Print 27 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Jun 9 at 7:37 AM

Nokia aims for camera superiority in mobile arms war

If you like taking pictures, it's a great time to own a smartphone.  After a few years in which Apple, Inc. (AAPL) went relatively unchallenged in picture quality, other players are now stepping up with ambitious point and shoots that rival the iPhone in image quality. Among them is the 4 megapixel UltraPixel sensor from the HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) which is housed aboard the HTC One.

Now Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V)) is looking to join that elite group with its own entrant -- a massive PureView-equipped Windows Phone.  The new phone -- codenamed the EOS has, after months of rumors, leaked in photographic form.  Some of the photos come courtesy of leaked images of a cherry red shell being manufactured in China.  Others come from a leaked prototype that GSMArena got their hands on. 

The new handset is almost the identical twin of the Lumia 920, except for one monstrous defining feature -- a circular camera bulge that eclipses nearly half the phone's rear face.

Nokia EOS
One of several Nokia EOS prototype image leaks. [Image Source: Weibo (left)]

Yet more supposed photos were leaked via a Twitter account dubbed "ViziLeaks".

Nokia EOS
[Image Source: ViziLeaks]

The bulge features a bar-style xenon flash and is rumored to pack a massive 41 megapixel sensor, which is likely the largest on a smartphone today.  An earlier version of this sensor was previously included in another Nokia smartphone, but that handset used Symbian and was only sold overseas.

Nokia has already been boasting about its low-light photography prowess.  Now it aims to become king of daytime picture-taking as well.

Nokia EOS
[Image Source: GSM Arena]

The leaked prototype will reportedly hit the market packing Windows Phone 8, which means it will likely launch sometime in the next several markets.  That should give Nokia's sales some legs in the lull leading up to Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 (previously codenamed "Windows Phone Blue") refresh.

Sources: Weibo [via WMPower User], GSM Arena, Twitter [ViziLeaks]

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RE: Photos do not live up to hype
By Mint on 6/7/2013 7:17:42 AM , Rating: 5
The ability of a lens to take in light is given by the aperture area (area of the lens opening). You can see that this phone has a very small aperture area, as is typical of mobile phones.
You can't tell how big a phone's aperture is by just eyeballing the outer lens.

The iPhone5's aperture is 1.7mm. The Pureview 808's aperture is 3.03mm. The best compact camera (still 1.4" thick) is the Sony RX100 camera, and its aperture is only ~6mm at similar equivalent focal lengths.

The outer lens is ~5mm in this camera. That's plenty not to limit what goes on behind it.
The lens is also not a zoom lens and as is typical in consumer fixed lenses (cameras, webcams) a wide angle is chosen, which is only suitable for specific uses. (Landscapes - in bright light.)

So I'm skeptical that this provides anything like the quality that you would get in a decent compact camera.
Go look at Pureview 808 results. They're quite remarkable. You can do ~2x digital zoom before quality drops to that of a common compact.

RE: Photos do not live up to hype
By BRB29 on 6/7/2013 9:26:00 AM , Rating: 2
The picture looks great and i agree. It looks better than your average camera because it has a better sensor, bigger aperture and better lens. However, you cannot ignore physics. What makes these smartphones cameras look good is heavy post processing. Any of these cameras no matter how good they are will have a lot of noise. They don't offer you a RAW mode for a reason.

RE: Photos do not live up to hype
By Mint on 6/7/2013 10:44:25 AM , Rating: 2
However, you cannot ignore physics.
What physics are being ignored? The Pureview 808 has a f/2.4 lens over a 1/1.2" sensor. That's better light collection than virtually all compact cameras.

The 808 and presumably the EOS do not have typical smartphone cameras.

RE: Photos do not live up to hype
By BRB29 on 6/7/2013 3:04:07 PM , Rating: 1
And it's useless as a smartphone. The rest of the phone is on the ultra low end of things. It does not need 41MP. It probably would've shot better pictures at 10-12MP.

Considering how bulky it is and how useless it is as a phone but cost $605 to buy. You might as well buy a good compact camera for $300-400 that can do way better than it.

I love how people bring up the 808 when anyone says smartphone cameras sucks. The stupid 808 sacrificed most of what makes a good phone into making the camera better. This is what it takes to make a better camera on a phone, why would you want that?

By Labotomizer on 6/7/2013 4:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
So the 808 is useless or the EOS is useless? This will have all the normal WP8 stuff, so a dual core snapdragon, 1GB RAM and probably 32GB storage and hopefully removable mSD since the photos taken at 38mp will be huge.

Unless of course they're waiting for the first GDR3 phone, since the 925 is GDR2, and MS allowed for better hardware with GDR3. Supposedly GDR adds support for 1080p at the very least since they didn't want to wait until 8.1. Perhaps this phone is what pushed MS into putting it into a smaller update.

RE: Photos do not live up to hype
By CSMR on 6/8/2013 7:41:34 PM , Rating: 2
If it matches the 808 (i.e. 24mm f/7.2-equivalent) then that would be a good aperture compared to a compact and I would take back the comments on aperture size.

I still don't find the 808 versatile, mainly because I don't like 24mm equivalent for a fixed lens. If you use it at 2x zoom it becomes a normal 48mm but f/14.4-equivalent and with reduced sharpness.

But sure it's excellent as smartphone cameras go and can take great images in the right conditions.

RE: Photos do not live up to hype
By Mint on 6/9/2013 7:37:13 AM , Rating: 3
In 4:3 mode the 808 is 28mm equivalent, and I think most people find it quite useful to have something that wide for everyday photos.

Most compacts are f/3.5-4.0 actual at 50mm equiv, meaning f/17+ equiv for the small sensors they use, so the 808 still compares favorably. Sharpness should be similar, too, whether limited by diffraction or the 10Mpix crop.

The 808 is not just good by smartphone standards, but by general compact standards. The latter sell quite well because most people want something that fits comfortably in their pocket, and will sacrifice a certain amount of image quality for portability.

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