Tweet The brand new Nokia Lumia 928 comes with the most innovative and advanced smartphone camera package available today, producing great pictures both day and night. Keen to know more, we asked Nokia’s head of imaging technologies, Juha Alakarhu, about the magic mix of components and software that makes the PureView camera in the Lumia 928 (and Nokia Lumia 920 before it) work so well. Large 8.7-megapixel sensor The most important thing is the image quality. Every time we are developing a new camera module, we carry out an extensive technology evaluation and a lot of simulations for example on sharpness, and low light performance, and their subjective importance in different use cases. This process includes deciding the resolution of the camera module. So why is Nokia’s camera sensor 8.7-megapixels? It may seem like a strange number to pick, but it’s based on the fact that the sensor is specially designed so it can be ‘sliced’ in different ways to produce excellent results in either 4:3 or 16:9 modes. Juha notes that other smartphones are optimised just for one aspect ratio, 4:3 or 16:9, and the other is created by cropping from it. Nokia’s leading cameras take the full field of view in both aspects. Large aperture “You want a large aperture on a smartphone camera. It means the camera lets in more light. And that means better pictures with shorter exposure times, or when lighting is low,” explains Juha. Our solution for the Lumia 928 and 920 is an f2.0 opening, which is one of the largest in the industry. [NB: smaller numbers mean a bigger opening when it comes to camera apertures]. But making a large aperture poses its own design problems, so there are practical limits. “Fortunately, our partnership with Carl Zeiss has made it possible to have leading-edge optics that are entirely customised to our cameras.” Optical image stabilisation “We’re really proud of this,” says Juha. “It simply lets people take better pictures, without having to worry about the technology.” The lenses on the Lumia 928 (like the Lumia 920) are actually separately encased in their own unit and can move in X or Y directions to compensate for shaky hands, movement or longer exposure times. While these adjustments happen, the lens always stays parallel to the sensor, which enables broader movement than, for example, solutions that tilt the lens. This way we can enable longer exposure time than anyone else without having handshake in the images. There is a whole white paper devoted to this technology, here . “When you add our exclusive Carl Zeiss optics to this, it’s something unique and special.” Click here to view the video on YouTube . Image processing With the sort of mix we’ve described above, the physical components of the camera can provide a great basis for good pictures. But Juha stresses the importance of imaging algorithms in creating the best images. Nokia’s own proprietary technology decides how to best expose different parts of the image, how the colours are balanced, how best to eliminate noise, and dozens of other parameters. Finding the perfect balance for everything is like creating art! “And the great thing about these software solutions is that they are portable to lower-cost phones and also upgradeable – we spend a lot of time reading feedback on our cameras from users and professionals to ensure we are fine-tuning them to deliver the best possible results based on people’s needs and experiences” says Juha. “As a result of this, you can guarantee that the camera on your Nokia Lumia will continue to improve through updates and new experiences. I would also say that, right from the start, we have the best smartphone camera technology at each price point.” Superior flash solutions On high-end Nokia smartphones, because of OIS, larger apertures, great image sensor technology and superior processing software, you can often take images without flash. But there are still occasions when you need it: if you’ve got low light and movement to contend with, for example. In these extremes, the Lumia 928 has got your back with a powerful xenon flash that can freeze the scene to help you capture that moment with detail. It also gives you one more tool that you can you can use for your creative purposes. For example, try having both motion blur and “xenon freeze” in the same photo! Sum of its parts “You can have a great sensor, lenses, algorithms and mechanics. But if you haven’t got them all working in harmony together, you’ll end up disappointed. It’s all about balance between the ingredients, something we have really striven for with the new Nokia Lumia 928, as well its predecessors.” Juha concludes. Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage on the Nokia Lumia 928 . Follow Nokia US on Facebook and Twitter .
