Imaging Guru, Damian Dinning leaving Nokia?

| November 23, 2012 | 150 Replies

Terrible news that I’m finding hard to come to terms with. Supposedly, Nokia’s imaging Guru, Damian Dinning is leaving Nokia.

AmateurPhotographer reports that one of the main driving forces behind Nokia’s imaging department will no longer be at Nokia. A statement apparently from Nokia UK said:

Following the relocation of key strategic roles to Finland, and with great reluctance, Damian Dinning has made a personal decision to leave the company effective 30 November 2012 VIA

What are you playing at Nokia? I hope there’s some silver lining to this story. Or that it’s not true :/ I was just tweeting today about how much I was also enjoying PureView in the new Lumia 920. Blergh.

As noted in comments, the imaging team at Nokia is still there working hard to keep Nokia ahead in imaging.

Cheers Mapantz and steelicon for the tip!

Category: Lumia, Nokia

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Comments (150)

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  1. Frankie says:

    Don’t turn this into Fox News, we don’t know yet what is this about.

    • rusev says:

      It has been confirmed. It happens to me to see his answers about 808 issue and I saw some lethargic in his answers. No question he was one of the most recognizable nokia face but I consider him more like photo R&D spokesman than being real moving force behind PureVeiw technology. In a moment where camera itself makes Lumia 920 sales like crazy I don’t believe Nokia will slow down its main advantage: photo imaging.

  2. Ali Abdulla says:

    no.. just no.. :(

  3. Peter L says:

    You too, Jay?

    It’s not like the man was the messiah or anything. A very talented person in his field but hardly irreplaceable.

    • Bloob says:

      This. He was propably a driving force etc. but these camera innovations were no one man effort. To be totally honest, I don’t think either of the PureView -innovations had all that much to do with Dinning, and the software side has actually been lacking compared to competitors ( they seem to get better pictures out of stock components than Nokia ).

  4. Mapantz says:

    I have to say, i’m gutted too. I wonder if Microsoft have offered him something?
    I wish him all the best anyway.

  5. Harangue says:

    One man doesn’t make all the technology, it is done by a team. Find a good new driving force and your done, it is not like he takes all the technology with him or something.

    • dss says:

      the team usually follows…

      • Harangue says:

        That is a little premature to say, right? And even then, knowledge and will stay inside the company. At the moment only the 808 is really good, the 920 just has the OIS which improves certain scenarios but it is no holy grail.

        Just look at Apple, they don’t have any real (known atleast) imaging buff’s and yet they perform excellent with their camera in the iPhone 5, considering the space it is in.

        I honestly don’t see this as the end for Nokia, which it does to some apparantly.

      • Harangue says:

        BTW; I will say that if Nokia can’t find a good replacement the team will follow. But with a good new guy spearheading everything the team is likely to stay.

        • Prasenjit Singh Bist says:

          Mr. Dinning was only a product msrketing guy no enginnering brain and so no issues… also read the Nokia stmnt they are moving key roles to Finland i guess eero Salmenin will take the lead he is already Nokia director for Lumia imaging

      • Pdexter says:

        You are talking about over 150 people over at Tampere labs?
        Job situation isn’t great anywhere in Europe, where would they move.

        Just how would they follow? In a real life i mean.

      • Vineet says:

        Hi Dss,

        You seem to be really into imaging and the 808 vs 920 thing. So I wanted to ask your opinion on the impact of Pureview technologies specifically vs the sensor sizes behind them.

        Basically, how much (in your opinion) of the “magic” is delivered via oversampling/OIS vs just the larger sensors. If Sony were to release a “vanilla” BSI Whitemagic (RGBW) 1/2.0″ or 1/1.5″ sensor and KEEP the pixel count at 8 (so now we have ginormous pixels relative to even the 808), what would that do to the image quality and low light ability compared against oversampling and OIS implementation.

        Is it possible that the 808′s sterling reputation is more to do with the 1/1.2″ sensor rather than the oversampling and that it would be even better if its Pixel count was 20?

        Note: When I say Pureview here, I mean ONLY the oversampling and OIS, NOT the whole package. So not the big sensor

        • dss says:

          Right.. I am not expert, but I’ve done some reading and this is how I see it..

