We attended the presentation that Nokia carried out within the framework of the preMWC and we saw how they announced a feature phone and renewed the Android One line of medium ranges in addition to showing an Android Go Edition smartphone . However, everything was an appetizer to announce what had been around the rumor mill of the technological sector for several weeks. 

The Nokia 9 Pureview is a new smartphone that promises to revolutionize the section of the camera with not one, two, three or four cameras but five rear cameras  to which a depth sensor is added. We are before a giant of computational photography since the images captured by these sensors combine to offer a photograph with a better dynamic range and detail. 

We have been able to prove it briefly and, while it is not gold all that glitters, we can say that Google Pixel 3XL, iPhone XS, Galaxy S10 +, Mate 20Pro and other top ranges can start to shake because with the Nokia 9 PureView comes a hard opponent.

Nokia 9
Screen size5.99 “
PanelpOLED PureDisplay 2
Resolution2,340 x 1,080 px
ProcessorSnapdragon 845
RAM6 GB
Internal storage128 GB
Drums3.320 mAh + wireless charging
UnlockFingerprint reader on the screen and facial unlocking
Rear camera5 12Mpx f / 1.8 sensors (2 RGB and 3 monochrome) 
high resolution TOF
Front camera20 Mpx f / 2.0
NFCYes
Wifi802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
Price599 euros (48558.69 INR)

How is the rear camera configuration of the Nokia 9

First let’s discuss specifying which sensors mount on the back. There are 5 sensors , ok, but how are they? They are different? Let’s see the list and the detail on what sensors mounted this Nokia 9 Pureview that bet clearly on computer photography:

  • 12 Mpx RGB 1,25 um AF f / 1.82
  • 12 Mpx RGB 1,25 um AF f / 1.82
  • 12 Mpx monochrome 1,25 um AF f / 1.82
  • 12 Mpx monochrome 1,25 um AF f / 1.82
  • 12 Mpx monochrome 1,25 um AF f / 1.82
  • 12 Mpx TOF, depth sensor
Nokia 9 Images

As we can see, we have two color sensors and three black and white sensors , all of them sharing a configuration with aperture lenses f / 1.8. Now we will talk about the situation of them because if we look at the back of the mobile we find an unusual arrangement.

We can describe it graphically as a disposition in the edges of a hexagon and its center, which will be a hell for all those who have tripphobia. If we have the mobile placed vertically we find the color sensors in the center and bottom edge. The monochrome sensors occupy the two free lower edges and the upper central one while the dual LED flash occupies the upper left edge and the depth sensor the upper right.

Nokia 9 Pureview Images pics

So far the weapons with which this Nokia 9 Pureview has , but, effectively the weapons without control do not win wars, and the war for being the best mobile camera is one of the toughest in the current mobile sector.

The use of these sensors independently allows capturing images with high dynamic range , according to Nokia, of 12.4 stops that comes to be comparable to what professional and mirrorless camcorders of very high range get, above the Canon 5D MkIII or Panasonic GH4, among others.

Nokia boasts local computational photography

It is clear that the current scenario is divided into several types of bets such as the use of a single camera and neuronal processing as does the Pixel 3XL , or the use of several where we find several sub-tendencies.

Nokia 9 PureView photos

The first one is to have a main sensor and a secondary one with another focal that helps to make the background blur and gives us another point of view of the photograph. This can have a telephoto lens (for example iPhone XS ) or wide angle and even both, reaching three cameras.

The second type of configuration includes a high-resolution sensor and a TOF sensor ( Oppo RX17 Pro , Honor View 20 , among others) to the equation, but so far we had not seen configuration of 5 cameras and depth sensor like the one that has this Nokia 9 Pureview .

Nokia 9 First Image

Now, how does this Nokia 9 Pureview manage the information coming from the cameras and the depth sensor ? According to the company itself, it is the first device that uses the Snapdragon 845 in its entirety in terms of image. Not only does it use the ISP (Image Signal Processor) and the Hexagon DSP but it also uses an ASIC that serves as an image coprocessor designed by the company Light and that allows the simultaneous use of all the sensors individually.

All that information coming from the 5 sensors reaches the Snapdragon 845 and creates (using its ISP, DSP, CPU and GPU) a megapixel of 60 megapixels that finally by means of pixelbinning is reduced up to 12 Mpx with a higher level of detail and light than the images if they had been taken individually. Depending on the type of capture, you can capture images of up to 240 megapixels .

