Nokia's photography chief shouts out against Pureview and Lumia 920 camera criticism

Critics of both Nokia's PureView technology and the Lumia 920 camera have been attacked by the company's chief of photography, Damian Dinning. Publishing a series of tweets, Dinning chose to reach out and explain how the PureView technology Nokia is developing is not limited to a single feature on the specification sheet.

There was much confusion surrounding the Lumia 920 Windows Phone, which is expected to be announced this week. Said to be sporting PureView technology, it was unclear as to how much of an improvement would be made over what's currently inside the Lumia 900. Many continued to question the lack of megapixels, due to the limitations of the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset (20MP).

PureView Tweets

We'll be the first to agree with Dinning (@PhoneDaz) that pixel count does not automatically lead to better results in photography. There are a number of factors, including optics, image processing and even the photographer himself. Pureview technology is but one part of this equation for Nokia cameras, just as DIGIC technology (opens in new tab) is to Canon cameras.

To question the quality of results in a Windows Phone that's yet to be announced is fairly extreme, especially when the cameras in the Lumia 800 / 900 have proved to be sturdy contenders after recent Nokia updates.

While Dinning failed to go into detail surrounding the Lumia 920, we can at least speculate that the Lumia 920 will likely sport 20MP for the PureView technology, as well as packing usual Carl Zeiss lens and super optics to boot. Nokia has to also keep the physical size of the handset to an absolute minimal in terms of width, which would see the manufacturer prefer more advanced image processing than over sampling .

Could Dinning be delaying the point where disappointment will cloud the Lumia 920, or do you believe we're set to see something special regarding photography capabilities in the next generation of Lumia Windows Phones that sport PureView? Be sure to voice your thoughts in the comments.

