Lumia Cyan update said to improve low-light performace on Lumia Icon, 1520 and 930

In an ongoing Q&A from Nokia's camera gurus, Juha Alakarhu and Eero Salmelin, who are now with Microsoft, information regarding what users should expect from the Lumia Cyan update has been revealed. The question answered dealt with photography, and specifically Nokia's latest high end Windows Phones, including the Verizon Lumia Icon, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520.

Juha Alakarhu took to the query and revealed precisely what would be improved with the forthcoming firmware refresh, bundled with the Windows Phone 8.1 update.

Lumia Cyan camera advances

  • Much better low light performance
  • Better colors
  • Continuous auto-focus
  • Better video quality
  • And even the RAW (DNG) images will look better because we are using the sensor in more clever way

Low light performance has been a source of criticism for some Lumia 1520 users, especially when it comes to video. At least according to Alakarhu, reducing noise and refining clarity will be one of the principal features of the Lumia Cyan update.

Likewise, better colors and enhanced video quality will be welcomed too as Alakarhu and his team refine the camera on their latest PureView devices. Continuous auto-focus, as opposed to the single tap version currently used, should greatly boost speed and make snapping photos easier for moving objects.

Speaking of speed, Salmelin answered a question about the speed of the Nokia Camera app and Lumia Cyan, noting "We improved the shot to shot time somewhat in the new camera application which will be part of Cyan update." It's not clear how much of a difference it will make, but it sounds like it will at least be better.

In regards to PureView technology and the recent Microsoft acquisition of the Nokia devices team, Salmelin remarked, "The whole team that developed the PureView technology is now part of Microsoft and continuing to work hard to develop the technology further."

Finally, Alakarhu hinted that direct RAW editing on the device itself may be forthcoming, observing "Its an interesting idea. Thanks :)" It's not clear if such editing would be in a new separate app, or part of the upcoming Creative Studio 6.0 overhaul that was detailed by Nokia a few weeks ago.

The Lumia Cyan update is Nokia's latest firmware for their Lumia line of smartphones. It optimizes hardware for Windows Phone 8.1 and will be co-bundled with individual updates starting in a few weeks. It follows the Lumia Black and Amber updates from previous OS releases.

