily satisfies this criterion: it delivers images that contain detail all the way down to the pixel level on a 12MP sensor (i.e. 3000 lp/ph) with a 2x teleconverter. (I use this in the field to get more working distance for bug shots since 35mm is quite short for a macro lens.) Thus, it will deliver useful detail to twice that resolution without the teleconverter, which corresponds to a 48MP sensor at the 4:3 aspect ratio.

This is a $125 lens. (It's also the sharpest I own.) If a cheap lens can do this -- and can do it when focused well into the macro range, which provides special optical challenges -- then there are plenty of more expensive ones that can, too.

Another test is to look at an extremely dense sensor already in existence: the 24MP Sony NEX-7 sensor, which has a crop factor of 1.5x. It's got the same pixel density as a 50+MP fullframe sensor. But people use fullframe lenses on it, such as the Carl Zeiss ones built for the Sony mount, or Leica M lenses, or whatever, and get useful detail out of all that resolution. Those lenses, then, are capable of delivering useful detail to a 50+MP fullframe sensor.

Zoom lenses may have trouble resolving this sort of detail, but even most cheap prime lenses can. (Of course, the very fast ones won't be able to at f/1.4...)

Re:Question is.. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39186081)

Thank you for taking the trouble to debunk that particular issue. I think the idea of a 'cheap' fixed focus lens vs. a 'complicated and expensive' zoom is very salient here. By using a fixed focal lens of presumably decent quality (remember, the sensor is actually fairly large for this sort of application which means you make a relatively large lens) and doing the zooming in the computer, you 1) speed things up for the user 2) make the camera physically simpler and hopefully higher image quality 3) thus make manufacturing simpler.

It appears that with the modern crop of sensors / lenses and support electronics, this approach is doable. Now, dump the ancient OS and put it in a real camera, er, phone or whatever.

Re:Question is.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184815)

Sensor is much larger than a traditional 5MP phone cam sensor:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/02/27/Nokia-808-PureView-with-41MP-sensor

Re:Question is.. (1)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184945)

Ditto that - salient point here is a much larger sensor which has a big effect on reducing noise. It's still not anywhere near the size of a DSLR, and at least in the pics I saw (all taken in daylight), there was a lot of "smearing" at 100% ... so diffraction is coming into play here.

Note also that the samples were all "wide-angle" - the "telephoto" is not optical - basically just using a subset of the sensor to do it electronically. So makes the device much simpler (no moving parts), but in essence is digital zoom, so image quality is going to suffer as you zoom in.

Nifty idea though.

Re:Question is.. (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185645)

Reading the article, it states that the sensor size is 1.5 inches. (38.1mm) If we assume that the measurement is like other camera sensors, that is the diagonal measurement and a little trig tells us that we can get a ~27mm a side right triangle from that, which is on par with APS-C sensors, or most DSLRs in production today.

The smearing is probably coming from the focal distance between the lens and the sensor and a fixed aperture. Unless there is something they aren't telling us, the lens has to be focused to infinity and the aperture is f2.4, which is going to produce a very wonky area of critical focus. Plus, as you mentioned, diffraction is going to be a huge problem. The formulas for focus to infinity that close to the image plane are going to be very limited and your CoC is probably going to be well outside optimal. I would also guess that when oversampling, they are averaging the images to simulate critical focus, but using one sample to also simulate bokeh.

Re:Question is.. (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185739)

And let me reply to my own post here. The whitepaper says the sensor is going to be 10x7mm, which is a little under half an inch diagonal. Nothing about that sensor can equal 38mm, so I'm wondering which measurement is a misprint.

Re:Question is.. (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184917)

I had the same fear, the image at actual size would have bad detail. However, Nokia has sample images available for download that look amazing, seems suspicious. Link to sample pics towards the bottom. http://www.dailytech.com/Nokias+41+MP+Super+Phone+to+Sport+Symbian+See+EuroOnly+Launch/article24093.htm [dailytech.com]

Re:Question is.. (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184935)

It is actual pixels. Have a look at the whitepaper on the technology. In essence, it can be used for digital zoom where you still have a decent resolution on the final image:
http://europe.nokia.com/PRODUCT_METADATA_0/Products/Phones/8000-series/808/Nokia808PureView_Whitepaper.pdf [nokia.com]

Re:Question is.. (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185023)

According to the product briefing, it's actually very odd. There really are 41 megapixels, but you can't use more than 38 megapixels at any given time. You can shoot either 16:9 images that chop off the top and bottom or 4:3 images that chop off the sides of the full 41. This means the corners of the sensor are never used, as they are always cropped off, so the lens doesn't need to be big enough to let light into the very corners.

