What is PureView? Nokia Lumia 920 Camera Technology Explained
September 26, 2012 at 12:45 GMT | By Dialaphone
Nokia's PureView technology has raised many eyebrows in the smartphone industry, with experts and consumers alike both impressed with the results and intrigued by how they are achieved. The trademark first emerged with the 808 PureView, a 41 megapixel cameraphone the likes of which had never been seen before. The Finnish firm's photographic technology has been carried through to its recently announced Windows Phone 8 device, the Lumia 920, and promises impressive things for the new handsets.
But what is PureView itself? Nokia has put five years of work into the development of its new photographic innovation and the results seen so far are very good indeed.
In creating PureView, the manufacturer was reacting to what it has said are consumer demands for, amongst other things, better zoom capabilities on smartphones. At the moment most cameraphones use digital zoom which produces poor quality results, effectively enlarging a part of an image and reducing the number of pixels that can be shown. The alternative, optical zoom, uses a series of lenses to magnify an image so that the number of pixels used in the final photograph remains the same.
Optical zoom is something that has been used in mobile phone cameras before, with Nokia's own N90 featuring a long zoom lens mounted across the phone's body, but the technology is cumbersome and not ideally suited for slim handsets.
With PureView, Nokia has used a system called oversampling, which takes the original 41megapixels captured with the 808's enormous sensor and reduces them to a high-quality image consisting of only five megapixels. Pixels are pulled together into groups of seven and those seven pixels are then condensed into one, so that even though the resulting photograph is only a five megapixel image it is of a better quality than those captured with more traditional five megapixel cameras.
When zoomed in, the seven pixels that originally form that basis of each pixel in the final image are reduced in number, so zooming in half way means that perhaps three or four pixels are condensed into one for the final image. Maximum zoom involves focussing on a five megapixel segment of the full 41 megapixel layout, with no oversampling occurring but a detailed, high-quality image still being produced which is far better than could be achieved with normal digital zoom.
Beyond the actual megapixels being used, Nokia also equips its smartphones with Carl Zeiss lenses, something which can greatly enhance the quality of the final image. The 808 PureView has a f2.4 lens which makes it good for low lighting conditions and excellent for reducing camera shake since the shutter does not have to be open for as long when capturing a shot.
The Lumia 920 features PureView technology, but does not have the same 41megapixel sensor seen on the 808 PureView. How Nokia's photographic capabilities will transfer to these new devices remains to be seen as there will not be anywhere near as many pixels available for oversampling, but the manufacturer has already been boasting about its new phones' imaging prowess, despite some examples being a little misleading.
While the 808 PureView was really little more than a concept device, it proves that Nokia is a leader in mobile photography and should be able to offer some of the best imaging capabilities available from a mobile device with its upcoming Lumia phones. Hopefully more innovations will emerge as time goes on and smartphone cameras will continue to improve and evolve.
Written by Chris Helsby, content writer at Dialaphone - offering the best deals on mobile phone upgrades.
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