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Rumored resolutions of camera images leak, along with price

Nokia Oyj.'s (HEX:NOK1V) fresh flagship phone, the Lumia 1020 is set to be unveiled Thursday, but more specs are already trickling out, following the phone's inadvertent outing via Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

Here's a run-down on what we know about the phone's camera, which is expected to be the best smartphone camera available -- rivaling all but the best point and shoots (other than lacking an optical zoom).
  • 1/1.2" image sensor
  • Dual flash: LED + Xenon
  • OIS (optical image stabilization) via floating lens*
  • 38 megapixel (4:3); 32 MP (16:9); and 5 MP (16:9) (with 7 pixels per "superpixel")
  • F2.2 aperture (some sources say this may be adjustable)
  • Manual internal shutter
  • 2 GB DRAM
  • 32 GB NAND Flash Storage
  • NFC
  • Camera grip with built in battery ($70 USD) (capacity unknown)
  • Wireless charging via backplate*
*This first popped up in the Lumia 920, and is also found in the 925/928.

Nokia Lumia 1020
The Nokia Lumia 1020 [Image Source: WPCentral]

The onboard "Amber" skin, which is Nokia exclusive will provide:
  • FM radio support
  • Flip to silence
  • Pro Camera app (control ISO, white balance, shutter speed, flash, manual focus)
The Pro Camera app is expected to stand in for the more blasé standard Windows Phone Camera app, although automatic settings will be available by default.

The phone will reportedly go on sale at Microsoft Stores on July 22, unlocked, at a price of $602 USD.  The Microsoft stores reportedly will carry three varieties -- yellow, white, and black.  AT&T, Inc. (T) is expected to be the initial carrier for the (locked) version of the device, which is expected to feature additional colors (like cyan).

International release prices and dates are unknown, at this point.

Source: WPCentral

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Which one is it?
By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 7/9/2013 4:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
Either the 38 megapixel leaked info is not correct or the picture of the Nokia 1020 is faked since the picture of the phone clearly says 41 megapixel.

RE: Which one is it?
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/9/13, Rating: -1
RE: Which one is it?
By SPOOFE on 7/9/2013 5:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
The pictures will be absolutely filthy with all the crosstalk noise

At a pixel level, sure. However, most people don't look at images at the pixel level. Each noisy pixel is a relatively smaller part of the whole image.

This is essentially oversampling, which (in theory) helps counteract the inherent Bayer blur.

RE: Which one is it?
By Nortel on 7/9/2013 8:38:59 PM , Rating: 1
MOST people are going to be uploading these pictures to FB or other online sources. The only reason to require 41MP is if you are printing 6 foot wide banners. Its like having a 4k TV and playing back 480p content and saying, "well you should be standing 10 feet away anyway".

RE: Which one is it?
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/10/2013 8:32:01 AM , Rating: 1
Right, so we have to ask Nokia... What's the point?.

Let's face it -- this is a phone, not a full-frame or Medium Format pro-level digital camera (the place where you commonly expect to see resolutions of 41MP).

My D7100 has a resolution of 24 MP with an APS-C sensor and even at that level it gets red marks for noise that you don't see in full-frame. Mind you, the guys doing the reviewing are accustomed to reviewing enthusiast and pro level cameras. But why the huge MP density in a smartphone with a tiny 1/1.2 sensor? IMHO if 90% of folks are doing nothing more than is popping them onto facebook or uploading to dropbox, there really is no need for 41 MP. 16 MP would excellent results for casual snapshots.

If you are going to be doing serious photography that needs this level of resolution, you are gonna use a DSLR or DMF camera for it and nothing less.

RE: Which one is it?
By InsGadget on 7/10/2013 9:05:25 AM , Rating: 5
Yes, you guys just keep on convincing yourselves advancement in technology is a bad thing.

RE: Which one is it?
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/10/2013 12:56:47 PM , Rating: 1
Technology advances are based on need. I honestly see no need for a 41 MP sensor on a phone camera.

Do you honestly see a need for this? Please be so kind as to elaborate on that need.

RE: Which one is it?
By lennylim on 7/9/2013 5:24:27 PM , Rating: 3
While the pixel density is very high, it is not as stupidly insane as it first sounds, because the sensor is fairly large for a cellphone (1/1.2" compared to, say, 1/3" or so for many camera phones).

Pixel size of the previous generation PureView is 1.4 microns, about what most cameras on the phone packs. The HTC One has pixel size of 2 microns. But this guy can combine the result of 7 sensor site into 1 pixel output, theoretically about 5 times the sensor area of the HTC One.

RE: Which one is it?
By B3an on 7/9/2013 6:15:45 PM , Rating: 5
I always see so much **** and stupid assumptions posted on articles about this phone.