Tweet With a mother who is a painter and a father who is a programmer and systems specialist, it makes perfect sense that Thomas Lock should have found the middle ground between his parents to create the Fhotoroom app. He first remembers coding when he was just six years old and now 37, living in Toronto, Thomas says he got into the Windows environment ‘by accident’ after he happened to download the SDK and experimenting with it in Visual Studio . “I wanted to create a product that didn’t seem to exist. You have photo-sharing apps and image editors, and a lot of them are just features of one thing: the photography experience. I wanted to put them all together,” Thomas told Conversations. “I wanted to give people a well-thought out experience from capturing an image, to editing and being able to share it right across the spectrum.” The portfolio Launched publically in 2011, Fhotoroom, as well as the mobile app, also consists of a website and desktop photo editing tool, and across its portfolio has over 3 million users. There have been 1.5 million downloads of the Windows Phone app alone. The latest version of the app has just been optimised for Windows Phone 8. “We rebuilt our camera from the ground up and that took us a while. We introduced the lock screen, the tiles and the updates on the tiles and the lenses integration,” said Thomas. “We really wanted to bring out the features of Windows Phone 8 rather than just use a straight code conversion.” The paradigm shift The growth of camera phones has been a massive fillip, not just for Fhotoroom, but plenty of other websites and services too. This is what Thomas has to say about the influence of camera phone photography: “Photography has always been an extraordinarily populist hobby. There must be something in human nature that drives us towards the visual.” “Look at this history of most Internet sites, such as Flickr or Facebook, a lot of their enormous growth came from image sharing. Today, it’s just a different paradigm with the mobile phone. Now rather than point and shoot, we have a smartphone.” Lumia expertise It’s not just the quantity of photos that are now taken with our phones that has made a difference but the quality too. This is an area where Nokia can take a lot of the credit, says the Fhotoroom creator. “People like to take sunset photos and for most camera phones they can get washed out, but with the Nokia Lumia 920 , you can capture magnificent sunsets and sun flares because it has a really good dynamic range . It’s amazing the photos you can take with the Lumia 920 – whether at night or during the day. “ As for Fhotoroom, Thomas says they’re just getting started: “We want to keep pushing the technology, we want to do things better than anyone else and being more innovative. We’re leaving no stone unturned from when you capture to when you edit, to processing, to sharing it and we will even consider printing – that’s all for the future.”
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Developer interview: Creating the Fhotoroom experience
Tweet A couple of months ago we teamed up with Burton to launch a competition, which showcased snowboarding’s creative spirit. The response was awe inspiring, with photographers, filmmaker and artists all highlight exactly why snowboarding is one of the most inventive sports on the planet. There were hundreds of amazing entries, but one that we all loved was Throwback Fridays” by Jack Tompkins. In fact, we loved it so much that Jack was made one of the winning finalists. Part of his prize was to jet off to Vail, Colorado, to record the US Open Snowboarding Championship. Now back in the UK, we hooked up with him to find out more about his adventure, his filmmaking and how he got on with the Nokia Lumia 920. 1. What made you enter the #NokiaxBurton and how did you feel when you discovered you were one of the two finalists? One of the main reasons for entering the competition was the opportunity to show my work to great companies like Nokia and Burton, I felt incredibly privileged to be chosen as one of the finalists, especially with so many incredible entries. I was really honoured to have people that I look up to the industry such as Gabe L’Heureux and Blotto taking time to look at my work and was really stoked to see their comments! 2. What’s the story behind your winning entry? For a few years now I’ve been lucky enough to be the videographer for Onyx Snowboard School. Head Coach, Baden Knifton is an incredibly driven and passionate guy and he’s become a great friend so working with him is always fun! He really wanted to try and capture the unique ‘vibe’ of Onyx Snowboard School, which is difficult to sum up in a few words but basically encompasses the highest standards of teaching with a ‘don’t take yourself too seriously’ attitude and the result is pure enjoyment from coaches and clients. The video that was submitted was part of a longer production showing highlights from the two week Les Deux Alpes summer camp. The last section was “Throwback Friday”, a celebration of all things retro where on the last day everyone heads up the mountain and throws old-school tricks in bright one-piece snowboard suits. Hopefully the video captures the fun that was had that day! 3. What do you think of Vail and the US Open? Vail was incredible! We were treated to a powder day during the trip and couldn’t believe how many untouched spots we found, especially after only getting on the lifts in the afternoon after a morning of filming. Really can’t wait to go back and explore the whole mountain! The opportunity