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Here's how to (mostly) enable Nokia's 'Living Images' on your PureView Lumia

Nokia's Living Images is a new feature coming to Windows Phone 8.1 and their Lumia Cyan firmware update for the high-end PureView devices, like the Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Icon and so forth. Living Images captures a few seconds before you snap a photo, so that when you're browsing through your Camera Roll or StoryTeller, your photos come alive. It's like Cinemagraph, but without having to think, as it just works automatically.

A Nokia Camera Beta update a few weeks ago introduced Living Images, but no one could use it without the Cyan firmware. Even those with a Lumia 630 can't use it as that device is not PureView. But I started getting tips from people who had Living Images enabled, though they didn't know how it happened. Finally, Jason in our comments explained a simple trick to get it working, at least mostly.

Partially enable 'Living Images'

Be forewarned, it's not yet clear how to disable this, once it's enabled. Having said that, there doesn't seem to be any downsides.

  • Open up Nokia Camera Beta or download from the Store here
  • Open the Menu (use the ellipsis '…')
  • Select Settings
  • Choose 'Use default settings'
  • Restart Nokia Camera Beta (may not be necessary)

The next time you snap a photo, you should see 'Saving Living Image' displayed in the upper left corner. When you scroll through your Camera Roll, you should see your Living Image photo, with a second of video before it.

Oddly, this Living Images trick doesn't work with Nokia's StoryTeller, so it appears to be a loophole in the Windows Phone 8.1 Camera Roll.

To see how it works make sure you watch the above video.

Living Image will be more

I should point out that Living Images will be more than what you see now. The Lumia Cyan firmware is needed to unlock the feature, including any advanced editing functions. In that sense, this is more or less a tease of the feature, rather than the function itself. Still, it should give you an idea of what to expect when Lumia Cyan lands on your PureView Lumia phone in the coming weeks.

I think Living Image will be an amazing addition. For one, you don't have to think about using it as it automatically happens when you take a photo. That solves the current problem of having to think out a scene, and then choose the right Lens, and then capture your moment. Living Image gives you a Cinemagraph like function, but with no delay in capturing and no thought. It's pretty brilliant, and I can't wait to see the real thing on my Lumia 1520.

Big thanks to Jason_tee for the tip!

QR: Nokia Camera Beta

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

246 Comments
  • Thanks, worked on my NL 925
  • Great to know! Downloading now on my 925, too.
  • It's not gonna work in your phone!
  • If you dont know, dont say. :) 925 have pureview so its works, tested few sec ago. Nice, but not usefull thing :)
  • +920
  • Not working
  • Will try on my 1020
  • Working on my 1020.
  • This is sweet.
  • It's filled with so many bugs
  • So based on comments it seems to be working on any device 820 (810, 822) and above in terms of camera, processor and ram specs.
  • Only high end?
  • As I said numerous times, only high end with PureView.
  • You are wrong, Dan. Its working very well on my Lumia 820 with latest wp 8.1 DP.
    Cool trick anyways..
  • That's weird then, as my Lumia 630 with Cyan can't do it. Unless it's the Cyan firmware that blocks it, which would make sense.
  • Hmm.. Even I didn't expect it to work on my 820..
  • My 720 cant do it. And ur 820 can strange
  • Also, don't work here on my Lumia 720
  • Are you running the latest version of Nokia camera beta and the latest update of wp8.1?
  • Well Lumia 820 is more high end(1GB Ram). But the Lumia 720 is still very good
  • 820 - 1GB RAM higher end phone.   
  • Yep works on my 820. My guess is because it has a carl zeiss 8.7 mp camera even though its not preview branded... Not sure about the camera spec on 720
  • Hello Daniel,
    It also works in my Lumia 920.
  • 920 is PureView, so I expect that ;)
  • 920 is not real pureview. 920 have only image stabilization. Looks like low-end phones support live imaging too but with lower fps then 1020 or icon. 
  • It's the 2nd Pureview... The OIS is the mark of that (as 2nd Gen Pureview) NL 1020 and 1520 is the 3rd Gen which combines both OIS and oversampling.. (if you don't agree... Do you also say that 808 isn't one because of it only has oversampling ability??)
  • Does not matter about pureview. Pureview is not condition to satisfy ability to take low lag photos (live images). There is no connection with that brand feature named PureView. In high-end phones there is additional software(drivers) to take low lag photos. On other lumia phones this feature looks like faked by taking pictures from preview stream which means lower quality and lower FPS. I`ve checked right now lumia 920 does not support new api to take low lag photos and low lag sequences but nokia camera beta can take live images on my photos 
  • I think you're new to this Nokia thing. The Lumia 920 was announced as a PureView device ages ago when it launched.
  • L820 is pureview.
  • 820 is Carl Zeiss, but not PureView
  • Maybe it's not the camera, but the other specs (I'm thinking 1gig of RAM). It would explain why it works on 820 and 920, but not on 630 or 720.
     
