MWC: HMD Launches Nokia PureView 9 Camera-Focused Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2019 - 08:10 PM |
Tagged: nokia, HMD, android one, pie, light, camera, photography, pOLED, snapdragon 845, qualcomm

Finnish company HMD Global Oy unveiled an interesting new smartphone under its Nokia brand at Mobile World Congress that, in typical Nokia fashion, focuses on camera quality. The Nokia PureView 9 offers up five rear cameras along with the hardware and software to harness computational photography techniques to deliver high quality HDR images.

Nokia PureView 9 Android One Smartphone.jpg

The PureView 9 nestles a 5.99-inch QHD+ pOLED HDR10 certified display (2880x1440 resolution) in a two-tone Midnight Blue body with front and back glass faces and aluminum sides with curved stylized edges. There is an optical fingerprint reader under the display and a small front facing camera sitting above the display. If you are looking for an edge-to-edge display, the PureView 9 is not the phone for you as it does have small bezels top and bottom and the front face does not curve into the sides. Ars Technica compares the design to the LG V30 which I would say is fair as both phones have similar bezels with curved display corners. For a most specific comparison, the V30 puts the “selfie” camera on the left not the right like the PureView 9, the bezels on the Nokia may be ever so slightly thicker and there is also a Nokia logo in the top right corner while there is no branding on the front of the V30. Nokia’s PureView 9 features a single USB-C port on the bottom edge along with what looks to be a single speaker. The right side holds the volume and power buttons while the left side is blank. The top edge appears to be the SIM tray slot.

I like the blue colors HMD has chosen, and while a good portion of the back is taken up by the camera system, the lenses sit flush with the body which is nice to see (Nokia has never been one afraid of cameras protruding from the phone in the name of photo and lens quality). There are five Zeiss camera lenses, one LED flash, and a sensor suite including time of flight grouped in a hexagonal shape.

The cameras are the star of the show with the Nokia PureView 9 and where most of the money was focused. HMD/Nokia partnered with Light to design a system with five 12MP f/1.8 camera sensors two of which have the RGB color filters and three of which are monochrome sensors that let it far more light than your usual camera sensor thanks in large part to not having a color filter which absorbs most of the light that enters the camera. In fact, HMD claims that the PureView 9’s five camera sensor system captures 10 times as much light as single sensor of the same type. Light provided its Lux Capacitor co-processor to allow all five cameras (it supports up to six) to shoot simultaneously allowing Nokia to use up to 60MP of total data from a single shot from each of the five 12MP cameras or up to 240MP of data when doing temporal image stacking with each camera taking four shots each combined and then downstacked/downsampled into, ideally, a much better 12MP (JPG or RAW DNG) image than would be possible with a single camera on its own using various computational photography and “Image stacking” techniques. The camera should do really well in low-light situations as well as being able to offer depth of field and bokeh effects that are much closer to reality and DSLR cameras than to your typical smartphone that can fake it. Nokia’s also partnered with Google to allow photographers to save shots to Google Photos with GDepth at up to 1200 layers of dept of field data that can be adjusted later to get customized photos in editing. Speaking of editing, Nokia and Adobe are supporting the PureView 9 in the Android version of Lightroom with a camera profile allowing you to work with the RAW DNG images right on your phone which is interesting, at least in theory (it’s not clear what performance will be like with the SD845).

In typical Nokia fashion, its Pro Camera UI offers a full manual mode as well as features like long exposure (with a tripod), time lapse, bokeh, filters, scenes, and more.

What is powering this camera that happens to make calls and run Android though? Well, here is where Nokia has compromised in the design with the use of the older Snapdragon 845 chipset though it is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 internal memory (not expandable as there is no microSD card support). There is a 3320 mAh battery though and a stock Android One (Pie) OS experience.

HMD’s Nokia PureView 9 will reportedly be a limited production run product with an MSRP of $699. The flagship pricing may be difficult for some smartphone enthusiasts to justify especially with competing flagships also being announced at MWC featuring newer designs with edge-to-edge displays, newer processors, and support for 2TB microSD cards. For amateur photographers and anyone that uses their smartphone as their primary camera and love taking photos though the Nokia PureView 9 may be the niche product to beat in 2019 so long as the usual build quality, I’ve come to expect from Nokia holds up.