via: SlashGear

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • well dude that's all fine and good, but people will always be about the megapixel count.  That's why people went gaga over 41Mp 808.  If you had just announced a 8Mp PureView camera people would have just been "meh"  like they will be tomorrow when you announce meh cameras on the 920.  Marketing terms really mean nothing to are basically saying PureView is just a marketing term to label some nebulous technology.
  • People remained gaga over the 41MP 808 because it was 41MP of quality.
  • Nokia cannot help it that the average person knows absolutely nothing about camera technology, or that MP's are meaningless. They can only prove with actual photos and how good the camera really is. Let us see how the actual phtos taken with the actual camera are first, and worry about buzzwords later.
  • Yeah, but that would actually require them to go to a store and use the camera.  Specs get people in the store.
  • Actually high marks from well regarded reviewers, friends, family members and sales reps along with great pictures from samples get people to go to the stores and try them.
  • Though you need to remember that the MP count isn't meaningless in PureView.
    Amazing lens and sensor and optics of course are part of the out of this world 808 PureView quality, but it's the megapixel count that is directly connected to the PureView when it comes to lossles zoom and binning/oversampling the pictures in the fly. 
  • You're right, no one cares about marketing terms. That's why Apple's Siri is viewed as equal to Google's and Windows voice technologies.
    Oh wait that's right, people went insane over a five year old technology when that was announced.
  • I see this a lot. It doesn't matter if someone, somewhere did something close to what Siri does now. Apple made that technology avaialbe to everyone, in addition to enhancing it and making it decent enough to be actually used by average people. Before Siri there was no actual "person" in your phone or computer that you could communicate with.
    Same holds true for nearly all of the stuff that Apple brought together in the iPhone. Before the iPhone we had touchscreens, rows of icons, etc. but no one had brought them together as a neat, usuable package of features before.
    We have to be objective and give Apple that much.
  • Except that Siri literally existed before Apple came out with it... it was an app, that Apple bought, and did not invent.
  • I refer you back to the 2nd sentence of my comment.
  • And came away all the worse for it as was explained in detail by Woz.  Siri used to be able to tell you the 5 largest lakes in California not 5 advertizers whose keywords are the closest match.
  • Before siri there was tell me which which to me is 3x more useful than siri but if you wanted an actual person talking on your phone there is an app called WhatIs and has been here since Nodo.
  • Voice commands existed even on XP and Vista. None could do "schedule a meeting for tomorrow, 8:30 with Mr. X" or "remind me to buy flowers when leaving" and that's what's interesting to people.
  • People are more mad to him beacuse the 808 PureView is so above anything else that it just doesn't make all of ther camera phones pointless, but also pocket cameras.
    People dont want the brand to be tarnished, like Nokia did wtih CZ on Lumia's previously. 
    It unfortunately seems like much of amazing features from Nokia are really hard to bring to WP thanks to it's really restricked hw support.
    Really starting to think was WP really the right choice for Nokia. 
  • Well, as a current Symbian user (N8) the Pureview 'brand' is tarnished by Symbian in the 808.
    I'd rather Pureview, in a variety of iterations, using WP than with Symbian.  IF there are challenges with WP, then it stretches Damian and team to improve and refine the Pureview technology they created, instead of stagnating with the iteration for the 808.
    Yes, WP was a good choice for Nokia as a whole, despite the sales not quite reflecting such.
  • His points are on but with one day until NW, was it really necessary?
  • Yeah I really don't understand the timing of his posts. I would've waited until after the Nokia press conference tomorrow, if anything.
  • Well we all should know that pixels do not mean everything, but people are stupid and the only thing some care (uneducated buyers) is the number of pixels camera on a phone has. 
    It is kinda sad, but this is the life. It better be 20 MP for those camera "lowers" and "unaducated" users tomorrow. And Instagram for them.
  • Anyway, Nokia never said that PureView required a 41 MP lens/sensor or am I wrong??
  • True, in fact the sensor size has nothing to do with PureView technology, you can apply that to an 8, 12 or 20 MP sensor just as well..
  • I think we should set the bar at the N8.  If the camera can't even beat that two-year-old (?) contender, then it will be a dissapointment.  If can meet or exceed those standards, then we have a winner.
    (I just want something to replace my rapidly failing Arrive on Sprint!)
  • Let me tell you something - I have a N8 and the photo quality is really good; depending on the 'user' and how they snap photos, though, I've seen some iPhone 4S photos that come close :)
    Nonetheless, given that I currently use a N8, I would like my Lumia to come close to the N8 in image quality at the very least; it is rumored that the new Lumia will have image stabilization, which my N8 does not have, so even if the photo quality is 'close' to the N8 and 'bests' new iOS and Android devices, that would be good enough for me :)
  • Then you may want to consider an Android or something else from Sprint. They don't see too terribly interested in WP. My brother and his wife will be looking to jump ship soon. But, who knows? They could surprise us.
  • I am speaking to the aesthetics of the phone. If it is released with that big ugly lens set, there will be no Nokia in my future. The pictured camera lens ruins the lines of the phone.
  • That's the reason why it probably won't be 40 megapixels. People don't wamt a big phone. So it won't be like the other pureview phones, and will probably be around 20 mp instead of 40 to compensate for the lack of space.
