back to article Nokia apologizes for faking Lumia 920 ad

Nokia has issued an apology over charges that it sexed up the qualities of its new Lumia 920 handsets in an ad intended to show off its new image stabilization system, dubbed "PureView". The advert shows a typecast tall, thin Nordic woman riding a bicycle and funfair ride before dancing in the street, all the while being …


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  1. Steve Evans


    An entire teaser to show off the camera... Nothing interesting to say about the OS then?

    BTW, my inner photographer is looking at the still night shows and suspecting a fowl in the shape of some extra lighting on the girl in the "good" pictures.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      some extra lighting...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: some extra lighting...

        That's from the same video, and they never claimed that those pics were from the 920.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: some extra lighting...

          Quote from video: "This is Lumia"

          Oh right, those videos are from the 820 then.

      2. Steve Evans

        @A/C 18:04 - was Re: some extra lighting...

        Nice one, everyone loves to be right :-D

    2. LarsG

      Re: So...

      They are going to sell a lot of these phones now!

    3. Mark .

      Re: So...

      Surely it's normal for adverts to only focus on some aspects - if they focused on the OS, you'd complain they had nothing to say about the camera. Other Nokia Lumia ads most certainly have prominently shown WP, so it's false to suggest they're hiding it.

      The Samsung Galaxy phone ads don't seem to say anything about the OS. Those Apple laptop ads just go on about "Retina" without saying anything about the OS (or telling you what "Retina" is, come to that). Plenty of phone ads actually don't say much about features at all, instead just showing other marketing fluff.

      1. Avatar of They
        Thumb Down

        Re: So...

        Problem is Nokia is always about camera's, can't remember anything ever in a nokia and about other features, always the camera. At least Samsung mentions different things and Apple used to go on about all the different things you could do then it was retina display. Nokia is cameras... they should just make cameras, it would be far better for them.

        1. Steve Evans

          @Avatar - Re: So...

          I hadn't thought of it like that, but they certainly do have a track record of some great camera phones (and the first IIRC).

          The old N95 with 5mp camera I still have as a risky activity backup camera still takes superb pictures, easily surpassing a lot of modern 5mp camera phones.

  2. Silverburn

    So...the fancy new image processing is likely to be bollox as well then, is that right?

    Looks like we'll just have to wait for the real world reviews and ignore the sewage coming out of yet another marketing department. As per normal.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      I doubt it is bollocks since they would have a class action suit on their hands when it was released. It's probably that they need to get on with advertising it now and the product isn't ready yet. Image stabilisation uses gyros and making them so small to work well in a phone is a huge challenge.

      There's always been such cock ups in marketing.

      1. Colin Miller


        Given the 48M pixel res of the camera, you could make a passable stabilised video simply by cropping to the centre 5th by 5th of the first frame, and then use image processing / the accelerometers to keep track of where that is in each subsequent frame.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: autocrop?

          The S60 808 "PureView" had a 48M pixel sensor and so extreme cropping could have been done. However the Lumia 920 "PureView" has 8.7M pixels so extreme cropping would be more apparent. But you're hardly to blame for this confusion - sadly it's the direct consequence of the marketing dept muddying the waters with the "PureView" description.

          Of course that sets aside all the proper questions of whether all pixels are equally worth keeping (overall quality of camera optics and sensor and so on), let alone whether a swerve into Newspeak is the best way Nokia can burnish its image. Too harsh a charge? Well like shabby marketing Newspeak also had the core goal of eliminating unpleasant truths by making it impossible to meaningfully discuss or even think about them. But unlike the all-powerful party of "1984" it's more likely just to induce a lot of cognitive dissonance followed by even more general cynicism about Nokia devices.

          And that will be a real shame since Nokia had and even still has real pockets of excellence. But those flowers need careful fertilising not a ton of bullshit dumped on them...

          1. Mark .

            Re: autocrop?

            There's explanation of this on All About Symbian / All About Windows Phone. Pureview is marketing speak for all their new camera technologies.

            This kind of thing is standard when it comes to marketing/trademarks - otherwise you couldn't really market a phone with a long list of names after it, because it had more than one of those technologies... Calling it newspeak is unfair, unless you consider all marketing terms and trademarks to be newspeak. It's like pointing out that "Macs" aren't Macs at all, but are now a completely different platform, i.e., x86 PCs running OS X. Or consider the way Intel used to market CPUs by their model names, but now use umbrella marketing terms for low-end/high-end (i3/i5/i7) across multiple generations of CPU technology, and you have to look at the spec sheets to see which generation it is, or the CPU model.

