HMD Global has unveiled the much-anticipated Nokia 9 PureView smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and the new device surely looks as if it had the potential to revolutionize mobile photography.
The main camera on the back features a total of five Zeiss-branded lenses which all come with an equivalent focal length of 28mm, an F1.8 aperture and a 12MP image sensors. Three of the latter are monochrome, two are RGB sensors. A sixth module captures additional depth information of the scene.
So, despite the number of lenses, the Nokia does not offer any ultra-wide-angle or tele capabilities. Instead the Snapdragon 845 chipset and a dedicated image processing chip combine image data captured simultaneously by all five 12MP camera to process single color or monochrome images with better detail and dynamic range than would be possible with conventional methods. In certain situations the camera adds frame stacking into the mix to record even more image information of a scene. Nokia claims the 9 PureView can record dynamic range of up to 12.4 stops which would put it on par with some DSLRs.
Thanks to the number of lenses and the additional time-of-flight depth camera the Nokia is also capable of creating much more detailed depth-maps than most other current high-end phones (1200 layers of depth data vs 10). This should allow for much better and more realistic results when using background blurring portrait and other simulated bokeh modes. The depth information is stored within the image file, allowing for post-capture bokeh editing in Google Photos.
Other interesting image features include a tripod detection. The device can detect when it is mounted on a tripod or supported in some other way and uses longer shutter speeds of up to ten seconds in low light. In addition Raw files include image data captured by all five cameras and Nokia worked with Adobe to include Raw support for the 9 PureView in the mobile version of Adobe Lightroom.
In video mode the phone can record 4K footage at 30 frames per second and the front-facing camera features an F1.8 lens and 20MP Tetracell sensor which uses pixel-binning in low light to output 5MP images with low noise. A dual-tone LED flash is on board as well.
The Nokia 9 PureView will come with 6GB of RAM and 128GB expandable storage at a quite affordable price point of $699. The bad news is that Nokia says the device will have a limited production run and become unavailable once stock is depleted. No word on how many units will be produced, though.
The Nokia 9 PureView isn’t for those who were hoping for super-wide-angles, long tele-zooms and seamless zooming on a smartphone. However, the multi-camera setup could be a step into the future of smartphone image quality. We’ll have to wait and see until we get a production device into our hands.