  • Exactly, cause who cares how good it works, as long as it looks nice when I show it off to other people. I can't stand having something that just might have function over form the tiniest little bit!!
  • This is what killing the mobile industry.
    Seems like everybody wants that boring looking Asia plastic slap. :( It wasn't long ago when we had counltess of different designs. 
    Only ones giving something else seems to be Apple and Nokia. 
    "Something Else" and Apple in the same sentence?  They have had TWO designs since 2007!!!  And all their features are already in existence they just put a user friendly approach to them (and do that extremely well).
    In the past, the designs were all so different because the phone just had to call people, so you could really work the design.  Now, people need more than ever have their phone constantly in hand, so a certain specific design for comfort is needed.  Much like how all small hybrids have that same shape, it is because aerodynamics and wind tunnel results don't change based on manufacture.
  • ++
  • I'd take it, have you seen some of the iPhone cases people use. Those cases are huge. People need to stop thinking smaller is better. I'll take quality over size.
  • I have a large T2. I don't want something that is going to hang up in my pocket when I want a candid pic. Or am waiting for that phone call.
  • Dang!  I was just posting about this guy on the other article regarding Pureview (this post wasn't up yet).
    Oh well...
    Anyway, from what I'm reading on Nokia blogs, the Symbian fans will disparage anything WP, even if there was a 41MP sensor on a Lumia.   Symbian fans/808 owners want bragging rights in the mobile space - "my phone camera has a 41MP camera sensor"; I suppose that N8 owners did the same back in 2010 (with the 12MP sensor).   But I guess that what spec wars are about :)
    Nonetheless, I think that if Damian and team can manage the same, or better, imaging quality as a cameraphone with a 41MP sensor, using a smaller sensor, then that's a BIG WIN :)
  • I used a N8 for couple of years until I moved to my L800. While I can't say neither is a good replacement for a true digital camera, N8 was closer on the picture quality and L800 on the functionality. Much can be done with Software, and I believe WP is much better on the UI and usability aspects. If only they can match the picture quality of a N8 (with any pixel count 8, 12 20 or 41) then we have a winner. The larger the resolution the larger the storage capacity should be. I believe I (and everyone would) prefer good quality 8MP photos than poor (out of focus, moved, dark, lack of colours) 41 MP. Just MYHO.
  • With a 41mp camera people would probably complain that the pictures take too much space on their phone and either bring the resolution down in their settings of the jpg quality down, which would be stupid. If I want a nice big picture I can print I'm using my DSLR. I just want my phone to have a good quality image so it doesn't come out too dark or blurry like current phones. 8mp is enough for 4/6 prints, and almost nobody prints over that anyway. And if you do, dude, get a real camera! Whatever they do with the camera on the phone, it is physically IMPOSSIBLE to get the same picture quality as a DSLR on a small camera!!
  • PureView is not about taking 41MP photos. Read up on the technology.
  • Yeah I know that... That's pretty much what my post was about. People only see the mp number, but people who know what they're talking know that it's not the mp that makes the quality of a picture, and that's why it's ok for Nokia to bring the mp down if they don't need it for their pureview technologie.
  • i personally feel as i said before i can deal with a 20mp camera especially is they do everything possible to make the imaging software superb. i think wanting the biggest and baddest clouds the facts for some people that if you want pv and thin you need to compromise at the moment.
  • Of course you can deal with a 20MP camera. There isn't a high production phone running a thriving OS that is growing on the market that touches it. The Titan II has 16MP and everything else is either 5 or 8. It would be nice for people to show some damn perspective on this issue.
  • I for one couldn't care less, if its better than the current Lumia line then I am happy, and I love the existing camera on my Lumia 800.
  • +1
  • +2
  • Customers clamor loudly for a feature, company exec tells them to get over it. 
  • Lame. Pureview without some extra pixels is just a marketing scheme. It didn't need to be 41mp to work, but an 8mp sensor taking 5mp images and using the rest for noise loss and zoom just isn't going to cut it. I know perfectly well that going from 5 to 8mp isn't a huge jump in image size or quality. However, an 8mp image from a 16mp pureview sensor would blow away what I can now assume is coming (8mp pureview sensor). I actually own some stock in Nokia now and this is bad news. They should have been breaking out the big guns with a high end camera on WP8 available on all the major carriers. These weak "almost high end" phones with att exclusivity are going to cut it; makes me hesitant to keep my stock.
  • I don't see it as just a marketing gimmick, and yes I do believe Dinning is right about it being about what you do to process the pixels, but, we all know that consumer perception matters, and the higher pixel count DOES go a long way at wowing consumers.
  • Exactly, you can't do a lot with 8mp in regard to any of the current pureview tech like oversampling, lossless zoom, etc. Unless you want a 3mp pureview mode, but that's not particularly impressive because you start to lose definition. I've pretty much given up on seeing 41mp any time soon but I am still hopeful for better than 16.
  • All of his posts suggest to me that the new Lumias might, in fact, only have an 8MP camera as the rumors yesterday suggested. I hope for more, because let's face it... although he's right, the general public sees bigger as better, so more is good in their mind. Am I going to be OK with 8MP vs 20MP? Yes! Will others? Probably, because most won't know any different... but then Nokia loses the "wow" factor.
