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

About the Author ()

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  • incognito

    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

      “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

      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

        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.

  • shallow ocean shoal

    What is up with you guys??

    If I read correctly, dude is told “Your job is moving to Finland. Take it or leave it.”

    So he’s got his whole family and life and is weighing the pros and cons, and decides not to move.

    • viktor von d.

      i just read the article from engadget and came back here to read again the post and the source. it seems nokia is indeed moving key positions back home to finland. and the problem is aparently dinning works mostly from england for nokia uk(that’s why they released the statement and not general hq). so i don’t expect he will go for jolla in finland(they can’t afford him anyway), nor move to another company in the business like samsung and apple.

      my question now is, why did nokia let him go? couldn’t they make an exception for him and allowed him to stay and work from england? or the guys isn’t as expendable as we see him or thought he was?

      • shallow ocean shoal

        Nah, you can’t keep a key person silo’d away from the rest of the team, as good as that person may be. You need a cohesive team working in the same room together.

  • jammy

    Now this is the biggest blow to nokia in recent time, even more bigger than the declined sales of nokia devices, or the decreasing price of Nokia shares……….. This guy was genious in field of imaging and help nokia produce some of the best camera centric smartphones which even challenged DSLR’s………….. Well all the best Damien for your future endeveours………

    • dss

      I think his biggest contribution to Nokia was his genuine strive to make photography part of our lives, to make it more accessible.. I remember him saying something along the lines back in the N86 days and then I realized that Nokia was going to be the only company pushing in that direction.

      The N8 and the 808 are the product of those ideas.. and they worked for me, I don’t need a DSLR or a P&S anymore.. I think that was pretty much mission accomplished for him.

      • dss

        From his interview on pureviewclub

        “At a very young age, I had two very strong interests, cars and photography. With regards to the latter, I wanted to be able to take photography from the nerdy or for special occasions only use it was at the time, to being part of everyday life.”

        And for that, respect and thank you!

  • Something’s definitely fishy here…. I bet someone from MS is replacing him. …

  • apb33

    I realise that Nokia’s camera excellence won’t be all down to Damien but it still feels like very bad news. One never knows all the detail around this sort of thing but the thought of him taking his expertise and knowledge of Nokia’s future plans to another competitor is terrible.

    • Harangue

      A person well known to the public will always seem like a big blow. But looking at some ‘making of’ PV videos it becomes clear pretty quickly that there are some equal geniusses left in the imaging department. Some which appear eager and passionate about what they do, and they are Finns even.

      • dss

        Sure there are.. but he was the “glue” that made all work.

        You see.. there war a lot of brilliant people working on the Symbian and the MeeGo projects, but the management of those teams was awful.

  • JJ

    Well I’m sure he was important for Nokia, but it wasn’t him that invented Pureview 1 or 2. So the imaging expertise in general is not going anywhere. But for sure he was key part in the whole process, but I’m sure they’ll find someone to replace him. He is not the worlds only ‘imaging guru’. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes out from Nokia in the future.

    • dss

      It isn’t about who invented, but more so of who pushed the envelope and made management support the projects.. I think Dinning had a pretty big influence in the overall development.

  • JJ

    EDIT: At least not Pureview 2.. anyway, I’m sure Nokia will do good. But sad to see him leave tho.

  • btdt

    Damian is one of those middle management guys who maybe had a tad too much power. Good work was done by him but good work will continue in Nokia’s imaging. Exhibit 1: Pureview was at first just a concept originally made by two “regular” Finnish engineers from Nokia’s Tampere facilities. Elop even brought them to the stage when 808 was introduced… Wonder why he did that? 😉

    • Reonhato

      He might be the guy who told the other guys who did the imaging algorithms the right colors and tones and what is important for photographers. 😉 You need an imaging artist for that not an imaging engineer.

  • swain

    The end was already started. These are just small steps. Many more to come. Unfortunate but TRUE.

    I still believe WP was a bad choice by Nokia.

    • dss

      Its good and bad depending on your perspective. If you are like me and you want to see an independent Nokia.. going with Microsoft was an awful choice.

      But if your are okay with them being just another OEM like HTC for example.. when then it makes perfect sense because they can save bunch of money in R&D, etc. I bet that is a big part of Dinning’s departure… with WP they don’t have the same amount of freedom.. Just watch how long it will take them to port PureView to Windows NT.. if it ever happens in full capacity.

      • swain

        and how it’s good ?

        • dss

          Saving on R&D = not going bankrupt .. or at least that is the overall consensus.

          • swain

            Products are not developed overnight. R&D is the heart of every innovation. Without R&D it was never possible to create Pureview. Organization without R&D is literally dead.

            • Harris


  • JGrove303

    Nokia Dedicated Imaging Project?