            Even when a WP does have the 808-style sensor, most expect they'll use a lower MP camera (say, 20MP) on a mainstream flagship device, to avoid the "bulge" it causes - would that be misleading too, because it's not as good as 41MP?

            The problem would be if they'd used "Pureview" on a crap camera. Yes that would be misleading, and ultimately harm the value of that trademark. But there's no evidence on that yet. And surely it's good to see that they have more than one trick up their sleeve when it comes to interesting new camera tech, and not just that which was shown in the 808 - better that than them relying on only one single selling point (*cough*Retina*cough*). Hopefully we'll see one that has all of these (the reasons why we haven't seen a WP version of the 808 are apparently due to them still porting the driver code that did all the image processing of the 41MP image - seriously, I doubt Nokia are sitting around going "Ha, let's shaft our users by not including this technology", they're probably trying to get it working with WP ASAP).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: autocrop?

              Well that's the problem with a retrofitted strategy, you are relying upon the audience to be reading along the same script. Just look at the titles of Nokia's product pages:

     ==> "Nokia 808 PureView - The game changer"

     ==> "Our flagship Lumia with PureView camera technology"

              The obvious interpretation is that the huge image sensor is the "PureView" bit, after all it's THE game changer. And now it's on a WP device too. Having a portfolio trademark is a fine idea, but having already committed to using that one differently it was time to break out the joss sticks and concoct another (of course Nokia has long been shite at both devising a stable naming scheme and especially at actually applying it, eg the new era of family names brought in the X2 and then shortly afterwards the utterly different X2-01)

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Moeluk

          Re: autocrop?

          Umm..that would be a mighty fine idea...except thats not this phone, or this camera....the 41 megapixel pureview camera is the Nokia 808 which is a Symbian phone.

          The Lumia 920 has a thoroughly standard 8.9 megapixel camera, and can you imagine the hash that Win Pho 8 would make of that.

      2. M Gale

        Re: Small gyros

        Not a challenge at all. Go look up the Blade mCX and mCX2 micro helicopters. Gyros aren't just spinning metal things, and solid state gyros can be incredibly tiny.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        why do you make excuses for those that consider you too dumb to deserve better? you have stockholm sysndrome. i guess you do the same thing for your government and the TV news even while they laugh and scheme against your family's future generations. maybe they're right. maybe you do deserve it!

      4. Charles Manning

        The real challenge is not the gyros

        It is the video processing.

        The gyros you need for this don't need to be terribly high quality and some tiny parts (a few mm square) will do the job. However, processing the video stream is a lot more effort.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The stabilisation is sensor shift, which tends to move in an x/y plane, as a feedback system from either solid state gyros or other very small sensors. It's fairly common technology which turns up in some very cheap and small consumer digital cameras, and has for years.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately for some the reviews will make no difference. This advert has already convinced my workmate who is going out of his way to defend the advert by stating all advertising does this. I do agree but I still think it is severely fraudulent.

      With regards to Windows phones it looks like our company will be buying a load of them. My boss has a hard on for Microsoft and he is desperate to get some to trial. Because his wife has got a Windows Phone he keeps going on about how easy it is to use and he will eventually sign the order to purchase them as company phones. He has tried Apple and doesn't like it but Android isn't even on the horizon. It is truly pathetic!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The product isn't even released. Why not wait for real world reviews?

    3. Mark .

      Indeed this is normal for marketing - sad, yes, but it's yet another case of it's only bad publicity when Nokia do it (whilst the media are happy to ignore Nokia and focus on Apple Apple Apple, in all the years until 2011 when Symbian was outselling everything else massively).

      Or possibly our expectations where just raised because the 808 videos *were* shot just on an 808 (leading some people to claim they were fake, but they were wrong).

      I agree, wait for the reviews. Whilst this may not be 808-amazing-quality (which did have a bump on the phone to incorporate the camera, and is reportedly light years ahead of anything else), given Nokia's general quality with cameras (e.g., the N8), there's no reason to think this won't be a good quality camera too, whatever happened with the ads.

  3. Andus McCoatover

    Kotipizza's "Berlusconi" pizza looked fazzidubby on the advert..

