Nokia N8 announced: 1/1.9" 12 megapixel with + Samples

Started Apr 27, 2010 | Discussions
Damian D Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Nokia N8 announced: 1/1.83" 12 megapixel with + Samples

We apply quite a lot of colour correction, this can increase noise levels. In studies we do in controlled viewing conditions we find regularly that the majority of people using our products prefer vibrant (but still true to the original) colour. Hence the colour correction we're using. If we were to tone this right down you'd see a reduction in noise levels.

I see. Are you using local-contrast color corrections rather than global saturation adjustment? I have never seen adding vibrancy can increase noise if the method is global, but if the method is local it can. Furthermore, vibrancy increase can add noise, imho, if there is already noise in the neutral image.

Yes, it's much more complex than just turning up the saturation or contrast, because that leads to false colours. Some manufacturers do that though.

br

D

Damian D Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Damian, a bit thicker is fine by me

A bit thicker is ok with me too. Unfortunately what most people want is slimmer and slimmer products. That makes our job much tougher as we have to really push the boundaries of optical technology. For example our optical manufacturing partners have had to develop new ways of manufacturing lenses because the tolerances are so tight. For example in our high end modules we assemble the optics and aling on a live sensor. Not batches but each and every single module has to be assembled in this way. With 100's of millions of cameras produced every year, this was a massive challenge.

Antonia Tesla New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Nokia N8 announced: 1/1.9" 12 megapixel with + Samples

These are excellent! in fact they are no worse than any Sony's compact offerings of the last 2-3 years, image quality wise. I say sony because the colours and tone look the same and also because sony is capable of producing better stuff than this mediocre compact range it's trying to sell us. ciao

Adrian Lewis Regular Member • Posts: 423
Re: Damian, a bit thicker is fine by me

Damian D wrote:

A bit thicker is ok with me too. Unfortunately what most people want is slimmer and slimmer products. That makes our job much tougher as we have to really push the boundaries of optical technology.

A common lament here in the DPReview forums is that we here are NOT representative of the mass market ... :-/

On the other hand, the fact that there is a small stream of "niche" cameras that do surprisingly well in the market gives hope that our more esoteric desires may come to pass. In other words, a chunky N8+ may seem to a niche product, but there could well be enough of a high-end-user market that it does unexpectedly well.

... it could also just be wishful thinking on my part ...

Adrian Lewis Regular Member • Posts: 423
Re: Damian, a bit thicker is fine by me

Oh, and I missed something obvious ...

People expect ruggedized phones to be chunky, so putting an X1-style imaging unit into a ruggedized N8++ may actually be more saleable than in a non-ruggedized N8+.

As an aside, a few years ago I ran the field operations of a water quality monitoring program. All the field officers carried Nokia ruggedized phones, they also carried non-ruggedized cameras that tended not to last all that long, plus they had need for portable GPS (fixed GPS units would get stolen from the boats). They are one example of a user group to whom a ruggedized N8++ would appeal.

Adrian Lewis wrote:

Damian D wrote:

A bit thicker is ok with me too. Unfortunately what most people want is slimmer and slimmer products. That makes our job much tougher as we have to really push the boundaries of optical technology.

A common lament here in the DPReview forums is that we here are NOT representative of the mass market ... :-/

On the other hand, the fact that there is a small stream of "niche" cameras that do surprisingly well in the market gives hope that our more esoteric desires may come to pass. In other words, a chunky N8+ may seem to a niche product, but there could well be enough of a high-end-user market that it does unexpectedly well.

... it could also just be wishful thinking on my part ...

halc
halc Regular Member • Posts: 240
Re: Nokia N8 sensor is 1/1.83"

Thanks for posting here Damian.

Let me first say that you have indeed pulled of something quite remarkable and I congratulate you on your work! Must not have been an easy feat, but I'm sure the process was interesting!

Hobbyists, semi-pros and yes, even pros, here are probably interested on how far can we push the camera on the N8.

Yes, it's a real benefit to be able to carry a decent enough camera with oneself all the time!

But what about performance in:

  • macro (below 60cm)

  • higher real ISO sensitivity performance (say 400 or 800 or even 1600)

  • sensor reading artifacts in panning and sideways moving action (video)

  • true resolving power of the whole unit in still / video (let's be honest here, it won't resolve anywhere near 720 lph/vertical for video)

  • performance under low light situation (longer exposure, higher ISO, esp. noise characteristics, e.g. will it splatter chroma all over like almost everything else)

  • auto-WB peformance under various / mixed lighting conditions (a major failing with most phones)

  • lens characteristics (distortions)

You surely know all this. It's just that we are hungry for more information.

I sincerely hope you will publish more information as you progress towards the final release version of the phone.

