Say cheese! One of the main reasons to buy Nokia’s smartphones has always been their top-end imaging technology. Simply put, Nokia’s cameras rock. The boffins in the tech labs are particularly concerned with achieving the greatest possible precision at a mega-pixel resolution that’s not going to overload your phone’s memory.
In reality, getting this type of super-impressive precision means coming up trumps not only with a top-notch lens, but also with the holy grail of smartphone photography: the tech to produce razor-sharp images in low-light conditions, without a blinding flash. And of course, they’ve done it! Let’s see how…
141 years of lense making expertise
Nokia’s lenses of choice come from German manufacturer ZEISS: the pioneer of imaging technology who, back in 1872, developed the first microscopes that were constructed using physical laws rather than basic trial and error. Since then, ZEISS’s company has been behind some of the big hitters of optical technological advancement, from metallographic microscopes to the stereomicroscope and molecular imaging.
Moving onto cameras, ZEISS came up with the Tessar Lens (featured in some Nokia Lumia models), the tiny size and superior performance of which made it an obvious choice for smartphone technology. A ZEISS lens no bigger than a pin, sitting inside your Nokia smartphone, produces images just as sharp as those taken by a professional full-sized camera. Phone lenses are made from plastic, rather than the traditional glass, which allows them to be contoured, or dimpled, which in turn helps to refract light and sharpen the resulting image.
Low-light high flying
How about we dim the lights? With PureView technology at their fingertips, Nokia aim to become synonymous with high performance imaging, and they’ve worked their socks off to significantly improve low light photography with each iteration of their products. PureView is a highly honed mash-up of high performance optics, sensors and image-processing algorithms. When we’re talking low-light photography, though, the keyword here is sensor.
PureView uses Back-Side Illuminated sensors to make sure that light reaches the camera’s photosensitive areas via the most economical, unimpeded path possible. Long story short, combined with a larger than average camera aperture, this means that more light reaches the pixels (the photo-sensitive diodes) and so you get superior pixel performance, which is especially noticeable in low light conditions. Bingo!
Optical Image Stabilisation wizardry
The other significant point about photographic precision is Optical Image Stabilisation. Say what? OIS works, broadly speaking, by using a gyroscope (a very accurate sensor) to detect and react to camera movement. A lens element in the smartphone moves to offset camera-shake. Where Nokia outstrips its competitors, though, is in moving not one lens element in compensation, but in shifting theentire assembly of optical components.
This system has an incredibly fast reaction time—approximately 300 times faster than the average human reaction time!—and it picks up and cancels out about 50% more movements per second than convention OIS set-ups. That’s 500 movements every second—talk about sensitive! So say goodbye to judder and unintentional motion and, if you’re using a Nokia Lumia 920 or 925, say hello to precise handheld imagery like you’ve never seen it before.
It’s clear that the incredibly precise way Nokia designs cameras in tech labs is what helps make Nokia Lumia smartphone photography amazing. But, in the real world, which of these features do you love most? Let us know, precisely as possible, in the comments below.