More, much more about the upcoming Nokia Lumia 830, "the affordable flagship" (updated)
No, it's not like I have one in front of me already - I wish. But I do have some additional info I still owe you as promised in my first post about the Lumia 830. First of all, I'd like to return to the fantastic presentation last Thursday by Chris Webber and Kristina Björknäs. Not only did they introduce the Lumia 830, but the new Windows Phone OS it ships with as well - Denim (following Black and Cyan). Denim adds a few very important features like much improved shot-to-shot time.
In the demonstration mr. Webber gave, it's ovious you won't need as much time to start up the camera either (although that has already improved significantly after the Nokia Lumia 1020, which may still be close to perfect in picture quality, but slow). Shot to shot time during the demonstration looked like a bit less than a second - not the "milliseconds" that's being promised. That is still quite slow when you compare it to some Android devices that shoot images with the speed of a machine gun.
More PureView innnovations
But the imaging team has added a very interesting new feature with Moment Capture: 4K video with 24fps and 8.3MP per frame! That means that from every video you shoot, you can freeze the shot you like best and save that seperately - in 8.3MP resolution! And then of course, you can get several shots within the blink of an eye. In the demo it looked really convincing and I can't wait to test it. More good news: Kristina Björknäs demonstrated Dynamic Flash and Rich Capture (auto HDR).
This will allow you to shoot with flash, but add the amount of flash you like in your shot afterwards. Or you can decide how much of HDR you need in your shot when you didn't use the flash. That looks no less than sensational, and from September 4 we can count the amount of days it will take other companies to announce this feature in their smartphone camera.
To me this proves the imaging team at Nokia – now Microsoft Mobiles, but we can still see the proud Nokia brand on the Lumia 830 – is still far ahead of the exciting game of smartphone photography:
first with image oversampling (the first “PureView”),
first with Optical Image Stabilisation,
first with Moment Capture,
first with Dynamic Flash and Rich Capture
and of course first with enabling raw .DNG capture
And guess what: you’ll be able to shoot raw with the Nokia Lumia 830 as well! Juha Alakarhu toldNokia Conversations yesterday, from which I quote:
“Developing the amazing quality in such a thin package requires the absolutely best technologies and innovations. We have used new mechanics technology, new kind of optics design and lens materials, as well as new kind of actuators (motors) to make this happen.
Then, we need to construct them in a way that simply works for the person using the camera phone. That development actually takes quite long time. Now that we have finally announced our newborn PureView baby, the Lumia 830, I couldn’t be more proud of what we have achieved with the team.”
Who’se getting Denim?
Those innovations in imaging technology, that’s what the whole PureView concept is all about. You can read more about the Denim update here. If I understood correctly the Denim update will come to the Lumia Icon, 930 and 1520 in Q4 this year.
As for the other devices another quote from Nokia Conversations: “The Lumia Denim Update provides features that are exclusive to Lumia. We always strive to bring new features to everyone, but some of which are hardware dependent and are only announced for the Lumia 930, Lumia Icon, Lumia 1520 and Lumia 830, such as the Lumia Camera.”
Now that means the Nokia Lumia 1020 won’t be getting the new Lumia camera features. Still, it’s so much ahead of the pack I don’t think one should be worried about that too much.
But there’s more information there which I appear to have overlooked. Below I’ll quote a large part from a very interesting reaction by PureViewClub friend Massis Sirapian from France, who shed a much brighter light on this matter:
To bring some hope, I quote Daniel Rubino from WP Central (I believe he’s a well informed source):
– “Core aspects will be for all Lumias, including the re-written camera architecture for processing images.”
– “Devices without 4K support get “HD Moments” instead. Similar, but not as high resolution.”
– “They will get the core aspects. Even devices that can’t shoot 4K will get an “HD Moments” version. The whole architecture of the camera app/system was re-written for Lumia Denim and Lumia Camera V for speed, as processing of images now happens in the background.”
So according to Daniel, one understands that Microsoft is bringing the maximum they can to older devices. Nokia could have expressed it that way (like: all Lumia devices are getting the rewritten Lumia Camera architecture). It’s not the case ; their PR focus on the new features and on what is certain : 830/930/1520 are getting it. I’m not sure Nokia/Microsoft teams know EXACTLY what will come to the 1020 right now.
It doesn’t mean the 1020 will receive NONE of these features. It doesn’t mean either it will receive all of them. But my gut feel is that we’ll get more, camera-wise, with Denim and subsequent app update, for the 1020, than with Cyan.
