Nokia’s PureView camera expert joins Apple

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.