Demonstration of the AT&T Lumia 920’s image stabilization

We’ve seen the numerous “shake” tests of the Lumia 920’s PureView camera and this one is no different, (and we have to admit that the Nokia staff are getting very adept at phone jostling).

In the video above you can see the camera being shaking quite vigorously with the resulting image in the LCD also wiggling. But as soon as that shutter button is pressed halfway engaging the optical-image stabilization (OIS), the image steadies itself instantly.

The whole notion of wrapping the camera mechanism with mini-springs and managing to squeeze that into a phone is quite an achievement from Nokia. Of course, we can’t wait to get it in our hands to give it a go because that camera is the real deal.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • The 920 is THE phone to get. I'll have to resist the temptation to buy it right away.
    I liked the extra video at the end showing the yellow 920. Wish it had a matte finish, though. Oh, well.
  • The thing I still don't get; The specs say it's thinner than the Lumia 900, but it looks a tad thicker.
  • Just the curve. Felt just like my 900 to me in terms of size and weight.
  • Very glad to hear that. 
  • Isn't that, like, the equivalent of a handful of paperclips? Maybe a few pinches of flour in the hand? I just weighed my fork and it's 39 grams... so, lighter than a fork.
  • It was probably hard to avoid making it heavier with the stuff that was added like the OIS and wireless charging hardware.
  • Its not much heavier  and you havent held a 920 in your hand  so you dont know how it feels.  I had heard that the 900 was bulky and heavy  and its both of thiose compared with the 1st gen focus which is my backup phone now.  But its not as heavy as I thought it would be,  Its not  chenk like the tilt2 I used before the focus.  I suspect that it will feel very much the same as the 900.  I am going to try and hold out  for the 2ng gen of windows 8 phones as my upgrade options are non existent until late 2013.  But if I like the 920 oe 8X or ativ s or later model too much I will buy later in the cycle when the off contract ebay prices come down or I can get lucky on ebay.
  • Kk, thanks for clarifying that.
  • Is that Boston?
  • NYC
  • I wonder if we can add those external lens you see people using with iPhones? Think about it, a 2X optical multiplier!
  • It's easier to add those external lenses on the iPhone based on the iPhone's camera lens location in a corner. The 920 has it in the middle of the phone's back so whatever contraption you'll need to hold that external lens will have to latch to the phone on the sides or something crazy.
  • Exactly.  I have the olloclip and it's an amazing accessory for the price.  However, for the 920 you would need a different solution.  A cheap solution would be the magnetic type lense kits, but they require you to glue a metal ring to the phone or a phone case.  There is the added problem of the magnet interfering with image stabilization (though unlikely).  The best solution would be a full case with screw on lenses and tripod mounts built into the case.  Unfortunately a setup like that for iphone (ipro lense system) is close to $200, but the good news is that those lenses port fairly well to a new model simply by designing a new case.
  • Seeing this never gets old. I think I've been dreaming about this phone for 3 weeks now ;) I just hope it comes to Europe (Portugal to be precise) sooner rather than later.
  • I agree! It's amazing! Can't wait to have it in my hands!
  • Cool stuff. Can't wait to get my hands on one.
  • The phones were password protected this time. Final software must be installed.
  • Someone could have just typed in an invalid password 10 times and the phone would be factory reset.  Then you can peek at what MS is hiding!
  • You can't reset WP that way. Every time you type in wrong password, it just extends the time you have to wait before trying again. I once had over 100000 minutes to wait before I hard reset it.
  • That's just over 2 months, yes? Haha, how did you get it out so far? And... more importantly... how long were you locked out of your Windows Phone that you were able to extend it to 100,000 minutes?
  • God dammit Daniel!! Making us feel bad just because you have been with the Lumia 920 twice. Lucky... You better buy me a yellow one. :-)
  • +1 :-P
  • Definitely gonna get the black 920 and blue HTC 8S. Only two things bothering me with the 920
    1. should I wait and see if Nokia will drop in replace the 8960 with Pro line MSM8960T which suppose to GA in 2nd half of 2012. For now I guessing they may not since it will increase the price of the phone bit here's to hoping they will so can get the updated Adreno
    2. Can the OIS survive a drop. Even though I don't ever want to drop (and I know drop tests are part of development process) the 920 but accidents can happen so hopefully the OIS can really survive a drop.
  • The cam on the 920 is the bomb & the os makes it simple to upload to Facebook yet Android fans think it won't succeed bc wp7 was not successful but once they see Xbox integration with wp8, windows 8 they will shut there mouth! Something Android can't do & ios will not allow it.
  • The only reason why WP won't succeed is because Microsoft does everything possible to stop it from succeeding. For example not allowing anyone see final OS and keeping something secret.
  • Microsoft showed all it's card with WP7 and Android/Iphone simply put out updates to do most of the things they currently weren't and erased all the desire for the public to switch.  I have no problem with MS waiting until launch to reveal all the secrets.  I do wish launch was September or early October instead of November.  
  • There's an emergency call button on mobiles?!?!?
  • It's sad that I no longer give a shit how fantastically awesome and great this phone is now that I know I won't get it because of the AT&T exlusivity.  Damn my heart is broke.