Re:Question is.. (1)

PybusJ (30549) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185095)

It's not all that odd. Panasonic already do the same trick with some of their Lumix cameras. It makes a lot of sense as all lenses produce a circular image.

Megapixels are cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184715)

Its the optics (especially larger apertures) that deliver better resolution and quality. Moreover, higher number of pixels in the same sized sensor means that each pixel is smaller and inherently more noise. They would have been better off just producing the same megapixel sensor (~5MP) with better (newer mfg process) pixels, if they really wanted better low light performance.

But what they really wanted was marketing headlines... Oh well :-/

Megapixels means *absolutely nothing* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184741)

The resolution is determined by the sensor size, not the "number of megapixels". Why do sites report on a number that means nothing whatsoever?

Re:Megapixels means *absolutely nothing* (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185653)

Not true. So long as you are away from the diffraction limit and your glass is good enough and you have enough light, the resolution is determined by the pixel count.

Those conditions are very hard to satisfy for very high pixel counts, and there usually are other limiting factors (noise/focusing errors/optical aberrations). But, in principle (and sometimes in practice) it's the pixel count that limits absolute resolution.

Diffraction limited? (5, Interesting)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184751)

Your average phone has a ~4 mm (diameter) lens. This yields an Airy disc [wikipedia.org] of some 1.15 minutes of arc [google.ch] .

Even at a wide field of view (say, 60 degrees), this yields a maximum lateral resolution of some 3200 pixels. Isn't thus any camera with more than ~10 MPixels diffraction limited by the tiny lens, and not sensor limited?

Re:Diffraction limited? (2)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184777)

You are correct in your calculations. That also assume perfect optics, so the actual value will be lower than this. However, if you'd RTFA you'd see that the lens is much larger than 4mm.

But expect a whole host of replies agreeing that 41MP in a phone is ridiculous.

Re:Diffraction limited? (5, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184953)

Summary is terrible and misses out the parts of the camera that are actually exciting. First, they never intend for people to use the 41MP setting, instead, they intend you to use 5MP and let their fancy new pixel averaging do it's thing to dramatically reduce noise levels by averaging out 8 pixels into one. That will allow higher iso settings, better low light pictures, etc. The other interesting thing is the size of the sensor, 10x7mm, which is ludicrously large for a phone, about 4 times more surface area than the latest iPhone's sensor. Heck, it's larger than the vast majority of point and shoots. Now obviously, just like megapixels, I imagine that sensor size could be artificially inflated just like any other number, but the example pictures they have posted look pretty incredible for a camera phone.

Re:Diffraction limited? (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185479)

That will allow higher iso settings, better low light pictures, etc.

That is what I want to see. I'm tired of having to turn on every light in my house and open all the blinds to get a good picture on my child doing whatever it is that she may be doing. And even then, if she is moving at all, it's going to come out blurry. Most of the time, I give up and go grab the DSLR and take the picture that way, but it certainly doesn't help when I'm on the road.

I want good, clear, low-light pictures of objects that were moving when the photo was taken. I simply don't think that is possible with a lens that is the diameter of a pencil.

The samples I've seen from this camera are out door shots in a friggin desert! I want indoor shots of a dog running taken with the window blinds closed, flash off, and no more light than what you would get from a standard lamp with a 15 watt CFL. When this shot is clear and bright, I'll buy that phone for the camera.

Re:Diffraction limited? (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184855)

Exactly my thought. I've got a 10MP DSLR and even then I get the impression that the limitation is still the lens. Sure you can do averaging with lots of pixels, but then you can just use fewer, bigger pixels.

Re:Diffraction limited? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185661)

What lens is it? Lots of the lenses that come with DSLR's are terrible. The 10MP models that come to mind are the Canon XTi (400D) and Olympus E-410/420/510/520. The lens that comes with the former is sort of a stinker, the ones that come with the latter (especially the 40-150mm) are not bad.

Re:Diffraction limited? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185001)

You are assuming that the lens is the same size as on other cameras. What if the lens is 8mm?? That should give an Airy disk that would give around 40mp. What if the lens is further from the sensor? That would increase size as well.

From other news reports, the sensor is quite large -- about 3/4 size of what is used on the Nikon V1.

Re:Diffraction limited? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185141)

I think the interesting point here is actually : more pixels => larger sensor (at constant pixel size) => more flux captured => less noise. This is not about resolution but about noise !

Re:Diffraction limited? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185699)

The key here is the sensor size, not the pixel count itself. There are sensors that are huge but have low pixel counts (the 12MP fullframe sensor in the Nikon D3s, for instance) that have tremendously low noise. As you say, big sensor -> more flux, regardless of how many pixels you slice it into.