to film at the US Open was unbelievable, to have Torstein Horgmo, Mark McMorris and Shaun White throwing incredible tricks just a few feet away from you was just amazing. I felt incredibly lucky to be able to capture their riding and hopefully can do their talent justice with the final edit. 4. What were your first impressions of the Lumia 920? Which features most impressed you and why? What struck me most about the Lumia 920 was the quality of the video. The 1080p HD footage was brilliant, I took my DSLR with me on the trip but hardly used it because the Lumia was so good! The interface was probably my favourite feature, it was really intuitive and easy to use, which was especially helpful when having to quickly switch between settings as the weather conditions changed. You can also operate the touch screen using gloves which was awesome for shooting in the mountains! 5. If you had to share three top film making tips, shooting with the Nokia Lumia 920 what would they be? 1. Learn by doing. The Lumia 920 has a great camera but it doesn’t work exactly like DSLR’s. After a few sessions with the camera you begin to learn how to move and position it to get the shots that you want. The techniques and movements are different from DLSR filmmaking but you soon learn how to move the camera to get great results. 2. Keep it steady. Slow and steady movements worked best when trying to capture panning or moving shots. If you’re planning to use it to do snowboard follow cam’s practice keeping the camera steady in your hand and letting your arm and body absorb the movements when riding down the slopes. 3. Get the accessories. Nokia very kindly provided us with magnetic fisheye, wide angle and macro lenses that attached really easily to the camera and also a portable battery charger that was great to take out on the slopes as the cold temperatures drain batteries quicker than normal. With all the accessories the Lumia 920 was a fantastic all round camera. We’re very happy to hear that Jack enjoyed his time so much and that the Nokia Lumia 920 proved itself both on and off the slopes of Vail. We’ll have the chance to see for ourselves how well in worked out when we showcase Jack’s film sometime soon. In the meantime, why not check more of this fantastic filmmaker’s work at www.vimeo.com/jacktompkins
Tweet Unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Nokia Lumia 520 is the most affordable Windows Phone 8 powered Lumia that Nokia has released so far. It offers tremendous value for money without compromising on its good looks and is still packed full of eye-grabbing features such as a 4-inch super sensitive touch screen , Nokia’s unique camera lenses such as Cinemagraph and Smart Shoot , as well as changeable shells. In short, the Lumia 520 offers an innovative and rich smartphone experience at a highly competitive price point. The product team behind the Nokia Lumia 520 wanted to create a smartphone for a mass market and, especially, for young people. Currently, there is no market bigger than the one in China and, in fact, the Lumia 520 was developed out of Nokia’s Beijing site. We spoke to Mikko Kahlos, the Lumia 520’s lead product manager, about the team behind this smartphone, the difference it makes working in Asia and why he enjoyed making this device more than any other. What was the guiding principle for the team behind the Nokia Lumia 520? From the beginning it was important that we wanted to make it affordable. So what does that mean? We really kept that in our minds and stayed on target with everything that we did. What are the major roles within the team? We had a programme manager who was driving the overall R&D work and a technology manager who was ensuring that the quality was what we wanted. I was the guardian of the consumers so that the market could see we had made a valuable smartphone that we could differentiate against the competition. So it was us three who were running the show, but in reality this was a team effort. How did you approach the task? One of the first things we did was create a ‘war room’ where we worked really intensively for the first few months so that we were constantly interacting. So when we made the first decisions everybody was there. I feel that discussions are more effective when all people involved are next to each other and share a common goal. We were able to do an excellent job with clear guidance on where to go. How strong was the Chinese influence? Although the Lumia 520 is a global product, the team behind the phone kept it in mind that this was a smartphone made in China, for China. Most of the people on our team are Chinese and also new to Nokia. What makes the group even more fascinating is that more than half of the team were making their first mobile phone ever, having worked previously with suppliers, other companies or elsewhere in Nokia. They had a real challenger mindset and an opportunity to show what they can do. With guidance and support from the more experienced guys in the team, they did a great job! How proud are you of the Nokia Lumia 520, considering it’s such a new team? I have done products for five years in Nokia and I have enjoyed this one the most. With this product, we have experienced the Asian culture, how people here work and how they succeed. It is great to see people doing their absolute best and enjoying being part of something great. This is the youngest and least experienced team ever in Nokia to have made a phone. We’ve been able to do it in the fastest time ever too. If you put all this together we have a lot to celebrate.
