Nokia’s new 808 PureView, with a jaw-dropping 41 Megapixel sensor. It’s expected to start shipping in May with a hefty retail price of USD$585. (450 euros)
What can you do with 38 megapixels? You can zoom and crop. I took a shot of the Nokia booth and then zoomed in on a tiny little element, cropping it into what appeared to be a tidy image of 5 megapixels or so. That’s the equivalent of a 3x lossless zoom at 5 megapixels, Nokia said. The camera has an f/2.4 aperture, which isn’t as bright as HTC’s new One X at f/2.0, but is still good for a cameraphone.
Nokia’s Ari Partinen walked me through the device. The phone has a 1/1.2-inch sensor, which is notably larger than the sensors in other phones and indeed much larger than what you’ll find in compact cameras. The camera also has a Carl Zeiss optics lens.
It never actually takes 41MP images, however, in part because the file sizes would be too big and in part because it actually uses the additional megapixels to capture more information, which it then turns into better standard images.
In the automatic mode that comes standard, the Nokia 808 takes 5MP images. In this mode, about seven of the sensor’s native 1.4 micron pixels work together as a single “superpixel” to create images that simply look better. This is particularly evident in samples taken in low-light.
It also has a creative mode, which offers a lot more options. Photographers can take 16:9 format images at 34 megapixels and 4:3 images at 38 megapixels; these options seem particularly useful for later cropping and in zooming images.
The camera has two different flashes: a Xenon light for quick shots and a LED light that is better for video shots.
The default mode records 5-megapixel images by condensing seven pixels into one, but you can turn off that default and get 38-megapixel pictures if you feel you can handle the file size. The 5-megapixel mode offers dramatically reduced noise and improved image quality because it’s oversampling, though, and that’s the mode Nokia thinks most people will be using most often.
You can digital-zoom within videos without losing resolution, too, capturing 1080p video at up to 4x zoom and 720p at 6x zoom. Audio recording is “CD quality,” according to Nokia.
You can also refine. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the 808 can “capture seven pixels and turn it into one perfect pixel,” pretty much eliminating noise from images. “You can take great images in low light, too,” Elop said.