If you consider your iPhone's photos consistently underwhelming, Nokia wants you. The Finnish mobile phone maker is introducing a cameraphone, the 808 PureView, equipped with an impressive 41-megapixel sensor. Will cramming advanced imaging technology into a mobile device usher in a new era for phone photography? Or are all those megapixels just a gimmick? Here's what you should know:
Yep. "FORTY-ONE ACTUAL MEGAPIXELS," says Kat Hannaford at Gizmodo. "Forgive our capitals-explosion, but we're a little shocked right now." Lest you forget, megapixels give consumers a read on the sensor size of a camera. Most phones have been limited to either a five-megapixel sensor or an eight-megapixel sensor. The iPhone 4S, widely considered one of the better smartphone cameras, contains only eight.
But don't huge images take up a lot more space?
Yes, and that's the main problem with snapping 41-megapixel image after 41-megapixel image — it gobbles up your phone's memory. In order to capture photos at manageable file sizes, the 808 PureView has a mode that lets users "oversample" an image without sacrificing quality, says Doug Aamoth at TIME. Instead of zooming in like a traditional smartphone camera — which can lead to blurry images — the PureView "capture[s] a giant, 41-megapixel image and then crop[s] a five-megapixel chunk of whatever section's been zoomed in on." This saves tons of space, and Nokia thinks people will use this mode most often.
Do megapixels really matter?
Not to most people, says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. In this instance, it's a "massive, grabby number that stands out in an ad." Real photographers know that producing quality images requires more than a big sensor (which is part of a much larger equation). Still, the images from the PureView 808 really are "impressive," says Sascha Segan at PC Mag. Even when you shoot in "oversampling" mode, the phone spits out "dramatically reduced noise and improved image quality." The camera "is absolutely amazing."
How about the rest of the features?
The device may be a "mobile photographer's dream," says Zach Epstein at Boy Genius Report, but it's a "smartphone enthusiast's nightmare." For starters, the phone is powered by Symbian, "a dated operating system Nokia is currently in the process of tossing to the curb." The rest of the specs aren't bad: You can record high-quality Dolby sound and take 1080p videos. And the lens is made by Carl Zeiss, a German company known for its high-quality photography equipment.