I do worry about the glass back and how that will hold up (it is Gorilla Glass 5 at least and the phone is IP67 rated for dust/water resistance) and 9-to-5 Google’s hands-on video mentions that the optical fingerprint reader was hit-or-miss (which can hopefully be improved between now and launch). No microSD card slot and no headphone jack may also turn off buyers (one advantage the V30 retains), and while many photo-happy users could live without the headphone jack, no expandable storage is a real disappointment and the 128GB of internal storage simply may not be enough.

I am looking forward to the reviews on this and am curious to see how the camera performs in the real world and what is possible with video recording as well. I don’t see the PureView 9 winning any popularity contests in 2019 and it appears to be kind of a mixed bag even with its exciting camera system with certain drawbacks dragging it down but I can also appreciate why some users might well choose it even with its compromises.

Related Reading:

Source: 9to5Google

Photographers are flipping over mirrorless cameras

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2018 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: camera, DSLR, slr, sony a9

The Tech Report offers a brief history of SLR and DSLR cameras as well as reasoning as to why they might be permanently consigned to the past thanks to new technology.  In the heart of a single lens reflex camera, digital or otherwise, is a mirror between the rear of the lens and the film or sensor which allowed you to see what the picture you were about to take looked like.   However the mirror adds some problems to fine tuning things such as wide angle shots, as well as requiring larger lenses to allow this trick to work.  Recently mirror-less designs have been appearing, which are able to display a preview directly from the sensor such as the Sony A9, which also allow you to do things you cannot on a SLR.  Check out the link up top to learn more about this.

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"The single-lens-reflex camera has dominated interchangeable-lens camera designs for the better part of a century, but mirrorless cameras are coming to the fore. We examine some history behind the SLR and why its reign is likely to end."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

CES 2018: Lenovo Announces Mirage VR Camera and Untethered Motion-Tracking Daydream Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: VR, lenovo mirage, Lenovo, daydream, CES 2018, CES, camera

UPDATE (2018-01-09 7:38 PM EST): Lenovo has announced new pricing information for its Mirage Solo headset and Mirage VR Camera. In lieu of the specific pricing originally reported, the Mirage Camera will now start at "under $300" while the Mirage Solo will start "under $400." Original article follows below.

Lenovo today announced the Mirage Solo, the first standalone headset compatible with Google's Daydream virtual reality platform. In addition to keeping the processing power, display, and power all confined to the headset for a completely untethered experience, the Mirage Solo also supports "WorldSense," a motion tracking technology that lets users move within a 1.5-meter range of compatible Daydream experiences without the need for external cameras or sensors.

lenovo-mirage-solo-front.jpg

The Mirage Solo is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR platform with 4GB of RAM. On-board storage is provided by microSD and can be expanded up to 256GB. The 256x1440 display offers a 110-degree filed of view, and the whole headset weighs in at 1.42 pounds.

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The headset's 4000mAh battery is good for up to 7 hours per charge, although Lenovo notes that this number may vary based on the complexity of the Daydream content and the amount of motion involved.

The Mirage Solo includes a wireless Daydream controller and will start at $449.99 "under $400" when it ships in the second quarter.

Mirage Camera

In addition to the Mirage Solo headset, Lenovo is also launching a product for those who wish to create and share virtual reality experiences. The Mirage Camera is a compact VR capture device that records 180 degrees of video via two 13MP fisheye lenses.

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Once captured, the camera features integrated uploading to Google Photos and YouTube for easy sharing. The videos are recorded in the VR180 format, which allows for immersive 3D playback with compatible devices, or controllable 2D video for those without a headset.

The Mirage Camera includes 16GB of built-in storage and can be expanded with up to 128GB of additional storage via a microSD card. The removable battery offers up to two hours of continuous recording per charge.

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The Mirage Camera starts at $299.99 "under $300" and will launch in the second quarter. A model with integrated LTE is also planned, but Lenovo has not yet revealed pricing or release window for that version.

Source: Lenovo

The HP Z 3D Camera Adds 3D Scanning and Video Capture to Your Desk

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2018 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: hp z 3d camera, hp, CES 2018, camera, 3d

HP today announced the HP Z 3D Camera, a standalone 3D camera system similar to the one integrated in the company’s Sprout Pro desktop that lets users add 2D and 3D capture capability to any display.