  • Could be.
  • 820 internals (CPU, RAM) are pretty much the same as 920, makes sense that it works.
  • In terms of lowlight performance, except for OIS I haven't been able to tell the difference between images from my L820 and my brother's L920. The L820 does surprisingly well in lowlight.. Too bad Nokia decided to not give it the 4s manual control (except in automatic). Pretty awesome either ways!
  • its not working on my L820. I am from India  
  • Yup it works even on my 820!
  • will it work on 920 
  • i agree... its working in my L820 toooo...
  • Good! Other models please confirm
  • Working on 822
  • Worked on my Lumia 820
  • Working on Lumia 820
  • Working on L820... Is 820 getting pureview firmware with Cyan :P
  • Not working in l625... Alas
  • Strangely it's not working on my 1020 with 8.1 and Nokia Camera Beta. Even though it does indeed display the saving as living image info on the top left.
  • Same for me. I can't preview the image.
    Edit: I just realized, you have to preview in the beta camera app.
  • Works on my Icon.
  • I get "Inquiring minds may find this error code helpful: c101a027" When trying to install Nokia Camera Beta on my Icon. What am I doing wrong?
  • It's the store's fault. It's basically can't connect to store.
  • Trying it out now.
  • Is this feature similar to what HTC does with Zoe?
  • Similar, yes.
  • Thanks! I was gonna ask the same thing.
  • Where can I get Nokia Camera Beta? It seems to be hidden in the store and there is no link in the article.
  • We just wrote about it like 3 stories ago. It's on the front page. Regardless, will add a link.
  • The link is in the 12th article from the top in WPC home page.
  • Hope you can switch it on/off
  • The article says that you can't switch it off...
  • Man.... People don't read.
  • You can turn it off. Its called don't select this app to take your pictures with. Choose Any other app to take your pictures and you've essentially turned it off. #CommonSenseIsntCommon
  • I have it ! super happy :-)
  • Definitely slows down the Lumia 1020.  It takes way too long to take pictures.  The 920 wasn't nearly so bad.
  • Really? I find the Beta app is much faster to take images and start up on 8.1 than the stable app - but comparing it to the 920 is a little unfair given it has 4 times less megapixels to worry about
  • Common sense isn't so common these days. 41MP vs 5MP....I wonder which uses more processing power :P
  • I've had living images on my NL 920 since I installed WP 8.1, and I didn't do anything! I had Nokia Camera beta as default before, didn't reset anything, it just happened. So I thought everybody had it!
  • Yes, that true.
  • Works on my Lumia 1020.
  • Works with my L920
  • Lumias lumias everywhere Daniel
  • And how to disable this?
  • Who knows.
  • ^ I just pissed myself laughing.
  • I think changing the aspect ratio or messing with the settings could possibly get rid of the feature. "Possibly"
  • Nope. Changed my settings afterwards and it still says saving living image
  • Reinstall app...
  • Reinstall.
  • Don't use beta
  • such living. very images. many resolution. much beta. wow
  • Works only in the initial preview. I wonder if you apply a filter to it will it break the effect?
  • Did it?
  • Worked on my 925. So good. And why people asking how to disable it? If you share it.. Only final picture will come, not this living.
  • Works on 1520.
  • Working on L1520
  • Working nice on 920, thanks :)
  • Doesn't seem to work with Lumia 520.
  • Even more interesting, after taking the image and viewing it, tap the image.  That brings up the menu as well as "reframe" and the beta icon on the lower left side of the image. Your reframing becomes part of the live image sequence.  You can create a neat zoom effect doing this.  Filters don't work in this way, however. And, nicely, anything you do with reframing can be undone.  The framing doesn't crop the image permanently.
  • That is pretty awesome.  It always annoyed me that you could only reframe an image once and you would lose the original image.
  • You never lose the original.. The high reds image always stays the same. The 5mp shot goes to the resize.
