BBC Article: Does a cameraphone really need 41 megapixels?

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Ivo

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Does a cameraphone really need 41 megapixels?

The launch of a new cameraphone boasting 41 megapixels has caused a stir on its launch. But how many megapixels do people need?

Nokia's 808 Pureview has dramatically upped the ante on the number of megapixels on a cameraphone. Many smartphones today, like the iPhone 4S, have an 8MP camera.

Now Nokia has blown that standard out of the water. But are megapixels the key thing for consumers to focus on?

Photography enthusiasts have been warning about the "megapixel myth" for some time. In the myth, more megapixels means a better camera and a better photograph.

But that's not necessarily the case.

Damien Demolder, editor of Amateur Photographer, says that at first glance 41MP seems "ridiculous". Professionals doing billboard photography use 25MP cameras. For people wanting to share holiday snaps online, 8MP is more than enough.

But Nokia says people are missing the point. It is the way the pixels are used that is the real "quantum leap", a spokeswoman says.

The information from up to seven pixels is combined to create a new, single, better pixel, in a process termed "oversampling". The company likens it to how compact discs decode more data than needed so they can retain better quality data or information.
I really can't see the point in any camera having anywhere near this many pixels in a shot. I tend to use a setting of 2M on my camera, although now I've transferred most of its photos to my laptop I have just reset it to 6 (it is capable of 12). On the other hand, my phone cannot even take photos; after all, a phone is for calling people on!

Nokia obviously disagree with me, but most enthusiasts don't - as shown in the link embedded in the quote (replicated from the BBC article, which also includes said link, to the New York Times).

Thoughts?
 
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Schnellzug

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The only reason I have a Phone is for the Camera, and it's, let me have a look, 5 MP, apparently. Although it hasn't worked for a while, but I haven't had much need for it lately, although it might have been handy for the Class 47 the other day, but I'm probably rambling. Anyway, I expect it's all just technology for the sake of it, like facebook. I wonder how much of all this time and expense that goes into development of Technological devices is really necessary?
 

SS4

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The only reason I have a Phone is for the Camera, and it's, let me have a look, 5 MP, apparently. Although it hasn't worked for a while, but I haven't had much need for it lately, although it might have been handy for the Class 47 the other day, but I'm probably rambling. Anyway, I expect it's all just technology for the sake of it, like facebook. I wonder how much of all this time and expense that goes into development of Technological devices is really necessary?
I would imagine quite a lot because our economy partially depends on constant upgrades even where it's unnecessary.
 

Schnellzug

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I would imagine quite a lot because our economy partially depends on constant upgrades even where it's unnecessary.
I suppose that sums up Capitalism really, doesn't it; endlessly turn out more and more new things that aren't really necessary, to keep the People's minds off the futility of the whole system ....
But we might be in danger of getting Political once again, and that's quite enough of that. :D
 

SS4

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I suppose that sums up Capitalism really, doesn't it; endlessly turn out more and more new things that aren't really necessary, to keep the People's minds off the futility of the whole system ....
But we might be in danger of getting Political once again, and that's quite enough of that. :D
Agreed.

41MP might be over the top but I still want to try it :lol:
 

Bungle73

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I suppose that sums up Capitalism really, doesn't it; endlessly turn out more and more new things that aren't really necessary, to keep the People's minds off the futility of the whole system ....
But we might be in danger of getting Political once again, and that's quite enough of that. :D
What isn't "necessary" today is necessary tomorrow. If it wasn't for technological progress we'd all still be stuck using 286s.
 

GB

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Does a cameraphone really need 41 megapixels?



I really can't see the point in any camera having anywhere near this many pixels in a shot. I tend to use a setting of 2M on my camera, although now I've transferred most of its photos to my laptop I have just reset it to 6 (it is capable of 12). On the other hand, my phone cannot even take photos; after all, a phone is for calling people on!

Thoughts?
You should set your camera to what it is capable of...ie for you 12mp. It allows a greater degree of flexibility with your pictures at a later date such as cropping, zooming and using larger displays.
 

Clip

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Whilst its all really about the lens I think what they are aiming at is to substitute the normally poor lenses by using the extra pixels to create something aking to a normal digital camera would..

mind im no expert and I understand that more pixels doesnt = better photos but the 'oversampling' as they put it does seem to be a good idea for camera phones
 

Bungle73

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The only reason I have a Phone is for the Camera,
So you bought a phone because you wanted a camera? Why didn't you just buy.....you know...a camera?

Whilst its all really about the lens I think what they are aiming at is to substitute the normally poor lenses by using the extra pixels to create something aking to a normal digital camera would..

mind im no expert and I understand that more pixels doesnt = better photos but the 'oversampling' as they put it does seem to be a good idea for camera phones
I don't see how you can make up for a crap lens by throwing a load of mega-pixels at it.
 

scotsman

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41mp cameras will just mean that Nokia sell more memory cards. The only advantage I can see is that it makes digital zoom on the camera a viable option
 

Clip

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I don't see how you can make up for a crap lens by throwing a load of mega-pixels at it.
Nokia normally use Karl Ziess lenses on their camera phones, but what they are doing with so many pixels is overlaying them to create one stronger better pixel in place of 4 or 6 ( i think I read).

Seems too complicated to me to try and describe it but its there in the story. though it had changed since when I first saw the story earlier in the morning.
 
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I think that the true test of picture quality that 41mp brings, will probably come in the future when people may want to blow up portions of an interesting photo because of something caught in the background, perhaps.

If a photo pixellates as soon as it is shown at 200 or 300% then it is not going to be very useful.

I can scan a 35mm slide at 5400 dpi on my Minolta, but it produces a TIFF file of 200mb. This may seem to be rather overkill for most applications, but when the original slide has deteriorated beyond recovery I would prefer to have a digital image that captures as much fine detail of the original as possible.

I can see that shots of friends and family are never going to be needed to be of that size, but if the subject is the current railway scene you may want to consider the historical implications.

EDITED to add that my deterioration beyond recovery may well precede that of the transparency :)
 

sprite

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Nokia normally use Karl Ziess lenses on their camera phones,
They do indeed, this is a shot taken with a nokia n900, 5Mpix camera on it and a Karl Ziess lens. (Click for "full size" - best that photobucket will let me use)

Not the best shot I have from the camera, but it was online already. Pretty sure if I had my proper camera at that time the shot would look better, but alot of it is in the composition of the shots.
I do hate when people claim that more pixels = better camera. As has been covered already, it doesn't - it could just mean more pixels of a blurred image with horrific chromatic abberation if the lens infront of it is pants. Nokia do use decent lens make though.
 
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