Look, the high pixel count is used to make sharp and accurate smaller images (under 10mp). Just like with with the previous Nokia 808 PureView the high res images are scaled down (but you can stop this from happening in the settings), and all the pixel data is used to also produce better colours. You end up with extremely sharp detailed images, with very accurate colour (for a phone). It obviously works very well as the 808 still has better image quality than any other phone. If you don't believe me just go look at the images taken with it by doing a quick search.

If this phone also uses the "floating lens" tech inside the Lumia 920/925/928 then this should also produce the best low light shots. It's camera would be utterly unrivalled by any other phone.

Picture file sizes
By Shig on 7/9/2013 3:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone have any word on how big each of these files will be? 40 megapixels is kind of a lot xD

RE: Picture file sizes
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/9/2013 5:02:51 PM , Rating: 2
To give a ballpark, the 36.3MP Nikon D800 produces RAW files around 40MB each. So to extrapolate 10 pics = 400MB. 100 pix = 4GB.

You gonna eat up that internal-only memory pretty quick if you are doing a lot of action/sports continuous shooting.

I would expect jpegs to take about 10-20% that much space.

RE: Picture file sizes
By testbug00 on 7/9/2013 11:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
FWIW, my Nokia Lumia 920 takes 3-4MB shots (usually 3.4-3.6).

I would guess it would probably be triple that at most, probably no more then 10MB a shot... Probably not over 8.


RE: Picture file sizes
By hpglow on 7/10/2013 1:03:55 AM , Rating: 1
Very few people ever have a reason to store their photos RAW. There seem to be quite a few that think they do. However, unless you are stitching a multi-gigapixel photo to gather, you need to find some sub-atomic gnat, or you have a huge telephoto lense and you just need to get a pic of someone's snatch from 10 miles back there just isn't a need.

RE: Picture file sizes
By safcman84 on 7/10/2013 4:20:02 AM , Rating: 2
RAW is used for people who want to post-edit their pictures, so it is very usefuly for photographers.

You can edit a jpg, but the final result wont be as good as editing a RAW, then saving as a jpg.

I see to recall
By Shadowself on 7/9/2013 3:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't that long ago people on this site were saying that pixel counts of more than 8 Mp was not able to be supported by optics that can fit into a smartphone (and some saying for anything more than 5 Mp). I disagreed back then as I didn't believe that 5 or 8 was really the limit.

It always amazes me that there is such an outcry when new "limits" are first reached then a while later when those "limits" are breached by a factor of 5 or 8 or more there is no comment at all.

However, a simple arithmetic calculation shows that to get useful information out of each of 38 Mp with an optics that can fit into a smartphone will take one hell of a lot of image post processing (and I assume this is a Bayer array to boot). In theory it's possible -- especially if the system is running a five frame high dynamic range mode -- but it will truly take significant post processing in the phone.

RE: I see to recall
By Solandri on 7/9/2013 5:12:42 PM , Rating: 3
It wasn't that long ago people on this site were saying that pixel counts of more than 8 Mp was not able to be supported by optics that can fit into a smartphone (and some saying for anything more than 5 Mp). I disagreed back then as I didn't believe that 5 or 8 was really the limit.

It always amazes me that there is such an outcry when new "limits" are first reached then a while later when those "limits" are breached by a factor of 5 or 8 or more there is no comment at all.

No limits have been broken. The iPhone's lens is a 4.1mm focal length f/2.4, so it's 1.71 mm wide.

The Rayleigh criterion for a 1.71mm diameter lens in the red spectrum (700 nm) is 0.0286 degrees. That's the smallest object you can resolve using that lens. It gives a view equivalent to a 33mm lens (in the 35mm format), which corresponds to a 57x40 degree field of view. So the maximum resolution it supports is 1999x1398 in a 1.5:1 aspect ratio, or 2.8 MP.

The Bayer filter means only one pixel in 4 is red, so the camera's 8 MP is effectively capturing only 2 MP of red image data, which is less than the 2.8 MP limit I just calculated. The extra "data" bumping it up to 8 MP is "made up" by the Bayer filter processing algorithm. Unless they go with a bigger lens or a wider field of view, the camera simply can't resolve more than about 8-10 MP of data (counting each color pixel as separate). You'll just be capturing two blurry pixels instead of one sharp one. You can see this if you compare a cell phone pic with a DSLR pic at 100%. Because more of the data is "made up" by the Bayer algorithm in the cell phone pic, it looks blurrier than the DSLR pic where adjacent pixels are getting truly different optical data.

I haven't seen specs on the Lumina 1020. But its predecessor the 808 uses a 8.02mm f/2.4 lens, which is 3.34mm across - nearly twice as wide as the iPhone's. It has an angular resolution limit of 0.0146 degrees. Its field of view is a 26mm equivalent, or 69.4x49.6 degrees. That puts its maximum capture resolution at 4737x3386 pixels, or 16 MP.