41 Megapixels (0)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184753)

41 Megapixels - wow, that will take up an entire 2008 SD card per photo.

Does it actually have a good enough lense to use all 41 Megapixels- or is this a case of the megapixels being greater than it can really accurately capture?

I know megapixel is often not a good indicator of the actual photo quality.

Re:41 Megapixels (3, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184795)

The captured image will occupy a small space in the upper left of the picture, the rest will be solid white but when you open the file it will still be 41 million pixels.

Re:41 Megapixels (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184839)

41 Megapixels - wow, that will take up an entire 2008 SD card per photo.

Does it actually have a good enough lense to use all 41 Megapixels- or is this a case of the megapixels being greater than it can really accurately capture?

I know megapixel is often not a good indicator of the actual photo quality.

Not really. A moderately high end DSLR with, say, an 18MP sensor saving in RAW (18m 12-bit samples)+JPEG is around 25MB an image. Based on Nokia's numbers, *if* the sensor can save in RAW, *and* its using 12-bit, you're talking in the order of maybe 35-40MB an image, and that's probably a stretch. In JPEG, its probably under 10MB/photo.

That would've filled a cheap card you would've seen in a digital camera ten years ago, but not five years ago. Most of the SmartMedia cards I've got in a box at home from a ten year old 2mp-ish camera are 128MB cards.

Re:41 Megapixels (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184915)

It's not designed to take massive high resolution pictures. All the megapixels are there for the Zoom capabilites that most cell phone cameras lack. It's not like you can put an optical zoom on a phone, so this is the next best thing. Only problem is how well can they stabalize the picture if you zoom in 20x times.

Re:41 Megapixels (1)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185295)

Nope, they'll use 90% JPEG compression.

Get the facts (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184757)

I strongly recommend reading the white paper:

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

Re:Get the facts (2)

khoonirobo (1316521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185015)

Really, just please read the whitepaper.

And if that is too much, then here is an abstract.

The sensor is 41MP. Then they use a technique they are calling oversampling wherein multiple pixels are used to calculate a perfect average pixel and as far as I understand the final res of the saved image is configured. For an example, they say a 5 MP image.

Pretty cool stuff and as an engineer "Doh" moment stuff.

And yes, Mod Parent up.

Re:Get the facts (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185771)

This isn't terribly new -- I do it every day when I display the 4000x3000 images from my camera on my 1920x1080 screen. My image display software does some fancy averaging to make fewer pixels out of the average values of the pixels in the original jpeg.

The only difference here is that you're doing it in software *before* you save the image to the card, rather than in software when you go to *display* the image later. But even that's not revolutionary -- most digital cameras have a mode that does pixel averaging in the camera and then saves a lower-res image.

The only difference is that this phone has so many pixels (or, to put it another way, so little detail at the Nyquist frequency) that it's designed to be used this way.

Re:Get the facts (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185167)

The paper is good and clears up a lot but it does not indicate any solution to the maximum resolution of this lens size. Albeit a Carl Zeis lens helps, there are reasons a small lens will not get this resolution (other /.-ers are far more capable of explaining this, and have done so in this topic)

ARghhhh (4, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184765)

I'll look forward to getting 20 of those pictures in an email. Thanks mum, the 10 gig of pictures with nothing but the food you ordered whilst on holiday are great.Oh - I can see some bugs you missed in the salad :) / fires up Photoshop - Mwwhahahhaaa.

Re:ARghhhh (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185301)

Depending on the defaults in mom's camera app and the mail app that might impose its own preferred resolution, you will get the same compressed jpegs with e.g. 5 megapixels of effective image data.

Mazimum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39184851)

mazimum

You say that as if there was a plan... (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184859)

This suggests either a longer life for Symbian - or maybe Symbian was just an easier platform to make a show-stopping device that may turn out to be more of a concept phone.

Or as most of us have figured out, Nokia has been a rudderless company and this is probably the work of the "let's turn Symbian into a smart phone" faction and this is just to recover a little bit of all the money they've wasted, just like the pathetically few N-series phones they released. They probably jumped on the wrong ship when they went all in on Windows Phone, but at least that one is going somewhere. Nokia never managed to agree on one thing and then actually do it well, so Apple and Google ate them for lunch. Epic management fail, if you ask me.

Re:You say that as if there was a plan... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185085)

They probably jumped on the wrong ship when they went all in on Windows Phone, but at least that one is going somewhere.

Yep, nothing can stop it now. Next stop, the ocean floor.