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The Nokia Lumia 520: Made in Beijing
Tweet Nokia’s imaging experts followed a familiar path to the acclaimed Nokia Lumia 920 when creating the camera for the Nokia Lumia 720, with a mission to let people capture stunning images at both day and night. How could they deliver an industry leading imaging experience within the sleek dimensions of the Nokia Lumia 720? We spoke to Juha Alakarhu ( @jalakarhu ), Nokia’s head of imaging technologies, to find out. The best camera possible “There are many factors that influence camera performance; it’s all about finding the right balance of these factors.” says Juha Alakarhu, Nokia’s head of imaging technologies. “We simply wanted to create the best possible image quality with this product. Everything else was secondary. It’s what you can capture with the camera that matters rather than the technical parameters.” As a result of this steadfast approach, the Nokia Lumia 720 has an outstanding imaging experience for a midrange smartphone. Seeing light through the dark “So, as we had free hands to decide the technical parameters, we first created several concept designs and simulated their performance. We actually considered different sensor sizes, pixel sizes, and resolutions from 3 to 12 megapixels. Going too high resolution could lead to reduced aperture size (the hole that lets in the light). On the other hand, we didn’t want to go too low either, given the physical limitations set by Bayer sampling and Nyqvist theorem. (*)” In the end, Juha’s team found that the 6.7 megapixel sensor was the perfect sweet spot for this sleek-design camera. The key innovation has been increasing the aperture to f/1.9. This is the biggest aperture on any Nokia smartphone, and it’s no surprise that the Lumia 720 captures excellent images in low light conditions. This is a problem, of course, that Nokia has already solved before. “We are utilising the same know how that we developed in the Lumia 920 so the image sensor technology is similar. It has the latest back illuminated technology and it also has the true 16:9 mode that no other handset manufacturer but Nokia has,” says Juha. “Great hardware alone doesn’t make a great camera. We also need great imaging algorithms. We have very clever noise reduction and sharpening algorithms. We spent a huge amount of time perfecting them to keep the images as natural as possible in all conditions.” Look to the front The Nokia Lumia 720 was developed in, and to a large degree inspired by, China. This Chinese influence also spread to Juha’s imaging team, where the local enthusiasm for taking self-portraits has resulted in the best front facing camera that Nokia has ever made. “I believe that this is the only front facing camera in the world that is using four physical lenses,” says Juha. “This is very rare because most front facing cameras only use two or maybe three lenses. Four enables us to get the best possible sharpness.” In addition, the front facing camera has an aperture size of f/2.4 and the sensor is also back illuminated. The wide-angle lens means that you won’t just be able to take portraits of yourself but there will also be room for a friend too! See the quality “I would recommend anybody to use the Lumia 720’s camera, take images in any possible conditions, compare it to any camera that you have and you will see the quality in the Lumia 720.’ Here are some great shots to prove it. (*) Bayer color filter arrangement is used in almost all digital cameras. With Bayer color filters, half of the pixels sense green light, 25% sense red, and 25% sense blue light. In essence, Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem says that you have to sample input data with two times higher frequency than maximum output frequency.
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An innovative approach to imaging with the Nokia Lumia 720
Click here to view the video on YouTube . Tweet The Nokia 301 is classic Nokia from top to toe, from its iconic numbered keypad to the immediately recognisable design, but this classically designed feature phone has a few surprises up its sleeve. Image conscious For starters, the Nokia 301 has a 3.2-megapixel camera, with some clever software features. It has a self-timer for taking pictures of yourself with other people. The camera also has a handy self-portrait feature that uses voice prompts to tell you how to position the phone so your face is properly in the frame. It can take panoramic photographs, as well – the first time we’ve offered this on a feature phone, as well as sequential shot, which takes 3-5 frames and lets you choose the perfect picture. Both of these last two were inspired by the digital camera lenses on our Lumia smartphones – nice to see the high-end innovation reaching our mobile phones. Click here to view the video on YouTube . When you’ve taken the picture and applied effects from the 5-in-1 camera app, you can share the image on social networks. Or you can send it straight to another person’s phone, using the Slam feature . Net value The Nokia 301 also supports 3.5G Internet and coupled with the Nokia Xpress Browser, benefits from up to 90% data compression, for fast and smooth browsing. It can even stream videos from YouTube, let you download them from the Vuclip app and watch them in portrait or landscape mode. Tech specs System: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, WCDMA 900/2100, 850/1900 Size & weight: 114 x 50 x 12.5 mm; 102g Display: 2.4” QVGA TFT colour display Memory: Up to 256MB, 64MB RAM (plus up to 32GB microSD card) Connectivity: 2.0 mm Charger Connector, 3.5 mm AV Connector, Bluetooth 3.0 Battery: Single SIM – standby 2G/3G: 37/39days, Dual SIM – standby 2G/3G: 31/34days Talk time – 2G/3G = 20/6hrs Facebook, eBuddy, WhatsApp and Twitter are all preloaded to the home screen and the email app supports a lite version of Mail for Exchange for syncing your calendar, contacts and emails. The design is striking. The Nokia 301 might sport a traditional ‘candybar’ shape, but its inherent colour and clean lines mean it’s ultra-modern at the same time. It comes in yellow, cyan, magenta, white and black varieties and single SIM or dual SIM versions. Spec-tacular In terms of the specifications, two more things stand out. It has a terrific battery life – up to 39 days on standby, when using the single SIM version on a 3G network. Then, it supports HD Voice, for much clearer calls when used with an operator network that supports the protocol. Asked to sum up this new launch, product manager Vivian Chan told Conversations, “The Nokia 301 has all the features you want, with 3.5G performance and it will never let you down.” The Nokia 301 is planned to roll out next quarter and, excluding local taxes or operator subsidies, it will be priced at about €65.
