Nokia Lumia 920 Imaging Q&A with Juha Alakarhu and Eero Salmelin

| November 26, 2012 | 37 Replies

We’ll be updating this Q&A during and towards the end. Both Michael and I are at the Q&A.

  • Hi! My name is Juha Alakarhu. Im responsible for imaging technologies in Nokia Lumia engineering.
  • Hi my name is Eero Salmelin, responsible for imaging R&D, looking forward for active discussion!

Our reader’s questions were compiled here and we’re going to be shooting these questions out to the panel.

Thank you for sending in your questions and thank you to Nokia Connect’s Tom and Nokia’s Juha and Eero for answering our questions..


Will there be a fix/software update for the fuzziness/diffuse photos taken with the Lumia 920 in daylight? A few early adopters have noted it is not great

Eero Salmelin:

The Lumia 920 was really focused on dramatical improvement in low light performance, where people take about half of the images. Naturally also bright light performance is important also.


Another question: From the sample video recording from the 920, we noticed that the camera frequently adjusts the focus every 5 seconds which is kinda disturbing. Are you guys aware of this and if yes, will there be a fix?

Juha Alakarhu:

We are continuously improving the camera performance, and will of course continue to deliver updates and fine-tune it.

Eero Salmelin:

We are continously listening to the feedback related to the camera and driving for improvements.

Juha Alakarhu:

And you can turn off the continous focus from the video settings if you don’t have close focus object.

Lester Chan:
Also about the battery draining issues when NFC is turned on, will that be fixed asap?
Juha Alakarhu:

Sorry, NFC is not my area. We will get the answer to you later.


MNB: The nokia lumia 920, it’s said to have three microphones but records in mono. Would it ever be possible to record in stereo? (Where are the three microphones located?)


Eero Salmelin:
@JayMontano. The audio is actually special in a way that we are using high amplitude audio capture technology which is able to capture also very high sound pressure levels without distortion.


My question – I love the OIS stabilization on the 920, because I make a lot of videos. Will we see Nokia making more phones with that, or will this be a one off like the 808′s camera?

Juha Alakarhu: Jeff, Of course we cannot comment our future products, but there is much more to come.



What’s the longest exposure time the Lumia 920 can handle? And can it be adjusted? (Note: I haven’t had much experience with the 920)

Juha Alakarhu:

The longest exposure time in auto mode is 1/3s and in night mode 1s. Optical image stabilizatoin lets us much longer exposure times without tripod.


From the review by TheVerge, they claimed that we can hear the spring when we shake the phone. Is it meant to be that loud? Should it even make sounds when you shake the 920?

Tom @ Nokia Connects:

@SmashpOp – I am shaking a 920 to my ear right now and can’t here a thing!

Eero Salmelin:

@smashoOp, That’s not my area actually, but we’ll get back to you with a comment. my 920 does not make a sound that I would be able to hear..

Clinton Jeff:

Will we see Nokia customizing the Camera UI on the Lumia phones to a level like the 808?


Ditto to CJ: Are you going to implement a custom UI for the camera so it’s more friendly to use?
How close in terms of versatility in camera options to 808 pureview can we get in windows phone pureview? Deeper control options welcome.

Juha Alakarhu:

@JayMontano, thanks for the feedback regarding the UI!


Cheers Juha! There’s certain buttons that should be easily accessible without having to go into settings. e.g. Macro/AWB – though for some reason my nokia lumia 920 takes macro shots in auto too (is that automatic now?)

Juha Alakarhu:

@JayMontano, yes you dont need to go to macro mode to get macro shots. Its automatic. If you select macro mode, it will fine tune autofocus parameters for faster macro focusing.


Thanks Juha, great job! I wasn’t sure for definite but good to know macro is auto :)


Has the floating module any problem with vibrations? I mean, if you go jogging or mountain biking with the 920 in your pocket, can the continuous shaking break or spoil something?

Eero Salmelin:

@MFaroTusino. the OIS system is designed according the Nokia quality standards and is actually very durable system. I have dropped my device many times without problems :-)

Whats the highest ISO achievable in auto mode under low light?
Juha Alakarhu:

@smashpOp, The max iso is 800.



what’s the limitations of the OIS on the 920? How much of ‘shake’ does it compensate for? Sorry don’t have the 920 here yet to check. :)


and what’s the slowest shutter speed the 920 can go down to?

Juha Alakarhu:

@Vinu, Its really good!! I have been able to take hand-shake free images with 1/3s exposure time without any external support.

