Nokia handset manufacturer HMD Global has signed an exclusive partnership with Carl Zeiss in an effort to deliver better smartphone cameras. Zeiss lenses and imaging expertise will be found in future Nokia smartphones to show HMD "is really serious about quality."

Nokia has partnered up with Zeiss before, and some of its finest smartphone cameras — like the 41-megapixel shooter on the 808 PureView — used Zeiss optics. Sadly, that wasn't enough to keep Nokia's smartphone business in the fight, and soon after it was sold off to Microsoft in 2013, Zeiss optics were dropped.

Now HMD is bringing it all back. It has reached a deal that will see Zeiss technology coming to future Nokia handsets (not it's already-released Android lineup) as smartphone owners increasingly rely on their handsets to take better pictures. For the vast majority, their smartphone is their only camera.

"The camera is now so central a feature of any smartphone – for many it's their primary camera," said mobile industry analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, who spoke to BBC News. "It sends the message that HMD is really serious about quality." Wood warns, however, that HMD still has its work cut out.

"Look at the 960 frames per second super slow-mo on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium or the dual lens technology on the iPhone 7 — that's what they have to compete with."

HMD's revival of Nokia has been promising so far. Its decision to relaunch the iconic Nokia 3310 has breathed new life into the brand, and sales of its latest smartphone lineup are said to be very healthy. That's despite the fact that the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 are yet to go on sale in many markets.