Source: Conversations

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • 24th June was the rumoured date for cyan?
  • Yeah..rock my L1520!
  • Hey I was thinking about buying a 1520 because the 930 isn't coming to the USA. do you find that phone is a little to big
  • It was "too big" for about a week until I got used to it, and now, it feels perfect and all other phones seem too small! Love my 1520!
  • I luv my 1520 too
  • Me too
  • Initially i felt it was big, but then i cant use my 920 it looks small once u get used to 1520..
  • Wait till we're all walking around with 10 inch phones lol I think we're going to have to evolve bigger hands.
  • Yeah after a week I couldn't really even go back to my Nexus 5 with a five inch screen. It's never too big to be unwieldy, but you will fumble it a few times before you know how to handle it.
  • I was exactly the same the first few days it felt wrong but now it just feels normal and my wife's iphone 5s looks and feels like a kids toy
  • Same this way I cant see myself with any other phone at the moment, held it up to my galaxy s5 and that felt so small I would never go back
  • +1520!!!!!
  • well said.!!! once you get your grip on one you will never regret your purchase, i am a happy  owner of one as well. Moved from android, note that wp is serious os for buisiness,unlike android which is more biased to fun.   BRGDS
  • What he said only for me it was only a couple of days.
  • On Paper it looks like a very big phone but it is so slim can fit in pocket without bothering. And its large screen with windows OS live tiles makes it most beautiful than any other phone. For me it is the perfect phone.
  • Its not too big, everything else is too small ;) Seriously though, it fits in most pockets perfectly even if it slightly pokes out of small pockets. The amazing screen more than makes up for any small inconveniences.
  • The size really grows on you and then everything else becomes way too small. I thought it was big when I first saw it on display at the store.. But actually having it in your hand, and using it on a daily, changes things. I highly doubt I'll ever use anything smaller than 5.7 as a daily driver.
  • I got used to it. It felt HUGE initually when I upgraded from Lumia 720. Now other phones seem tiny to me. Can't stand small displays anymore :p
  • Same with TVs. Remember when a 32inch TV was massive? Now they're tiny because everyone has a 42inch TV. My sister has a 47 inch TV and they already feel it's getting too small.
  • Go for it i went for one over the 1020 and so glad i did . Its feels big for a few days then its just normal after that . The camera is awesome as well
  • No!! The 1520 fits perfectly!! Big 1080p screen with great colors, and sharpness.. Holds well in the hand, and fits in your pocket nicely❕❕
    The only dudes that complain about the size of the 1520 are those played out, skinny, tight, yoga pants wearing, soft little bone heads who are afraid to get a little dirt under their perfectly manicured, and painted girly little fingernails.... The 1520 is for dudes, not little girls..... You should get one if you're at least an average size adult male...
  • LOL! You tell them, Rodney!   And I agree, the 1520 is the ideal size.  Love my 1520!  
  • I remember pulling my 1520 out of the box, laying it on the desk and thinking, wow, that is really big. A few days later, I couldn't use my 920 without squinting and making a hundred typos on the keyboard.
  • It is. After getting used to it, all phones become just soooo pathetically small. Hahaha
  • DOnt you already have tge 930 in the US, the 929?
  • The Icon is essentially the 930. Switch to the best cellular network and get yourself an Icon :)
  • Go for it brother , You gonna love it ;) I have been using it for 2 months and now no any other phone can take this place. I love My 1520 more then my Grl frnd ;D
  • I love my 1520 so much
  • Possibly, that's when the official support for WP 8.1 starts. The actual release may be anytime before or after that day.
  • Do you know if unlocked devices will get priority? I have the Hong Kong variant of the 1520. June 24 sounds optimistic...
  • Was it factory unlocked if so depending on the service provider or that Microsoft mobile subsidiary it came from its anybodys guess when they'll approve it for ms to publish it to your handset
  • Is 720 also gonna get improved written specs ...???
  • factory unlocked. there is no carrier branding on this device. it's just a hong kong varient.
  • not from AT&T i suppose.
  • Waiting for title: Lumia Cyan improves battery life.
  • ^ This!!
  • ^ This!!
  • ^ This!!
  • ^ This. I could use my 720 upto 2 days and bam, I'm charging it twice a day.
  • mine 3 times .. :'(
  • Ya, me too man. Battery life sucks even on phones renowned for battery life like the L1520
  • I'm guessing it will.
  • Compared to 8.1 without any firmware optimisations, that's pretty much guaranteed.
  • ^ This. +1020 this. No optimized drivers and firmware = sucky performance all 'round.
  • i don't think it will make any big difference, almost every win7 driver can work on win8.1 !
    WP8.1 is just like windows 8.1 update for 8 
  • But 8.1 has a lot of added features like Cortana and notification center. Also changes to memory allocation and how background process run. All this tends to use a lot of battery life. With firmware updates, they can probably tweak the CPU idle clocks and other low level stuff which could improve battery life. Like how Windows 8 uses less battery power than 7.
  • I charged my 520 to almost 100% 3 times in a day!! That's a record!!
  • So sorry for you guys but my 1520 lasts me all day. I go to work at 7am and leave at 5pm most days and it still has more than 35% left.
    Best phone I ever owned.
  • I used it at E3 with heavy use all day, never ran out either. Battery is incredible, but everyone has different standards, I guess.
  • Sorry for off topic.
    When Lumia 930 is coming to India
  • Unplug my phone 7am. Reach home 6pm. Still have 70%. Little WhatsApp, surfing 20~30 minutes, little facebook, read wpcentral 30 minutes, 3~4 calls, little SMS and read local forum 20 minutes. This L1520 best battery life I ever have since Sony w810.
