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Nokia faked the still photos too (sefsar.com)
295 points by peritpatrio on Sept 6, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 116 comments


A friend of mine shot this in Helsinki. Low lighting conditions, Nokia style.

Well there you go, case closed.

Thanks. Updated. I'd like to credit him, if he has a preferred link.

His request: please add copyright johaee (at) gmail.com. Don't remove the watermark in the image.

Site www.standard.at uses photo with almost completely removed watermark - just wanted to let you know (full link http://derstandard.at/1345166647161/Nokias-PR-Desaster-Auch-...).

I can't see the photo in there, have they changed it? All I can see is a link to this thread.

In the meanwhile they removed it from the article. But here's the link where you can still find the manipulated photo on their server: http://images.derstandard.at/2012/09/10/1345248927798.jpg

The internet is amazing.

I can say precisely which lens was used to make that photo: Canon EF 17-40 L USM on a DSLR. Or some other very, very similar lens. No photographer can mistake this for anything.

Like this:


For most people shooting Canon gear the 24-105L is the much more common go-to lens for street shots like this.

For true pros, the 16-35L would be more common than the 17-40L, since it is an f/2.8 instead of f/4.0 lens. It's almost a given that anyone shooting Canon owns the 24-105L, so when opting for a wider angle lens the 17-40 and 16-35 are your two most common choices. The 16-35 gives you the wide-angle, PLUS lower f/stop (The 24-105L is f/4.0 also)

I don't think you can tell with any degree of certainly which specific lens was used for these shots.

Agree, i cannot. Probably not 24-105, but any other of these easily.

I thought the backdrop looked familiar. The first and third photos were taken next to the Sokos Hotel Vaakuna (located across the rail depot), where I stayed when I was in Helsinki in late June, at the time of the summer solstice (20+ hours of light). I'm no photography expert like anovikov, but I can attest that the street lighting was nowhere near as bright as depicted in these photos, even at 2am when it was darkest (dark = same brightness in the sky as first photo).

Now it's perfectly normal to slightly alter promotional collateral as long as there's some YMMV caveat. But with such a flagrant abuse of consumer trust as presented here, it calls into question just how desperate Nokia is that they need to misrepresent a core feature of their savior product.

The lighting was artificial[1]. I don't mind that part as much though, it's the professional camera that's more disingenuous.

[1] https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/578446_101510870...

Files from a larger chip go into print collateral alot better... This is pretty much to be expected. File would be PS'd as well, that's one of the reasons they do this, as the colour-space transitions to CMYK etc can be damaging. They do need to have better disclosure though. Starburst is telltale DSLR.

Wait...why can you say (very, very precisely) that lens (or similar) was the one used? Because of this other picture? I see no resemblance... Would you mind elaborating? I have no idea what you are implying or why.

I just mean it is a lens with a very similar optical schema than the Canon 17-40L. The diffraction pattern around light sources is very similar. I played around with this lens some time before with my previous DSLR (now i am a Nikon user) and enjoyed it really. I don't mean it was exactly that lens, but something very close - definitely not fixed f/2.0 cheap lens of a smartphone, that kind of halo with 'rays' around light sources is possible only with a lens having many internal components which will be too thick to fit into a smartphone, and not f/2.0, and of course too expensive for a smartphone.

So i fully agree with the article saying it was a fake.

Gotcha. Definitely didn't doubt the article; just wondering what you meant. Thanks!

Also the article is most likely wrong about calling these artifacts purely diffraction-related, creating diffraction images that big and visible would require too small focal ratio, which is unlikely for night conditions, because they increase exposure time which is already too long. These are just a consequence of internal back-reflections inside the lens optics which manifest itself on extreme contrast parts of image (bright light vs dark sky). Especially obvious on astronomical images, where control of focal ratio is manual and it's almost always open fully to collect as much light as possible - of course, focus depth is of no meaning for astronomy - and the quality of this lens allows for perfect images even when wide open. Bright stars always looks like this on Canon 14-40L.

i don't understand what you are saying here. astronomical images don't look exactly like that - they have fewer "spikes" - but they are similar. the spikes are either from diffraction caused by the secondary mirror support (which light passes through in a reflecting telescope) or readout artifacts in the CCD, particularly when it saturates (although that looks quite different - a single vertical line, often).

i agree that the spikes (in astronomy images) don't come from blade edges in a diaphragm aperture, but they are still diffraction spikes (from the secondary support) and "everyone" (as far as i know / remember) refers to them as such.

you can see the secondary support in the top right image at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflecting_telescope - the four radial "things" that hold the cylinder in the "end" of the telescope (on the right).

so what are you referring to with "internal back reflections" and how does that give spikes (rather than ghosts)?

