Nokia 8: Change to available MP settings? Any difference in quality?!

Hi all,I was thinking about camera and the old PureView algorithms and I wanted to see if I really needed to take 13MP with this thing or if I could use a lower resolution.

Nokia 8: Change to available MP settings? Any difference in quality?!

madbilly madbilly
Super User  / 
Hi all,
I was thinking about camera and the old PureView algorithms and I wanted to see if I really needed to take 13MP with this thing or if I could use a lower resolution. So I went into the settings and found that the options for 4:3 were: 13, 3 and 3MP! Wasn't there one about 7MP before?
I checked the EXIF and one is 3.1MP and the other is 2.8MP, basically the same resolution. FYI my phone is now running the July update.
Does anyone have a phone with an earlier software version? Can anyone remember the previous available settings? Or have they always been like this?!
On the comparison of different resolutions (13MP with these 3MP variants), I actually couldn't see a big difference. Maybe I wasn't using good subjects, or not focussing properly, or not in the conditions which would show the difference, so I can't be certain that there's not really any difference. What are your observations on this?
Cheers :)

Comments

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    Can any other Nokia 8 owners confirm this?
    Or have the MP options always been like this and I've just forgotten? :D
    Cheers :)
  • martin.fd martin.fd
    ✭✭✭✭  /  edited August 2019
    Since I always and immediately set each camera to 4:3 and maximum resolution, I have never dealt with this question in more detail ... sorry :'(
    What I notice again: The photos with my Google Cam are a bit more than half the size (3.72MB vs 6.22MB) of that of the Nokia Cam - most probably due to the JPG compression.

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    Hi @martin.fd that's exactly what I do too! Well, I did originally look at the options out of curiosity, but quickly forgot :D
    Interesting about the compression. I recently installed OpenCamera to see what it could do. I've not tried it yet but noticed it has a lot of options including the JPEG compression ratio. It also consumes my battery life! Just having the app open, not taking any photos or video. I wonder if this is a bug?
    Anyway, if anyone can remember if the possible MP options in the Nokia camera have changed then please say so.
    Cheers :)
  • martin.fd martin.fd
    ✭✭✭✭  / 
    madbilly said:
    I recently installed OpenCamera to see what it could do. I've not tried it yet but noticed it has a lot of options including the JPEG compression ratio. It also consumes my battery life!
    I also tried it and also noticed the fast battery drain. Besides the app was (a little bit ago) quite unstable ...
  • MrBelter MrBelter
    ✭✭✭✭  / 
    I always thought just reducing the pixel count just reduced the amount of sensor in use.

    Now if you reduced the pixel count and the phone employed pixel binning so a 12MP photo became a 3MP photo but with each pixel in the 3MP photo being made up from 4 pixels combined in to one like on the Nokia 8.1 then now you're talking, you would see significant performance increases then (I've used 12 and 3 just to make the maths easier cos i am a bit thick)

    While were at it I'd like to see manufactures bin off digital zoom and just do it with in camera cropping, yes you will end up with a smaller resolution image but at least it wont look terrible.
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    I think you might be right, maybe pixel binning isn't used at lower resolutions. I compared some shots at 1600 ISO and 1/500 shutter and there still seems to be plenty of noise on the 3MP photo, which suggests that pixel binning isn't used because (if I understand correctly) this should improve the SNR because the noise should average out between the pixels in each bin.
    I also tried zoom functions with the same settings and strangely ~2x zoom looked better (sharper, less noise) in 3MP mode than 13MP. However at ~4x zoom 13MP again looked better (but still not good!). I suppose that 2x zoom from a 13MP would be roughly a 3MP crop if they did as you suggest, but the image still comes out as 13MP so they obviously upscale it again which introduces blur etc.
    Since what you describe is obvious why wouldn't they implement it?
    Cheers :)
  • MrBelter MrBelter
    ✭✭✭✭  / 
    I don't think pixel binning was a thing when the Nokia 8 was designed sadly, it is easy to forget it is now 2 years old.

