Hands on with Nokia Refocus - shoot now, focus later

Nokia Refocus arrived at the Windows Phone Store earlier today for Nokia Lumia devices with PureView Camera. It supports the Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 925, Lumia 928 and Lumia 1020 (with Amber installed). It lets you capture first and then focus and re-focus later. We just installed it on our Nokia Lumia 1020 and took it on a test drive.

Watch the walkthrough video after the break.

When you first open the app, you get a quick introduction. They make it look really easy to use. There’s also a tip to put the camera close to your subject. Click start when you're ready.

Nokia Refocus starts taking photos when you tap the screen or click the camera button. Try to stay still for a few seconds. The camera app captures a series of 2-8 images, each at five megapixels at a different focus that’ll be aligned and merged together to make one image.

Tap anywhere on the final image to refocus or click the ‘all in focus’ button to get everything in focus. This works really well when you have a subject up close and there’s enough lighting. There’s also an option for color pop. Tapping a color in a certain section of the photo will remain while the rest of the photo turns black and white.

nokia refocus color pop

If you’re happy with the image, click save. Click the share button, if you want to show this off on Twitter, Facebook, or with friends and family by email. You’ll need to log in to your Microsoft account before it can share on Twitter or Facebook.

We recommend removing the link provided in the message. The tweet will have two links to the same image if you don’t remove it. The links send your friends to refocus.nokia.com where they can play with the focus. If you share on Facebook, they can refocus the photo directly from within your Facebook news feed.

Nokia Refocus is a free download from the Windows Phone Store if your Lumia device is supported. Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments!