  • Noticed that too!
  • i get 'something went wrong' when i try to reframe it.
  • Nope. On my L920 reframing cuts the living picture preview permanently out. Even if You reframe it back moving preview is lost :/ I guess that when You hit save button (after reframing) it saves an image in normal format without the effect.
  • Works on my 920 (dev preview)!
  • Seems like it only plays the first time you view it, and even then it looks like a bad fading effect rather than a second of video. Cyan when?
  • How does it affect shot to shot time?
  • It doesn't.
  • So what file type does it save as? I SMS'd it to a buddy with an iPhone and, of course, its just a static picture to him. Are these not meant to be shared, ever?
  • Similar to HTC Zoes Living Images will probably be exclusive to Nokia Windows Phones, but Nokia or Microsoft may put up dedicated servers where you can upload these Living Images.'
  • I SMS'd an image from my 1520 to an Icon and no dice. Just static image. Same when I shared via NFC.
  • Hopefully it will be implemented in final. The code probably isn't gold yet.
  • Sounds like only working on PureView devices, am I right?
  • No.its working on non pure view L820 too..
  • Works in my 1520! Thanks!
  • Works on my l925
  • works on the 1520.3 ;-)
  • Yup, working on my 820 ^_^
  • It does work on my 1320
  • Now this confirms that 1 gig of ram is required rather than pure view lens... Change the topic wpcentral guys
  • Works on my Lumia 822 wp 8.1 too. Although it is not a pureview phone.
  • 720 is Carl Zeiss, but not pure view so I don't expect this trick will work for me.
  • My L810 is Carl Zeiss, and it's working for me.
  • Long live the 810! TMO may have left it for dead but I've got a cyan wireless charging back on it + 8.1 dev. preview. New lease on life!
  • Requires 1 gig of ram, L1320 confirms it
  • This works on my lumi 1020 with wp8.so not only for 8.1
  • Interesting it saves 2 additional files, mp4 video files. If you remove the .tnl and .thm extensions you can view them.
  • Only works when viewed from the Nokia camera beta gallery. This is expected behavior? 1020 wp8.1
  • Yes.
  • Nice it's working on my 920, :)
  • Got it to work on my 928 but the "living Image" will only be seen if you open the camera roll inside the Camera Beta App.  Also I looked though the files and it creates 3 files with one picture: .jpg, .mp4.thm, and .mp4.tnl.  This has added at least 1 MB more to each 2MB picture taken.  I guess this could be a downside with people taking 100 pictures a day of their pets and/or children. :)
  • It is the same on my 1020, only works in the beta gallery, except I have four files: high res, cropped low res, and the two mp4 files
  • Not a problem IF you have SD like my 1520. I love this phone. It keeps getting better and better and giving more all the while staying in front or on par with the newest features and phones to come.
  • @Trench Mouth.
    But it could become a problem for those who are using the 1020 with no support for SD.
  • It works for Nokia Lumia 810 (with 8.1 preview) LOL
  • Just tried to install it on my 925 and got the message that 'this item is no longer available'.
  • I think it's a useless function, isn't it? Lumia 1020
  • If in the official release you are able to choose from the preview images similar to how smart sequence works now, but quicker and without fussing, that would be cool
  • Pretty much.. for now.
  • It seems like a bug that we can enable it
  • Works on my L920 with WP8! :D
  • On my L1520 I don't see the live image in my camera roll but do see it after taking the picture.
  • Same here...if I click on the camera roll button in Nokia Camera Beta, I get the last living image I took as a living image. If I try to go through the camera roll Start Screen tile, I can just see the static picture...even if I open it in Nokia Camera Beta.   Oh well...I was surprised to see it work on my 822 to begin with, so I'll take it :)
  • Try tapping the blank/black screen right before picture shows up, you will see a video status bar that you can pause,etc.
  • Daniel and Jason! Thank You good Sirs