Damian D Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Nokia N8 sensor is 1/1.83"

halc wrote:

Thanks for posting here Damian.

Let me first say that you have indeed pulled of something quite remarkable and I congratulate you on your work! Must not have been an easy feat, but I'm sure the process was interesting!

Hobbyists, semi-pros and yes, even pros, here are probably interested on how far can we push the camera on the N8.

Yes, it's a real benefit to be able to carry a decent enough camera with oneself all the time!

But what about performance in:

  • macro (below 60cm)

  • higher real ISO sensitivity performance (say 400 or 800 or even 1600)

  • sensor reading artifacts in panning and sideways moving action (video)

  • true resolving power of the whole unit in still / video (let's be honest here, it won't resolve anywhere near 720 lph/vertical for video)

  • performance under low light situation (longer exposure, higher ISO, esp. noise characteristics, e.g. will it splatter chroma all over like almost everything else)

  • auto-WB peformance under various / mixed lighting conditions (a major failing with most phones)

  • lens characteristics (distortions)

You surely know all this. It's just that we are hungry for more information.

I sincerely hope you will publish more information as you progress towards the final release version of the phone.

Hi, let's taker those 1 by 1.

1. Macro will be down to around 10cm, it's very good. We've spent quite a bit of time improving the performance of AF in this area too, so it's more reliable and dependable in such situations.

2. ISO range will be 100 to 1200. There will be a choice of three fixed manual settings, of which 1 will be ISO 100 the others are under study still.

3. We use a mechanical shutter for stills so you won't get those motion effects. However, in video you will see this in some situations as you do even with high end DSLR's with HD video. But for most situations I believe it will be OK. It's a limitation of the readout speed of the sensor. I expect one day that this issue will disappear.

4. In terms of stills, many camera optics (including dedicated cameras) often don;t resolve anywhere near their sensor resolution. For example some 10-12mp sensor equipped cameras can barely provide true 5mp resolution. In the case of the optics we're using here the theoretical output resolution is so close to 12mp that it's not worth mentioning. However, of course in the real world after balacning the multiple paramaters (which we're still doing) it may be a different story, let's see.

In the case of video, the limitation here is actually the binning process which most cameras do in video. We're still playing here also as you can imagine so I can't comment fully at this time, but I can say the following: In daylight case we're not using ANY noise reduction in video, yet in normal viewign I don't expect you to see any noise either. The reason for this is that the binning process is wiping out any noise we would have in the system allowing us to maintain as much detail as possible. So it's the combination of the sensor and optics which allow this.

I've seen video comparisons we've been doing with very well known brand digital cameras which include both 720p and 1080p video and I have to say (despite my bias) that we're resolving more detail right now. Of course there are other paramaters you need to factor in. Some we may be slightly worse on depending on what you're comparing against, we can't be best in every aspect, no one can as imaging always leads to a compromise somewhere even in the most expensive products.

One area I think we're really good in which many people forget is audio. Of course we have a lot of experience here and the N8 capatilises a lot on this. We have new algorithms working in conjunction to our unique approach to stereo where we have one mic on the front, the other on the back. The result when you put this altogether is a much greater feeling of the original audio ambience and a greater spatial awareness. Again I'm biased, but compared to other mobiles at least, we blow everything out of the water in this area.

5. I'm going to talk about low light when we have more work done here, we're putting most attention to this area as I write, it's why we put that big sensor in there in the first place.

6. AWB. Again work is ongoing here but we really use the benefits of people around the world to tune this as much as possible. We actively don't follow the technically correct approach here which some purists won't like. For example when at the ends of the colour temperature spectrum we don't try and make things technically perfect, The result would be something that doesn't match your minds eye. For these products we believe this is much mopre important than technically correct. However we do have a few manual white balance presets if you prefer to overide ths system still.

An example of this is when shooting under candle light. The warm ambience created by the candle light you want to retain, so we recognise these situations and then adjust the AWB accordingly. A red rose on a cloudy day is another example. you'll remember it more vividly than reality.

7. Distortion is very low, lower than many high end zoom lenses.

atb

Damian

halc
halc Regular Member • Posts: 240
Re: Nokia N8 sensor is 1/1.83"

Thank you so much for your detailed reply, Damian.

Sounds very promising!

If you pull most of that stuff off, Nokia is likely to sell a bundle of these. The price is right too. It's like getting a free smart phone with a good quality "HD-video" shooting pocket camera

Greg K Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: Damian - I have a solution for you

Very diplomatically put, Damian However, there's a way for you to have your low noise enthusiast cam phone and one that's competitive in the market, too. Get your sensor manuf. to produce two sensors - for this phone you'd get:

  • 12 MP

  • 6 MP

sensors with the same form factor, compatible read out circuitry etc. The 6 MP sensor would just be a drop in replacement - could use the same optics, everything.

