Not often we see companies committing product infanticide, brand cannibalization or, to put it casually, shooting themselves in the foot. Nokia just did that with the PureView technology. Bear with me for a second: despite the fact that the Nokia 808 PureView is running an abandoned OS (and a slow one at that, compared to others), I often find myself showing the phone off. If the person is tech-savvy they will immediately respect that 41-megapixel sensor and the technology behind it; if they’re laymen, I just show them a bunch of pictures and look at their astonished faces. Our own Michael Fisher surely appreciated all the pictures we snapped while we covered IFA in Berlin.
The Nokia Lumia 920 is the latest flagship Lumia phone to see the light of day. Its recent unveiling brought joy to the world of Windows Phone fans and, despite the fact that specs are looking good (at least compared to Windows Phones), there’s a catch in the specs (or a contradiction, if you will).
The Lumia 920 has an eight-megapixel camera, just as the rumors implied a couple of days before. That’s no PureView technology, that’s taking advantage of a brand, turning it into a buzz word, and hoping it will sell! Or we’ve not been told the whole truth back in February at MWC when PureView was the next big thing in mobile photography.
Those who want to know the exact details of the PureView technology should read the explanation in our previous article. To quickly recap here, PureView implies a large sensor — in the 808’s case, a 41-megapixel sensor — in order to capture an image with many pixels. The technology then oversamples (downsamples) the image to produce either three-, five-, or eight-megapixel images made out of super pixels (basically combining a number of pixels into a single one to improve its quality). This is PureView.
The Lumia 920 has a ‘PureView’ camera, at least that’s what we’ve been told in New York today. We can’t see any implementation of the above principles (except if you plan on PureView-ing your eight-megapixel image into a sub-three-megapixel photograph. That could work!).
Before you get me wrong: I have nothing against Nokia (hell, I’m a huge 808 PureView fanboy, probably the reason behind this rant). The Lumia 920 might have excellent photo capturing abilities with probably super high sensitivity sensor and that awesome “floating lens” technology which stabilizes the image for low light shots. But it is not PureView in the purest sense of the word (the one and only we’ve gotten used to, really). Why not PureView 2, PureView 8, PureView Lite or another moniker? Because “PureView” sells!
I will probably be less cool with my humpback 808 (and you will too, if you have one) once everyone will have a Lumia 920 with PureView camera. But we’ll definitely know the difference. Do you think Nokia pimped out a brand or do you think that they did the right thing? Please don’t bring up the “hump-theory”. The Titan II has a 16-megapixel camera without a hump and that could have been a good starting point for PureView technology implementation and usage (the 808 way).
Of course, Damian Dinning, the imaging genius from Nokia, will definitely disagree. For him, PureView is not about the megapixels, but about what you do with the pixels. This is definitely true! For me, PureView is making an image look crisp by combining multiple pixels, lossless zooming, etc. How about you?