Nokia Lumia 920 is PureView but not PureView

The mobile device maker continues to make camera quality a priority by building a brand focused on more than a single spec.

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One thing is very clear when it comes to Nokia's mobile devices: Cameras are extremely important.

Kicking off today's press conference about its Microsoft Windows Phone 8 devices, Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia, started by talking about the Lumia 920 and its PureView camera.

However, for the Lumia 920, there was no mention of megapixels or oversampling or lossless zoom, making it clear this is not the same 41-megapixel PureView camera module in the Nokia 808 PureView . PureView is now and, according to Nokia imaging head Damian Dinning's tweets , has always been about branding for Nokia's cameras on the whole -- not a specific spec or technology.

Basically this is no different from Sony naming its cameras Cyber-shots or Canon calling its compacts PowerShots. Likewise point-and-shoots from camera manufacturers have always had different feature sets. That's really all that's happening here with Nokia.

So, while you might not be getting the fantastic PureView technologies in the 808's camera with the Lumia 920, you will get another set of PureView features that set it apart. The big one here is optical image stabilization.

Smartphones typically have digital image stabilization if anything, which for the most part is just a boost in ISO sensitivity that introduces noise and softness from noise reduction. Optical image stabilization allows the camera to counteract hand shake by moving the lens, or in the case of the Lumia 920, the entire camera module.

The image stabilization is so good for the 920, Nokia says it's 50 percent more effective than systems in some high-end digital cameras. Combine that with its bright f2.0 aperture lens and you'll be able to get more light to the sensor and have less need to increase ISO when shooting at night or indoors without a flash.

This is all pretty cool and definitely another step forward for mobile photography, but for those hoping to see the 808's PureView camera in a Windows Phone, it looks like there's some more waiting to do.

About the author

Joshua Goldman is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. He has been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 2000.

 

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