Nokia has emphasized upon camera in smartphones for long. The 808 PureView, launched early last year, was a breakthrough device in terms of camera performance and megapixel count (41MP to be exact), however, it failed to lift Nokia’s plunging marketshare. Not dissuaded by the lukewarm response to Nokia 808 PureView, the company is again betting big on its superior camera technology with Lumia 1020. The 41MP Lumia 1020 boasts of Nokia’s PureView technology and is powered by Windows Phone operating system.
While Lumia 1020 smartphone appears to be have the best camera in terms of megapixels, the rival smartphones are not much behind either. With both Samsung and Sony already having camera-centric phones in the market (namely Galaxy S4 zoom and Xperia Z1, respectively), the competition is catching up.
So, the big question is whether Lumia 1020 stands above the rivals or not… We find out in this review:
Nokia Lumia 1020’s camera is surely a photographer’s delight.
The 41MP camera of this smartphone works with the help of oversampling technology. The phone does not actually capture 41MP images, but in 34MP (16:9 aspect ratio) or 38MP (4:3 aspect ratio) resolution. Default images taken by the phone have 5MP resolution, but what Nokia’s way of processing images does is reduce the noise to a minimum, thus providing you extremely clear photos, even indoors.
Lumia 1020’s camera boasts of lossless zoom, wherein you can crop a small portion of the high-resolution photo without losing any clarity at all. The image quality of Nokia’s 5MP images is much better than what you get from any other 5MP camera, and even some 8MP ones.
You can operate the phone’s camera in either automatic mode or manual mode (namely the Pro Camera app). The handset boasts of 3x (lossless) digital zoom, ISO settings between 100 to 4000, shutter speed from 1 to 16,000 and optical image stabilization. Lumia 1020 has several ‘Lenses’ that we have seen in previous Nokia smartphones, such as Panorama, Cinemagraph, Camera 360 and Smart Cam.
The standard camera app takes 5MP photos, while you need to use the Pro Camera app to take the 38MP photos. Nokia Pro Camera lets you shoot in manual mode, which means you have full control of the camera settings. On the other hand, the standard mode adjusts the settings automatically, giving you the best possible image quality under the available lighting conditions.
No matter what the light conditions are, the images are undeniably of high quality. Lumia 1020 captures large photos and the level of details is so good that you can even zoom at a particular portion of a picture without worrying about pixelation.
One big problem we have with Lumia 1020 camera is the slow image processing of both high as well as low-resolution photos. The phone takes great pictures, but you cannot rely on it if you want to capture photos quickly.
Another issue is that the smartphone heats up when the camera is used for too long. In fact, if mobile internet is kept active while taking photos, the phone heats up in just 15 minutes. We don’t know whether this issue plagued just our review unit or all Lumia 1020s in the market, but it certainly needs to be looked into considering camera is the device’s key selling point.
Similarly, close-up shots aren’t really good and you need to be at least 12-15 inch away from the object in order to take the best photo. The performance of the camera is poor when it comes to detecting fluorescent light. If you are using the flash, you might see a hint of yellow in the images.
But under normal settings when the flash is turned off, the pictures that the camera clicks are excellent. The colours are bright and vividness of the images is maintained.
Now the big question: Is Lumia 1020 really the best smartphone camera in the market? Well, it depends. If details in a photograph really matter to you then Lumia 1020 is the best option. But if you simply believe in capturing simple moments of life and details aren’t that important, then rivals that take images faster provide a better option.
In a nutshell, Lumia 1020 has a great camera, however, it cannot be a substitute to a high-end digital camera. Also, storage too may be prove to be a constraint when the file size of many photos reach 10MB.
Huge camera hump, no problem
Nokia Lumia 1020 is, basically, Lumia 920 with a huge camera hump at the back. The device has the same specifications and operating system as last year’s Nokia flagship, but with the added benefit of a powerful camera. The most powerful camera in any smartphone, in fact. However, this does not bode well for the overall design of the handset.
Though it is slimmer and lighter than Lumia 920, it cannot be put flat on a table or any other surface. The design could have been better, but thankfully it is not as bad as Galaxy S4 zoom. Plus, we found that the huge camera hump does not adversely affect the everyday usage or seem awkward to hold in the hand.
Other than the camera, Lumia 1020 does not offer much to explore. The hardware, software and design make it an almost exact replica of Lumia 920. Everything – from the chipset to the screen to the operating system – has been analyzed in previous reviews.
The hardware is not great but still workable. Apps and games run smoothly and the AMOLED screen looks good; you can even get rid of the greenish tinge that such displays show by tweaking the settings. Sunlight legibility and viewing angles are great, as was the case with earlier top-end Lumia phones. Software-wise, you get the same fare that other Lumia smartphones have.
Nokia Lumia 1020 is a great option for those who want a camera more than a smartphone. Both photos and videos are of high quality, though there is the issue of heating up after prolonged use.
But as a smartphone, Lumia 1020 is just passable. It offers nothing more than what Lumia 920 does and it seems that Nokia doesn’t really mind that, judging by the negligible upgrades.
Go for it if you want a camera more than a phone. Otherwise, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5 (and the upcoming iPhone 5S) are great options as well, providing a more balanced mix of hardware, software and camera.