Nokia 808 PureView’s PureView Super Pixels vs HTC’s “ultra pixels” #oversampling

| February 4, 2013 | 20 Replies

Red Nokia 808 PureView(1)

This time last year, the media outside the Nokia bubble didn’t understand the purpose of Nokia’s 41mp PureView sensor and pixel oversampling.

One year later, after Nokia destroyed the megapixel race (who will compete against 41mp? :p) companies are now opting for oversampling instead of fighting Nokia in the MP wars. Apple already have their own somewhat oversampling (from 8mp?) that activates for low light situations (though obviously nothing compared to the 808 and clearly not the 920). HTC, famous for their Potato cameras, is now said to also be looking into oversampling.


Whilst we have our “super pixel” from PureView, HTC calls theirs an “ultra pixel”. They combine 3 4.3MP sensors to output one single image. Nokia’s PureView oversampling is adjustable. Lower MP output, higher oversampling, more accurate image (or you can substitute it for more usable digital zoom).

I’m liking the focus on image quality as opposed to pixels. Nokia ended that MP game by producing the highest megapixel count, but making sure it wasn’t just pixels either. The largest sensor ever on a phone and a device that size (besting even those found in some larger dedicated cams). Quality is what really matters to the end user. There are still those that will find the numbers attractive, whilst there are others who will instantly doubt the MP rating. I think Nokia could play both fields (like they should have with the 808) by boasting the new EOS Lumias as having the best picture quality (and possibly the highest MP count). Remember all those times we zoomed in, completely flabbergasted that we can still see detail? Even with the optical zoom of the Galaxy Camera, it cannot do what the 808 can. Take a 38MP picture, and from that picture, zoom into the details.

Source: Pocket-Lint

Cheers Arts for the tip!


Category: Lumia, Nokia

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  • Potato camera? Damn, you got me there! Funny.

  • Silthice

    They try to implement the stereoscopic view like human eyes but using three instead of two?

    • migo

      No, they have 3 sensor’s for each of the 3 colours, so it would likely give better HDR photos without the blur problems.

      • Dave

        Nothing to do with HDR, and being a potato based 3 layer imaging system its more likely to generate some akin to a salt’n’vinegar/cheese/bacon crisp combination.

  • dss

    Interesting to see how this would work on small sensor. The Foveon Sigma is a much bigger sensor…

    It should have a positive impact on jpeg quality in daytime.. but not much at night. Nokia’s phase 1 has an advantage in all conditions, including when the flash is used.

    • correct

      Indeed. The genius of Phase 1 Pureview is that it helps in ALL situations.

      The Foveon sensor actually has some limitations and drawbacks. If you look at professional camera websites, their reviews of the Foveon show that it’s mainly only good at daylight shots with good lighting. In many other situations the Foveon performs poorly, and apparently has noise and ISO limitations.

      And yes, the Foveon itself is a bigger sensor than anything HTC has ever used. So this supposed “Foveon mini” sensor won’t have much of an improvement. Going by HTC’s past history, this is going to be a camera with merely average performance.

      Nokia meanwhile may show off some further Pureview innovation, or something else new as well.

      • javier

        I have a 808 and a sigma dp2s and they are both remarkable in good light… I’m honestly happy that htc is raising the bar in the Android world and is looking to bring more innovation into mobile photography. The problem with Sigma’s foveon technology is that it’s been basically stagnant for the last few years due to their limited means and small volumes. They have recently launched the Merrill range of cameras with aps-c sized sensors but their manufacturing techniques haven’t changed much. I hope this move from htc finally push sensor manufacturers such as sony to up their game.

        • Dave

          Problem is that HTC raising their own “bar” by a fair amount would possibly only bring it level to what Apple and SE have been producing.

          HTC really are not that great at imaging ….

          Wasn’t the foveon sensor bad at handling video as well? Assuming similar concepts here from HTC …

          • kaz

            Technically Apple doesn’t produce or design cameras at all. They buy sony and stick it in their phones.

            HTC does have a long way to climb, but I think for your average outdoor smartphone shot this foveon sensor could really produce some nice detailed photos comparable to much higher res sensors in other devices. Just looking at the shots from the sigma line of cameras it is hard to believe the photos are only ~4MP. Of course it largely depends on how good HTC is at implementing it, which is why I think the 1st gen of this will be meh.

  • Interesting to see that the actual megapixel race ended by the 41Mp; when Damien told us that I wasn’t too sure what it would accomplish- I half expected Samsung to make a 45MP next month; but it’s nice to see that other OEMs are stepping up the game and providing actually performance enhancements (rather than mindless naming schemes)- and once again this is yet another field that Nokia have pioneered for the rest to follow in (from afar)

  • ” I half expected Samsung to make a 45MP next month”
    Oh you do crack me up sometimes, Ali :D.


  • PhilK

    is this a real Foveon sensor? Because that is a big deal – way more like film in the way it handles light. It would be a huge step up in color reproduction and clarity, though probably not in resolution.

  • zymo

    A bit off-topic:

    Sources of The Guardian confirmed that a 41MP PureView Lumia is coming


  • nabkawe

    after using OIS I really can’t go back … 🙂 Seriously it has never been so easy to capture text on the fly .

  • hary536

    Here is what I found after digging into HTC’s infographic.
    They are referring to this article from Gizmodo when Nokia announced 808.

    At that time, ofcz Gizmodo was ignorant and downright stupid not knowing the potential of 808.

    Since then, after its release, Gizmodo has realized their stupidity and have praised 808’s camera capabilities in every article. Example:

    If you do a search on Gizmodo’s website, you will find nothing but praise of Nokia 808 camera after it was released to market.

    So there you go. HTC’s marketing bad tactics are exposed now. 🙂

  • Janne

    I’m not a fan of the “smack talk” on any side, but I do think it is good that HTC too is innovating by doing something new with camera sensors and megapixels (in this case attempting something new with several small sensors) – instead of just adding up numbers. Of course 808 PureView was never about the megapixels either, it was about what you do with them.

    I’m all for great innovation and competition.

    • GordonH


    • Gordon Ramsay juttelee mukavia

      I got my 808 because of the native resolution. PureView modes were just something secondary.

  • Alvester
  • rwtertwret

    It doesn’t matter how do they do it. The quality is what matters. And 808 kills with picture quality. Everyone knows it. If HTC says it is not true, they make idiots of themselves.