    Who knows. Not likely, but a dedicated camera with their tech and algorithms to compete not just with the Galaxy camera, but SLRs running of FP2+ would be outstanding. No size constraints

  • Pingback: Nokia Losing Damian Dinning; What Will It Mean For PureView? | Pocketnow()

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  • von

    via iPad

    • Mike

      So, who cares that he was using an iPad. Nokia doesn’t make tablets or computers so he should be free to use one if he wants to. Other thing would be if was using an iPhone or a non-Nokia phone.

    • dss

      He has been tweeting from the iPad, windows phone, and gravity… doesn’t mean anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to Apple. They have their own platform and development will be much easier.

      • Sefriol

        Yeah, just like developing on Symbian / Maemo was easy. Between Apple and Nokia there is one simple difference: Apple knew what they are doing.
        Innovating is never easy. Making things work is never easy. And doing stuff without having a clear goal is something that Symbian and Maemo strategies lacked most.
        I do agree that I would like to Nokia success with their own OS, but for time being – I don’t see that as an option. To ever do that, they need WP to success.

        Don’t try to make any assumptions since you really have no clue. Just blaming everything on WP – as usual.

        • rustyknight17

          That`s because , partly , WP is a new and as yet unproven OS . It doesn`t , as yet , quite have the features it needs to succeed , though WP8 is a large step closer to that !
          Nor has WP taken off as yet , though the 920 and to a slightly lesser degree the 820 and 810 , seem to be doing well , at least for now . the question is can MS play its cards right ? MS has never been known for that …
          Maemo , or Meego ?
          Partly also it`s the stupidity of Elop and the Nokia Board of Directors . U don`t bet the farm on an unproven OS without a back up strategy , yet Nokia has apparently done just that !
          Finally , Nokia had a perfectly viable OS, Meego . According to an MNB article by Michael Faro-Tusino , a Nokia insider stated that when Meego was canned , there 5 finalised prototype Meego successors schelduled for late 2011 / early 2012 release . No , Elop deliberately sank both Symbian and Meego to eliminate dangerous compeitors . And where r the other 5 Belle phones we were promised for this year ? Anyone ?

          • swain

            “No , Elop deliberately sank both Symbian and Meego to eliminate dangerous compeitors.”

            Agree. Most of the hard core Nokia fans are buying Lumias because there is no other offering from Nokia.
            Lumia sales would have been more pathetic in the presence if Meego or modern Belle devices.

            • swain


            • dss

              Ya.. I mean a Symbian device with a 720p screen and STericsson chip inside would have been very attractive indeed.

              • swain

                Only thing they had to fix is the occasional freezing issue of Symbian. It has been there since ages. I like Symbian in all other aspects.
                Yup. Symbian with 4.5″ 720p screen, Dual core Krait, 1 GB, Pureview can outsell all of the Lumias on any day.

                • manu

                  people lose intrest in symbian crap long before eflop strategy.meego might have worked .but now what is the point of crying over dead duck

                  • swain

                    To be specific, nobody is crying here.
                    It’s a kind of wish that every Nokia fan had.
                    It’s like a “my dream Nokia” theme.
                    It’s about the road map that Nokia shown just before they dumped Symbian.
                    It’s about the failure of current strategy.
                    It’s about the inability of WP to catch up fast to competition.

                    Symbian had issues which caused a lot of harm to Nokia. I can give a list of issues why someone shouldn’t buy a Symbian phone. But it is not the only culprit.

                    • Harris

                      smartphone devision was profitable untill Elop set in on fire.

            • rustyknight17

              Just so ! The problem with the Lumias for me is that they r functionally inferior to both my N8 and C6-01 and these r 2 years old !!!
              I`ll get the 808 , but it`s looking like the 808 will be my last Nokia , unless , of course the 10 series Lumias r as awesome as they r reputed to be .
              Then again , I`m not a hard core Nokia fan ; I`m all about the features I need or want . If another OS can do it as well as or better than Belle or the N9 , i`LL get it . So I`m close;y watching Jolla Mobile and RIM ( BB10 ) , both r looking very good !

  • Tigeerguy

    Via iPhone or Samsung lol.

  • rustyknight17

    While it`s almost certainly true that Dinning didn`t devise PV by himself , AIUI he was a key person in the process . Maybe someone equal to him will emerge at Nokia , but considering he`s an imaging genius , I certainly wouldn`t bet on it . Nokia simply can`t afford to lose people like him . Even worse , word is that Samsung has hired Dinning ; this will give them a major leg up on imaging . this is especially troubling when u consider that the Galaxy SIII isn`t far behind the 920 …
    Yet more disturbing is that Dinning`s leaving is part of a pattern of Nokia losing its top talent , afew examples wopuld be Mary Mc Dowell , Blanca Juti , Vanjjoki aand the Meego team , speaking of which…
    Jolla Mobile haS just demonstrated the stupidity of nokia`s move to WP ; Sailfish is every bit the equal of any other OS out there . nokia could have done this too ! OOps ..
    Well ciome down to it , my attachment to Nokia was because their Belle served my needs better than any other OS , but I`m not blindly loyal to Nokia . If there`s another Phone out there that meets my needs as well as or better than Belle , i`ll get it . It`s looking like the 808 will be my last Nokia , I`m carefully watching Jolla Mobile and RIM ( BB10 ) .