Eero Salmelin:

@Vinu, in normal mode the camera uses max 1/3 second and in night mode up to 1 secod exposure times

Juha Alakarhu:

@Vinu, my colleagues have more steady hands and they can use up to 1s without support:)


Since the Floating lens helps capture more light by keeping the lens open, which provides better stills, is there a way to get similar results in VIDEO mode, or at least a way to compensate without getting a larger lens?

Eero Salmelin:

@MFaroTusino: in video mode the ois is stabilizing the hand shake and helping to produce video with less blur. The exposure time in video when shooting in 30fps can not be longer than 1/30 per frame tough. Naturally the F2.0 optics and sensitive 1.4um BSI sensor and algorithms play key role there.

MFaroTusino: Thanks Eero:)

@Juha – It saw more than my own eye could see ;)

Juha Alakarhu: @MFaroTusino, sounds good :)

Juha Alakarhu:

By the way, for those who have tested Lumia 920, how do you like our image processing in low light?

Juha Alakarhu:

We were working really hard to keep the image as natural as possible also in low light – so that it does not look “noise filtered”.


I noticed that on my N9, Juha. Great low light shots, yet there was significant noise


Low light sans flash is awesome. Really surprising to see with my own eyes close to nothing and then have a picture on the 920. Great for stills in low light. Also in various other occasions, the 920 is taking superb shots. Moving shots with flash might need some improvement.

Juha Alakarhu:

@JayMontano. Thanks for the comments. We try to keep the flash images also as natural as possible so that both foreground and background are nicely exposed. We are using a bit longer exposure times to do this. Also we have some new technology to keep the flash colors as natural as possible.


Thanks Juha. I meant to say pictures without flash looked great. Last week my first 920 had a defective (non working) flash so all the pictures I took had no flash. They looked so good though. Indoors, outdoors (as long as it’s not pitch black). I was in a dark room and the document samples I coped look better than my tutors who asked us to use his SGSIII with flash. I’m just pleased I can whip out the 920, snap a picture and know it’s taken it well.

Eero Salmelin:

@JayMontano: did you get your device fixed ok?

Eero Salmelin:

@JayMontano: you definatelly need to test the flash also. We spent a lot of effort to get the colors right, get nice exposure balance and to get shorter than normal flash pulse to reduce motion artefacts but still get high power output


@Eero – yup. Exchanged for a new 920 yellow on Saturday. Very, very happy! Restored everything as if it was the same phone :) I’ll be doing more tests, see how it performs on a night out this friday.

Eero Salmelin:

have you noticed the very wide angle video (and stills)? 26 degree eqvivalent without cropping in 16:9 mode!


Been checking out some low light photos by the 920 by many reviewers and they were not as sharp as expected… is this because of user handshake? Is the fuzziness normal when photo is viewed in 100% actual size?


Extending @Smashp0p’s qu. Some users have mentioned that the image looks great when captured on screen, but in viewing it isn’t as sharp. Is that aware by the team?

Juha Alakarhu:

@smashpOp The feedback regarding the low light performance has been really amazing, but of course we keep on improving:)

Eero Salmelin:

@MFaroTusino: to get best understaning of the image quality it’s best to check the details on PC and also compare to other devices.

Juha Alakarhu:
Do you have any questions or comments regarding OIS in video?


@Juha, sure. Would touch focus be possible with video? What about zooming?


@Juha – Only comment is that it works! Despite the PR blunder when it was announced, it defintely works as advertised. Only shake was slightly noticeable, but significantly less than a non-OIS enabled device
Cinemagraph was astounding! Saw a sample of a beach,w ith the waves and flags moving. Truly remarkable

Juha Alakarhu:

Have you tried Smartshoot or Cinemagraph?



@Juha, Cinemagraph is fun. But it would be nice to view moving .gif file in the photo browser and not have to open cinemagraph app. Also I think there could be some slight tweaks/improvements in cinemagraph usability.

Eero Salmelin:

@JayMontano: what would you like to be improved in the usability?

Clinton Jeff: For Cinemagraph, it would be nice to have a place to share them. Maybe a Nokia version of Instagram lol
smashpOp: Agree with CJ
Chris Kuzma: Same here, agree with CJ
Juha Alakarhu: @MFaroTusino, @JayMontano. The traditional photograph was always a static print. Cinemagraph is a nice example of future imaging when everything is viewed on electronic display.

Eero Salmelin:

Thanks for your feedback on Cinemagraph. We naturally continue to improve our products :-)


Cinemagraph 1) viewable in gallery 2) more straight forward tuning after you’ve captured it (buttons on the side could be more intuitive…rub to increase/decrease/timeline)

Chris Kuzma:

This might be a bit of a stretch, but I was wondering about the OIS system itself… I noticed it somewhat distorts the scene by the time it reaches the imaging sensor (this is obvious when simply panning around without taking a picture; the edges distort). Does the camera have processing software to fix these distortions?