And here's the key idea - you ship the lower MP version as a special edition camera phone and charge 50 euro more for it. Think of the market education opportunity it'd give you

It'd be an instant classic. Someone will do this sooner or later - why not have it be Nokia?

Damian D Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Damian - I have a solution for you

Interesting idea, unfortunately I don't think you realise the complexity just in the SW having to tune for a completely different sensor. We'd have to start the process all over again, that takes far longer than I think you can imagine

Greg K wrote:

Very diplomatically put, Damian However, there's a way for you to have your low noise enthusiast cam phone and one that's competitive in the market, too. Get your sensor manuf. to produce two sensors - for this phone you'd get:

  • 12 MP

  • 6 MP

sensors with the same form factor, compatible read out circuitry etc. The 6 MP sensor would just be a drop in replacement - could use the same optics, everything.

And here's the key idea - you ship the lower MP version as a special edition camera phone and charge 50 euro more for it. Think of the market education opportunity it'd give you

It'd be an instant classic. Someone will do this sooner or later - why not have it be Nokia?

Greg K Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: Nokia N8 sensor is 1/1.83"

Damian D wrote:

4. In terms of stills, many camera optics (including dedicated cameras) often don;t resolve anywhere near their sensor resolution. For example some 10-12mp sensor equipped cameras can barely provide true 5mp resolution. In the case of the optics we're using here the theoretical output resolution is so close to 12mp that it's not worth mentioning. However, of course in the real world after balacning the multiple paramaters (which we're still doing) it may be a different story, let's see.

-- hide signature --

Well if you can actually resolve the 12 mp that will be very impressive. Still would prefer fewer less noisy pixels but at least in very bright light you might get something interesting...

Greg K Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: Damian - I have a solution for you

I'm actually quite sure I don't realize the complexity

It would probably have to be an end goal from the beginning to produce two sensors that were pin compatible, alas, and have the driver software designed around them. I suppose that's not the sort of thing that could be easily retrofitted. Something for someone's next project, perhaps

Damian D wrote:

Interesting idea, unfortunately I don't think you realise the complexity just in the SW having to tune for a completely different sensor. We'd have to start the process all over again, that takes far longer than I think you can imagine

Greg K wrote:

Very diplomatically put, Damian However, there's a way for you to have your low noise enthusiast cam phone and one that's competitive in the market, too. Get your sensor manuf. to produce two sensors - for this phone you'd get:

  • 12 MP

  • 6 MP

sensors with the same form factor, compatible read out circuitry etc. The 6 MP sensor would just be a drop in replacement - could use the same optics, everything.

And here's the key idea - you ship the lower MP version as a special edition camera phone and charge 50 euro more for it. Think of the market education opportunity it'd give you

It'd be an instant classic. Someone will do this sooner or later - why not have it be Nokia?

pforan
pforan Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Nokia N8 sensor is 1/1.83"

Wow -- I wanted to echo other users and thank Damian D for his thoughtful and, quite frankly, shockingly detailed and generous responses. If only every company had representatives like you in forums like this interacting with customers! I just hope you don't have any outstanding NDAs to worry about -- I'm guessing you're finally able to share all of this info because the N8 was officially announced the other day.

Just to let you know, I'm an iPhone user and a mac fan, but I will absolutely switch to the N8 when it gets released. Thanks for finally responding to the dream of so many photographers, an actual camera / phone that doesn't compromise on either aspect!

RRJackson
RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: Hype for phone users, not photographers

Damian D wrote:

As an avid user of SLR's for many years and having been at Minolta for 10 years I am very familiar with the benefits of SLR's today. However, the convenience of a camera that is with me 24/7 is incredibly compelling.

Yep. And increasingly, at least here in the United States, there are restrictions on what kind of places you can walk into with a camera. Most of the time a phone is allowed, though. Although I was at a Porcupine Tree concert a couple of nights ago and the band's management made an announcement before the show warning anyone who pulled out a cell phone during the show that they'd be escorted from the building. I hadn't heard that one before.

ziggy25 Senior Member • Posts: 1,225
Re: Hype for phone users, not photographers

That is quite impressive for a camera phone.

I personally would love to see the camera phones compete with the P&S markets and if possible the DSLR markets.

My only reason for this is that i think the big companies like Canon and Nikon are all taking us for a ride. The only reason we have to pay thousands of pounds for a lens is because they have the monopoly in that market. Just like Adobe charges thousands for their CS5 suite.

If the camera phone is eventually capable of producing decent pictures then i would replace my camera straight away. The more companies in the market the cheaper the products will be. So if Nokia, Apple or even Burger King want a piece of the cake then im all for it. In the end we will benefit from it.

