#CES Video: Nokia’s Head of Imaging Juha Alakarhu – Nokia Imaging team working on making impossible possible

| January 10, 2014 | 20 Replies

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Got 15 minutes? Check out this video from Engadget where Brad Molen interview’s Juha Alakarhu, head of Nokia’s Imaging!

They talk about the history of PureView as a way to get around optical zooming. Back in 2007, it wasn’t possible. Zoom Reinvented was something that came after, being able to zoom in or out after you take the photo. The invention became so much more when they put it into a product.

Transition of Symbian to WP? 1 YEAR. PureView process itself took 5 years.  Original 5 years was designing to make the idea become realistic (a lot of tech development).

The Windows platform was excellent. The concept of dual capture recording oversampled and full resolution at the same time to zoom back. It was actually surprisingly easy to implement that on windows.  But also developing algorithms on symbian and making them for windows – there was lots of hard work in making it happen on a different platform.

On competitors:

Brad say’s he’s always felt the 1020 as top notch and top of the class. He’s very impressed. On the Android side, the competitors have been taking their time to get where Nokia is. Are there limitations to Android causing this, asks Brad? Is this something WP is giving an advantage?

(I think it’s more Nokia than the actual OS, no?)

Juha says he wouldn’t be able to know so much about Android but they have a really passionate team, working impossible projects for 10-11 years.

  • Impossible to make LED to make 100 Lux at 1 metre
  • Impossible to make smartphone camera with sharpness similar to SLR (DPReview confirms)

Impossible made possible so many times. It’s about the team and how they’re working at NOKIA to make this happen.

I love his passion. You can see how much he loves the challenges on his face.

Impossible. + drinks. = Possible! Magic.

“Beer makes wonderful things happen” -Juha.


I like this kind of thinking. There are people that see obstacles and stop and then there are others that see solutions to those obstacles.

The future?

What’s gonna happen with the imaging team when MS takes over?  Juha has personal friends at MS and they’ll be a really strong team together to make better products. Juha promises to push the boundaries of digital imaging.

Vision over the next few years?  Juha jokes about revealing the roadmap…

Where does Nokia go from here? Brad says the 40MP camera is hard to beat. Where are we going?

Juha: It’s a really exciting time right now. Sight is the most important human sense. You can always make things better.

He mentions a little bit about post editing and Nokia Camera’s smart mode, and lenses like Refocus to make new experiences that we weren’t able to think about in the past.  Now the technologies are growing faster than ever and it’s super fun for Juha to work in this field.

Brad talks about camera phone’s being used for snapchat, instagram, facebook. Is that a hindrance as all that imaging goes to waste?

(For me, no. People are taking more and more time to take pictures. They’ll want better cameras. Plus you see the likes of the 1020 USED in more professional scenes, such as music videos and Nokia’s own promo videos)

Juha says it definitely helps. Now he can share his photos with everybody. More people are excited about imaging. You can take images on a Nokia camera that others can’t (e.g. frozen low light due to xenon flash in N82, N8, 808, 1020), Nokia photos stand out in the crowd. Social imaging puts a stronger pressure to make big innovations in imaging.

Smartphones taking over DSLR’s?

Juha says he doesn’t want to dictate what someone uses. He uses a DSLR AND a 1020. He recognises the pros and cons of each device.  He talks about comparisons between SLR’s and 1020 and how unbelievable it is.


Juha was taking a group photo last summer, prior to having the 1020. Others were using DSLRs. He recommended they try the 808, you’ll get better quality. They were of course skeptical. But when they looked at the DSLR photo and 808 but the 808 photo was BETTER!




Category: Lumia, Nokia, PureView, Symbian

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]
  • I met Juha at the 1020 launch event here in NYC last summer. REALLY nice bloke, and you can tell how passionate he is about his work. Glad he’s not going anywhere post Nokia-Microsoft agreement :^)

  • Pingback: Short interview with Juha Alakarhu on Engadget | PureView Club()

  • Keith too

    That is awesome. He sounds really optimistic about the future with Microsoft. I hope the majority of the team feels the same.

  • Ziad Mohamed

    I always speak with juha on twitter and he is very talented and hard worker guy, which him all the best 😀

  • sh

    Whatt ??? Microsoft more focus ??
    Why NOKIA patented the PureView tech and not shitty Microsoft
    Don’t talk bla bla about NOKIA they are the best in image tech on smartphones
    they are best in maps networking and so on
    Microsoft pay Nokia about patents and i hope NOKIA come back with smartphones because NOKIA means phone, smartphone etc etc
    Long Live NOKIA

    • MyLumiaAsha FTW! no more jelly selfish!

      you dont understand what Random Random said

      • GordonH

        Why should we be listening to MS employees in the comments section?

        • rustyknight17

          Exactly ! I’ve long strongly suspected that Random is an MS employee …

          • MyLumiaAsha FTW! no more jelly selfish!

            Ahhh butthurt Zombians and Meegonians

            • burning nkia jumper

              Just another attempt to brainwashing Nokia customers into a marketing cattle for butchering for the money and convince them that what they use, what they like, what they prefer is the worst shit of all, but the only one OS recommended by the-big-company-all-we-know-which-one is the only choice, and marketing cattle can only stay silent and wait in line for slaughtering. Have nice day.

  • rustyknight17

    Actually Random Nokia`s been doing most of the heavy lifting on WP so the big question is whether MS can keep the pace they need to to succeed and I`m none too optimistic . PLus , as Paul Thurott observed a few days ago , WP isn`t doing well at the high end , which is where the real profit is . Not good …
    Not to forget that a few months ago , many Nokia and Microsoft big guns appeared on Nokia Conversations trying to convince us what a great deal the sale is . We`re talking Ballmer , Elop , Weber , Siilasmaa and the Nokia imaging team ! When things like this happen , that usually means that they`re worried and I can certainly understand why ! Well , we`ll see , unless , of course , the Chinese manage to derail the sale …

    • senshi

      That is not true – Nokia is adding features while MS is doing the plumbing on the lower level to enable these features be made, both are important and it’s good that they each have a role suited to what they are good at.

      • rustyknight17

        Yes sir it is true because MS has been taking their time getting out updates . Nokia’s been nagging them which makes u wonder how MS will do on their own …

  • Janne

    Big hand to Juha and the team! Your work over the past years is much appreciated! 🙂 May it long continue.

  • Great article! My few cents on this topic..
    I have a Nikon D90 DSLR , Lumia 920 & 1020.. Let me tell you this..
    1) Try fitting a DSLR into your pocket!
    2) With manual settings on the 1020 vs. D90, I certainly surprise myself and my friends with the results
    3) The last 4 holidays I chose to travel without the DSLR, and took only the 920 with me. That saved me almost 6kgs of camera equipment !(lenses, tripod, etc..) and I did not even compromise on image quality..

    I love you Nokia Lumia!!