1. Beijendorf's Avatar
    So I've been thinking about what to expect from the future Nokia imaging flagship (1030? Goldfinger?), and Nokia phones in general when it comes to imaging technology. With one of the leading experts of the PureView technology - Ari Partinen - leaving Nokia to join Apple, is this a sign that Nokia has refocused their efforts from PureView to some new and better technology?

    So here's some of what Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) have invested in:

    InVisage: InVisage

    InVisage says to have created a "QuantumFilm". This is a thin, strongly light-absorbing film which would cover 100 % of the area of a sensor. As a result of the thinness, and removal of the larger silicon photodiodes, crosstalk is severely reduced. InVisage also touts improved colour accuracy, improved low-light performance and a world-record shutter speed which would eliminate the rolling-shutter artefacts.
    And about that improved low-light performance: InVisage says you can scale resolution on-the-fly with their sensor. Speculation from my side: If in low-light you'd perhaps get 4-8 MP images with improved low-light performance, during day-time you could instead get some 20-40 MP images.


    Pelican Imaging: Pelican Imaging. Life in 3D.

    Pelican Imaging is the company that has been in the mobile news a lot with their 16-lens imaging module. Each lens would capture a different part of the colour spectrum (RBG) which means there's no risk for crosstalk. As a module that relies of computational imaging, the camera makes use of the parallax to calculate relative distances to objects and uses post-processing to ensure everything is in focus in every shot - completely eliminating the need for autofocus. As with all computational photography, combining the 16 different images means cross-referencing can be made to reduce noise, improve low-light performance, 3D imaging and stabilisation, etc.
    Pelican Imaging also claims their module is considerably cheaper in production compared to legacy-type modules, as well as far thinner (about 50 % the thickness of the legacy-type camera modules).


    Heptagon Advanced Micro Optics: Heptagon - Home

    To compliment the 16-microlenses needed in the Pelican Imaging, how about a company that actually specialises in miniaturised optics systems. While microoptics aren't revolutionary in themselves, producing high-quality microlenses in high quantity is all the more rare. One of the hurdles for many smartphone makers, and which seemed to stop the Lumia 1020 and Samsung Galaxy S5 from being mass-produced rapidly was the lenses not meeting the needed quota or not being of sufficient quality. So this investments shows Nokia's inclination to produce a plenoptic camera phone in a Pelican Imaging style.

    MORPHO: Morpho,Inc.

    MORPHO is an imaging software company enabling noise-reduction, focusing and de-focusing effects, partially moving images (Like HTC Zoe), and so forth. They also have a lot of software tricks when it comes to imaging stabilisation, HDR, 3D imaging and more.

    So what do you guys think about all of this? Excitement? Grief? Or are you neutral to it all?
    And do we perhaps have some imaging professional among us that know this field better and can lend us your knowledge and tell us what you'd be expecting or feel excited about?
    05-31-2014 03:41 PM
  2. jojoe42's Avatar
    So I've been thinking about what to expect from the future Nokia imaging flagship (1030? Goldfinger?), and Nokia phones in general when it comes to imaging technology. With one of the leading experts of the PureView technology - Ari Partinen - leaving Nokia to join Apple, is this a sign that Nokia has refocused their efforts from PureView to some new and better technology?

    So here's some of what Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) have invested in:

    InVisage: InVisage

    InVisage says to have created a "QuantumFilm". This is a thin, strongly light-absorbing film which would cover 100 % of the area of a sensor. As a result of the thinness, and removal of the larger silicon photodiodes, crosstalk is severely reduced. InVisage also touts improved colour accuracy, improved low-light performance and a world-record shutter speed which would eliminate the rolling-shutter artefacts.
    And about that improved low-light performance: InVisage says you can scale resolution on-the-fly with their sensor. Speculation from my side: If in low-light you'd perhaps get 4-8 MP images with improved low-light performance, during day-time you could instead get some 20-40 MP images.

    Pelican Imaging: Pelican Imaging. Life in 3D.