          To your first question, I think its a little bit of both. Its just a brilliant system, it really is. They went with a high pixel count, but chose a bigger sensor to keep the pixel size at 1.4 … and then they decided to use them all not just for zooming, but for improving the quality as well.

          Now, the oversampling idea is not new, but to apply in in such a manner in a mobile phone is incredible, and here is why. As far as I know the 808 uses an oversampling algorithm very close to the lanczos:

          Now, if you take a 38Mpix image and try to resize it using that same algorithm on your PC, it takes 2-3 seconds.. in the 808, it almost instant.. its amazing. I don’t know if are going to see a single SoC capable of that kind of computing anytime soon, and obviously Windows NT can’t handle the dual DSP/GPU system required for the job for now..

          In terms of using a bigger sensor and keeping the pixel count down, yes.. I’ve been asking that question since the 808 came out, and I still don’t have a clear picture of what the potential problems might be.

          In simple terms, it makes perfect sense. You take the Toshiba sensor fro, the 808 and you cut it into 8-12Mpix and you will probably end up with about 3.0 micron pixels.. which will produces amazing results. BUT.. I think there might be a problem with the optics, and that is where I don’t know enough to give you an objective answer. I don’t think that they will be able to use the lens from the 808 because of the bigger pixels.. I am not 100% sure but bigger pixels might require bigger optics. If someone knows more about this please share..

    • Peter L says:


      It’s sad to see posts like these. One tidbit of a rumor and even the main contributor of this site starts posting in such a fervor. The fact that the details and possible ramifications are unknown does not seem to bother anyone.

  6. Prasenjit Singh Bist says:

    How does it matters One Damian goes another damian comes; he is just a marketing guy who has vast experience and gives good feedback to product team (PERIOD)

    real work is done by people like Arri, Juha, Eero, etc… had one of those engineering guys left it would have been a panic reason ….

    • dss says:

      he is just a marketing guy ? Pure bs.

      • Prasenjit Singh Bist says:

        Yes he is just a marketing guy a product marketin guy thats’ the truth and as jay commented below yes he is a public dace of Nokia team… but real engineering team is diifferent he is an interface between mkt and product team.

        808 Pv and lossless zoom was Juha and Eero’s idea not Damian… OIS is a 5 year old patent at Nokia… OK
        come on dss dont panic..

        However is it true as my friends are saying he too was involved in fake ad scam and he paid the price

      • Ravi Kiran says:

        Atleast he is not a techie. According to his linkedin profile, he did not hold a single engineering position all his life.

    • Jay Montano says:

      True. I wanted to make a note about how the imaging team at Nokia is still there doing great work to push imaging at Nokia. But Damian, being a prominent, likeable face makes it even more harder to lose him (even worse if he ends up on a competitor)

      • Ali Abdulla says:

        it always pissed me off, the guy knows how to talk, and what he is talking about, why the hell wouldnt you let him present the Pureview(1 and 2) in the launch.. u could sense something was wrong ever since..

        also if not him, anyone else from the imaging team..

      • Prasenjit Singh Bist says:

        True Jay he was a good speaker and that was his job and he was paid for that Juha , Arii and Eero are very pationate guys too

      • Ujwal Soni says:

        He says that Dec 10 has nothing to do with Nokia DIRECTLY

        I’d say that means he’s still connected to Nokia in some way

        I’d bet my ass he won’t end up at a direct competitor

        • Jiipee says:

          I Dont think his contract with Nokia would allow changing to a competitor that fast. The interesting part is – not directly.

          A subcintractor, consulting, Microsoft , Carl Zeiss?

    • Werner Ruotsalainen says:

      Exactly. Damian isn’t one of those engineers actually developing these technologies.

    • sf says:

      THIS IS THE BIGGEST BS COMMENT I”VE EVER READ.. congrats dude, you have a very good brain..

      • Werner Ruotsalainen says:

        “THIS IS THE BIGGEST BS COMMENT I”VE EVER READ.. congrats dude, you have a very good brain..”

        Again, no need to panic. I know those Nokia engineers quite well – they do know their magic.

    • Reonhato says:

      You are dismissing the fact that engineers make good hardware innovations but “most” of them can’t take a decent photo even with a DSLR. That is why photographers with a good eye in colors and know how in image processing like Mr Dinning is needed. It is also the reason why most engineers don’t do UI’s. They are very intelligent people but tend to make thing complicated for non-engineers.