  • Make room in the boat for me.
  • There's an AT&T logo on that phone. I thought Nokia said they weren't allowing carriers to brand the phones?
  • They never said that. It was a rumor.
  • At first I thought he was controlling the OIS with his voice until I realized that he just pressed the shutter button, oops. :D
  • This might be a stupid thing to say, but if it's really optical image stabilization... how come it only works when you press a button?
  • My guess is to save power. It will only be active when you are going you are about to take a picture or when recording a movie. No point of making it always active when idling in camera mode or when in other application like text magnifiers etc
  • My point is, if it's hinged on coils and stuff, shouldn't that always be active, by definition? I love this phone but I have the feeling that this stabilization is more digital than we've been made believe.. For instance, in this demo video there are definitely some weird 'artifacts' (for lack of a better word) visible in the fence and building windows. Seems like the phone is struggling to decide when a movement is really a movement and shouldn't be stabilized. Which in my imagination shouldn't be an issue with true optical stabilization.
    In the Elop interview video ( it's so bad it genuinely makes my eyes hurt. In the comments people were complaining about "auto-focus issues", but I think it's actually this (added) digital stabilization.
  • Not necessarily. Granted, I have no idea how this works exactly, but I own a Nikon DSLR and the 70-200VR II lens. VR means Vibration Reduction, and it works in a very similar way. But it's IN THE LENS, not the camera body, because not all lenses have it. But it's STILL only activated when you press the shutter down. I can do the same thing looking through my camera... shakey, hold the button and suddenly it's stable. It can be turned on and off, I just no idea how.
    I am guessing that Nokia is using electromagnets, seeing that it is a floating lens. When video mode is off, no power to the magnets. When it is, it uses power.
    Purely conjecture, but I think it should be what's the deal in Nokia's Pureview Phase 2.
    EDIT: Googling further resulted in this link:
    Looks like a combination technology of Lens and Sensor-Shift. Both need power, but there's no need to supply power to it when the camera isn't active. This would explain how the OIS kicks in only when video or images are taken. 
  • Thanks for the info! clears it up for me.
  • No. We already know that the OIS in the Lumia 920 uses springs. Did you not read the post?
  • People keep saying that, but that doesn't make it true.  Nowhere in the latest Pureview whitepaper are "springs" mentioned:
    It's an active optical image stabilization system.  Digital image stabilization means all optics are locked (save for focus/zoom adjustment), where as optical image stabilization means the sensor or lenses or both are floating, able to be moved in relation to vibration.  But their movement is controlled by sensors and tiny linear actuators in a sophisticated feed back loop.  It's possible springs are part of it, but they are not the main part of it.
    I'm having a hard time finding the source of all this spring stuff.
    What does confuse me though, is why not turn it on for framing a shot?  Does it really use THAT much battery power?  Seems weird to me, except for when showing it off in these demos.  I'd rather have it always on so I can frame a shot without it being all blurry.
  • I think you're right but it is Nokia who uses the "spring" terminology, probably to KISS for the audience/press/consumers.
  • You really don't want that lens floating around all the time.  What happens if you drop the phone?  That sudden stop at the bottom will make that free-floating lens smack into its housing pretty hard, and the springs won't save it - not if they're soft enough to let it float around with those little wobbles.  So there must be a bit of hardware to lock that inner lens into place when it isn't needed.  And that bit of hardware must default to locked in the absence of power, in case you drop it when it's turned off, and to avoid power drain while you're doing non-camerea stuff.  But this means that power must be needed to retract that hardware lock.  I'm guessing there are three strong springs holding that housing centered, and some type of motor or electromagnet that retracts them leaving only the the weak springs to center the housing.
    Upshot is you want the inner lens locked except when you need it (for protection), and you don't want to unlock it any longer than you have to (for power).  Nokia could have powered the lock in preview mode, but (a) the current style of operation demos better, and (b) holding the lock open may take a significant amount of power, depending on how strong the locking springs are and if it takes power to hold the locking springs open (esp if the springs require constant power to stay open, as opposed to only requiring power during the opening and locking phases).
    This also kinda explains the weight...
  • What if you prefer to take pictures by tapping the screen? And do you have to hold the button half way down the whole time for video? If so that's a recipe for hand cramps. I do a lot of MIG welding and repeatedly having to hold that trigger for longer welds is a major issue...
  • Funny how last week there was a story about there being no at&t branding on the lumia
  • Why label with at and t im pretty sure America thinks the world revolves around them but anyways if I have the money I would love to get this phone
  • It's a phone for the AT&T network; this sort of branding is very common over here.  I'm sure the versions for the other carriers and countries won't have AT&T's branding on them.
  • You should have tried the password 11111 to unlock the Lumia 920. Thats the password that Nokia employees had on all of their phones at the september 5th event.