PureView - Nokia's new, innovative imaging technology set to change the world of mobile phone photography

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This release describes Nokia’s further development of the new PureView imaging technology which is Nokia's latest technology featured in the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone.

Nokia have introduced the second phase of the PureView technology evolution in their latest flagship device, the Lumia 920. Nokia’s ultimate intent for PureView is to be synonymous with high performance imaging.

Using advanced floating lens technology, the PureView camera in the Nokia Lumia 920 takes in five times more light than competing smartphones without using flash, making it possible to capture great pictures at night and videos on the move.

The first phase of PureView technology was the Nokia 808 41mp camera. PureView camera in the Nokia Lumia 920 is the next step in the development of PureView technologies. While the core ingredients are the same, namely high performance optics, sensor and image processing algorithms, this 2nd phase differs to the Nokia 808 PureView.

Nokia set themselves the challenge to create the best low-light performance ever in a smartphone. Nokia combined the latest generation of Back Side Illuminated (BSI) sensors, optics from Carl Zeiss and – for the first time in smartphones, optical image stabilization (OIS) to create bright, beautiful photos at night.

Whilst digital cameras have incorporated OIS for a while, it’s virtually unheard of in smartphones due to the various size constraints. OIS works by detecting camera movement using a gyroscope – a highly accurate sensor used to detect the degree and direction of movement. But that’s pretty much where the similarity between Nokia’s OIS system and broadly comparable OIS systems ends.

In most OIS systems, a single lens element, in the optical structure, moves in the opposite direction to the measured device movement to compensate for unintended movement, effectively cancelling out camera shake. Nokia’s OIS system moves the entire optical assembly – its called a floating lens - to compensate for natural hand movement. With the camera shake from the natural hand movement being cancelled out, it is now possible to have the camera shutter open a much longer time letting in more light than in a traditional smartphone camera with less blur.

Depending on the amount of camera movement requiring compensation Nokia found in testing that shutter speeds as long as 1/4th second and even longer can be used. This is an improvement of 8x longer shutter speed — which Nokia believe to be a new benchmark. This extends the low light performance of the camera to a whole new level allowing exposure times up to 1/3 seconds with automode and up to 1s with nightmode to be used without excessive handshake or usage of heavy tripods.

And now the consumer can feel part of the moment when capturing it. In addition, for the individual who’s recording it, they no longer need to feel detached from ‘live’ action as they concentrate continuously on the viewfinder. When capturing video, OIS works slightly differently to when capturing stills. By detecting the different movements the OIS system is able to compensate for unintended movement rather than intended movements e.g. panning.

Nokia uses a BSI (Back-Side Illuminated) sensor in the Lumia 920. The difference between BSI sensors and more conventional FSI (Front-Side Illuminated) sensors essentially lays in the difference the path the light takes to reach the photosensitive area. In the case of FSI, the path of light can be restricted, or interference can be caused by the metal and wire structure between the micro lenses and the upper part of the photosensitive area at the base of the sensor. BSI sensors use a reversed structure, so the wires and metal are in the base of the sensor and the photosensitive diodes are directly below the micro lenses and colour filters. This results in more photons reaching the photosensitive pixels and therefore superior pixel performance, most notably in low light.

And finally, to further improve low light performance Nokia adopted a large f/2.0 camera aperture to let more light through to the sensors.

Optical image stabilization, larger aperture, back-side illumination, Carl Zeiss optics and Nokia’s own imaging processing algorithms together allow us create the next breakthrough in imaging - PureView in Lumia 920.

This is sent out on behalf of Nokia, by James Kinloch lead global strategist from within the WPP network.

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James Kinloch

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