Thursday, February 09, 2012

Rumor: Nokia 803 to Feature World's Largest Mobile Phone Sensor

Infomobile: Nokia 803 phone to land in May 2012, said to pack the largest camera sensor the mobile world has ever seen. Nokia 803 is supposed to be a successor of famous N8 featuring Toshiba 12MP sensor.


  1. @ "Largest World's Mobile Phone Sensor"

    World's largest? Otherwise I'd have to make a jovial remark about Nasa-mnivision and Sony-SA cooperating on a product launch...

    Tongue out of cheek, I think the idea that sensor resolutions need only match limitations on print technologies for 4" x 6" prints or for full-page prints is on the way out. Most people I know rarely make prints. Instead they have a mass of digital image files. When they want to show them there's an exercise in sliding and zoom-and-pan to the interesting parts, and when they want to distribute they just e-mail a file. Conveniently for a bunch of industries, this habit change will probably drive handset replacement cycles in the fairly near future.

  2. CDM, most email servers refuse to send emails with large file sizes. Besides zooming, large photo has no advantage. This may be reason why Samsung Nexus approved by Google has a 5MP camera.

  3. but most users now post to facebook which will compress the image anyway, or if your lucky to flikr or similar.
    Mp race is purely for marketing, no one needs a camera greater than 5Mp, possibly even 3Mp.
    ive seen a 3Mp SMIA95 image blown up to A0 size, image quality was there.
    who needs more pixels?

  4. OK. Have you seen Gigapixel projects scattered around the net? Something like 26 Gigapixel Paris:

    The images are quite nice, have a lot of details, you can zoom almost infinitely. People invest significant efforts to create such images.

    So, you say nobody needs more pixels? Nor even 1 Gigapixel?

  5. Anonymous says that no one needs more than 5M or 3M, but that's not right -- even 3M is too much. 640K ought to be enough for anybody. I think there is a world market for maybe five cameras.

    So Anon. has seen a 3MP image blown up to A0? Big deal. I've seen a 0.346MP image blown up to 80 feet wide, and the rest of the audience in the theater thought it looked fine. But it sure would have looked a whole lot better if it were 10, 30, or 100 MP.

    You can pry my megapixels from my cold, dead fingers. :)

  6. It is not the number of pixels that matters. It is the way you use them. If having a huge number of them enables a good quality numeric zoom then it may be worth the cost.

  7. I can name-drop too, so I'll let George Clooney speak to this issue (quotes from an NPR interview I heard yesterday):

    I'll ride my motorcycle into the Swiss Alps to the top of a mountain to a tiny little bistro that we accidentally find, and by the time I've had coffee and a croissant, there's 40 people outside because of cell cameras.

    I've walked with very famous people down red carpets over to the crowd of thousands of people and you'll reach out to shake their hand and they've got a camera in their hand. And they don't even get their hand out, because they're recording the whole time. And you can tell people that you recorded Brad Pitt
    [ed. - and presumably George Clooney], but it would be very hard to say you actually met him, because you were watching it all through your phone. I think that's too bad, because I think people are experiencing less and recording more."

    This dovetails nicely with a personal experience I had a couple of weeks ago. It was at my third-grader's winter choral concert. (Yes, this is another story about my kids.)

    My wife and I were sitting in the back row of folding chairs set up in the school gymnasium. A couple of rows in front of us, a mother stood up before the start of the concert and was trying to take a close-up picture of her child at the other end of the gym. She had a smart phone, and spent a really long 30 seconds swipe-wrestling with it. She'd get the shot framed, then the camera would try to suggest some automatic exposure and focus settings which she didn't like, so she would zoom out or in a little or her hand would shake and the suggestions would change.

    When she finally took a picture, I don't think she was happy with it. She shook her head and I suspect may have let slip some words that I can't repeat here. Possibly this was because her 30 seconds of fiddling ate up the last half-minute before the concert started and she had to sit down.

    Anyway, she would have been better off had she been able to take a jumbo image or a sequence of jumbo images and then zoom and crop after the fact. Later that night, say, or even during the boring two-thirds of the concert when her child wasn't singing. And - there's a parent like this in my son's third-grade class - she could have zipped off high-resolution sub-images of her child's classmates to their parents.

    Would this jumbo after-edit capability be an advantage? I think so. Is it something people need, or is it just marketing? Well, since we're talking about mobile phone image sensors, using the word "need" IS marketing. More transparently, is it something people would want? I'd again suggest yes, supposing the industry can deliver it at a reasonable price.

    And for fun, I've already come up with a self-ironic marketing pitch: "Experience more, record less".


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