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Wednesday, 07 March 2012

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I gotta say, I had this thing thing written off as a gimmicky WMD is some imagined megapixel war. However, after reading the hows and whys of it, and seeing those test shots, I'm impressed.

And for anyone who wants, here's the direct link to the sample files. Quite impresive.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nokiaofficial/sets/72157629100338650/

Any tech that begins as a digram on a cocktail napkin is way cool in my book.

That is very interesting. Some of the most refreshing camera news I've seen in a long time. My brain is doing overtime thinking of the wider possibilities of going in this direction.

The Nokia press kit is very detailed and informative -- video zooming is done better by continuously varying the degree of binning than by optical means, the raw pixels are still available (but only as jpegs?) and they have so many pixels because each is only 1.4 microns on a side (and that's large for an aggressive cellphone cam!). The one thing that I couldn't tell from the white paper that you link to is how many electrons each cell can hold before overflowing. That translates roughly into the dynamic range of one pixel. Binning 2, 4, or 8 of these gives 1, 2, or 3 stops greater DR.

scott

WOW! They invented the digital zoom :)

The guy hanging from a rock is climbing on top rope, consequently there's like 0.001% (bullshit number I just made up to make a point) chance anything bad happens to him. It's the same if he was hanging 2ft off the ground or 200ft.

Sure there are several points of potential failure (anchor, rope, harness...) but the chance of any of those breaking in a top rope situation is extremely low. It's like refusing to drive a car because a wheel could potentially fall off (there's only like 4 or 5 bolts securing it after all).

It would be a very different story if he was doing that on lead and with questionable or little protection (see http://youtu.be/KFYUqCrUFcs?t=1m22s or http://youtu.be/E7BJa4z2YVI?t=1m59s - although perhaps you shouldn't watch either if you have fear of heights or feel empathy pain.)

If it makes you feel better... insurance companies regard rock climbing as dangerous as scuba diving (at least they charge me the same for both). In my view neither of them is if you take things easy and don't push your limits too much.

Wow, they invented cropping a wide angle picture!

Ever since I heard of this phone, I've been dreaming of what this sensor could do in serious compact digicam. Imagine something the size of a Canon S90, but with a hybrid sensor/lens zoom. The actual optical zoom could be very short (start at 28 or 26 equivalent but only go out 1.5 or 2X) and therefore fast throughout the range, letting that huge sensor do the rest of the work...

"My brain is doing overtime thinking of the wider possibilities of going in this direction."

Martin,
Mine too.

Mike

Dinning writes: "At the time, the challenge was like Columbus trying to convince people the world was round and not flat."
That Columbus had to convince people that the world was a sphere is, of course, one of the great myths of history. Educated people of Europe and the Middle East began to accept that around 300 B.C. By the time Columbus sailed, it was well accepted. If he had this challenge, it was to prove the case to the "uneducated."
The analogy is interesting in two directions with pixel beliefs. My experience with non-photographers looking for their first camera is that they assume the more pixels a camera has, the better its photos will be. So, in that direction, the photographically "uneducated" think a pixel is a pixel, and the more the better.
But here Dinning is saying the the photographically educated -- even experts -- of the world have been laboring under a fundamental misconception (that pixel quality is more important than pixel count). He seems to say that the "uneducated" were at least part right all along, even if they didn't know just why.
Maybe the world is flatter than we think . . . (ever been on the Staked Plain of the Southwest?)

Mike,

Notice that today's iPhone system update provides a new, quick access to the camera app.

Apple acknowledges it's as much a camera as a "smartphone"?

I like to celebrate design that responds to the user.

Patrick

It's hard for me to get excited about camera news anymore. What we have tends to be more than capable. But this, this is exciting. And really neat-o. And where it might lead is really cool.

"If it makes you feel better... insurance companies regard rock climbing as dangerous as scuba diving (at least they charge me the same for both)."
I've done a few resort dives and they were a lot of fun and didn't seem at all dangerous. That's perhaps the least extreme expression of that sport.
However given the amount of water I displaced when diving I suspect any attempt at rock climbing would pose a greater risk to the landscape than me.
"Well the guy was about half way up when the whole outcropping just snapped off. Left a hell of a crater".

All good things tech start on a cocktail napkin.
bd

Finally "camera manufacturers" can concentrate on making a single, really good prime lens for their cameras...

Oh wait - that's about as "business sensible" as selling a printer with a lifetime supply of ink. (sigh)

The future of micro 4/3 rd's. One really sharp prime lens is all that is needed.

Mike, correct me if I'm mistaken, but you did fantasize about when would we have the perfect lens/sensor combo in a post a long while ago. One fixed ultra wide that would allow any amount of cropping, hence mimicking any desired focal length. I remember reading it here or some place else, but I think it was here.
This is, pretty much, a step in that direction.

Are these similar to the reasons that one shoots medium format?

I wish I held the patents to this technological breakthrough.

Those huge 7000+ pixel files on Flickr look better than you would think. Some sky noise, but surprising detail. DR not amazing, but could be improved with the usual in-camera hdr tricks. Being a cheapo with monthly mobile payments (using the cheapest phone I can find) what I'd really like to see is a Nokia iPod Touch competitor with this camera. My Touch has a really bad camera.

