Nokia’s 41-Megapixel Camera Phone Sensor Compared to Other Sensors

Here’s a great diagram by Mobot that shows how the 41-megapixel sensor inside Nokia’s new 808 PureView phone stacks up against other popular sensor sizes. It’s pretty clear that they didn’t just milk a small sensor for more megapixels as a simply marketing ploy, but instead came up with a sensor that’s significantly larger than those found in other smartphones. Engadget also has a photo showing a comparison of sensor sizes, while Digital Trends has published an article on five reasons why the 41-megapixels isn’t a gimmick.

(via Mobot via PhotographyBLOG)

  • Z Griswold

    Still far too many pixels for that sensor size. It’s the equivalent of putting 219.9MP in a 5D Mark II, yes it’s marketing BS.

  • Mike Philippens

    I’m sure it’s a good sensor, but I still insist the 41MP is a marketing gimmick. It’s to attrackt attention with the outrageous pixelcount. I have a Canon 5D, the one with the biggest sensor and ‘just’ 12MP. It’s more then enough to produce a very nice picture. So, if Nokia just made a bigger sensor with 8 or 12MP, they’d have a sensor that might perform in low light situations. The demo photo they showed doesn’t mean a thing. Every camera can produce a decent picture under clear blue skies and in sunny weather.

    It has been demonstrated before with compact cameras that a newer model with higher pixelcount actually produced a worse picture than the previous model. They could have done better. But the mainstream audience wouldn’t have understood the low pixelcount…ergo: blow up the pixels for marketing purposes. They did good…for their audience. Not for ‘us’ who are in the know.

  • Samcornwell

    You know what’s most surprising? That it’s taken this long for a company to actually do it. 

  • tttulio

    It’s not a gimmick. You cannot zoom with that lens, so the zooming is done by cropping. simple=you need more pixels.

  • jdm8

    Stuff the specs, the actual image is what matters.  Are there any sample images available?

    I’m skeptical, I’m not writing it off just yet, but I’m not getting excited either.  I don’t think the technology is there just yet, but if it is, I’d love to read more specifics on exactly what it is doing.

  • Gustaffphoto

    That´s not a sensor comparison, it´s a resolution comparison which is different, the title is misleading and biased

  • Gary Orona

    There are images available I downloaded one yesterday (some people rock climbing) and it looked great for a phone camera. I’m baffled as to why so many people are comparing the sensel density to that of say a Canon 5D MKII??? It’s a PHONE with a camera in it!

    I think it’s great. All of these innovations lead to future amazement. Frankly I think this is pretty amazing. To have that kind of horsepower in my phone?


    I use a Canon 5D MKII and it never even came up in my thoughts… apples and oranges as they say.

    Good Thoughts- Gary Orona

  • Z Griswold

    What are you talking about? The title states exactly what you see, a sensor size comparison. It’s measured in millimeters, which are a unit of length, not quality…

  • Z Griswold

    People aren’t really comparing it to a 5D MKII, they are using the 5D MKII as a full frame example. The problem is how many pixels there are because they’re literally too small to properly capture light. The shots were obviously good because it was in bright sun, the issue with this phone’s camera will be capacity, and low light photography. This phone would have been much better if it kept that large sensor size, and only did about 10mp or less.

  • Stephan Zielinski

    1/1.2″ is 10.67mm x 8.00mm, or 85.33 square millimeters.  At 41 megapixels, that’s about 2.08 x 10^-6 mm^2 per pixel, corresponding to 1.44 microns on a side.  Compare that to the numbers for the Airy disk at : 420 nanometer blue light at f/8 corresponds to about 4 microns.

    Approaching it from the other direction, with a useful pixel size of four microns on a side, one can reasonably expect about 2668×2000 pixel resolution out of a 10.67mm x 8.00mm sensor.  (Even that assumes a perfect lens hand-carved by angels; actual lenses will be worse.)  On the other hand, that corresponds to about 5.3 megapixels.  You can do a lot with 5.3 megapixels.

  • jdm8

    Now that you’ve said the pictures are available, I found three samples that are 38Mpix and am impressed.  I didn’t expect that from such a small lens and pixel packing.

  • Just Visiting

    One thing people forget is that on larger pixel sensor(some prefer to call it “sensel”), sensor makers deliberately blur the incoming light in order to avoid moire while with denser pixels, moire is less a problem.

    So what is your pick, diffraction blur or low pass filter blur?

  • mythbuster

    I think this is all about marketing in a weak position for Nokia. They are desperately trying to stay in business. If this sensor is so good, why we can´t see it inside a serious real camera instead?


    You’re completely missing the point. The default picture size on that phone is 5 MP (3072×1728). It means the 7x pixel oversampling will very likely provide highly-detailed, noise-free images even in low light settings, while at the same time allowing for a digital zoom that will not degrade quality.

    The big sensor size also offers shallow depth of field. Download the white paper on Nokia’s site and you’ll see it’s not only a marketing gimmick but a really clever, innovative design. I really look forward to having the same on my Android phone ;-)

  • OSAM

    Then they should call it a 5mp camera: the point is that sensationalizing it as “ZOMG 41MEGAPIXELS!!!1!!” is marking BS.  Which it is.

  • Mohammad Y. Addasi

    you are right about marketing, everything thing is marketing, what made iphone and andriod ! the market , so if you say 41mp to a moron he will be shocked , but if you say 5mp but with huge sensor, he will be mmm what does a huge sensor do ?

  • zubair

    nice but should post more previews on the internet