  • GSMArena says that it has the best battery for any type of mobile phone. Go check it out.
  • Same with the icon was a little worried that with the bigger screen their slightly bigger battery then the ativ s but i guess with extras like tweaking the color temp to warm(NTSC standard) its all good untill i play a power hungry game @ end of day
  • I go to work at 8pm and get off at 8am, have had my phone off charger since 2pm yesterday, and I still have 65% battery... I can go 2 days with my 1520...
  • For me, it last well over 3 days for medium to heavy use.
  • Are you running 8.1 though? My 1520 still lasts all day, but it used to last 2. Hoping Cyan helps with that like the updates to 8.1 have (gets a little better each time).
  • Depends on how you use is it. Play Asphalt 7/8 continuously in a row and charge your 520 like 10 times a day... On the other hand, just call and text and you'll get around 16-36 hours depending on the amount of talk time.
  • My Icon can easily last 30 hours if all I do is light messaging and browsing, take a few pictures and listen to music, and don't have cellular data on. But if I browse any websites that have message boards (Disqus, for example), or have long SMS conversations, the battery just eats away at a 25 per hour rate.
  • Thats the difference between Iphone and Nokia. on iphone, battery life is consistant, no matter what you do, you will get your day done. Nokia; ahh it can eat battery in 3 hours or can last for 90 hours.
  • I don't normally feed the trolls, but you need to put down the crack pipe before somebody believes that tripe. I've had every iphone from the first through the 5s and the only thing consistent about them was a dead battery about halfway through the day if you did anything other than leave it idle in your pocket.
  • Well, I can honestly disagree there!  I had an iPhone 3G and got tired of the propriatary BS of Apple, so switched to a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.  Updates from Verizon was a nightmare, so got a Nokia Lumia 928 and fell in love with it.  The phone fell in a pond at the park, and a friend of mine convinced me to try the new iPhone 5S instead of replacing my 928.  I agreed and had the iPhone 5s for 4 days and had to charge it 6 times.  I finally gave up, brought the phone back to Verizon and swapped it for the Lumia Icon (had to pay a restocking fee, but fully worth it).  I easily get a day and a half charge out of the Icon and don't have to worry about using iTunes to load/unload my pictures, videos and music (I hated having to do that with my 3G and still hate it with the 5s - when is Apple going to allow plug and play USB file manipulation?  Its so stupid to have to use iTunes! everytime I want to rearrange my pictures or music).
  • Me too my 525 is like a hot cake nowadays hope cyan will fix
  • I charge my 1320 once every two days...
  • GPS needs optimisation. I use an app called battery doctor that shows location really drained the battery. I turned it off and the battery of my 1020 charges much quicker and lasts a lot longer
  • Wwll, I can say that after I updated my Lumia 1020 to 8.1, it got considerably better in battery life. I can only expect the same for the firmware update - hope so.
  • Battery life is already great
  • No issues with the battery on my 1520. About 2 days with heavy usage (lots of music, browsing snapping pictures, sending mails and gaming, about 1-2 calls and a few texts). My fiancee has to charge her 920 twice a day with very light usage. Let it drain the battery completely, charge it for 45m-2 hours and use it until drained again. That could help out. Fixed most of the battery issues I had with my old 920.
  • I've got no complaints with my Icon.  I can go up to two days without a charge, even with 8.1 installed.
  • L1520 on 8.1 was draining battery fast but I fixed it. If you do Gmail, stop syncing for a day and see if it fixes it. It it improves significantly then enable Gmail sync and set it to once an hour. (the learn as I go option sucks battery). Also on Gmail calendar, I have heard burns too much battery too. There is a suggested replacement link for calendar sync in the forums. I suggest you use that. It tells you to mauanly change the sync URL path. For me it was night and day. Now the phone lasts close to 3 days.
  • Thanks! I will search for that thread and try that for sure.  I thought with the second 8.1 update that the issue was fixed. Nope. Back to draining fast again.
  • Amazing how far a little tweaking can go.
  • YES! The low light on my 1520 pales in comparison to my old 920 so this will be much appreciated. I'm also really keen for in camera raw editing. I was saving the raw photos but found I just could never be bothered to put them on my pc to play, with in phone editing, if it is robust and feature full, then I can see myself playing around with it.
  • It still wont be as good. The 920 is still a f/2.0 compared to the 1520s f/2.4. It just draws in more light by design.
  • Aperture isn't the only thing that contributes to better lowlight photography. Lumia 720 has an f1.9 aperture yet can not take better lowlight photos than Lumia 920. The bigger camera sensor coupled with the huge amount of Megapixels can surely make the the 1520 produce lowlight photos compete with that of 920. In addition to this I think 1520's sensor supports higher ISO than Lumia 920, something also important for lowlight photography.
  • I just want some Photoshop Lightroom action on Windows Phone... Best piece of software I own on my PC right now.
  • Only the improvement of low light pics of 1520, 930? Wat about other pureview mobiles?? 920, 925 and 1020?
  • +1020 get rid of the yellowish tint on using flash.
  • You can't get rid of it. That's the xenon flash producing it.
  • Of course you can. In ISO-conditions, I don't have that tint with my Nokia 808 Pureview, as opposed to the 1020 (indoor)
  • Now this is what I need to see!!!! Coming from the 808 PureView, using flash on the 1020 is a hor