    Till we got it home and it looked like 'mushroom roadkill'. Fitting, I suppose...

    (Note to El Reg. - when can we put our snaps of deep joy, or deep disaster in the comments? Or do I have to upload to my website, and post a link?)

  4. Paul Shirley

    Looking forward to when people manage to properly dissect how the new 'it's nothing to do with what we used to call' Pureview works. My guess is, with no supersampling available and nowhere to put the optics for a supersize sensor it really is that optical stabilisation *and nothing more*.

    I say that partly because my beloved Konica Minolta Z6 features the same optical stabilisation and claims an effective 3 stop exposure advantage by allowing longer shake free exposures. It does indeed improve low light performance but not without cost, long exposure bring motion blur to the party.

    With 7 years advances since the Z6 they should do better but this tech seems much less revolutionary than Nokia would like us to believe and with caveats they want us not to notice.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I tell you what I want

    I want a camera that blurs Steve Ballmer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I tell you what I want

      Either you're repeating yourself in an unseemly manner, or this joke has been made by a lot of people around here today.

    2. Homer 1

      Re: I tell you what I want

      "I want a camera that blurs Steve Ballmer."

      "Crop" would be better. We could call it "Ballmer removal", along the lines of "Red-eye removal".

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Next: Simulation of a punter buying a Lumia

    But keep the good-looking females coming!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Next: Simulation of a punter buying a Lumia

      Oh, no! Not those "Windows 7 - my idea" style commercials ! Noooo!....(running desperately for the hills)

  7. Mike Moyle

    Would it be churlish and overly pedantic of me...

    ... to point out that Nokia is "PAINTING the lily" and not gilding it?

    "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

    To throw a perfume on the violet,

    To smooth the ice, or add another hue

    Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light

    To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,

    Is wasteful and ridiculous excess "

    King John. Act IV. Sc. 2.; Wm. Shakespeare

    1. Franklin
      Thumb Up

      Re: Would it be churlish and overly pedantic of me...

      Yes. Yes, it would. It would also be awesome.

    2. frank ly

      Re: Would it be churlish and overly pedantic of me...

      The lad doth protest too much, methinks.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would it be churlish and overly pedantic of me...

      You're right, but enough other people have been wrong to change the meaning for all of us.

    4. Homer 1

      Re: Would it be churlish and overly pedantic of me...

      Is this a pedantic Shakespeare Nazi alert which I see before me?

      (Note to El Reg: need "Macbeth with dagger" icon)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would it be churlish and overly pedantic of me...

      Yes, it would be extremely pedantic. Good work, sir :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow! I'm so stoked about this camera

    I think it's pretty amazing technology that they've managed to cram in there. Did anyone else notice how OIS even managed to remove the black guy from the original picture?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this bit make......

    ..... PHONECALLS?

    OR is it an advert for a camera?

  10. The Alpha Klutz
    Thumb Up

    your phone will never be able to produce those images because

    1. They used a camera crew that includes a big sweaty guy with big manly hands full of big camera. the laws of physics generally considers this the correct way to make films, so it came out better than if they had used any kind of phone camera.

    2. I've never seen a woman that happy an carefree before, so I call foul on that one too.

    3. Captain Lumia is a fictional character, so when the 3D version of the advert comes out I've instructed the animators to model his head on a tennis ball, make the fibers longer, and brown, not green. add eyes and a nose, we can rebuild him. make sure the fluff on that tennis ball is scaled up 10x. and we want it brown like original ubuntu. Then we can load him and Miss Lumia make into the Matrix and see what what happens when he tries to eat her out.

    1. Mr Young
      Thumb Up

      your phone will never be able to produce those images because...

      it's in your very own useless hand? I call viral bullshit on this guff with the convenient window reflection frame added - is that what it is?

    2. Ilgaz

      Re: your phone will never be able to produce those images because

      You also need million $ "Steadicam" (steadycam) equipment with a very experienced team to be that steady without giving up quality.

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: your phone will never be able to produce those images because

        Meanwhile, have a look at the real pictures:

        These are explicitly marked as being shot with the 920, and you can see they are shot at completely open aperture (no blade-diffraction). They don't look like SLR pics in any case (there are some things about the image quality that point to a physically small lens and sensor). The huge improvement in optical stability performance is just basic physics - Nokia's system can move the whole assembly (lens + sensor) because it only weighs a few grammes: DSLR or pocket systems must compromise because the mass of the lenses/sensor is too great to allow this.

