Nokia’s 808 PureView smartphone packs 41-megapixel camera

Nokia 808 PureView phones in various colors
Nokia’s 808 PureView smartphones, shown in white, red and black.

There’s a saying among photographers that “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” and for many of us nowadays, that camera happens to be a smartphone too. That’s where Nokia’s 808 PureView smartphone and its 41-megapixel/1080p camera plans to come in.

The Finnish phone-maker is looking to raise the bar in smartphone photography far past what currently passes for a good camera-phone. Most high-end smartphones are currently packing 8-megapixel cameras or 5-megapixel cameras, which has resulted in millions of fantastic, detailed shots taken and uploaded to the likes of Facebook, Flickr and Instagram.

The world doesn’t seem to be crying out for even more detail from their smartphone photos, but Nokia is also a company that is looking to revive its brand, as it has lost market share to rivals running Google’s Android operating system and the iPhone.

So far, Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system has been the marquee strategy to the company’s turnaround — along with giving up on the Nokia-built Symbian software.

With the unveiling of the 808 PureView at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, Nokia is looking to expand its comeback beyond Microsoft to rely once again on its own software and now photography too.

The 808 PureView runs on Nokia’s new Belle operating system, which is built with the same underpinnings as the abandoned Symbian OS. Thankfully, the company did say in a blog post that its PureView camera technology will make its way “to several Nokia products going forward,” including Windows Phone handsets.

And while the 808 PureView can shoot up to 41-megapixel images, Nokia said it intends for users of phones with its PureView cameras to still take most of their photos at resolutions of about 5-megapixels, which takes up less storage space on a smartphone.

But even at lower resolutions, Nokia is claiming its PureView cameras will result in better-looking photos by combining multiple shots in a technique it calls “oversampling.”

The 808 PureView, for example, uses “oversampling to combine up to seven pixels into one ‘pure’ pixel, eliminating the visual noise found on other mobile phone cameras. On top of that, you can zoom in up to 3X without losing any of the detail in your shot — and there’s no artificially created pixels in your picture, either,” Nokia said. The 808 PureView also claims the ability to record audio in videos shot on the phone at CD-like quality.

No word yet on when the 808 PureView will make it to retailers, or when a PureView camera will show up in a Windows Phone handset. Aside from the impressive new camera, the 808 PureView is pretty much a standard Nokia smartphone. That means mid-range specs and no buy in with the quad-core processor trend happening among Androids.

The 808 PureView has a 4-inch screen with a surprisingly low 640 x 360 resolution, along with just 512-megabytes of RAM and a 1.3-gigahertz single-core processor.


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