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Last week we reported from Photokina, the world’s largest trade fair for the photographic and imaging industries, where Nokia was showing the power of PureView imaging with the Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia 920.

However, Nokia was not alone; just like the previous two occasions, Carl Zeiss and Nokia shared the same booth, to remind everyone of the strong imaging partnership that links these two companies.

Carl Zeiss and Nokia stand

Nokia Conversations readers should be already familiar with the history of Carl Zeiss, named after the founder who started applying physics to carefully build his microscopes.

Instead of a trial and error process to select the right lenses, he employed a more effective scientific method instead.

One hundred and sixty-six years later, Carl Zeiss is a successful company, which not only produces microscopes but also binoculars, eyeglasses, planetariums, industrial metrology systems and, most importantly, camera lenses and sensors.

Inside Nokia’s phones

These are, in fact, elements that can be found in Nokia smartphones since 2004, when we unveiled the Nokia N90 with Carl Zeiss optics.

“While working on the first Nokia camera phones, we realized that the camera is an element that has to be initially developed on its own, as part of an hardware and software imaging platform”, says Eero Salmelin, one of our imaging experts.

His teammate Juha Alakarhu clarifies why we have selected Carl Zeiss as imaging partner:

“Carl Zeiss is the best and most accurate lens assembler ever; the real challenge is producing optics so small to be used in a smartphones, yet robust enough to be used in everyday life; Carl Zeiss can address this exciting challenge and help Nokia deliver smartphones that can take good photos in any circumstance.”

Best Imaging Innovation Award

The latest innovations

The most recent revolutions in smartphone photography have been introduced by Nokia in cooperation with Carl Zeiss. High quality photography with smartphones has been a reality since the Nokia N8, with its 12MP camera, and is now even more advanced with the Nokia 808 PureView, which introduced the concept of lossless zoom and clarity of imaging through pixel oversampling. The Nokia 808 PureView picked up its Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) prize for the Best Imaging Innovation Award at Photokina 2012.

The very latest innovation is the Nokia Lumia 920, which is solving the problem of taking stunning photos by night.

While discussing the Nokia partnership, Oliver Schindelbeck of Carl Zeiss said that “all the elements have to come together. It’s not enough to have good optics, they have to match the sensor, the electronics, the signal processing and the imaging software.”

“When the whole package is right, then great photo quality is achieved. Sometimes the optics of two smartphones may be similar, but the electronics and signal processing are individually developed so that the photo quality can be extremely different.

“This is why the cooperation with Nokia begins with the selection of high quality components, continues with a join product and design development and ends with severe quality assurance,” says Oliver.

Carl Zeiss optics

The partnership between Nokia and Carl Zeiss is almost flawless because the cultures of these two companies are alike. The future of imaging is shaped by workshops that take place at least every six months: information and ideas flow seamlessly in both directions and we’re really excited to see what’s coming next.