  • i mean they could easily put in a 16mp or a 12mp i dont think thats completely out of the question either.
  • Easily is relative term. 
    21MP isn't even possible because the SoC only supports 20MP. 41MP sensor and the PureView tech was in the works for 5 years. 
  • i never said 21 mp lol :D i said 12 or 16 not 21 :D
  • Yes, it took five years - for Symbian!   Word on the street that the Symbian code is antiquated and a bear, which no doubt contributed to Nokia ditching the OS. 
    The groundwork is there now; if the first wave of WP8 devices have 8MP with Pureview, that's OK because no doubt Damian and team will keep refining the technology over time.  And given that the spec wars will probably never cease, I'm willing to bet that there will be higher MP sensor in future Nokia WP devices.
  • I don't think the camera is going to mean that much to be honest. If so then the 808 would be flying off the shelves. It will have to have the total package. Good camera, with good OS, with good sturdy design. Pinning the sucess or failure one 1 feature will just lead to failure.
  • i completely agree with you but this is one of the things that nokia could use to really leverage things in their direction. Theres alot of would be photographers who hear megapixels and go gaga for them. they could shift momentum towards the device with something like a really good camera with awesome imaging tech.
  • 808 is on a "dead" platform though, looks hideous, and is clearly a niche device. I don't pin the hopes of the Lumia on one feature, but I think THIS feature can go a long way. Also, the iPhone generally only has one killer feature per generation, so it's not unreasonable. ;)
  • very good point sir :D iphone itself is a gimmick every year recycle a similar design 2g /3g/ 3gs
    or the same exact design 4/4s add a single new feature and relabel it as new if nokia can actually apply this new tech it has patented in a really useful way then i feel we could really sway people towards nokia and windows phone altogether.
  • Sensor size is by far the most important factor in any digital camera. The Nokia 808 was great because it's sensor was bigger (almost 1") then any point and shoot camera (since it was announced canon and Sony now have high end p&s cameras with bigger sensors.) I dont care if the 920 is 41 megapixels, but i hope it has a larger then the 1/3.2" sensor found in most smartphones.
  • All this crying is surprising. Today, the Titan II sports a 16MP camera and takes nice pictures, but isn't on the same planet as the Pureview. However many wondered if doubling the pixels would adversely effect the awesome picture quality of the original Titan. The Pureview tech takes 41MP today and through software selection, reduces the data down to 5MP to grant users the ability to digital zoom without without a loss in picture quality. While the pixel selection reduces noise amazingly well, the big showstopper was digital zoom without a degrade in picture quality. While a 20MP image sensor on an integrated chip won't allow you to zoom as much as a 41MP sensor with a dedicated processor, you're still looking at 3X digital zoom with no picture quality loss. That's 10 times better than any iPhone or android camera out today.
  • Exactly!
  • As long as the camera produces good pictures I don't care about the technology or megapixels.
  • Lets be honest, announcing an official instagram app exclusively for Nokia buyers would be more impressive to the general public than appeasing us tech lovers with a new Pureview sensor amazing reduced to the size of a pin hole. ;-) Calm down people. Nokia isn't rolling out the pureview tech in all its glory on day one. There's money to be made slowing creeping the tech back up to the 808 standards. If you want the ultimate camera phone, you can buy it. The consumer line is all about making money, not making tech fanboys wetdreams come true. Lol
  • LOL agreed.
  • I would be completely satisfied with a 20MP Pureview on the L920. I'm just worried about The Verges "inside sources" claiming it to be 8MP with Pureview. That would be a disappointment and a missed opportunity.
  • What is worrisome isnt the 8 megapixel part of the rumor for the 920. Its that 8 megapixels suggests its going to be using the same tiny 8 megapixel Sony sensor that is on almost every high end smartphone in the market. Its not a bad sensor (for its size) but I wouldn't call it pureview by any means. (also 8 megapixels is about at the diffraction limit for a 1/3.2" sensor so any higher megapixels at that size are pointless) I would think the pure view name would be reserved for at least a point and shoot sized image sensor and preferable larger (like the 808 was)
  • This reminds me of the single core vs multi-core debate around the time Mango was picking up speed. Sure WP has been running smooth as a baby's butt cheek, but we all know people buy specs. 41MP attracts the masses, but a minority know its not imperative for the end result. Personally, I'll be a happy camper with a 20MP pureview Wp8 phone. As for the 8MP rumours... as long as there's a clear difference between 'it' and the L900, I don't mind.
  • Wait.... The camera in the 800 a sturdy contender after the last few updates?????? My lumia 800 camera got completely f..ed by the update before the tango one. If i havent got a light source next to it its like a static tv filter on top of my pictures..
  • Have to agree there. The current sensor is rubbish.
  • add the hump!!!
    Can we get a petition to save the hump on Nokia phones ?
  • +1 i lol'ed
  • Quality photography is about the lens, not the pixel count. In fact it is difficult to believe a small lens could resolve 41 megapixels when many 35 mm lens can't. My old EOS 1d mark 2 with a 8 megapixel sensor and 300 mm 2.8 L lens will capture more detail than any point and shoot with 2-3 times the megapixels. That's why the lens cost as much as the body. $5,000 in the case of the above lens. My guess is pure view try's to make sense out of the garbage light that comes through those tiny lenses. It might work better with fewer but bigger pixels.
  • Finally a comment about the importance of the lens. +1
  • As if i would not be happy with 20 mp lol ;)
