Ari Partinen (headshot 001)

Ari Partinen, Nokia’s expert who worked on the Lumia PureView imaging technology has joined Apple, presumably to work on the iPhone’s camera. According to a pair of tweets issued by Partinen himself, today marks his last day on the job.

A graduate of Helsinki University of Technology, Partinen was Lumia Photography Lead at the Finnish company and was instrumental in the development of the Nokia 808 PureView 41-megapixel sensor with unmatched low-light sensitivity

In an obvious nod at Apple, the engineer first tweeted out yesterday that he’ll be “starting a new chapter in Cupertino, California”. This was first reported by Engadget.

He then cleared up any confusion by confirming that he was leaving for the company “you are thinking assuming you are thinking Apple.”

This is great news for Apple. The iPhone may be the world’s most popular camera on Flickr, but Lumia’s PureView technology blows everything out of the water with its super-sensitive low-light performance, color vibrancy and sharpness.

Partinen’s work in this regard can’t be underestimated.


Starting out as Senior Design Engineer at Nokia in March 2007, Partinen’s public LinkedIn profile details his main responsibilities at the company, which include “working with image quality characterization and tuning on camera module level.” Specifically, he worked on Nokia’s 808 PureView and Nokia N8 projects.

Here’s a related excerpt from Partinen’s LinkedIn profile:

Working in field of mobile imaging. Currently I´m working with image quality characterization and tuning on camera module level.

My current position has given me a good understanding of camera component production and quality control on global scale.

I have also comprehensive knowledge about Image Quality testing and tuning on ISP level from very successful Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia N8 projects.

A post on the Nokia Conversations blog refers to Partinen as “our own camera expert.” He is also one of the authors of Nokia’s PureView technology white paper and is mentioned in this Lumia 1020 document.

Nokia is something of a mobile imaging king, its recent Nokia Lumia 1520 handset sporting a 20-megapixel PureView shooter.

The result of many years of research and development, PureVew imaging tech pairs a large, super high resolution camera sensor to high performance Carl Zeiss optics. “The large sensor enables pixel oversampling,” Nokia explains.

“It means the combination of many pixels into one perfect pixel,” which helps make possible “amazing image quality, lossless zoom, and superior low light performance.”

iPhone 5s ad (Powerful, teaser 001)

Apple’s work on iPhone cameras involves innovation at every level, from the world-class CMOS sensor itself (made by Sony) to the sapphire-protected custom lens subsystem to the various software tricks that improve image quality and enhance the image taking experience for end users.

A detailed patent application from yesterday has signaled Apple’s work on improving upon the iPhone’s camera by employing Optical Image Stabilization to make possible ‘super evolution’ imaging.

At any rate, this high-profile hire is bound to help Apple’s teams advanced the iPhone’s camera, especially in terms of its performance in low-light conditions. I’m also hoping he’ll improve the iPad’s camera.

  • enifome

    Apple always go for the best in the business

  • Hyr3m

    *Apple acknowledges the competition has better cameras on their smartphones*

    • Rowan09

      Yes Nokia is the best. I’ve always said I don’t know why people say Apple should go to 13 MP on the 6 when Nokia is at 41 MP.

      • Hyr3m

        Well… the quality of a picture doesn’t just depend on megapixels…

      • Rowan09

        That’s true but if you look on the past post about Apple keeping the camera at 8MP from rumors and some people wanted at least 10-13MP or it’s a fail.

      • Hyr3m

        The iPhone’s camera has been a fail since the beginning… and I seriously doubt hiring one guy (albeit a very skilled one) will really change that…

      • felixtaf

        “The iPhone’s camera has been a fail since the beginning..”
        Y? Its not the best, but its good.

      • Hyr3m

        Well… to me, something that hopes to replace the traditional compact camera should at least try to rivalize with them, or it shouldn’t act as such.
        Thanks to the iPhone, people have lowered the bar on what a “good” photo is. The plethora of filter-apps and quick-sharing functionality has helped making every other amateur think he’s an artist who knows about photography.
        Just like people think iPods and iPhones have a good sound quality or that beats headphones are the best thing they’ve ever heard music through. To me, that’s a fail music-wise so the iPhone’s camera is a fail too. But that’s just my opinion obviously ^^

      • felixtaf

        Well, none of the mobile cameras can replace a decent compact camera.
        People say Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 can. Am not so sure about that. Since compact cameras like Sony RX100 r there, I doubt a mobile camera can beat that in the next decade!

      • felixtaf

        iPhone 3G, 4 & 4S… All photos untouched (except last one – cropped to add it). Disqus doesnt allow me to upload a file above 2 MB.

      • Hyr3m

        Blurry and noisy with compression artifacts… Good pics though, especially the 2nd one; I’m not so fond of the composition in 1st and 3rd though… Looks more like “documenting” than “presenting”…

      • felixtaf

        The first one was taken about 4 years ago with an iPhone 3g.. Second one is from an iPhone 4 and third from a 4S.

        I agree with u though.

    • I don’t think there’s any doubt out there that Nokia is the mobile imaging king

      • Hyr3m

        I don’t believe this move from Apple is a jab at Nokia specifically… they want to try and beat the other players out there too… because for now they don’t. Camera-wise, Nokia is not in the same league as the rest of the industry, yet Apple is far from being second or even third…

  • From Nokia to apple…like jumping planets

    • Vitaliy Anonymous

      As a Nokia user, this is a bittersweet moment. It will be interesting to see what he will bring to the iDevices.

  • Ferit Birinci

    Apple likes head hunting.

  • jack

    Everybody forgot that the PureView ad was a scam.. They used a hollywood-like camera and advertised the video as it was shot from a PV camera. I wonder if you can trust this guy

    • felixtaf

      Ari Partinen dint direct the Pureview ad. He is an expert who worked on the Lumia PureView imaging technology. Y cant we trust this guy?

    • Apple’s scam was worse. iPhone 4S keynote. They use a f-ing crane to show how the image stabilizer works wonders!! Check the video of the 4S on a crane filming a hot air balloon as it rose to around 20 feet in the air. WAY worse than the pureview vid. Image stabilizing sucks on iphone but works really well on Nokia’s phones

      • jack

        a crane shakes more than your mom’s hand with parkinson’s

  • n0ahcruz3

    Great hire, about time they improve their shitty camera.

    • eXoguti093

      Lol the fk, it’s one of the best smartphone cameras, you just seem completely biased and refuse to admit it

      • n0ahcruz3

        Im no biased to any company. Been using iphone since the first iphone so i know.

      • eXoguti093

        Unless you’re talking about a 4s or maybe 5 then the camera is not shitty compared to other flagships

  • Andrew Roth

    Already stealing some iPhone 6 ideas from HTC, why not Nokia to? Nice to see them return to their original ways. 🙂