Nokia 9 Pureview camera image

The mobile, in addition, can save DNG files without revealing (the gross information of the 5 sensors), in addition to a processed JPG, so we can edit the photographs afterwards. All this calculation is carried out by the mobile , in local and is one of the handicaps that the system has. According to the type of photography that we want to do, entering the gallery to see if the photograph has been well can take us several seconds of processing.

Nokia has developed a lens profile for Nokia 9 Pureview for Adobe Lightroom with which we can reveal our RAW files (.DNG in the Pureview) both on the mobile and on a computer unifying all the information captured from their sensors.

Entering a photograph in the mobile involves a certain delay until the stored data is processed by the Snapdragon SoC and is something that, although a professional user may have assumed if he works with RAW files, the ordinary user can detect how an unnecessary / intolerable wait and more if you take many photographs.

Nokia 9 pureview cameras

In addition Nokia makes use of a TOF sensor to get a depth map at a resolution of 12 Mpx in the whole scene. This allows creating, in the words of Nokia, a depth map that would detect  up to 1,200 layers of depth compared to the traditional 2-3 layers that separate the current mobiles. In addition Nokia says that by machine learning are able to scale those layers to an infinite level from 7 centimeters to 40 meters.

The depth can be edited a posteriori and we can not only choose the point we want in focus, but also the level of blur (of layers in focus in front and behind) of it. In fact, Nokia said that Google is implementing a depth edition compatible with the Nokia Pureview files: Google Photos Depth Editor from which we can edit them afterwards.

Nokia 9 Purview

And to finish just comment that due to its monochrome sensors, this mobile will allow real black and white images , without using a filter afterwards and with a reduced level of noise (capture 2.9 times more light) and an extended dynamic range by combining the images of the three sensors.

First tests of the camera and samples: good performance, slow processing

In our initial tests we have found a good performance in terms of image quality, although we have to test it thoroughly in our laboratory and with our traditional tests in all kinds of situations to be able to finally evaluate the camera system of this Nokia 9 Pureview .

The experience of using the camera is good, very fast, responds in real time in any mode, the problem comes when editing or reviewing the photos you make . If you take a picture and you go in to see how it looks, we have a processing time of between 5-8 seconds and up to 15 seconds if we take a complex photo in Bokeh mode.

We assume that the situation will improve with optimizations when it reaches the market and that all this time is because we are not yet with a final software version . I’m afraid that, if not, this point will be one of the problems that most people can not tolerate.

In terms of dynamic range, we have found a good HDR resolution in situations with backlighting but certainly we were not in optimal situations to check how this Nokia 9  behaves so we reserve our opinion in this field for our in-depth analysis.

Nokia 9 pureview camera samples
Nokia 9 pureview Camera pictures

The section of monochrome photography achieves good results, is something that we saw on mobile phones such as the P20 Pro and its monochrome sensor, only this time we have three sensors that merge your information and we see photographs with good detail and a very natural blur.

If we enter the Bokeh mode that is capable of generating a very real depth map instead of software clipping and detection of objects on the scene, we are, I think, the best point of the terminal. The result is very natural, with a gradient of natural depth without objects that are in the background, focused. It shows that it makes use of a real depth sensor for it. Here we give you some example:

Let’s see how you can edit the approach a posteriori and four examples of this last photograph. If you want to try you can download the image in JPG (around 10MB) from the Google Drive folder of  the original photo samples and open them from Google Photos on the mobile and by editing it you will see a slider of Depth and you can refocus.

Nokia 9 pureview Original photography

Original photography
nokia 9 pureview Photography 0% Depth (all focused)

Photography 0% Depth (all focused)
Nokia 9 pureview 100% depth photography

100% depth photography
Nokia 9 pureview Photography 30% depth and a slight frontal blur

Photography 30% depth and a slight frontal blur

And finally we leave you with a folder in Google Drive ( Here ) with the original JPG and DNG files directly from the  Nokia 9 Pureview  in our contact point in Barcelona during your presentation to give you an idea of ​​what this mobile can offer of HMD Global. 

Our preliminary conclusions , taking into account that the camera software is not final and that the situations we have tried to photograph do not cover all our tests, they are good about this camera system. The level of detail is superb in most images and we highlight again how well resolved the depth field is .

Nokia 9 pureview images

It will reach the market in April at a price of 599 euros , so botepronto seems very tight, and it will be then when we can thoroughly test it and compare it with the rest of the smartphones of the market to see if it is placed as the king of mobile photography with its five rear cameras .