Live: Amazon Event Wednesday Probe Crashes Into Asteroid Prime Day 2: Oct. 11-12 Tesla AI Day Hurricane Ian Satellite Images Save on iPad Pro Refurbs Apple Watch Ultra Review EarthLink Internet Review
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

With Nokia's 41-megapixel smartphone camera, size matters

Just how much larger is the Nokia 808 PureView's camera? A lot.

Nokia 808 PureView sensor and module, compared
The optical sensor and camera module on the Nokia 808 PureView (far right) is magnitudes larger than that of a typical 8-megapixel camera (middle) and 5-megapixel sensor and module (left.)
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I admit to having a certain fascination with the Nokia 808 PureView smartphone camera, which employs a much larger sensor than usual in order to take pictures up to 41 megapixels in size. Just how much larger that sensor is compared to the typical 5-megapixel and 8-megapixel smartphone sensors will impress you.

Yesterday I sat down with Juha Alakarhu, the head of camera technologies at Nokia for smart devices, who happens to be visiting the U.S. from Finland. After letting me tinker with the camera some more, he pulled out a felt-lined card studded with a trio of camera sensors and two camera modules, into which the sensors ultimately go.

The 8-megapixel sensor is larger than the 5-megapixel sensor, but not by much. The PureView's 41-megapixel sensor, however, dwarfs the other two. The two modules, by the way, match up to the 5- and 41-megapixel sensors.

Although Alakarhu didn't proffer an 8-megapixel camera module, my eyeballs estimated that you could fit at least eight 8-megapixel modules into the PureView's 41-megapixel camera module.

As much as the astounding megapixel count and lens size capture my attention, it's Nokia's philosophy behind the PureView camera that cements my admiration. Take a photo in the full-resolution mode (and your choice of two aspect ratios) and suddenly, zooming in and cropping a photo never looked so good. (CNET Editor Joshua Goldman explains why.)

And if you're wondering, I did indeed shoot the photo of the 808 PureView's camera parts using another PureView's full 41-megapixel resolution, then zoomed in and cropped to get what you see here. How's that for meta?

Now playing: Watch this: Nokia 808 PureView