  • Confirmed on my 1020
  • Working on NL 920 :D
  • Works on my NL920 with 8.0
  • I didn't know this was for Lumia Cyan. I've had this feature on my Lumia 810 since the update for Nokia Camera Beta a few weeks ago, or whenever it was. By the way, I have the 8.1 Developers Preview.
  • #bragging rights LOL
  • Using Living Images on Nokia 822. Sweet!
  • I kinda wish nokiasoft would buy lytro and integrate those cameras in their phones. I love how scrolling through lytro images have subtle depth while browsing through them
  • Worked perfectly on my Lumia 820
  • The live image doesn't appear in the photos hub just the taken picture appears , the live image appear in the Nokia camera beta app
  • Only works for me with the physical camera button not just trapping the screen
  • This would have been perfect for the butterfly museum on mothers day. Guess ill have to take her again.
  • And now they've updated it! I'm wondering if they took out that "bug"... Downloading right now.
    EDIT: The feature is still there! Hooray!
  • If Nokia/Microsoft is phasing out feature support for older devices, at least it's nice of them to start with the low powered devices first.   It would be a true blow if all 1st wave devices would be left out.
  • This works on my Lumia 1020 and it's running WP8.0/GDR3 (Black) for the record. Keeps on recording Living Images even when setting on JPG+RAW.   I thought Living Images were only for selected devices (1520, 930/ICON)??
  • Thought the same.. and such a pleasant surprise :) on my L820
  • NOKIA CAMERA BETA UPDATED AGAIN! SEE FOR YOURSELF...
  • Nice!
    But it would be nicer if after the "preview", the final shot would appear after a kind of "flash", on the picture. Like in movies...got the idea?
  • Daniel, I had a Cinematograph in the camera roll, and now it rolls for a second, just like the new Living image within the camera roll. Previously, you could only see a still image in the camera roll.
  • Kinda cool man.  Thanks.
  • Works on my L820 : )
  • Wow I can't even download the app now. It says "item not available."
  • There was an earlier article... The link in that one still works.. Just check the other articles about Nokia cam beta
  • I wonder if it takes a lot of battery? Could anyone tell me? Thank you in advance
  • Because of the living preview images, it takes a lot of battery.
  • I hope you will be able to disable living images feature if you just want normal pics without this gimmick. I see no need for it on my 1020.    
  • I haven't tried it on my 1020, however a few weeks ago I did notice that the Nokia Refocus photos animate. I can't remember if this was only in story teller or the camera roll.
  • Cool! Guess my 920 is a high end pureview :) Here, have a click ;) Well, it seems only 512Mb ram devices won't get it.
  • Works great on my 1520
  • Lol i have a 925 and it worked just fine
  • When using Living Images, I'll still get my high quality 38MP "re-zoomable" photos, right? Can't live without loss-less zoom. :P
  • Very excellent. Works great on the 1020.
  • There needs to be some type of "replay" button on the screen.
  • The picture size is 3x bigger than normal picture
  • It worked on my 920. Neat Little preview of this feature!
  • It's working on my Lumia 820. I thought it was a bug at first. Didn't know it was a feature. No kidding. Images move a split of a second and stopped.
  • Maybe to disable it you should tap "reset camera" from"photos+ camera" settings
  • No surprises here - 920 yes, 620 no
  • OMG! this has become one of the coolest features on my phone. My (jealous) friends have likened it to the moving pictures in Harry Potter. The 'potter effect'? No?
  • Which camera app produce better pictures? Nokia Camera or Nokia Camera Beta?
  • Nokia camera beta
  • Why?
  • It's working on my lumia 525 with winphone 8.1 DP  
  • Lumia 1020 WP 8.1, reframing within the Nokia Camera app keeps crashing. Reframing is only possible through the Photos app. Once reframed, Living Images not longer works.
  • Doesnt work when we go to the gallery, does it! other than that it works fine with my 1020! yay