Juha Alakarhu:

@Chris, as we are moving the whole lens stack, its pretty much ideal system. But as the time is running out, maybe we need to take this one offline?

Juha Alakarhu:

Thanks a lot everybody!! Great talking to you!

Eero Salmelin:

Thanks everyone for active discussion!

Category: Lumia, Nokia

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]

Comments (37)

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  1. Andrew_b says:

    Please ask about the quality of daylight photos again. The answer was a complete fudge. Keep asking until they either deny there is a problem, or admit there is one and working towards resolving it.

    e.g. Is there room for improvement in the quality of daylight captured images with the existing hardware?

    Are you working on software revisions to fix the daylight image quality issues?

    Just keep plugging like Paxman!!!

    • rove says:

      here here!

    • viktor von d. says:

      they avoided the answer 2 times. they were bassically like :
      ”will you fix the daylight photos?”
      -”the phones was made for best low light performance where it takes pictures without noise”

    • GS65 says:

      Yeah damnit. The most common comment about 920 in Mobile press! I mean how smart is it to not prepare a more thought through answer for a question EVERYBODY wants an answer to. This is in fact the only question many want you to answer. We KNOW it takes great pictures in low light. Myriam Joire who usually celebrates Nokia, is now ONLY commenting on how BAD the 920 is at daylight photography. Give us an answer. Is it a compromise you have to live with? Is it a software issue which will be solved? Is it a hardware issue because of OIS? You are destroying your old image reputation here forever. You can’t simply say it’s the best and not deliver an even on par with the others experience!

    • Stefan says:

      Nokia at it’s best at avoiding to be connected to the community! Daylight performance and stereo, there should be clear answers, no bullshit. Actually it should be interpreted as “no improvements” and “no stereo”. Otherwise there would not be any reason to be secretive.

      • GS65 says:

        Yes, agree. The conclusion is probably that OIS in such small device takes its toll in sharpness. Myriam Joire took good pictures with a prototype though, but in mass production it apparently doesn’t work at all.

  2. Andrew_b says:

    Oh bollocks, too late!

  3. SLAYER says:

    I really appreciate the guys work on the camera but… were you talking to bots?

  4. Werner Ruotsalainen says:

    Hope they do enable stereo recording. Then, I’d purchase the 920 immediately. (Now, I’m waiting for the successor.)

  5. Harangue says:

    What would be really nice is; 60fps recording, would make for some awesome abilities to slowmo stuff. A bit like the GoPro camera’s can do as well. If that were possible even at 720p would be awesome.

  6. Webby says:

    A lot of avoiding the question going on there. At least when it came to the ones I actually wanted an answer for. Elop is also quite adept at this…

  7. JLy says:

    By the way, GSM Arena have reset their phone ratings! Now you need to register and apparently you can vote only once per phone. A moment ago the Nokia Lumia 920 was #1! So go vote for Nokia, for the phones you love!

  8. rustyknight17 says:

    Yeahh , I noticed that too , there was quite a bit of wevading the question . Is this an example of the new Nokia ?

  9. nabkawe says:

    Here’s a nice video proving once and for all that they didn’t need to fake the girl on the bike video

  10. Junnior_Reis says:

    My questions revolve around the 2 phones pureview launched today !

    1º What is the bits per pixel the Nokia 808 PureView Pro ?

    2º What is the bits per pixel the Nokia Lumia 920 PureView LITE ?

    3º The possibility exists that a software update to improve the image quality of 808 PureView PRO in full resolution ?

    Thank you in advance for your time and space !

  11. dss says:

    Any updates: working on it ?
    Stereo: not even a maybe..

    This Q&A should have been with Microsoft, not Nokia.

  12. LStrike says:

    My thinking is that the softening we are seeing is deliberate…When the ISO increases and maybe the noise goes up a little but maybe they soften on purpose to try and “remove” some of the noise. Soften the image up and remove the noise? I swear the first thing I noticed (got my 920 during the day) was the softness. I had to rub my eyes thinking that it was me, then I yanked out my 808 and took some shots, emailed them to the 920 (sharper screen) and viewed. Well it wasn’t my eyes.

    Disappointing that they didn’t speak to the issue. Leads me to believe that it was by design. Here’s hoping I am wrong as I am in love with my 920 in every way but expected the camera to be a strength, close enough that I could just carry one device. At this point I am still carrying two.

  13. drexter says:


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