        The guy who's in charge of camera development at Nokia (Damien Dinning - ) has stated that the sample shots are real, and the only reason they haven't been released full-scale is because they're not using final firmware. Having seen how photo websites tear apart pre-production DSLR pics, I can understand this attitude. The pictures were also shot handheld, not on tripod.

        No doubt about it, it looks like their marketing people have overstepped the line, and given everyone with a vested interest a good excuse to deflect attention away from the real quality of the product. Whoever made that decision should be fired. But there's nothing fake about the camera - all the attention about the faked video seems to be ignoring the fact that there are enough real samples out there to show just how good this system is, including footage from journalists and bloggers at the launch event.

        Also, I think people are underestimating (or trying to minimise) how big a deal good low-light photogtaphy really will be for customers. Not for pros (who always light portraiture), but for the casual snapper.

        A guy I knew used to run a 1hour photo back in the days of chemical phototgraphy, and he said he could categorise 80% of his lab's throughput as being pictures of people sitting around a table at night. Look at what's put up on Facebook - indoors pictures, groups standing up, at night, at a club... low light. Currently, no mobile camera can take these pictures well, with the exception of Nokia's or Samsung's (older non-Android) cameras which both had Xenon flashbulbs - but flashes cause red-eye, and using a flash is pretty anti-social in some situations (like a dark restauraunt).

        So, kudos to Nokia for sidestepping the specs race and actually providing customers with something they will use -- something Apple also do very well, it must be noted. The other "sleeper" killer feature on these phones is the capactive screen tech that works with gloves on, or for that matter, with long fingernails -- this isn't new tech, but Nokia are the first to think it's worth implementing on a phone. Finnish winters, I guess (although Seoul is fucking freezing in the wintertime too)...

        In another universe, I'd have loved to see this phone running with Maemo, but WindowsPhone 8 has moved on a lot, and is starting to provide unique ideas of its own: the "Lens" plug-in system that lets app-writers embed their feature into the built-in camera app are a great idea, for instance. And now that they're allowing native, unmanaged code, I could consider writing for it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: your phone will never be able to produce those images because

        No, you really don't. You can make a simple balance-based handheld steadi for about fifty quid, a colleague has one. She can get amazing faux-dolly shots handheld with her GH2, it's really lovely.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Obviously not THAT sorry

    as they faked the pictures too....

    Basically, the only redeeming features for the new Lumias are not all they are cracked up to be, and needed to be faked.

    The reality of course, is that a 8MP backlit sensor for low-light shooting is nothing new at all, the Xperia Arc had this spec in early 2011. The Xperia S has an even further enhanced 12MP version of it.

    So basically Nokia are still 18months to 2 years behind the curve.

    1. James 47

      Re: Obviously not THAT sorry

      It's more likely that it's Qualcomm that's behind the curve seeing as how Nokia have little say in the hardware stakes. It also seems to be apparent that ST-Ericsson aren't able to do much hardware-wise either, as they dumped Symbian dev in March to concentrate on WP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obviously not THAT sorry

        ST-Ericsson are 100% Android. They have serious ambitions in that arena, and looking at their recent handsets, easily outclass similar Samsung offerings.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obviously not THAT sorry

      When have marketing departments ever been that honest?

      A marketing department doesn't usually work directly with the product development teams. So while Nokia engineers are trying to finish the product the marketing people have just gone off on one producing this to show what stabilisation means and can do.

  12. bdam

    Will they apologise to shareholders for faking hope of success with microsoft?

    Thought not.

    1. Mark .

      Re: Will they apologise to shareholders for faking hope of success with microsoft?

      Pwease won't somebody think of the poor shareholders!

      Seriously, if you buy shares, you're in it to make money, and you do so taking a risk. Given how much doom and gloom there has been about Nokia in the press for years, despite their immense successes over that time, I hardly think shareholders have been misled in a positive direction. But if they don't like it, they're free to invest elsewhere, or maybe just open up a safe bank account like most people do.

  13. Michael Dunn

    Oh Dear!

    Another flower botherer! What Shakespeare actually wrote (the incomplete Henry VIII) was " They paint the lily; they gild refined gold." ("refined"having three syllables, to fit in with nthe scansion.)

    One gets a little tired of repeatedly pointing this out.

    1. Robert Grant

      Re: Oh Dear!