The 41 MP sensor means about 10.2 MP of red data is captured, which again is less than the 16 MP theoretical limit. Again, no limits have been broken here.

The reason cell phone cameras are getting close to these limits before DSLRs is because it's a helluva lot easier to grind a 2mm wide lens to an optically perfect shape, than it is to grind a 77mm wide professional lens to a perfect shape.

RE: I see to recall
By Shadowself on 7/9/2013 6:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
First, I wasn't referring specifically to the iPhone. If I recall correctly those old discussions actually started with another brand of phone, but maybe it was the iPhone.

Second, you've actually supported my point. The real pixel support of this optics is likely for a true 16 Mp (at best) not 38 Mp camera.

The purpose of a Bayer array with one blue, one red and two greens per four pixel set is that the software for the focal plane array can interpolate for the green and red over the blue pixel, similarly for the green and blue over the red pixel and finally for for the blue and green over the red pixel. This way you can get a synthetic red, green, and blue for every single pixel in the array. In order to do that the airy disk must be approximately the size of an individual pixel or smaller. Disks, as you describe, that cover all four pixels, or are larger than that, do not give independent information on each individual pixel.

I'm sure the images that are exported from this camera are the full "38 Mp" implying to the user that they have 38 Mp of independent pieces of pixel information and not the approximately 16 Mp you mention. It is *possible* to do lots of interpolations -- especially if HDR is implemented -- as I mentioned before (especially if you can play the math against the color versus quantum efficiency curves of the focal plane array), but the amount of independent information across each individual pixel is minimal at best.

In theory you can push a 1k x 1k array to about 30k x 30k, but this requires nearly a perfect set of interrelated information:
just the right amount and angular rate of motion and jitter
the optimum cross correlation between the quantum efficiencies as various color bands
the maximum number of independent frames of information observing static or nearly static targets
and so on and so on.

I doubt very much any of this is what Noka is claiming with the phone camera.

Also these calculations assume several not realistic implementations (not realistic in low cost optics):
nearly infinitely thin lenses,
fully achromatic optics,
aspheric lenses,
zero coma on the FPA,
Each of these further degrades the imagery.

Finally, I wasn't talking about physical limits being broken. There are lots of fun things that can be done with multiple rapid frames, FPA jitter, inter frame interpolation (e.g., in HDR mode), multi frame super resolution effects and such. However, implementing those in a phone seems extremely unlikely. If there is a physical limit to discuss it is about the airy disk of a given optics being on the order of -- or smaller than -- a single, physical pixel. When that limit is crossed, either the number of pixels is excessive or a LOT of fancy footwork in the software must be done to recover each modicum of different information obtained.

Thus I'm still at a loss as to why a 38 Mp camera is included unless it is just for bragging rights.

It seems like..
By AmbroseAthan on 7/9/2013 2:56:16 PM , Rating: 4
It seems like this is the updated PureView 808, but on W8. Similar sensor, updated lense, and likely some software tweaks to fix some of the 808's little issues. If it can perform at all similar, I will definitely be tempted to give up my Note 2 for it. Would love to have a camera like the 808 on me all of the time for random shots.

PureView 808 review:

RE: It seems like..
By CaedenV on 7/9/2013 8:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
I would not be so quick to give up the note 2 just yet. Cool as the phone seems to be shaping up to be it is still just a Lumia 920 with a fat (and never has fat been so beautiful) camera attached to it. This fall we will see the release of GDR3 which will allow for a 1080p display, new duel and quad core CPUs, and a handful of other game changing perks. I would imagine that not too long after the update we will see a next gen 1020 with a lot of these features and a larger display which would be easier to move to from the note you have.

By Samus on 7/9/2013 6:43:00 PM , Rating: 1

Who are they marketing this to, taxi drivers?

If they needed something unique and fun, they could at least pick Green or Orange and actually attract a few customers.

RE: Yellow...
By althaz on 7/9/2013 8:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Whilst I'm not a big fan of yellow, green or orange would hardly be better. IMO this should ship in Nokia's cyan, it's been easily their most popular phone colour, along with black of course.

Wireless charging backplate
By jimbojimbo on 7/9/2013 2:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the wireless charging backplate will level out the back of the device otherwise the charging coils would be 1-2mm (just guessing) away from the charger assuming their charger will be flat. My Qi chargers have a minimum 5mm distance but usually need 2-3mm to work. Just wondering. Hoping for all the best with this though! I'm sure a comparison will come out between this and the S4 with the zoom lens since they're both rather clunky phones but small cameras with high emphasis on the camera.

By silverblue on 7/9/2013 5:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the 925 the only one that doesn't have it built in, thus requiring a cover?

Screen size
By RU482 on 7/10/2013 2:28:15 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't seen any mention of screen size. Is it just assumed these days that 4.3" is the norm?

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