    • dss

      I will wait until the conference in Barcelona and see what they’ve got… I am pretty skeptical that they would have anything exciting, but we will see. If there is nothing.. I will hold on the my 808 until it dies, and then we will see how things stand.

      I have an iPhone 5 for back up..

      • rustyknight17

        Icrap for BU ? Hoo boy ..
        That 9 For me )depends on what happens between now and MWC . Namely , if Nokia manages to get out the 10 series Lumias , reputed to be awesome ! Also depends on what Jolla Mobile and RIM ( BB10 ) come out with . but , based on what I`ve sen so far , looks like Sailfish and BB10 r or will be the equal of any OS out there ! I`ll be closely watching them !

        • Paul Grenfell

          Indeed, they both look awesome..

        • dss

          The iPhone 5 is crap.. but till better than all the android crap out there at the moment.

  • Paul Grenfell

    Defecting to Jolla?

    • rustyknight17

      Don`t know yet , but I`m certainly watching Jolla Mobile and RIM ( e.g. BB10 ) closely !

      • Paul Grenfell

        I think one or the other. With Jolla/Sailfish being open source, he may be able to expand his talents..

        • rustyknight17

          Certainly true and i hope he does ! , or maybe to RIM for BB10 …

          • Paul Grenfell

            Rim releasing BB10 end of Jan, so maybe yes, maybe no.. But either way its good.. I like the BB10 and also the Sailfish UI. They are very similar. However, BB10 will be sold well before Jolla devices.
            Im looking for a successor to the 808, so we wait and see..
            Damiens contributions will be welcomed either way.

            • rustyknight17

              Just so !

    • robot

      not phones, cars!

      “As for my future, I am moving to an industry I’ve wanted to be part of for a very long time. My experience in telecoms and smartphones provides me with a great opportunity to make a difference in a company whose own development is inspiring at a time of great change. I am thrilled that I’ll shortly be joining Jaguar Land Rover where I’ll take a role
      driving future innovations in the exciting new field of Connected Car.

      You can still contact me via my twitter page @PhoneDaz, but I will not be using this account in relation to my new role. Feel free to nudge me from time to time…

      Best wishes to you all.

      Damian Dinning”

      • ADER

        That explains he will not work for Nokia directly (see his tweet). He will probably be in contact with the Nokia/Navteq Location people.

      • dss

        Awesome.. good for him!

  • Paul Grenfell

    Doesnt worry me hes leaving, ive got my last Nokia device, the 808.

  • Zipa

    Yawn. He was the product manager for the team. Meaning that 99,9% of what he did was powerpoints and excel sheets, most of which had nothing to do with camera technologies.

    • Zipa

      That probably came out wrong, I sure appreciate everything he and his team has done, but I’m pretty sure that the team will soldier on.

    • ADER

      That is indeed what all managers do 😉 I work in an R&D environment and my job as project lead consist of this stuff. Very little tech stuff, many ppt/xls – and I hope to stimulate the team.

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  • viktor von d.

    so i guess all the people who said he is leaving because nokia is failling, or that he will go to jolla,samsung,apple were just talking out of their ass ?

    ”As reported in Nokia’s own statement regarding my forthcoming departure, a number of key strategic roles have moved to Finland. My family and I are based in the UK at a stage in our lives where relocation is unfortunately not an option. I have therefore made the tremendously difficult decision after nearly 9 years with Nokia to leave the company”

  • l33tuc

    I won’t miss his pronunciation of the word “Pixels”. I know it’s pathetic, but it really used to irk me.

    Good luck at JLR! Maybe the next XF will have better night visibility and be able to pre-empt accidents 4x sooner? 😉

  • keithlum

    now i’m understanding why he not keen to fix the camera bugs or problem in both nokia 808 and lumia 920.traitor…

    • DesR85

      What are you talking about? The imaging department he led is still there (just relocated back to Finland) and will work on an update to fix the quirks for the above phones so how is he considered a ‘traitor’?

  • arts

    While sad he choose to leave Nokia, I find it more fascinating that Nokia is shifting key personnel or roles to Finland.

  • stylinred

    I just hope someone like Google or Jolla snaps him up so that i’ll have a great phone to move to after my 808

  • Aman Kumar

    He’s gonna join jaguar.