  7. dss says:

    i was expecting him and skillman to leave after the microsoft takeover… But i was expecting skillman to go first.

    This is really bad… I hope after he leaves he can explain the imaging situation around windows phone, something tells me that has a lot to do with it.

  8. foo says:

    Maybe this?
    ” the company made a deal with Vuzix back in October 2011, allowing the wearable display company to use Nokia’s EPE (Exit Pupil Expanding) optics technology.”

  9. Pdexter says:

    Meh, the camera center in Finland, Tampere who are the actual engineers behind PureView and N8 just to mention the most new hardware are there still.

    Dinning is certainly behind the direction Nokia has taken with cameras, but not the tech. I mean he did defend the EDoF decision as well.

  10. kornofilo says:

    Oh my… Oh my!!!

  11. Werner Ruotsalainen says:

    Well, I’ve spoken a lot(!) to e.g. Juha Alakarhu. He’s very competent, knows imaging / shooting very well and will be able to carry on. I don’t think Nokia is lost at all.

  12. blackidea says:

    Marko next to leave?

  13. Elop screw u says:

    Lol everybody is leaving the sinking ship
    hell even the pr manager from Noka belgium has left ,ooh well they wanted to make it in Hollywood

    • Pdexter says:

      Well Nokia’s stock price has increased 27% just this week and they supposedly already have 2.5 million Lumia 920 ordered. That would mean they could have similar sales as N8 when it was released in Q4 at around +4 million in 2 months.

  14. dsmobile says:

    I did talk about this long time ago that this will happen.

    • Pdexter says:

      Oh you are still here. You know who will take his place?

      personally not worried at all. Engineers over at Tampere and the people who actually have made these innovations are still there.
      Elop is also clearly wanting to keep investing on imaging.

      • Reonhato says:

        As you guys said, he’s not “the” engineer. Why do you think the engineers left in Nokia can take his place? Nokia needs a Photographer to replace him. Not an engineer. If you read his replies in DP Review, he is clearly a photographer with an understanding in image processing.

    • krustylicious says:

      It was only a matter of time, I suspect apple or samsung have snapped him up !!

    • Prasenjit Singh Bist says:

      Guys the real man who set up the camera competency is Eero Salmenin.
      The brain behind Pureview Phase 1 and please read his bio…
      Good byee Damian

  15. says:

    it looks like another nokian is going to jolla, the only company that should be concerned is google,

  16. Werner Ruotsalainen says:

    A little OT fun:

    Lumia 920 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> iPHone 5

    32GB ———————————————32GB

    Master Maps————————————-Mess-up Maps
    Offline GPS—————————————iLost
    Public transit guide for global traveler ——iLonely and secretly flirt with Siri

    PureView Camera——————————-PurpleView Camera
    Clear lowlight photos—————————My party photos are drunker(fuzzier) than yours

    Survives a fall———————————–The poor pretty thing!

    Gets the job done——————————-What job?

    Good for normal people————————Good for Apple worshipers
    Nokia: “Sorry, we will update”—————–Apple: “You’re holding it wrong!”

    Clear view under direct sunlight—————Is my phone on?
    4.5″ viewing asset——————————-Squint retinally

    Wireless charger——————————–Where is my this-year’s-special cable?
    Touchscreen wearing gloves——————Cut a hole on glove

  17. Mark says:

    To be honest, since the iPhone 5′s camera seems to beat the 920 in every aspect except low light and stabilisation on video then perhaps it’s time for some fresh blood.

    The 920 and 808 aside, Nokia’s camera have become quite average.

    • Jiipee says:

      That could well be true.

      Do you know how the Asha range cameras fare within their price range?

    • dss says:

      In terms of image quality, yes .. the iPhone 5 extracts 100% out of its tiny sensor. But.. if you look at the overall package (video,photo,sound recording,flash) the 920 is better. The iPhone 5 has awful sound recording and the flash SUCKS. Trust me, I have one.

      And then again, the 808 beats them both by a pretty big margin.

  18. SLAYER says:

    It’s sad to see him leave nokia. I know there is a whole team working behind the scenes but having this “spokesman figure” representing the camera department was kind of unique to Nokia.

