Nokia Shows Off King of Camera Phones

Nokia 808 PureViewNokia has introduced a revolutionary camera phone with a 41-megapixel camera. Yes, forty-one, no typo here.

“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” Steve Jobs said when he introduced the first iPhone in 2007. In the five years since, Nokia, the giant Finnish handset vendor, along with several others that were triumphing in that period, Research In Motion included, have been going downhill.

Meet the Nokia 808 PureView. Proof that Nokia is anything but unimaginative and dead.

Truth to be told, the average Joe will never ever need to capture such a high-resolution photo. It’s also no longer a secret that the number of megapixels doesn’t always reflect the quality of a camera. However, when you’re capturing a 5-megapixel photo using a 41-megapixel camera, effectively combining 7 pixels into one pure pixel in what Nokia calls as the PureView technology, the photo will be spectacular.

The device’s camera also has a 3x digital zoom. That would be disappointing on a regular camera phone, but on the 808 PureView, it’s just as good as an optical zoom, again, thanks to its high megapixel count.

According to Nokia’s blog post, the 808 PureView captures over 5x more light than a typical camera at full optical zoom. But if that’s not good enough for capturing moments in a hopelessly low-light condition, the 808 PureView has a xenon flash that’s twice as powerful as the one found on the Nokia N8.

Video capturing isn’t sacrificed to make room for the xenon flash, as there’s also an LED flash that could be used as a video light next to it. The 808 PureView is capable of capturing full 1080p at 30 frame per second. Even better, it’s capable of 4x loseless zoom, which can be increased as you decrease the video resolution (6x at 720p and 12x in nHD).

And then there’s this “recording without distortion at audio levels beyond the capability of human hearing.” Nokia claims that this will allow the recording of “CD-like audio quality” even in the harshest of environment.

808 PureView photo sample
Photo sample cropped at 100%. Click on it to download three unretouched photo samples from Nokia.

But… it runs on Nokia Belle

If you need any help to stop drooling over the 808 PureView’s camera, the device runs on Nokia Belle, which is essentially, Symbian, the operating system that Nokia is phasing out in favor of the Windows Phone.

To be honest, that is quite disappointing. For 450 euros, you will be essentially buying a point-and-shoot that’s capable of making calls, running on an outdated and dying operating system, on a pretty standard hardware, such as a 1.3GHz processor, 16GB storage, and a 4-inch 640×360 AMOLED display.

To accommodate the large camera sensor, the 808 PureView is also quite beefy at 13.9mm at its thinnest point and 17.95mm at its thickest. That’s a fair trade-off I’d say, since you’ll be essentially pocketing a point-and-shoot and a smartphone for the size of one.

The device will be available in May.

PureView + Windows Phone

The 808 PureView is the first of its kind, but it will definitely not be the last. With Nokia now fully on board the Windows Phone bandwagon, it’s only the matter of time when the Finnish company releases a successor to the 808 PureView, but with an operating system that has a brighter future this time.

That will help Nokia to reclaim a place in the smartphone arms race, even if it’s only in a niche segment. It’s all getting exciting again for a brand that was once as dead as a doornail.

Nokia is finally getting back on its feet.