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The HP Z 3D Camera attaches to the back of a monitor via a magnetic badge and then extends up and over the top, with its lens pointing down to the desk in front. This gives it a somewhat awkward appearance but also a small footprint. Once installed and calibrated, the Z 3D Camera can capture both 2D and 3D content, with tasks ranging from scanning and applying OCR to a printed document to creating a full 3D model of an object that is suitable for use in 3D renderings and mixed reality applications.

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The system can also perform standard video capture, allowing users to stream live video of their desk surface via applications like Skype. HP states that this could be useful for sharing and collaborating on a hand-drawn sketch or for activities that are aided by hand gestures and motion, resulting in a “more human experience.”

The HP Z 3D Camera's capture resolutions and specifications:

Scan Mat Capture Area 11.8 in. x 17.7 in.
Camera Sensor Resolution 4416x3312 (14.6 Megapixels)
Resolution Frame Rates Up to 60fps @ 1056x792
Up to 30fps @ 1920x1080
Up to 25fps @ 2176x1632
Up to 10fps @ 3840x2160
Up to 6fps @ 4352x3264
Field of View 48.9 degrees horizontal
37.7 degrees vertical
59.2 degrees diagonal
3D Resolution 2~5mm, for depth sensing range 30cm~120cm
3D Point Accuracy 2~10 mm relative depth accuracy within depth sensing range
Scanned Object Size 100x100x100 mm ~ 300x300x300 mm
3D Export Formats OBJ, 3MF

The HP Z 3D Camera will work natively with apps like PowerPoint 3D, Paint 3D, Adobe Dimension, ZBrush, Substance Paint, Autodesk applications, and the Windows Mixed Reality Viewer. It requires a PC running Windows 10 with an Intel Core i7-4790S or higher, one USB 3.0 Type A port, one USB 2.0 Type A port, 16GB of RAM, 1.8GB of available storage and, for 3D capture, an NIVDIA GeForce GTX 960M or better graphics card.

hp-z-3d-camera-install.jpg

It is compatible with flat panel monitors from all manufacturers as long as there is a flat surface near the center-top of the monitor's back to attach the magnetic badge that holds the Z 3D camera in place. Monitors that have sharply angled backs or necessarily ventilation in this location may not be suitable.

The HP Z 3D Camera will launch in the U.S. in March for $599. Pricing and availability for other regions is not yet known.

Source:

Make yourself a WiFi camera remote

Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2016 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: wifi, camera, DIY, iot

Hack a Day has posted a perfect example of how inexpensive and easy it is to build yourself useful things instead of shopping for expensive electronics.  If you have looked at the prices of cameras or adapters which allow you to wirelessly take a picture you have probably been disappointed, but you don't have to stay that way.  Instead, take an existing manual remote trigger, add in a WiFi enabled SoC module like the ESP8266 suggested in the video, download and compile the code and the next thing you know you will have a camera with wireless focus and shutter trigger.  Not too shabby for a ~$5 investment.

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"It’s just ridiculous how cheap and easy it is to do some things today that were both costly and difficult just two or three years ago. Case in point: Hackaday.io user [gamaral] built a WiFi remote control for his Canon E3 camera out of just three parts"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Hack a Day

Faith in Humanity Declining: Camera Mice.

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | January 18, 2014 - 08:44 PM |
Tagged: camera, mouse, camera mouse, Japan

Have you ever been sitting at your laptop or desktop thinking, "I really need a selfie right about now and this webcam simply will not do"? I have no idea what is wrong with you. Do you not have a cellphone if spontaneous self-photography means that much?

But at least a Japanese company has your back... or is it front?

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For the love of... it's even being held the wrong way!!!

Introducing the Camera Mouse. It is a mouse with a camera in it. It is useful if you want to take pictures of things with your mouse. It will be sold by King Jim Co., LTD. which is one of the largest office supplies manufacturers in Japan.

While I have been thinking about this news story, I have been thinking about legitimate use cases. It has been a struggle. I just cannot understand why someone would want to purchase a 1600x1200 camera which is hard-wired to their computer. Thus far, I have only come up with a single possibilities (although it would require significant software development resources that I doubt they intend to provide). The only way I could see myself purchasing this mouse is if it came with OCR and translation software so that I could point it at my monitor and automatically translate any text on screen.