  • Are you running 8.0 or 8.1? I have a 1020 with 8,0/Black and of course, the living image doesn't work in camera roll, as we need Cyan for that. But in the camera beta camera roll, it works. It doesn't work in story teller either, btw.   But nice to see it's supported on the 1020 without adding shot-to-shot delay.
  • Have you guys tried taking photos in portrait mode and having the phone facing directly on top of the subject - like taking food shots but you are looking straight from the top of the food, and the outcome of the photo is in landscape mode instead? All the on screen buttons are still placed in the portrait direction, but no matter how you try, the photos turn out to be in landscape instead.... I think it is a bug?
  • I can't follow this^
  • You saying that your carefully trying to make a portrait photo with the phone face down and the picture gets twisted into landscape?
  • It works with my Lumia 820. A very awesome trick
  • works on 1520 ATT  developer preview
  • Works on my Lumia 525. It does not require pureview. It requires 1 gig of ram.
  • well some people saying that working in lumia 520 too !! buddy
  • HA! nokia said 920 cant capture living images. Aaand my 920 can do that! Nokia lied!
  • Sadly nokia camera didnt fix yrllow tint and soften image at my 920.
  • Especially the front facing camera.. It is color orange
  • It's working on my 520 and 1020 :)
  • you mean 520  ???? its not working on my l620  what yu did in 520  btw ? :P
  • I didn't did anything it's just working
  • what is the difference of this beta with the nokia camera i am using rightnow.... well the beta has no pro functionality
  • Beta is a version used to check the new features working well on devices  most of  beta versions are limited .... but nokia gave it to all of us to check their features !!!  may be i am wrong
  • Working on my 920 as well ...thanx :)
  • Not working on my Lumia 720 8.1 DP :/
  • Great thanks for the advice it's working on my Nokia Lumia 620 too!!!
  • Yay...!! Its working on my Lumia 925
  • Hi every1... I tried it yesterday ans its been working fine on my 1520 until i die a softreset this morning.
    Now if i take a picture with the beta app it dosen't show up in my photolibrary... Any body some tips for me ? ( already done another reset)
    Greetings from germany :)
    EDIT: None of the Fotos i take with ANY app shows up... :( EDIT2: Ok it's working again just forgot to set the time after reset... Weird that that would effect it though...
  • Happens to me every now and then.. Your photos will be way back in your camera roll, basically back to when you last did a back up, the date and time your phone featured to on soft reset
  • Now i can have the Harry-Potter-style pictures on my gallery! Yeay, this is amazing!
  • Yep, called the "potter" effect :-)
  • Work on my L920!!!!
  • It works on the 1520 :)
  • I'd pretty cool to see living images play on the 1020, if you take a picture in lower light with the focus assist light and xenon flash ;)
  • *It's (not I'd sorry)
  • It's worth noticing that every photo takes about 1MB more data (a mp4 and .tnl file will be added to the photo).
  • Ow.. another thing.. The video's will be played automatically once enabled living image.
  • Thanks! Now I just have to wait the Cyan update, if this trick even work with my Lumia 925.
  • Is the cyan update coming to the 920?
  • Every Windows 8 phone is getting 8.1 and cyan to make everything run smooth. You can get 8.1 now if you haven't already by downloading preview for developers from the store. Once installed, you cannot rollback to 8.0 unless you use your computer. I kind of hope your joking because this information is plastered all over this website, but if you are serious, here you are.
  • That whole "every Windows 8 phone is getting 8.1 and cyan" line is untrue.  How do I know this?  Because I own a Lumia 810 and it is never going to get Cyan just like it never got Black.  There is a better than 98% chance it will never get 8.1 (not counting the Developers Preview).  Funny thing about the words 'every', 'always', 'never' is that once you find one single outlier it causes people to question the entire statement.
     