[above from (past) personal experience as an optical astronomer on research telescopes - i am not sure if you are confused, or if there's some kind of problem i never understood. perhaps you work on a system where this is an issue?]

I am speaking about astronomical images not in general, but those taken with the Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L USM lens. They are almost always taken with the diaphragm wide open, and contain same kind of spikes -> spikes are not from diffraction.

The shine on the lights appear very similar, to me. But I am no professional

Just as an aside, what is with the comments? Does every user have their own "award" to present?

Wow, never been so downvoted before. I didn't realize everybody was so familiar with the Flickr website and this award business was common knowledge. For the record, I did Google it and couldn't find any relevant information.

Cripes, I asked a simple question.

It is the comment spam mechanism on Flickr.

Wow. Are you a professional photographer? If yes, nice to see you in here! =)

Not to miss the 24-70 f/2.8L

Faking images for a product rollout appears to be common mobile-electronics industry practice. Apple faked a video still from Star Trek and made a fake video of the New York Times for their iPad introduction.



I wonder if Nokia cross-licensed Apple's patent.

Id argue that there is a difference of intent in these two cases. Nokia is deceiving customers about a specific function or capability (camera) while Apple is just showing a promotional video of the device as a whole. Both cases are reprehensible, no doubt, but maybe I'm the only one who think that Nokia has gone a little too far.

Lets think of these in terms of food. Its not the same to show a "perfect Big Mac" in and ad than it is to show a Big Mac thats made with completely different ingredients of the ones you'll find when you order one.

Apple showed the iPad displaying Flash content as a way of showcasing the browsing experience consumers could expect. In addition they manipulated a still image to sell the iPad as a device for watching movies. The choice of a still image was based upon an intent to deceive potential customers about the shortcomings of the 4:3 format of the iPad.

In the case of the iPad watching feature films is probably about equivalent to using the camera on a smartphone. On the other hand, browsing the web is a primary function of the device, and there was no way the iPad was getting Flash.

I'd give Nokia a pass if they took pictures in a very optimal conditions to show their products in the best possible light. Heck, I'd be probably ok if they didn't even use a real phone but some sort of prototype that was very, very similar. But using a completely different camera to show "this is what it could look like, maybe" seems like just outright lying.

The unfortunate thing for Nokia is that unless their product actually can perform like this they are going to have many disappointed customers.

For all we know, the new Nokia phone is actually a potato.

That's not faking device capabilities. It's just faking what a particular movie looks like. Nokia's doing something on an entirely different level.

"Professional driver on closed course."

"Screen image is simulated."

"Product enlarged to show detail."

etc. etc.

Yes, yes, we like "truth" and all. Especially when they're selling a camera after all, but getting a great cameraphone image and getting an image that will work on tv are two different things. No real surprise. Maybe disappointment, but no suprise.

Except there's no implying or warning, just outright lying about this being a sample image.

Agreed. They should have small disclaimer text at the bottom. And that's what everyone should be up in arms about, not that they faked it in the first place.

I know there are rules for food advertising, but don't know about other types of products... There's not a safety liability issue like with cars, but.

Also these images are nothing like the images the camera would take. That is like advertising a totally different car than the one you are selling.

Exactly. It's like getting cockpit footage from a nascar and using it in a ford focus commercial.

I don't really understand how either is okay, but I would prefer at least the disclaimer. I still find that form of advertising misleading at best.

This is more like "Professional driver on closed course in a completely different car than the one we're selling you"

Wait, does this mean that the Eggo Nutri-Grain waffles are not healthy for my kids? But what if I add "farm fresh" butter and "fat free" syrup? My world is spinning out of control.

I must be missing something because I don't see what's unhealthy about those waffles. They're primarily made of flour, not issue there, and they're not particularly high in fat. It's not like they're sugar-glazed cereal.

In a country with decent consumer laws, they'd probably get slapped with a suit or fine for false advertizing, if they used this to promote a product that could be bought or ordered.

How to botch your annual device announcement; you know the one the whole company is riding on by Stephen Elop with a special Forward by the guys who ran RIM into the shitter.