  • I think if people want an excellent camera, they should buy one. I hope the new phone is nice and sleek with a decent camera, and other solid specs.
  • A nice camera on my phone Is icing on the cake. If im taking my shots seriously I grab my 18.1 mp slr...
  • Yes
  • Nokia should improve picture quality than the MP count. My current Samsung wp7.5 takes a lot better quality with 5MP. Same can't be said for the Lumia 900, at least. After the updates, its better, but not on par with other smartphones.
  • Yes
  • They set the bar with their first Pureview camera. If the quality of picture, video and sound in the 920 is anything less then it is a disapointment.
  • No
  • I'm just glad someone from Nokia finally put out there & confirmed what Malatesta has been saying for months now. Maybe now folks will quiet down about having a huge sensor & MP count in the WP8 Nokia devices. Now where's my damn HTC Ttitan 8?!?
  • Its about time somebody told these idiots to shut it. Everyone's a freaking expert on photography all of a sudden. First it was mp don't count now all of a sudden if the 920 doesn't have 21 mp its the end of the world. How much u wanna bet Nokia doesn't make the same mistake it made with the 900 camera. Yet they have drastically improved it with software updates, which goes to show its not all about the mp.
  • You guys really need to stop calling people idiots, dummies, and all them other words. They are just MISINFORMED. They are not experts. They simply go off of what the commercials and sales associates tell them. Doesn't really make them dumb. Just misinformed. Thats like an auto mechanic calling someone dumb for thinking mor horsepower automatically means it's faster than the next car that doesn't have as much horsepower. They don't know any better. 
  • While I will be the first to admit that it would be great to have a "better camera" in my phone, that is more a function of enhanced utility than something I personally require.  If I was anything more than a camera phone picture taker, I would sport the real deals that enthusiasts and professionals carry.  Why such the big deal?  I respect that people will always want more - but there is a point where something becomes silly as an expectation. Its amazing how "serious" (i.e. rude and uncooth) people get when it comes to such trivial things.
  • I know for me these phones r going to b expensive since I'm not on a contract so if I'm going to spend over 400 on a phone is it too much to ask for quality across the board. Besides, smartphones are supposed to be kind of an all in one electronic device nowadays, not a phone with a bunch of gimmicks. I'm pretty sure Nokia will deliver no matter what MP it ends up being.
  • There are always going to be different features that are the compelling ones for different consumers. More important to me even than the picture quality is the rich recording feature in the 808 Pureview. As long as that is fully implemented in the 920 then Im buying it (will be great for concert recording). I really dont care what the phone looks like. 
  • Well let's hope its better than the lumia 900, not sure what updates Dinning is speaking of that make the optics a contender, both my wife's and my own lumia 900 have the big pink spot in all of our pictures.
  • I'm most likely going to buy a WP8 lumia when they come out without contract so I'm looking at  at least a few hundred dollars so even though i don't care what mp the camera is, it does have to be top of the line to justify to anticipated price tag of the device. People like to say things like "then don't buy it" or "its a camera phone" but for that kind of money I expect to have a pretty quality device all around which I'm sure Nokia will deliver.
  • >>> NOKIA FAIL.
    Everyone was drooling for the Holy Trinity
    Pureview (41MP) + Lumia 900 type device + WP8
              This would have blazed past the iPhone
    Now everyone is just dissappointed, unless Nokia have done something different/special. It better be at least as good (should be better) than a current iPhone - or Nokia will lose some appeal and not be taking advatnage of its best technology which is driving Windows Phone lovers insane!
  • You make no sense what so ever.  Why not wait to see what they have to offer before announcing if something failed.  You based your opinions off of unofficial data, then proclaim heads or tails of a product due to more unofficial data?  Come on...
  • Yeah, but will I be able to make my photos look crappy with Instagram or something like that?
  • Nokia has set the bar so high with its 808 Pureview, people will certainly be disappointed with the 8 mp FauxView on 920.  Damian Dinning can argue all he wants about the true meaning of the Pureview technology, but the average buyers will usually pay attention only to the pixel count spec.  The new phones Nokia will announce tomorrow are so critically tying to their life and death in the future.  Their products have to provide a major differentiator that can compete against the rest of competitions.  Pureview is their only hope.  Nokia has to take the advantage of that to the extreme and come out with a Quad-core 41 mp Pureview handset within next six months to rise above the crowd.  Otherwise, Nokia's future will be really shaky.  At the present time, WP apps are way behind the Iphone and the Android handsets.  The distinct disadvantage will last sometime.  The hardware differentialtor needs to be dramatic and exceptional to attract buyers.  I hope Nokia won't miss its last opportunity. 
  • I honestly can't see the upcoming Lumia having a 20mp shooter, but as long as the quality of the parts increases, I think 8mp is fine.
  • I hope they do something good. Remember that a few years ago DSLRs had the megapixel count of smartphones now. That doesn't mean that smartphones today are as good as DSLRs from a few years ago. We had 3 megapixel DSLRs a decade ago that still look amazing compared to high end smartphones of today. 
    But I think this will be simply a normal smartphone camera about the same quality as the current ones we have now.
    Otherwise the tweets wouldn't be so negative sounding. 
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