  • Will it work so that on the photos app, the live photos work? As they only seem to work on the camera roll on the beta app itsself?
  • Worked on my L920!!! :)
  • No living images in my gallery on Lumia 822, but when I click the preview button in the app I do see the living image.
  • As many people reported works on 1020 with dev preview 8.1, nice feature but it is really just polish nothing really useful though. However with that said when you add all the nice little features together and then look at the experience as a whole on the device it then starts to shine. Sure it's just not one thing but as a whole the sum is greater than it's parts and this is where we are seeing how awesome the platform is coming together and it is all these things that finally we say wow Windows Phone is truely a great experience. Rock on! Those Nokia (Microsoft) engineers are truely great in both products design and software!
  • The Living Image backdoor only seems to work when previewing the photos from within the app rather than opening the Photo Hub app. i think incorporating a gif maker would be more useful b/c its a format that is recognized and can be more easily shared.
  • Thanks Daniel nice article!
  • Works with my 925, but I don't find it usefull feature. :)
  • Some of this stuff is on the artsy side and if you don't have that eye for it, its something you'd never use. I hope somebody makes a decent tutorial.
  • Are these "living images" bigger in space/memory than normal? And where will they be accepted or be able to be shown, facebook and the likes will just show the final still I assume
  • Does this work with non beta Nokia Camera app?
  • Fwiw, onedrive auto upload only uploads the final image.
  • It is working fine on my l 920 with 8.1 preview for developers, cool stuff.  
  • I would prefer this feature to work as it does on the Canon Ixus cameras. On those, you get a two second video clip along with the photo-and it also creates an auto video collage at the end of each day. These half second videos just aren't really worth it IMO
  • If you look at the preview of the story teller app, I think it's meant to work together with that. Storyteller makes the 30 second collage and it seems that living images should work with it in the final version
  • Works on my non Pureview Lumia 810
  • Working on lumia 920 with 8.0
  • Nokia Cinemagraph does almost the same, but works on lowend devices (512MB RAM, no pureview) like my Lumia 720...   As developer, I can say we can have something better for all devices...
  • nokia pleaseeee release 1520 wp 8.1 udpate.....
  • Works fine on my Lumia 920 as well. Great feature specially when capturing any live event, stage shows
  • One of the many things that I would love to see on my Lumia or on any Lumia device for that matter is I simply can't enjoy the gifs on my Tumblr account. Although I can see them but I can't save them. Also even if I save them on my laptop still I cnt keep hem on my phone to share as the phone does not recognize the gif files
  • how to get dat on my lumia 520
  • Working on Lumia 920
  • gr8 feature...worked on 920. Shown to frndz everybody was curious to get that but told them...available only in nokia...... is there any way to share it with frndz thru IMs. It worked only with nokia camera. I opened in photo/Gallery, its effect was not working. If cant share or cant see in computer then this gr8 feature is of no use as every time i need to use my phone and that to be open pics with nokia camera only......any suggestion ?
  • Works only on Camera Beta's "gallery", not in camera roll.
    -Lumia 925
  • This feature is the same as "Zoe" mode in HTC One.
  • Working on Lumia 720 with 8.1 Dev Prev 
  • And..functionality is broken after last Beta update.
  • i Have Lumia 925 and updated it to cyan soo i have the cyan too but no living image on mine yet. so when we have to wait...... ???
  • I am in the same situation. 925 official Cyan +WP 8.1 PD build 895 but LI still death.
  • Just installed Cyan Update and I must say the beta camera doesnt save living images like described in the link. Disappointed.:( Using 1020. 
  • I just updated my Att 1020 to cyan, and the beta camera does not save living images, I reset to default, restarted, reinstalled the app. nothing will make it save living images. :(
  • I did the same thing with my 1020, still doesn't work on mine either. Very dissapointed.
  • Not for 520 i guess
  • HEY Daniel Rubino I AM NOT ABLE TO TAKE LIVE IMAGE ON MY LUMIA 820, I AM RUNNING WP8.1 UPDATE1  
  • i've got Cyan on my L920... didnt work :(
  • I have a L925 and I tried to use living images but it doesn't work. I installed the Nokia Camera Beta and the standard version, I'm using the dafault setting of this app, but nothing happen. Somebody knows how can I fix it? or somebody have this same problem?