Here is an apology from Nokia: http://conversations.nokia.com/2012/09/06/an-apology-is-due/

Here are videos (OIS off and on) shot with a Lumia 920: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6...

Even the apology for being vague and somewhat underhanded is somewhat.. underhanded.

  Here is the video shown at the press conference shot using a Lumia 920. On the right is a Lumia 920 prototype with OIS. On the left is a smartphone without OIS. The difference is apparent.
Notice they specify 'a smartphone'. The wording shifts the focus from the camera to OIS, and then they must have used a completely different phone for the comparison. Weird.

It could have been an older Nokia Lumia, but they wouldn't want to admit that publicly.

They need to release one for the photos, too, now. It's not just the photos from that video, but others as well. This is turning into a PR disaster for Nokia. Companies should remember that ethics and truth pays out in the end. Nokia has been too close to Microsoft lately, and some of Microsoft's habits must've rubbed off on them.

Interesting future tense in the apology: "[W]e produced a video that simulates what we will be able to deliver with OIS." (emphasis mine).

When will they be able to deliver?

>Here are videos (OIS off and on) shot with a Lumia 920

OIS in Lumia 920 can not be turned off, it's different phone. In presentation they showed photo of special device holding both phones for producing comparation videos.

In case the HN submission of the following doesn't float to the front page, it seems Nokia has apologized for the fake advertisement:


EDIT: The HN submission


They're not sorry for the lies and intentional deceit. They're just sorry they got caught.

So there WAS a reflection to go all CSI on.

Also, terrible that their response is simply that they should have "posted a disclaimer."

There's only one way out of this for Nokia. They need to release new photo's and video's created with the new Nokia Wndows 8 Phone right the f* now. With as much EXIF and/or metadata as possible. If I was Nokia I'd hire the best photographer-artist the world knows and make a big splash about it.

Or they could just pretend this never happened.

A search on Google News (anecdotal, yes) https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws...

None of the articles have anything related to this in the title, and the first three articles do not mention any faking.

It feels like a big issue in tech-savvy circles on the internet. But I doubt most consumers know or care.

The second result for me (posted 7 minutes ago) is related to this topic: http://i.imgur.com/oJQYf.png

On the other hand, it is very easy to edit and fake EXIF and metadata. Adding EXIF data fields to demo pictures does not increase the credibility.

All right. How about hiring the best photographer-artist and letting people sign up and co-create photo's with them? Everything will auto-upload to the cloud in the artist's album live. No cheating there and I'd sure go for an experience like that.

I'm pretty sure Chase Jarvis did a lot to solidify the iPhone as a great camera.


This is also standard launch procedure for Canon and Nikon (don't know about the others).

I hope the tech blogs that review this phone use their camera testing procedures on this phone.

This is a great idea actually. Take your mobile phone and let's shoot with us.

Then you 'd have to make the same demands from the whole advertising industry (so Ghandi never used Macs? who knew!)

Maybe they are planning to do just that. How else would they miss the truck reflection - isn't that way too obvious?

You'd be suprized how often mistakes are overlooked (mostly due to tight deadlines). Have a look at http://www.psdisasters.com/p/greatest-hits.html for a good laugh.

Funny that people ignore the fake facetime video's of iphone because it's from apple, and keep bashing microsoft because it's microsoft.

Fake advertisements, it's nothing new, EVERYBODY does that. Think real

Apple has a disclaimer about "simulated" images in most of their commercials, and if you look at their dedicated facetime ads [1] where they don't have a disclaimer, you'll notice...that is how facetime actually looks and works.

[1] http://youtu.be/RxVzP_OWnDw?hd=1

*Sequences shortened

There is definitely something up. The Register got their hands on one but the minders managed to stop them sending the photo externally:


"Alas, the Minders leapt into Red Alert mode to prevent me transmitting the results, you'll have to take my word for it."

Andrew Orlowski has to be one of the most unreliable troll journalists and last person who's word I will take at face value.

I agree and I take things he says lightly, but he's right on this one.

They are as noted prototype devices – with no announced release date – so it's completely in the realm of possibility that the camera simply isn't ready yet. Of course that doesn't excuse the misleading video and pictures Nokia used to advertise it.

The one actually marked "taken on a prototype" looks legit - tonnes of ISO noise.

The comparisons do make you wonder if they fiddled with the lighting artificially though, some of the differences are surprisingly drastic.

I doubt it. The camera seems to have HDRI. That, a looong exposure time, and a tripod can do amazing things.

Plus, it's compared to a photo they took with "a competitor's phone". Even I can take an amazingly crap photo with my camera-phone, it's not hard.

I was actually wondering about this, maybe you can enlighten us. Could they not have used external ligthing for the Nokia shot, and none for the competitor shot? How do we know they used the same lighting conditions?

Not trying to feed the anti-Nokia, I've always been curious of these types of things.

Ah, yeah I guess HDR would do it, slanted comparison nonetheless.

I don't understand why they need this.

They made a gorgeous and great device. It probably has one of the best smartphone cameras ever. Because of what they did, now everyone is talking about how they faked the photos instead of talking about the phone. A friend of mine even emailed Nokia and asked "Will the Lumia 920 also have the built-in CIV (cameraman in van) feature?"

Apologizing isn't going to change anything. People are going to keep making fun of Nokia for a long time about this.

Nokia has been very very misleading about pretty much everything their phone can do, from the PureView naming to how the actual photos and videos look like.

What's sad is not only the dishonesty about the material, but what it says about the product.

Do they simply not have enough confidence in their own flagship smartphone, with an apparently world-beating camera, to show an actual unretouched shot? A great way to crap all over the launch.

I think this is more of just a pigheaded move by the advertising team.

Nokia camera's have been good in the past and I have no doubt this is probably a good one.

One ad campaign is short lived, the photos taken by consumers who buy the phone on the other hand will continue to trickle in. It doesn't make too much sense for them to rely on this fact.

What the whole brouhaha is that they probably thought 'It's just an ad, everyone does it, every knows how ice cream in ice cream ads is not real ice cream. And the delicious burger never looks the same in real life either.'

Here's an interesting video from McDonalds on how they make their burgers look great. They admit the shortcomings of a real burger in the looks department and how they make it look so good.


In most markets the ice cream in an ice cream ad has to be ice cream. The ice cream in non-ice cream ads, on the other hand, can be anything.

actually, i read some where regarding tips in food photography.. where they dont actually use ice cream.. let me find you the link.. it is more of an advertising thing..

The gist is that the item being advertised has to be the actual item as offered to the consumer. So in a cereal ad, the cereal featured has to be the actual cereal (even though they may go through hundreds of boxes picking out the perfect corn flakes to use). However, since they're not actually selling the milk that goes with the cereal, they're free to use glue or some other liquid that will let the cereal maintain it's crunch or otherwise enhance photography.

So they are selling real flakes and a fraudulent crunch. Still fraud.

This is too funny. And on top of all this, the sheer comedy of the ad. I mean whats going on here? Is this supposed to be some date night? A couple on vacation? No. Felt more like a guy who somehow landed a girlfriend/date above his league and is trying to get as much as possible on camera to show his friends because they won't believe him.

That, and the example shots all look like someone picked the wrong LASIK surgeon.

No way... Fake pictures in ads? Who would have thought!

It's not just a picture IN ad, it's also picture OF what's advertised, and that, at least in some parts of the world, is required by law to be real.

I guess it depends on the amount of ‘real’.

Is post-processing allowed, for example? If yes, everything including light spikes could be claimed to be artificially added, not resulting from using different equipment. If pictures are required to be straight from the camera—well, there still are inevitable pre-production and (more importantly) RAW conversion steps.

There's a need for more complex regulations here.

> There's a need for more complex regulations here.

I'm not sure about that. The general "don't be a dickhead" rule and the resulting public stink for those who don't follow seem to work ok in this case.

You raise valid points, but taking a photo with a professional DSLR camera instead of the phone camera you are advertising goes way beyond post-processing.

> Well, there still are inevitable pre-production and (more importantly) RAW conversion steps.

Sure, but there is a standard procedure to get a photo out of your camera and onto your Facebook page, and that's pretty much the standard amount of processing necessary. I'm more interested to see what the photo would look like if I made it with their camera, than what a professional photographer with a DSLR and a Photoshop license can do with it.

How Apple advertises their camera in iPhone: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1127246/Screenshots/sb53.png

You can say what you want about Apple, but they did it right. Unretouched photos. Full-res available for download.

Source: http://www.apple.com/iphone/built-in-apps/camera.html

Kudos to Apple for using real pictures, but this also made me realize how I hope phone cameras become much better and soon, because that pictures looks quite blurry to me. But at least they are showing people exactly what they can buy, instead of some fake or heavily retouched image that won't be reproduced in real life by 99.9% of the iPhone users.

Blurry? Are we looking at the same pictures?


That fur looks pretty sharp to me.

Maybe you have a crappy monitor, but the picture looks quite sharp from here.

I've heard[0] that ‘big’ camera makes like Canon or Nikon regularly advertise their products using photos made with completely different equipment. It would be more surprising if Nokia used actual photos made with Lumia in promotion materials, I guess.

[0] http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3/h3d-1.htm: “For those of us in the press (Ken), we laughed when we looked at the EXIF data of Nikon's PR photos of the D3. They were shot in a studio, so of course Nikon had them shot with an appropriate camera: a $30,000 Phase One P45 back.” Anecdotal evidence, but I'm unable to find another source, so take it with a grain of salt.

Let's be careful about what we're talking about here. If the pictures are of the actual camera and are about showing the physical product then they're no doubt often shot in a studio with a proper studio camera. That's (probably) what Ken is talking about and there is nothing underhand about that.

If on the other hand the pictures are about showing what kind of results the camera can produce then I very much doubt they'd risk faking it by using a different camera.

But Nokia are talking about the kind of results you will get from the phone right. So it can just be a simulation of the result.

If they had to go out of their way to 'simulate' their own products results, it makes you wonder what kind of a result the average consumer can expect.

Rockwell is a noted self-publicist with a politician's reputation for truth and accuracy. Nikon can take their PR shots with whatever is best, should P&S publicity shots be taken with that P&S model? Of course not. If on the other they take photos with professional equipment and claim or imply that it was taken with a mobile phone then that is deceitful.

Yes, I probably had confused shots of the camera vs. shots made with the camera. This was ignorant of me.

Though will we consider a deceit if the camera used is the same P&S model, but lighting is set up? And then there's extensive post-processing, which is possible and may alter shots significantly.

What are you talking about?

I wonder what the manufacturers of the P45 use to take their fake pictures =)

A small camera with a small aperture and smaller sensor than a DSLR will produce a greater amount of aperture diffraction than a DSLR, at the same f-value.

http://yle.fi/uutiset/nokia_apologises_for_misleading_lumia_... Confusion? This is deceit! A video of just OIS? The Video states at the end, "This is Lumia". It seems the once honest Nokia has picked up some bad habits from their partnership with MicroSoft.

Why so much hate on Nokia?

Because using fake stills is something people are not happy about?

Because clearly, they lie about what their products can do.

People have done that since the dawn of radio adverts and billboards...

Which doesn't mean it shouldn't be penalized.

Because from love to hate there is only one step. When you trust someone or something you don't want to be taken advantage of.

A friend of mine loved his Nokia's phones. He always bought Nokia for 10 years during his teenage years because they were very good phones. He had good memories of those times.

He wished he could buy Nokia again, get super enthusiastic with the videos and now he discovers that he has been fooled. F*ck them!!

This stinks of Microsoft. Only one of their ad agencies could put together such a soulless dramatization of a couple's date night.

Because this is HN, which is heavily anti-MS and where people cling to their iPhones and Android devices and love to hate on the platforms they don't use.

Or else why would the actual announcement articles get only around 30-40 points(which were later flagged off the front page anyway!) but this one is already close to 200 points. Winsupersite.com is hell banned on HN from even being submitted because of the haters flagging articles to death. Go figure.

When I have a look on the photo, I think that the depth has to be remarkably long. That is because the sign "RESTAURANT" looks very clear. In other words small aperture and short exposure time. This is not taken by Lumia camera shot.

Kirjoitin jo englanniksi. Katuvalojen lisäksi kiinnitän huomiota kylttiin "RAVINTOLA". Pitkällä valotusajalla se "Neonvalo" tms puuroutuisi. Nyt se näkyy selkeästi eli kyseessä on pieni aukko ja lyhyt valotusaika.

Nokia N97 promo video was also riddled with fakeness http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1231464

So the final photo in that article is actually shot with the real Nokia phone camera?

Because it looks really good. They didn't need to have faked anything.

I wonder why did they do that, it was pretty obvious. The second picture looks good enough.

I might be able to take that photo on that phone. I would use a high-output continuous light balanced with gels to match the ambient colour, and create diffraction stars by putting a cross filter in front of the lens. I think it's fake too, but I'd have a go at making it.

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