Re:You say that as if there was a plan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185283)

Or as most of us have figured out, Nokia has been a rudderless company and this is probably the work of the "let's turn Symbian into a smart phone" faction and this is just to recover a little bit of all the money they've wasted, just like the pathetically few N-series phones they released.

Yes, the 21 different models of n-series phones released is really sad compared to the wholesomely jaw-dropping range of what the other manufacturers have done.

Re:You say that as if there was a plan... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185939)

Yes, the 21 different models of n-series phones released

You do know different colors don't count as different models right? Or would you like to try listing them...

Re:You say that as if there was a plan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185843)

I believe the decision to drop MeeGo was malicious. The Nokia N9 is feature complete, and is better than any of their Symbian phones. From a developer's standpoint, there's also no reason to choose Symbian over MeeGo.

If Nokia wants to make Windows phones, fine. But dropping MeeGo and then claiming they don't have a plan B is much better justified by malice than stupidity.

sample pictures (3, Informative)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39184911)

Some sample pics, apparently:

http://cdn.conversations.nokia.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Archive2.zip [amazonaws.com]

They look OK, and amazing for a phone.

Re:sample pictures (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185561)

Some sample pics, apparently:

http://cdn.conversations.nokia.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Archive2.zip [amazonaws.com]

They look OK, and amazing for a phone.

I disagree. These are shot on a sunny day in a desert of objects that are not moving or are moving very slow. Show me a shot of dogs playing in doors at night with no more light that you would get from ceiling fan light fixture (say, four CFL bulbs). When that picture is good, I'll agree.

Also, look at these pics at 100%. I can see pixels! I shouldn't see pixels when viewed at 100%. My old Sony Mavica wouldn't show pixels when viewed at 100 percent and it had a maximum resolution of 640x480 and wrote to floppy disk!

Re:sample pictures (2)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185905)

Oh I agree it's no DSLR, but they compare well to a compact camera. Here's a pic from a Canon S90:

http://www.rollthepotato.net/~john/img_0900.jpg [rollthepotato.net]

It has a range of annoying artefacts (very oversharp, too much noise reduction, very visible chromatic aberration, etc.) but it's roughly similar to the Nokia. And of course the Nokia has four times as many pixels.

Pixel peepers... (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185205)

sigh, i see this thread devolving into flames by pixel peepers who will find the most minute issue to pick at while failing to just look at the damn pictures admit that they look quite nice. The kind of folks for whom photography has little to do with the actual content of the picture. I think the samples look pretty good considering they came from a cell phone with "fake" 41MP sensor and a lens that's "too small".

Nice job Nokia. Would have been nice to see this tech a few years sooner when you still were a player in the US market. I'd love to see them license this. I don't plan to buy a Nokia phone, so it would be cool to have a decent camera in the form factor of say a thumb drive that i could just keep on my key chain.

Shut up ignorant yankees (4, Insightful)

kalpaha (667921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185285)

Keep making fun of Nokia ignorant yankees. One of the main reasons Nokia is non-existent in US is because it tried to stand up to the telcos and protect consumer's rights by not crippling the phones as per the request of your greedy-ass cellular carriers. I guess it won't be making that mistake anymore.

The 808 just goes to show that some companies still employ engineers instead of designers. I mean, Apple has to rip off that patented technology from somewhere. ( http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/apple-pays-up-licenses-patents-from-nokia/50558 [zdnet.com] )

I'm not new here, so I know it's a lot to ask, but in addition to reading the fucking article, I encourage everyone to read the white paper too: http://europe.nokia.com/PRODUCT_METADATA_0/Products/Phones/8000-series/808/Nokia808PureView_Whitepaper.pdf [nokia.com]

Also check out the sound quality of the 808 recording (listen with good headphones or speakers to really appreciate the difference) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EbLFtF50y9A [youtube.com]

41 megapixel porn... (1)

ardiri (245358) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185429)

now we will end up seeing way too much. TMI.

summary != right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39185455)

By default it takes pictures at the highest resolution, but then uses 7 pixels for each pixel (called pure pixel or something like that) and downsizes the final image to 5MP. This was you the user also has a non-optical lossless zoom (magnification depends on what final resolution you use). Apparently this technology was in development for over 5 years.

Did something similar... (1)

fran6gagne (1467469) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185489)

I've put a ferrari motor on my lawnmower. Now it can go superfast and I could do races with it, but I still use it mainly for what it was design for, mow the lawn...

Symbian (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185747)

There are a LOT of people who adore Symbian phones, and they are VERY secure and stable in comparison with many other telephones.
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