      I'd imagine everyone around you gets more tired of it.

    2. Martin

      Re: Oh Dear!

      If you're going to be pedantic, be correctly pedantic.

      As has been pointed out, it's actually from King John. And it's actually "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily".

  14. pear

    It'll still be a decent camera compared to the competition

    The use of the "pureview" brand following the 41mp 808 is misleading to some extent, essentially it's their version of the cybershot brand.

    There is virtually no way they could have realistically transplanted that technology in to a svelte design like the 920.

    It would have required an additional processor just for the camera.

    If you read the white paper it does make some sense as to how they've tried to compensate, part 1 is using a lens with a massive aperture and 2 is to add OIS so that longer exposure times can be used. The focus is different, where the 808 was all abut detail and the ability to zoom the 920 is about low light performance and video stability. Lots of people take pictures in the evening at parties or outside blah blah blah so it's a sensible move.

    I'm sure the oversized sensor(s) will return, it might take a while for that to happen, I'm fairly sure the 920 won't be as impressive a the 808 but despite all the marketing failings I suspect it'll be amongst the best if not the best mainstream smartphone camera out there.

    Note that with this phone if you are prepared to knock down the output resolution you should still get some of that oversampling/lossless zoom goodness. A good quality 2mp image is completely fine for a standard print/web use.

  15. Andrew Garrard

    And still down-playing themselves?

    So, assuming this is actually done with image processing (and yes, it's normal to capture a larger frame and calculate a shift within it), why have they decided to go with "optical" image stabilization? Optical solutions fix camera shake, but do nothing to handle subject movement, like the bouncing Nordic woman, which is why professional sports photographers still have large aperture lenses. In extreme cases, as here, keeping the subject static in the frame would result in the background bouncing around, due to the change in perspective from the moving camera position (something Canon have tried to fix in a stabilized macro lens, but not for riding a bike).

    There *is* a lot of research into stabilizing/removing blur independently from separate bits of the image - some was presented at SIGGRAPH this year, and Adobe explicitly stated that their work on this was the reason that they'd not yet released their camera-shake-removal technology (demoed recently) in Photoshop. But "optical" it's not.

    If it's image processed, you may as well own up to it. Of course, if there really a stabilization element in there, I take it all back - but it's quite possibly not the best solution.

    These things always look good in demos. I'll reserve judgement until a real world test, although I don't think my DSLR is going anywhere.

    1. pear

      Re: And still down-playing themselves?

      The lens is house in a gyroscope type device.

      It's also used so that longer exposure times can be used in the dark without blurring.

      Obviously a camera on a phone won't replace a dslr, the point being that you don't take your dslr everywhere you go, at least most people don't. If you have a respectable snapper to hand you can capture anything that you happen to stumble across.

      1. Andrew Garrard

        Re: And still down-playing themselves?

        Fair enough (and my bad). In that case, they're vastly over-blowing its abilities, simply by the laws of physics. hence the "simulated", I expect.

  16. TheOtherHobbes



    That phone really smiles a lot and has incredible cheekbones.

    I'll bet it's just amazing in bed.


  17. Equitas
    Paris Hilton

    A bit of a marketing gaffe, but ....

    anyone who's fit to be be let loose on the streets should be aware that marketing bods are almost always guilty of overstating their case and making things look better than they really are. Personally I thought that the video was a demonstration of what image stabilisation can do, rather than what the application of image stabilisation in that particular camera actually does.

    Advertising material, like instruction manuals, is usually prepared by people who have no knowledge of the item in question and it usually bears only a tangential relationship to the reality. That, after all, is why we're interested in independent reviews which will give us a more genuine assessment of what the thing is really like.

    In the end of the day, if the camera on the phone in question is actually better than average, that should come out in independent reviews and all the complaints about the advert may actually serve to draw attention to what may be a good camera. If it's not a good camera, then Nokia will have brought the trouble on themselves and have no-one else to blame.

    Paris, because even she isn't quite stupid enough to believe everything she sees in adverts!

  18. Get the puck outa here

    Perhaps Samsung can add a disclaimer to their ads,

    "Simulation of iOS technology"

  19. clebin


    I expect these ads to be faked but the really offensive thing is the giggling pair of bastards on their vintage-style bicycles.

  20. David Strum
    Thumb Up

    WOW - I'd get me one

    If this ever happens - it'll make film makers of us all! Great - smooth motion pictures!!!

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