Nokia pushes the smartphone camera forward with optical image stabilization, low light performance

Nokia pushes the smartphone camera forward with optical image stabilization, low light performance

Today’s event hosted by Microsoft and Nokia in New York is largely about the new Lumia 920, with some Windows Phone 8 features sprinkled on top. A large portion of the demo was given over the 920’s ‘PureView’ camera and software tricks like Windows Phone 8’s software lenses.

Nokia says that smooth and professional video are a challenge in smartphones and that the PureView branded camera in the 920 rivals point-and-shoot cameras. The camera contains an 8.7MP with Nokia PureView advanced optical imaging stabilization and Carl Zeiss optics. It shoots full 1080p HD video capture at 30fps. There is also a front-facing 1.2MP with 720p HD video.

There is also optical image stabilization, something that has been crazy to think about including in smartphones because of the size of these arrays. Nokia took a different tack, mounting the entire optical assembly on springs.

Optical image stabilization in a camera phone is a very, very big deal. Expect to see this getting replicated by other manufacturers in one way or another.

As far as low-light capabilities are concerned, Nokia says that the 920’s PureView camera captures about 20 times as much light as ‘normal (presumably camera phone) sensors. The camera has an aperture of 2.0, what Nokia says is one of the largest in smartphones.

The low-light capabilities of the camera were shown off in several poorly lit situations and seemed to do well. We’ll have to see it in person to see if Nokia’s promises pay off, but it looks like a nice step forward.


Lenses are really apps, and developers will be able to create them, but several are launching now. They interact with the camera and allow software and hardware to integrate to offer cool camera features.

The Smart Shoot lens snaps a bunch of images in a row and composites them together allowing you to, for instance, remove a bunch of unwanted people from a crowded room shot.

Nokia City Lens is an augmented reality lens that pops up relevant local results on your screen, much like many other AR apps already do, but it’s built right in. Augmented reality technology ensures you can find the nearest restaurant or cafe, enabling you to make a reservation there and then.
Many of these lenses will come in some version to all of the current Lumia devices as well.

Read next: Nokia launches the Lumia 820, the 920's little brother with 8 megapixel camera, 4.3" screen

Pssst, hey you!

Do you want to get the sassiest daily tech newsletter every day, in your inbox, for FREE? Of course you do: sign up for Big Spam here.