September 4, 2012 5:38 pm
“As said many times before it’s NOT about the number of pixels but what you do with them.”
Damian Dinning is a very smart guy. As the head of imaging for Nokia, arguably the company who cares most about its smartphone cameras, he has a lot of responsibilities. When the PureView 808 was released in its 41MP glory, he was adamant that it was the best camera experience on a smartphone, period. But with a huge 1/1.2″ sensor, the module was prohibitively large to fit in all but the most niche high-end smartphones.
In the run-up to tomorrow’s Nokia announcement, several pieces of information have leaked about the purported high-end Lumia 920, the flagship follow-up to the Lumia 900 and Nokia’s new Windows Phone 8 hotness. When we saw the leaked press photos, there was no pronounced camera bump, nor any indication PureView was going to play a part. But we’d heard, time and time again, that PureView technology would be built into the next generation of Windows Phones.
From the information we’ve gathered, the Lumia 920 will have an 8MP camera sensor — this would eliminate any possibility of achieving super-sharp photos from oversampling, the gathering “too much” information and consolidating it into a 5.8MP finished product. Dinning tweeted a few times earlier today, perhaps attempting to assuage our disappointment, by saying “PureView is NOT a single specific feature or specification. [It] is about blending optics, pixels and image processing in new and different ways to allow you to do things you otherwise cannot. The future of photography will be about how you use pixels, optics and image processing together.”
While that’s well and good, a larger sensor means more light captured, which means more “information” to work with. The typical 8MP smartphone sensor, such as in the Lumia 900, iPhone 4S and Galaxy S III, is too small to equivocate that of a full-sized camera. Nokia understands that most consumers don’t want a device with a 14mm camera module bulge, so it is limited by the current state of technology. Sony is releasing a number of 13MP Exmor R sensors for use in other smartphones later this year, but the Lumia 920 likely has something else up its sleeve. By optimizing the captured light and processing it in a particular way, Nokia could bring some of its PureView magic to the Lumia line. But until the size of the sensor increases — not just the megapixels, Dinning is correct in that assertion — nothing in the industry is going to dramatically change.
We’ll be in New York tomorrow covering all the exciting announcements — and regardless of what happens, it will be exciting — and you’ll know more the second we do.
Source: Damian Dinning (Twitter)