QR: Nokia Refocus

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

76 Comments
  • Very cool, I was playing with the app this morning
  • It is cool but it doesn't seem to be tapping into the full 38mpx quality available for the 1020! Unless I'm doing something wrong? Hopefully it will be integrated into the procam app like they did with the smart cam app.
  • Very nice indeed
  • They should really provide this for the other lumia models as well.
  • I thought they were going to through the Lumia Black update??
  • Wish I could open this with the shutter button.
  • Instagram tile right next to it.....hmm :)
  • Six Ta Gram
  • Lol I agree wholeheartedly!
  • 6 to the tiles!
  • Now that Microsoft will soon get Nokia, imagine all this tech Nokia gave us, implemented into stock OS camera.
  • Would be much better, i lost track of how many nokia photography apps installed.. Should be implemented all in one.
  • I totally agree. I probably will forget to use it because it doesn't offer the other advanced controls of the Nokia Camer.
  • I half agree. The Nokia Camera app is great because they did finally do that, and I guess this could be included as part of Smart Cam. But it feels substantial enough and specific enough that you would be wanting to use it as opposed to just taking a photo so having it standalone works for me. Still as you say would like it also integrated into the 'smart cam' part of Nokia Camera.
  • Or maybe not. Depends on who'll be the next CEO of Microsoft. If it's Mulally or Eflop...WP has its days numbered.
  • I wish your days commenting on here would be numbered with your totally unnecessary pessimism towards Elop, Nokia, MS, WP and it seems life in general.
  • Pics on the 925 are grainy in decent lighting and it doesn't typically pick up the points i want to focus on. But, knowing Nokia, they're already working on an update.
  • Is this similar to "Refocus?" (Not the app from Nokia)
  • Coooooooooolll
  • Works a treat on my Lumia 820
  • Not really working for me yet?
  • They really need to stop splitting out all this functionality. Pro Cam should do all things at all times. It's rather irksome with Pro cam that I can choose to Smart Shoot or have flash, but not both. They need to make Pro Cam the end all be all camera app that allows you turn on as many bells and whistles as you want. SmartShoot, Refocus, etc. All in one app, all at the same time if I want.
  • Agreed.  I said this earlier on another post.  I have so many N apps in my app list. Just call it Nokia Camera on one app, and have the ability to access all the other Nokia camera app functions from the one app.  I mean seriously Nokia Camera Nokia Ciemagraph Nokia Creative Studio Nokia Panorama Nokia Refocus Nokia Video Trimmer Nokia Video Upload And I probably missed one or two
  • Plus Nokia Smart Cam... :-/ They should merge everything seriously!
  • I think all of them will merge into OS camera once Microsoft buying Nokia goes through.
  • Not to knock MS, but if that happens the features will go largely unnoticed since MS likes to make cool shit and not tell anybody about it.
  • I'm sure you're be happy with a camera app that will take 15 seconds to load. Theres a good reason why they haven't merged everything.. it will impact on performance. 
  • I thought that was the whole point behind 'lenses' .. 
  • Or be able to make a group. With a few...ahem...quite many apps installed it seems like I have an endless list to scroll.
  • Agreeeeeeeeeee
  • Agreed 1020%
  • I'm sure they will eventually (like they have with Nokia Camera) but some of these functions are pretty resource-intensive and therefore probably not a trivial task to integrate them into one app, not if it's to remain sufficiently responsive anyway.
  • I can think of a few good reasons why puting everything in ProCam app is a terrible idea.  1. Making it a seperate app makes it easily discoverable if they put it in ProCam app might get mixed up in the other features of the ProCam. They can add it later on when enough people know of it.  2. Adding everything to ProCam makes it cluttered . 3. This is a new app, they first have to iron out the kinks before they think of adding it to another app.
  • I was just thinking this ... "oh that's cool, but OMG ANOTHER camera app?!". I only have a 521 as I'm waiting for the 1520 to be released, but every time I play with a Lumia in a store I think "how am I ever going to know which app to use?? And what if I don't have time to think about it before getting the picture?!" Still nice to have the functionality though.
  • delete..
  • Totally agree, you have different apps that have the same features, doesn't make sense to me
  • For some reason I was thinking this app would allow me to refocus previously taken photos. :/.
  • Great app, I tried showing it off to an iPhone user, he popped open snapsneed. That app did way more. I'm still happy though.
  • I have an iPhone 5 (in addition to a Lumia, please retract the claws everyone) and Snapseed is an amazing photo editing app! It's actually one of the reasons I've been hesitant to fully make the switch. Unfortunately, it's owned by Google it seems, so I highly doubt it'll ever come to WP.
  • Snapseed is nice. Fhotoroom for Windows Phone comes close.
  • Snapseed is an editing app, right? Of course it does "more". That wasn't a proper comparison. Does "Snapseed" do what "Refocus" does?
  • Thumba is my go to editor.
  • I believe one of the advantages is when a refocused image is shared with link, all who view can refocus that image via the link as well.
  • The images are grainy on my 1020. It's not working well for me. Images are pin sharp using Pro Cam.
  • Works best outdoors with good lightning. Also, have a subject close to the camera.
  • Still, with Nokias focus in low light photos, it's utterly disappointing and borderline ridiculous at how grainy photos turn out. I was thinking it could be the low pixels on my 920 but apparently the 1020 had the same problem...
  • Use a tripod if you have. 1020 or stand your phone up if its a 920. Works and looks better with no movement when taking the shots
  • Will the 1020 camera grip/charger/ tripod attachment fit the 920?
  • Does anyone notice any weird battery drains after installing this app?
  • This app crashed my phone. :( Lumia 928
  • I'm going to have to do sone comparisons between this and my lytro.. this is pretty cool though
  • I started the app, clicked start and then my phone crashed... Lets try it again! Nokia 920
  • This is a really interesting app. Will play around with this a bit
  • I like it but just like many of the above poster have said.  Another camera app! Why cant i just take a picture then do what i want later? Combine them please.  Nokia pro cam and smart cam aren't really one app.  Its more like a short cut to smart cam.  I want to take the pic then decide afterwards to refocus, blur, remove objects, etc.
  • correct me if I am wrong, but this uses the camera in a different way to smartcam - all the pictures with smartcam are at the same focus - this one takes multiple pictures at different depths of focus to produce the interactive picture. so you can't use the same 'shot' to do refocus and remove objects. It's like a lytro (which I have) and you do need to 'set up' your shots with this kind of app, taking a picture with objects in different distances.  foreground, middleground and background.      
  • Does it remove all the rest of the unused images after I saved the final photo I want? Otherwise, the temp files will just keep on growing.
  • Excellent! And big thanks Nokia. I'm still having fun snapping and making color pop.
  • I think if it works like the lytro - it will take several pictures at varying degree's of focus then 'merge' them together into one picture - it doesn't throw away anything per-se I dissected a lytro picture once and it seemed to store several 'pictures' in the single lytro file. You dont save a 'final' picture - it's designed to be an 'interactive' picture forever, unless you can somehow save off a single view into a separate image - which I don't think you can from the app.      
  • Cant download it
  • That's so cool!! I didn't know we'd get to play with the refocus app on Facebook. Very nice feature, indeed. One question, though: can we refocus an image taken with the default/Nokia camera?
  • Letting people refocus your pictures on facebook is cool feature
  • The app camera shows black in viewfinder and gets stuck..lumia920
  • here is a comparison - I would call this app Lytro-Lite - it's not got the level of detail I can get with the lytro  with the lytro I can focus on the diffuser, the picture in the background and the bottle itself, the nokia app gives me the bottle and the picture. Still impressive nonetheless   https://pictures.lytro.com/loribinca/pictures/747153   https://refocus.nokia.com/refocus/7O7drRo5EgXefa4m
  • You're comparing a dedicated overpriced camera to a smartphone camera.......
  • I wouldn't say the 1020 is overpriced .. it's getting cheaper all the time .. just wait for Black Friday ;) Kidding aside - I own both a 1020 and a Lytro. This app is pretty cool and gives me similar results to a Lytro with the bonus of just having to carry one device in my handbag-du-jour.    
  • I find App Cave's Refocus better than Nokia's.
  • Very nice app from Nokia. Works great on my L820
  • Please provide this app for other lumias...
  • Aww yea lytro style.
    Feedback to nokia : integrate with nokia camera and allow users manually set ISO level. So noisy in dim light.
  • Not practical but a cool option nonetheless
  • I think the app features are specialized enough that it should be a separate app. You're not going to want to use this as your everyday camera app when taking spur of the moment pictures of people. But if you see something and want to create something different and can take the time to set up the shot its a good app to have. For example after downloading the app i tested it on my desk: pen in the foreground and a report with a single colour cover page in the background. I focussed on the report, colour popped the cover and bam, it looks like one of those cheesy "office" photos you can search/find in an image bank like shutterstock!
  • People with no pureview wp8 devices, just get creative studio and do the same thing :)
  • Very cool.  Started playing with it this morning and already managed to impress a couple of friends.
  • Cool app...got it for my Lumia 620 with the proxy trick.
  • Even after getting black update i can't download nokia refocus in my Lumia 720 is anybody get it ????
  • Now it is available for all Windows Phone.