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Nokia 301: A clever feature phone for 2013
Click here to view the video on YouTube . Tweet The new Nokia Lumia 520 offers compelling evidence of Nokia’s philosophy that buying an affordable smartphone shouldn’t mean compromising on the experience. In our humble opinion, this Windows Phone 8 device delivers the best overall experiences of any smartphone in its range. It is the perfect choice for people looking to upgrade to Lumia and to Windows Phone and wanting a taste of some of that high-end innovation. Digital Lenses for fun imaging The Nokia Lumia 520’s five-megapixel autofocus camera adds a touch of fun to taking pictures with Nokia’s digital camera lenses . Cinemagraph brings pictures to life with animation and allows you to easily share the fun with friends on Facebook, Twitter or via email. Smart Shoot takes multiple group pictures with a single click allowing you to choose the best expression for the perfect shot or even remove people altogether. The Panorama lens provides an easy way to capture super-wide-angled photos of any beautiful scene. With 8GB internal memory – double most smartphones in this price range – and support for micro SD cards up to 64GB you can be sure to have more memory for storing all the great pictures you’ve created. The Lumia experience at a great price The Nokia Lumia 520 is the first affordable smartphone to come with the same super sensitive touch technology found on the Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820. That means you can tap and scroll on the touchscreen using your nails, car keys or even wearing gloves. If you’re just using your fingers, it makes the four inch display much more responsive. This phone also demonstrates the same colour and design language that has made our other Lumias stand out from the crowd. It comes in yellow, red, cyan, white and black, and if you can’t decide which you want, the shells are exchangeable so you can change to a new colour whenever you fancy. Of course, it also comes with Nokia Music, which means free unlimited streaming of playlists chosen by our local teams of expert musicologists, or you can make your own. There’s no registration and no advertisements – just great music playing instantly, and if you are worried about data charges – Nokia Music even let’s you download up to four playlists for free. If you want more than that, upgrade to Nokia Music+ for unlimited downloads, track skips and lyrics streamed with the music for only €3.99 a month. Not forgetting, of course, the location and navigation tools with HERE Drive, HERE Maps and HERE Transit so that you’ll never get lost again. No compromises Mikko Kahlos, the lead product manager for Nokia Lumia 520 , said his brief was “to give people more value without compromising on quality.” We think you’ll agree, he met his brief! All these great experiences come at an estimated starting price of €139 before taxes and subsidies. If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Nokia Lumia 520, it’s planned to start shipping in March – arriving first in Hong Kong and Vietnam, but it will quickly start to reach more markets around Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It will even be coming to the US with T-Mobile and to China with China Mobile as the latest smartphone from Nokia to be sold by the world’s largest mobile operator. Technical profile Operating System : Windows Phone 8 Networks: WCDMA 900/2100, 850/1900/2100, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 Speed: 3G HSPA+ (21Mbps) Memory: 512 MB RAM, 8 GB mass memory, support for microSD cards up to 64GB, 7GB free SkyDrive storage Display: 4” IPS LCD WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) 16M colors, 2D hardened glass, super sensitive touch for fingernail and glove use Processor: 1 GHz Dual Core Snapdragon™ Camera: 5Mpix autofocus, video recording HD 720p 30fps Size: 119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm* (*volume thickness) Weight: 124g Connectivity: WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Integrated A-GPS, 3.5 mm audio connector, Micro USB with charging, USB 2.0 High Speed Battery: 1430mAh Audio: single digital microphone, 3.5mm AV connector, MP3 player Colours: Yellow, red, cyan, white and black Operating times Talk time: up to 9.6 hours (on 3G) Standby time: up to 360 hours
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Have more fun with the Nokia Lumia 520