    Pelican Imaging is the company that has been in the mobile news a lot with their 16-lens imaging module. Each lens would capture a different part of the colour spectrum (RBG) which means there's no risk for crosstalk. As a module that relies of computational imaging, the camera makes use of the parallax to calculate relative distances to objects and uses post-processing to ensure everything is in focus in every shot - completely eliminating the need for autofocus. As with all computational photography, combining the 16 different images means cross-referencing can be made to reduce noise, improve low-light performance, 3D imaging and stabilisation, etc.
    Pelican Imaging also claims their module is considerably cheaper in production compared to legacy-type modules, as well as far thinner (about 50 % the thickness of the legacy-type camera modules).


    Heptagon Advanced Micro Optics: Heptagon - Home

    To compliment the 16-microlenses needed in the Pelican Imaging, how about a company that actually specialises in miniaturised optics systems. While microoptics aren't revolutionary in themselves, producing high-quality microlenses in high quantity is all the more rare. One of the hurdles for many smartphone makers, and which seemed to stop the Lumia 1020 and Samsung Galaxy S5 from being mass-produced rapidly was the lenses not meeting the needed quota or not being of sufficient quality. So this investments shows Nokia's inclination to produce a plenoptic camera phone in a Pelican Imaging style.

    MORPHO: Morpho,Inc.

    MORPHO is an imaging software company enabling noise-reduction, focusing and de-focusing effects, partially moving images (Like HTC Zoe), and so forth. They also have a lot of software tricks when it comes to imaging stabilisation, HDR, 3D imaging and more.

    So what do you guys think about all of this? Excitement? Grief? Or are you neutral to it all?
    And do we perhaps have some imaging professional among us that know this field better and can lend us your knowledge and tell us what you'd be expecting or feel excited about?
    I'm really looking forward to some really (useful) camera additions and progressions in the future Nokia phones now that almost everybody has caught up with the OIS (LG) and the 20MP sensors (Sony, but not quite yet). I mean things like refocusing are cool, but atm they are quite gimmicky because they have to be in a lower resolution - stuff like slo-mo video is the stuff I'd like to see, stuff that is actually quite cool. Nokia is still leading the market in terms of optics in phones, I just hope they stay ahead of the curb.
    Beijendorf likes this.
    06-01-2014 03:19 AM
  3. Beijendorf's Avatar
    ... things like refocusing are cool, but atm they are quite gimmicky because they have to be in a lower resolution ...
    I completely agree that having a camera specifically to be able to refocus isn't all that impressive, like that of the HTC One M8.
    What computational photography seems to offer is so much more though, including but not limited to the complete removal of the need for autofocus and its moving parts. You'd never again have to wait for the camera to get the right focus before taking a picture, and you wouldn't have to sit through the refocusing efforts of a smartphone during filming. You'd never again get a bad shot because of bad focusing depth or erroneous autofocus efforts during filming - it'd all be instant capture from the first shot. Especially if coupled with the QuantumFilm considering the removal of a rolling shutter.

    On top of that we've seen some pretty promising innovations from Toshiba and Corephotonics, where Toshiba combine two sensors to get a cross-referenced high-resolution image and Corephotonics combine two different focal lengths on their lenses to get a 3X optical zoom combined with higher quality images from cross-referencing. Corephotonics have also gone the smart way of having the wide-angle sensor capture colours while the "zoomed" sensor only captures gray-scale to reduce noise and improve low-light performance.

    I don't know if this is something Nokia is planning for the dual-lens smartphone Daniel Rubino has mentioned, or if they're actually doing the Pelican Imaging approach. I'm a bit reserved considering - as you say - the end-resolution from the Pelican Imaging sensor seem to be lower than that of a legacy-type module. However, combine the Pelican Imaging sensor with a legacy-type module with a telescopic lens and I'm speculating you could get some Corephotonic-like results without the need for autofocus.

    Speculations aside, I'm very curious what kind of improved low-light performance, reduced noise and imaging speed we can expect from these ventures. Back in early 2013, mobile processing speed was mentioned as the number one hurdle to getting computational imaging into smartphones. It'd feel like a travesty to get the 1020 imaging speed two years in a row.
    06-01-2014 03:49 AM

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