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NokiaWorldWatch: The 8 megapixel question – where are the handsets Nokia?

One of the more puzzling aspects of Nokia’s portfolio that has been bothering us of late is their higher-end megapixel range, or more appropriately the lack thereof.

With the likes of Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson all having an 8 megapixel offering in the normal and touch screen varieties, we’re wondering when the Finnish phone makers will be coming into the picture.

Whilst at Nokia World we thought we’d get an answer to our recent ponderings, seeing as everyone we needed to speak to were all on hand and available to help.

We discovered although they were not averse to the idea of an 8MP camera phone, there are some factors to be considered.

A spokesperson from Nokia laid out the following to us in a rather agreeable manner, which made a lot of sense. It also showed that many others seem to have jumped on the high-end megapixel band wagon without taking serious consideration.

There are three areas of focus on how well a camera on a mobile operates: image quality, lens and processing software. The latter makes the biggest impact on how well the image quality taken really is at the end of the day.

The lens can obviously make a difference, which is why everyone always mentions the maker as soon as possible in their press release. All to endorse whom they’ve partnered with, hoping the name will stand out and win them favour over others.

The compression software is also key too, on how the photo is reduced and stored in its jpeg format.

Nokia put it to us there wasn’t much difference in the 5MP and 8MP image quality, and on some systems the image can be much worse than a 5MP version.

They gave us an example to test out, one of the ones actually applied in buying a real camera. Try taking three types of photographs. Take one in low light, one when it’s dark and another when it’s bright – and then match up the picture quality.

They believe from what we will gather their images will stand out over the 8MPs around today, we’ll put this to the test at a later date. Faults we’ve been told to look out for are artificial casting amongst others.

In terms of storage size between the two variants, the difference is vast. Try sending 5 and 8 megapixel images over 2G and watch the weeks fall off the calendar, it’s really not fun.

We’re sure we’ll see a Nokia 8MP handset within time, but they seem quite confident in their 5MP camera performance for the time being.

7 replies on “NokiaWorldWatch: The 8 megapixel question – where are the handsets Nokia?”

There's a fourth factor, more important than processing software and directly related to the lens: sensor size. Trends towards thinner mobiles mean that lens and sensor can only get worse, and even 5Mp is pushing beyond the number of photons that a mobile's tiny sensor can reliably pick up. 8Mp phone cameras are purely a marketing gimmick and, like Nokia says, will actually produce worse images than 5Mp ones. All credit to Nokia for bucking the trend and aiming for real quality rather than just easily-marketable headline figures.

Right on.

In order to perceivably increase the image quality of a 6″ x 4″ print, you have to increase the pixel count by a factor of 4. If you use the same lense, software and sensor size, you won't be able to tell the difference between a 2MP and a 5MP. Certainly going from 5 to 8 will make zero difference – apart from, as Rob says, making for a much slower image processing and upload time. Also larger files mean less memory available on the phone, and slower image browsing – very important as 99.999999% of cameraphone snaps are only viewed on the phone itself.

New MIR Reader campaign: We call “Bullshit” on inflating MP counts. Every new handset with more than 5MP is officially tagged as a Hypemobile, unless 4 out of 5 normobs can actually tell the difference.

/m

Agree with both the above comments. It's not worth wasting time fighting over the Megapixel race. There's a bigger picture and broader audience to look at. 5 Megapixel is sufficient enough, if you want better than what a 5 Megapixel can do, you'll be wanting a proper SLR.

the Nokia 8mp cameraphone is nicknamed 'Corolla' and would be out just after the N97 i would hope around August/September. Dont think its a touch screen though

the Nokia 8mp cameraphone is nicknamed 'Corolla' and would be out just after the N97 i would hope around August/September. Dont think its a touch screen though

Agree with Nokia and all comments so far: 8MP cannot possibly produce decent quality images with the sensor size typically found in high end camera phones.
Inflating megapixels is just like cranking the volume up to 11 on an audio system with crappy speakers: sure, it'll be LOUD, but it'll sound like crap.

the Nokia 8mp cameraphone is nicknamed 'Corolla' and would be out just after the N97 i would hope around August/September. Dont think its a touch screen though

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