Jernej says:
"The guy hanging from a rock is climbing on top rope, consequently there's like 0.001% (bullshit number I just made up to make a point) chance anything bad happens to him. It's the same if he was hanging 2ft off the ground or 200ft."

That *is* a bullshit number. I'd say it's more like .01% chance that anything bad will happen to him. That is, if this is done 10,000 times, something bad happens. My number is also bullshit, but I bet it's closer than yours.

Through careful analysis and determined action, I have reduced my chances of falling while rock climbing to 0%. I have also reduced my chances of a SCUBA diving accident to the same low level. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and California highway patrol will tell you that my chances of injury in an auto-related accident are somewhat higher.

Rock climbing appears to suit those who are young and think they're bulletproof.

Here's another example of the type:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z19zFlPah-o
(it gets more astonishing as it goes along)

Mike, check out the shot of the lady hanging from a rock. I think she's *parallel* to the ground below, (maybe 50,000 feet down.) Look at her ponytail...

I agree with you about people hanging off rocks. I get the willies when I am on, say, the observation deck of the Sears Tower.

With best regards,

Stephen

If you don't like people hanging from rocks, then don't watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR1jwwagtaQ

"It's like refusing to drive a car because a wheel could potentially fall off (there's only like 4 or 5 bolts securing it after all)."

I've had 3 wheels fall of of cars while driving , and one fall off of a motorcycle while riding, and each time I think to myself "What are the chances of that ever happening again?"

"Rock climbing appears to suit those who are young and think they're bulletproof."

Perhaps you haven't heard of guys like Fred Beckey & Yvon Chouinard, still climbing like goats at 87 & 72 respectively:
http://www.thecleanestline.com/2012/03/beyond-and-back-fred-beckey.html (two very decent portraits in there, even if you don't care for climbing). I know and regularly meet guys and girls of 60+ climbing every chance they get, some still going on expeditions to 7000m+ mountains.
It has nothing to do with invincibility, just the pleasure of a different perspective.


"check out the shot of the lady hanging from a rock. I think she's *parallel* to the ground below, (maybe 50,000 feet down.) Look at her ponytail..."

She's is indeed parallel to the ground but actually bouldering. From what I can tell she's about 2-3m off the ground and almost certainly using a crash pad (imagine a mattress) so no big danger there either.


"I've had 3 wheels fall of of cars while driving"

apparently you're just unlucky whatever you do :)

>That *is* a bullshit number. I'd say it's more like .01% chance that anything bad will happen to him. That is, if this is done 10,000 times, something bad happens. My number is also bullshit, but I bet it's closer than yours.<

Even accepting the BS numbers, and that would mean climbing once a day for 27 years, you odds of disaster would still be only around 2 in 3.

>Rock climbing appears to suit those who are young and think they're bulletproof.<

I'm 50, risk averse and really hate heights; love climbing, though.

I did not even wanted to check what does Nokia want to do with this phone or how it looks like. From my point of view this is a very good way to advertise yourself and rebuild your image when you've lost so much ground in the past years which is Nokia's case. Now who has the "the highest Mpix phone": Nokia does :-). They are miles away behind competition and they really need to wake up and make Android phones to recover the losses and gain terminal market share again.
As a photographer I never was interested in phones to fulfill my photographic needs until recently the people that I follow I constantly on instagram which makes me wanna be there too. Currently I am on a good Android phone but think about switching to Iphone 4s for this instagram thing but because it also has quite a good camera and lots of useful apps designed for photographers.


Cheers,
Remi Andrei

"I've had 3 wheels fall of of cars while driving"

apparently you're just unlucky whatever you do :)

No, Im so lucky that every time it's happened I've been far away from other traffic.

On the motorcycle , the chain broke , lots of presumably exciting stuff that I was too busy to pay attention to happened, and then the rear wheel with the chain wrapped around the sprocket was sitting in the middle of the road when I got around to investigating what the **** had happened to the rear wheel.

The automobile mishaps taught me to never trust a tire store to know how tight to fasten alloy wheels, and that CV joints and wheel bearings can fail in exciting ways.

I used to work for a woman who had crashed three airplanes. That's lucky for you.

Looking forward to getting one of these in red I think :) I have its predecessor, the N8 which already had the higest megapixel phone camera @ 12Mp and is quite capable of taking an image I am content with.
I would love to know how much Nokia have spent on R&D for this, must be in the 10s of € Millions or even higher. I think 'Pure View' has been in development for around 5 years, probably waiting for processor speeds to catch up and really nail the algorithms in use.
With regards to using a Nokia phone as a camera, it has a dedicated 2 stage button which automatically opens the 'camera / video app', so none of this messing around starting apps ala iPhone to actually use a function, its a case of press a button, you're in camera mode, focus and take the shot.
@ Remi, Nokia will not go the Android route ever. They had until the Burning Platforms debacle the OS with the highest market share in Symbian which in its latest guise Symbian Belle is fast, responsive, good at multitasking and with battery usage that Android can only dream of. Besides, I believe Android has a limit in place with regards image or sensor size without resorting to hacking, something Symbian obviously does not.
Btw, it also seems to have the Xenon flash which again is best of breed in the mobile market.
Disclaimer: I am a bit of a Nokia fan :), currently have in the house a N900, N8 and N9 :D

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