Zeiss Talks About the Lens and Camera in the New Nokia Lumia 1020

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nokia 1020 phone first impressions (14 of 19)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 4.0

Since seeing the new Nokia Lumia 1020 at the unveiling recently, we’ve been extremely curious about the 41MP camera and all the technicalities behind it. To learn more, we talked to Nicole Balle, Carl Zeiss’s Marketing Manager for the Americas for the Camera Lens Division. Indeed, Nicole was at the event explaining and talking about the resolution charts that were present at the event. The company designed the lens in the camera module–which comprises of five plastic elements with one gorilla glass element on the outside for extra protection. Plastic you say? Well, it still out-resolved lots of the competition. But we wanted to know even more. So we asked Nicole to talk about the lens and the camera.

First off, to clear up some confusion, here is some information from the camera’s white paper document: The 41MP sensor can capture 34MP and 38MP image files at 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios respectively. In addition to the 38MP and 34MP full-resolution images, the Lumia 1020 camera captures 5MP oversampled images so that every pixel in the 5MP image has been created using the data from up to seven pixels of the sensor. The oversampling technology ensures that these 5MP images are incredibly sharp, natural and low noise. The best part is that the camera saves both the full resolution and oversampled image simultaneously.
The following is from an email from Nicole:


…The camera consists of 6 lens element. 5 of them are plastic and one is glass. The first element (facing your subject) is the glass element. For instance the Nokia 808 ‘only’ had 5 lens elements. The design is a completely new design compared to other Lumia phones. The reason for the new development is the new high-resolution sensor with 41 MP. In order to be able to take full advantage of the sensor’s performance you need a high performing lens. It’s a little like this – you would not put ‘bad’ tires on your new Porsche and start driving down the interstate with 150mph. In order to get the best result, all components need to be of very high quality. But despite its outstanding image performance the lens design itself is quite simple and the assembly is very robust.

The aperture is f/2.2. The focal length in a 35mm full-frame SLR world would be 25mm.

The amazing results are achieved with a combination of the new sensor technology, the improved optical design and the new OIS technology. The OIS is special because unlike with a SLR lens the entire optical assembly is moved in order to correct the hand-shake. This allows a much better result because the all lens element stay centered and aligned to each other eliminating for instance unwanted reflexes.

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Tech Specs

Taken from the White Paper

• Latest generation high-performance BSI sensor

• Sensor size 1/1.5”, 41MP, pixel size 1.1 micron, true 16:9/4:3 aspect ratio. Total sensor is 7712×5360=41.3MP. 16:9 mode
is 7712×4352=33.6MP and 4:3 mode is 7136×5360=38.2MP.

• 35mm equivalent focal length: 25mm for 16:9, 27mm for 4:3

• F-number: f/2.2

• Mechanical shutter

• Optical image stabilisation (new type of barrel shift actuator which enables moving a heavy and complex full lens assembly)

• System of 6 lenses (5 plastic molded high performance plastic, one high precision glass element)

• Nokia image processing and pixel oversampling technology

• Nokia-developed 3A algorithms (auto-exposure, auto-focus, auto-white-balance) to increase image quality

• New white balance technology

• New generation powerful xenon flash with flat capacitor technology which enables more power in a more compact package.

• Video LED light

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.