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Damian D Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Damian - I have a solution for you

Swapping out a sensor is not the challenge, but the SW effort as all the paramaters would be different is what causes the complexity.

br

D

Greg K wrote:
I'm actually quite sure I don't realize the complexity

It would probably have to be an end goal from the beginning to produce two sensors that were pin compatible, alas, and have the driver software designed around them. I suppose that's not the sort of thing that could be easily retrofitted. Something for someone's next project, perhaps

Damian D wrote:

Interesting idea, unfortunately I don't think you realise the complexity just in the SW having to tune for a completely different sensor. We'd have to start the process all over again, that takes far longer than I think you can imagine

Greg K wrote:

Very diplomatically put, Damian However, there's a way for you to have your low noise enthusiast cam phone and one that's competitive in the market, too. Get your sensor manuf. to produce two sensors - for this phone you'd get:

  • 12 MP

  • 6 MP

sensors with the same form factor, compatible read out circuitry etc. The 6 MP sensor would just be a drop in replacement - could use the same optics, everything.

And here's the key idea - you ship the lower MP version as a special edition camera phone and charge 50 euro more for it. Think of the market education opportunity it'd give you

It'd be an instant classic. Someone will do this sooner or later - why not have it be Nokia?

Damian D Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Hype for phone users, not photographers

This always use to be the case but I thought recording artists realised that it created good additional onbline buzz and discussion. I remember a friend of mine going to a U2 concert a few years back being encouraged to record the concert of camera phones etc. Perhaps it's because they realise the quality is improving so it becomes more or a threat?

RRJackson wrote:

Damian D wrote:

As an avid user of SLR's for many years and having been at Minolta for 10 years I am very familiar with the benefits of SLR's today. However, the convenience of a camera that is with me 24/7 is incredibly compelling.

Yep. And increasingly, at least here in the United States, there are restrictions on what kind of places you can walk into with a camera. Most of the time a phone is allowed, though. Although I was at a Porcupine Tree concert a couple of nights ago and the band's management made an announcement before the show warning anyone who pulled out a cell phone during the show that they'd be escorted from the building. I hadn't heard that one before.

Damian D Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Hype for phone users, not photographers

I get the point you're making, especially at the end. The convenience of a camera with you always is soemthing that was hard to believe/imagine 10 years ago. In the last 5 years the performance of camera phones has improved drammatically but the convenience is incredibly compelling.

To be fair to the manufacturers you mentioned, the most probable reason why you're paying those prices is because of the high development costs involved, especially given the volumes of those higher priced items that are produced. I was gobsmacked the first time I heard what investment was involved in developing a high end mobile phone, but the volumes are huge so the share of the devlopment cost per unit is much smaller.

br

D

ziggy25 wrote:

That is quite impressive for a camera phone.

I personally would love to see the camera phones compete with the P&S markets and if possible the DSLR markets.

My only reason for this is that i think the big companies like Canon and Nikon are all taking us for a ride. The only reason we have to pay thousands of pounds for a lens is because they have the monopoly in that market. Just like Adobe charges thousands for their CS5 suite.

If the camera phone is eventually capable of producing decent pictures then i would replace my camera straight away. The more companies in the market the cheaper the products will be. So if Nokia, Apple or even Burger King want a piece of the cake then im all for it. In the end we will benefit from it.

Eric Fossum
Eric Fossum Senior Member • Posts: 1,481
bulging pockets

Having returned from a week in Hawaii fairly recently, I had a chance to consider what I was going to stuff into the pockets of my shorts during scenic walkabouts. I already carry a phone and it has a camera that is fine for taking convenience travel-log shots. It is nice, thin, and reasonably rugged. (Plus, like all camera-phones and many DSLRs, it uses my technology, so that always makes me happy.)

But, for those scenic memorable moments, I could stuff a P&S camera that is ergonomically designed for taking decent pictures (unlike all camera phones) or I could strap my DSLR around my neck and have it thump around all day. What I would not want to do however is to carry around a Nokia brick in one pocket AND a thumping DSLR around my neck.

What I would really like is a cell phone NUMBER that I can transfer from accessory to accessory, so I can choose the optimum things to stuff in my pockets or strap around my neck.

Barring that unlikely outcome, I am going to go with the thinnest camera phone I can find, and then optimize what I carry for a camera.

Can't really imagine I am alone in this line of thought.

 Eric Fossum's gear list:Eric Fossum's gear list
Sony RX100 II Nikon Coolpix P1000 +1 more
OP Jon Rty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,838
Re: bulging pockets

Luckily the phone in question is less than 13mm thick, so it's hardly a brick.

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