So the question is more “who’s getting Lumia Camera and when”, rather than Denim, because all Lumia devices will have Denim by Q4. Let’s just hope that, even tweaked or adapted, we get most of it, as much as the 1020 can handle.
Camera module specifications
More from Nokia Converstations: “In fact, this slim PureView camera module on the Lumia 830 is much smaller than any other, while it keeps the PureView promise of uncomprized image quality. Hardware aside, Juha and the rest of the imaging team have created a strong portfolio of imaging algorithms. Lumia 830 comes with these latest imaging algorithms to bring out the best quality in your photos.”
But how small is the camera module exactly? What’s the size, its aperture, focal length, zoom capacity? For that we simply need to check the specification list the Nokia has put online, where you can read all this:
Main camera sensor:
10 MP, PureView
Main camera focus type: Auto focus with two-stage capture key
Camera digital zoom: 4 x
ZEISS optics: Yes
Sensor size: 1/3.4 inch
Pixel size: “1.12um latest generation BSI” (as stated by Juha Alakarhu)
Main camera f-number/aperture: f/2.2
Camera focal length: 26 mm
Camera minimum focus range: 10 cm
Camera image formats: JPEG/Exif
Flash type: LED flash
Flash operating range: 2.0 m
Flash modes: Off, Automatic, On
And there’s more that will interest you:
Main camera features
Main camera – other features: 6-lens optics, Backside-illuminated image sensor, Optical image stabilization, PureView, True 16:9 sensor
Digital camera add-ons: Panorama lens, Nokia Refocus, Bing vision, Cinemagraph lens, Nokia Camera, Nokia Glam Me
Capture modes: Video, Still
Scene modes: Automatic, Sports, Night
White balance modes: Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Daylight, Automatic
Light sensitivity: Automatic, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200
Photos viewed by: Month, Photo editor, Album, Timeline, Camera Roll, Favorites, Nokia Storyteller, Photos from social networks
Secondary camera: HD 0.9 MP wide angle
Secondary camera f-number/aperture: f/2.4
Secondary camera – other features: Video recording, Still image capture, Video call
So, what does this lead to? Nokia shared four shot coming from the Nokia Lumia 830, and I will share those here first in low resolution – slightly resized to fit this post. And I’m happy to see Jens Eggert, Lead Program Manager at Microsoft (Capture & Relive – Imaging) is still part of the team :-)
Nokia is also offering these shots in their original format (8.3MP), and you know what I usually do with those :-) From each shot, I'll share a crop from the center and from one of the edges. First the two daylight shots There's no denying these results have some noise, but I think they're really acceptable in general. Next up are two crops from the lowlight shots that were obviously take late in the evening. You'll see a lot more noise, of course - but still a lot of detail as well. Would be interesting to see how these results compare to say the Lumia 930 and mighty 1020, but for a less priced flagship like the Nokia Lumia 830 I think these results are pretty good in fact. You can download the shots for yourself here. In the Nokia Conversations interview, Juha concludes: “We’re really proud of both our imaging hardware and software, especially making it more affordable” continues Juha. “What’s even more exciting is that the imaging capabilities will be further enhanced in the upcoming Lumia Denim Update. That’s something you’ll want to keep a look out for.”
That is if you own a Lumia fast enough I guess - so the Lumia 1520, 930 of 830. Still, I think it's fantastic that Nokia / Microsoft Mobiles (I wonder if I'll ever get used to that name) brings new PureView imaging power at a much lower price point. €330 ex VAT (and subsidies) doesn't exactly make it a bargain like the Lumia 630 is, but it's great value for not so much money. Can't wait to get my hands on one (but then again, I can never wait to get my hands on any new PureView device :-) Update: I don't want to steal his limelight, but there has been a very interesting discussion between Steve Litchfield and Juha Alakarhu on Twitter ( here and here), related to what has been written above (and discussed) below about the Lumia Camera update and consequences for different Lumia devices. From this, I can share some of Juha's statements: - With the Lumia Camera update, nothing will change in the Lumia 1020 ("it is very good as it is") - With Lumia Camera update, oversampling "is moved to background with the rest of the image processing. This way, the shot to shot improves to 2-3 fps" - Doing the same with the Lumia 1020 would be hard, Juha writes: "achieving smooth experience would be very difficult. The chipset is so different and there is 2x data to process." Thank you Steve and Juha for this valuable information.