    Cropping the sensor to zoom rather than a digital zoom to keep the high resolution is a no brainer for me and it seems insanity that it isn't used.

    This is the same photo, it is just one was 20MP and the cropped one was 5MP both ended up usable.


  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    Oh I though pixel binning had been around for the past ten years or so, my mistake.

    That's a good example of using cropping for digital zoom. The only reasons I can think of as to why it is not used are:
    1. Nokia have the patent to do this (from the original PureView phones) and HMD won't pay them for it
    2. People generally just take photos with the highest resolution their camera supports and might not understand why digital zooming by cropping reduces the resolution. I'm talking about the lay person here (me, until I started looking at it in more detail!), not somebody like you who clearly understands it.

    It really is strange considering that if we have the Nokia 8 camera in 3MP mode then to get a 3MP image at 2x zoom without cropping then the software has to take the 3MP image from the camera, crop it to the 2x zoom level we want (which will be ~0.8MP) then upscale it back to 3MP. Upscaling is an unnecessary step and clearly the result is poorer quality photos than just taking a 13MP photo and cropping it afterwards.
  • MrBelter MrBelter
    ✭✭✭✭  / 
    Pixel binning might have been around for a million years mate for all know lol but it certainly isn't on the Nokia 8 :) From what i understand (and i will hold my hands up now and say i may well be wrong) the Nokia patent is for downsampling in software and not true hardware pixel binning. The Nokia 8.1 uses true pixel binning on the selfie camera (20mp down to 5mp but using 4 photo sites as one pixel in low light) and the results are very impressive in low light, the camera is no slower than if it was the middle of the day and it manages to capture so much more detail than the Nokia 8 could ever dream of (even if you resorted to gcam)

    As for in camera cropping rather than in post to be honest i don't think most people would even notice the resolution had dropped, you can just about get away with an A4 print with a 2MP image but lets be honest who prints any more? On the internet a 2MP image is going to look just as good as a 10 or 20MP image.
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    I think the pixel-binning on the 20MP front camera of the 8.1 is because it's a quad-bayer setup, so it's normal mode of operation is pixel-binning. For the normal bayer filtered cameras I presume they don't normally use pixel-binning therefore haven't considered using it for lower resolutions.
    I think the 808PV did oversampling/downscaling in hardware and the 1020PV did it in software, from what I can work out. Still, I'm not sure that it is strictly the same as pixel-binning, I think it's a bit more sophisticated.
    Open Camera can do pixel-binning. In noise reduction mode, if the light it low, it uses pixel-binning with a consequent reduction in resolution but increase in quality. However, I presume that this is done in software not in hardware.
    And you're right, I don't need 13MP images which is why I started to investigate the quality at lower resolutions only to find that in 4:3 aspect ration the options were not very helpful! I'd still like at least 5MP in 4:3, just in case I do somehow manage to take a nice photo with my 8!
    Cheers :)
  • Mick1965 Mick1965
    ✭✭✭  / 
    Not using the full resolution of the sensor is ok if you are not going to crop.
    But with the nature of the lense on a mobile phone like the 8, 8.1 etc being quite wide, then you need to crop most of the time, to get your desired composition.
    If you try to crop from a low resolution image, be it slightly better quality noise wise, you will end up with an aliased image. Assuming that you don't want to view it as a thumbnail.
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    Hi @Mick1965, yes it's a case of choosing the right resolution for the situation, which is an unnecessary faff. If we just had the PureView system where the resolution is set at, e.g. 5MP, and at normal magnification it's oversampling/pixel-binning/downscaling/whatever and this reduces as zoom is used then I wouldn't have to think about it - I would just leave it at 5MP and always know I was going to get what I want.
    Unfortunately that's not the case, so the easiest approach is just to leave it on max resolution.
  • Mick1965 Mick1965
    ✭✭✭  / 
    Yeah, exactly. I wish they would remake the L1020 which did just that. With today's mobile CPU's that would be one great camera phone. None of this slow multi sensor mess.
    One camera, big sensor, and Zeiss glass. Bliss😊
    Never happen though, because we can't have a hump, can we.
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