    Best wishes to Damian.

  19. napier says:

    About time. Hopefully he ends up at Samsung

  20. viktor von d says:

    It doesn’t matter if he had anything to do with the pureview tech or if he is just the leader of the team and the interface between management and the engineers. What matters is that under his leadership things got done.
    Looking to the future, i would like some more consistency with nokia cameras. they released the n8 in 2010 with 12mp camera, and then in 2011 all the phones had only 8. in 2012 again only 8 mp and the 808 of course. But what i am trying to say is that just like apple managed to slim the camera module and deliver the same quality with the 8mpcamera from last year to now, nokia should have improved the sensor in n8, make it slimer and put that in flagships like the n9 or lumia 800 or
    900. now the 920 comes with 8mp ois, but the brilliant 12 mp sensor that is 2-3 years old still beats most of the camera in the market today
    i’m hoping next year we will have the 920 follow up with 12 mp sensor with ois, plus the 808 follow up. and put some bsi sensors even in the mid range devices with 8mp and 5 mp. the 820 still uses the old sensor without any improvements, just software tweaks

  21. Cod3rror says:

    And you guys would not believe me what I said Nokia is done.

    Nokia is finished. Forget this dinosaur.

  22. shallow ocean shoal says:

    This is the news:

    After many years, with increasingly sharp and detailed pictures available to the general public, Damian, being partially responsible for this, knew that it was time…

    On December 10th, Damian has made an appointment with the dermatologist.

    The mole is going to be removed.

  23. Junnior_Reis says:

    Nokia Is Increasingly Decadent And Bankrupt, That The Unic Department Finnish Giant Total Supremacy Before He Exercised His Competitors, Is Not Over Your Head Straight !

    Given This Framework, Even Until I a “Convinced Nokian” Lost Enthusiasm With Brand, For Your Cameras Were The Only Thing Keeping My Loyalty!

    For This Lumia 1001 (Last Smartphone Nokia) In What Was the Front Dinning Conceived And Executed Every Project Is My Last Smartphone Brand !

    In Summary, Here Lies a Nokian !!!

  24. incognito says:

    So, Damian Dinning (‘the likeable camera guy’) joins Mark Selby (‘the likeable NFC guy’) in seeking adventures outside of Nokia – and NFC and cameras were the areas where Nokia was undoubtedly ahead of competition. Sad to see the talent evaporating from Nokia leaving them with the likes of Jo Harlow or Marko Ahtisaari :(

    That’s what happens when you start cutting the fat by reducing R&D spending, I was frankly surprised that Damian stayed with them this long. OTOH, with Microsoft dictating quite a bit of what goes into a device, Nokia doesn’t really need huge or cutting edge R&D anyway.

    Here’s to the hope that Jolla, and not some totally unrelated company, snatched Dinning, that would be truly awesome. Yes, I know that Damien is not the sole guy who invented the PureView tech & algorithms, but you need a competent head of department to make such breakthroughs – never underestimate the effect a competent leader can have on a success or failure of what he is tasked with, you need not too look further than Elop for the opposite example.

    Together with the Nokia Maps re-branding and wild stock rise the likelihood of Nokia being taken over soon (or split and sold in parts) just became higher.

    • Noki says:

      “never underestimate the effect a competent leader can have on a success or failure of what he is tasked with,”


      been in that very hard position, (not the leader but the team)

    • dss says:

      Spot on.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes to Apple.. they seems to take imaging seriously and have full control of their OS..

      • incognito says:

        I’m not so sure, Apple doesn’t need (nor seem interested) in having the best camera that money can buy and technology can produce – they never were in the ‘numbers race’. For Apple it is usually enough to achieve the level of ‘good enough’ and then market the crap out of it as the best thing since the sliced bread – and the consumers will throw cash at their screens. Why would they heavy invest in the camera tech when it won’t significantly increase, nor will the omission of such investment decrease their sales.

        If he’s turning to some of the current Nokia competitors – Sony and Samsung would probably be far more interested. Or even Huawei or Lenovo given their stellar ambitions as of lately.

        Then again, he might return to Nikon or do something else completely unrelated to the mobile camera technology. A lot of unrelated fields could benefit from his experience and expertise.

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