Even then, I expect the vast majority of foreign language content would be in a web browser and two of those automatically translate text anyway. It would help for text in images or text in videos but otherwise I could not see the point even then. Moreover, all of this assumes the software even exists in a reasonable package (Bluestacks running Google Translate is probably no more useful than a cell phone).

But who knows. I could be missing the bigger picture. I could be missing the subtle nuances of their target audience. Maybe I just need to see things at two megapixels from under a sweaty palm.

Source: King Jim

Raspberry Pi Releasing 5MP Camera Module

Subject: General Tech | February 10, 2013 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: SFF, Raspberry Pi, camera, arm

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has been working on offering a camera attachment for Raspberry Pi boards for some time now. The developers began with a 41MP sensor, but have since moved to a smaller (and cheaper) camera with a 5MP sensor. That particular model is nearly complete and should be available for purchase sometime this spring, according to the developers.

Raspberry Pi with Camera Module.jpg

The Raspberry Pi camera will be $25 which aligns itself well with the recently released Model A Raspberry Pi computer (which is also $25). The PCB hosting the camera module measures 20 x 25 x 10mm, while the camera module itself measures 8.5 x 8.5 x 5mm. It connects to the Raspberry Pi board via a flat cable into the CSI port below the Ethernet jack.

Raspberry Pi Camera_Front.jpg

The $25 camera is capable of capturing HD video as well as stills. It uses the Omnivision OV5647 sensor and a fixed focus lens. The 5MP sensor is capable of capturing still photos with a pixel resolution of 2592 x 1944 and up to 1080p video. While the developers are still working on the kinks to ensure that it the camera can do this, the sensor itself is capable of 1080p30, 720p60, and 640x480p90 video capture. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has stated that at least the 1080p30 capture mode is working.

Interestingly, the Raspberry Pi ISP hardware can support two cameras, but the PCB only provides a single CSI connector (so no 3D image capture using two cameras). The Raspberry Pi Foundation is providing this little CSI camera as an alternative to USB cameras. While it is possible to use USB cameras with the Raspberry Pi, USB driver overhead and USB bandwidth issues specific to the Raspberry Pi limit the performance that you can get out of USB cameras. The $25 CSI camera add-on bypasses the USB interface in favor of the CSI port that feeds into the image processing parts of the ARM SoC.

Raspberry Pi Camera_Back.jpg

The developers have not released an exact weight measurement, but have described it as being rather lightweight--making it ideal for use in drones, weather balloons, and other flying projects. For more information, the developers have set up a forum thread to answer questions and keep interested users updated on the project status.

Source: Raspberry Pi

Sony Shows Off Bloggie Live Video Recorder At CES

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 04:03 AM |
Tagged: CES, sony, bloggie, bloggie live, camera, camcorder, streaming, qik

Among the Crystal LED televisions Sony had a small pocket camera on display, the Sony Bloggie Live. The successor to the original Bloggie, the stylish camera fits in your pocket and somewhat resembles a smartphone in design.

Sony Bloggie Live.png

The Bloggie Live features 8 GB of internal storage space, a 3" touch screen LCD, and a water resistant exterior. The ExmorCMOS sensor is capable of recording 1080p or 720p video, and the Wi-Fi radio is able to upload photos and videos to the various sharing services including Facebook, YouTube, Dailymotion, Flickr, and Picassa. The Bloggie Live has an LED flash and a stereo microphone. In addition to video, the camera is able to take 12.8 megapixel still photos. In addition, the camera is able to stream video to the internet over Wi-Fi using the Qik streaming service. Using the PlayMemories application, users are also able to wirelessly transfer files from the Bloggie Live to a smartphone.

Sony Bloggie Sport.png

Alternatively, Sony also showed off the Bloggie Sport, with is a bit smaller than the Bloggie Live and is waterproof up to 16 feet of water. This camera features 4 GB of internal memory, and is capable of shooting HD MP4 video and 5 megapixel still shots. An "Underwater Mode" further adjusts the white balance automatically.

The Bloggie Live is available for purchase immediately for $250 USD while the Bloggie Sport will cost $180 and will be available in February. The price tag is a bit steep considering the storage is not expandable and there is no external mic jack. Still, aesthetics wise, the new pocket camcorder looks slick.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSNBC