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Yup, Nokia Faked the Still Photos In Its PureView Promo


Nokia has already confessed and apologized for faking the optical image stabilization sample footage in a new promo video for its Lumia 920 phone. In case you weren’t sure: yes, the sample still photographs in the video were faked as well.

Designer Youssef Sarhan did some investigative work after the story initially broke, and came to the conclusion that the images were almost certainly taken with a camera other than the Lumia 920.

He writes,

We don’t have the EXIF data because these are part of a video, and there’s no cheeky reflections we can zoom in and enhance. However, there is one thing, that once seen can’t be unseen. Diffractions. Diffractions are the sparkle affect generated around the bright lights in the background.

It’s impossible for a camera with a fixed aperture of f/2 to generate so many spikes from a light source. These kind of diffractions are typical of a DLSR camera with a smaller aperture like f/22. So, it makes perfect sense that if Nokia were to fake the video, they would also fake the stills; which they almost certainly have.

All of the “sample photos” in the video show these starry lights that Sarhan is referring to:

Visiting the official PureView page on the Nokia website, Sarhan found sample night photos that were actually taken with the Lumia 920. These clearly lack those starry lights seen in the shots that were presumably shot using a professional still camera:

In case you still have any doubts, a passer-by’s photo shared on Hacker News shows that the “sample shots” were shot using a mobile studio. A DSLR lens is also visible on the left side of the frame.

Nokia says that they simply made a mistake in not putting a disclaimer in the promo video, but take a look and judge for yourself. It seems like the video was designed to be misleading (which is probably why it has a 1:2 like-to-dislike ratio on YouTube):

Nokia faked the still photos too [Youssef Sarhan]

Update: Here’s Nokia’s response, as reported by The Verge:

Indeed, a Lumia 920 was not used to illustrate the benefits of optical image stabilization and we regret the error. The other still images in this post were extracted from that video. Again, we have posted an apology and the video is now clearly marked.

I wonder how prevalent this kind of thing is in the camera industry. Isn’t it the equivalent of showing dashcam footage of a Lamborghini to promote the increased horsepower of a Toyota?