Nokia is a brand that managed to build over years some of the best camera phones. And even now after so many years of technological evolution their smartphones still offer some of the best cameras on the market. In this video review we are taking a close look at Nokia’s first Windows 8 camera phone – Nokia Lumia 1020.
The secret behind this great camera is the big 41.3MP BSI CMOS sensor
The last great camera phone that Nokia introduced was Nokia 808 PureView from almost two years ago. It was their first device to feature their Pure View technology where high-resolution sensors are combined with on-chip processors and high-resolution Zeiss lenses. This resulted in some of the best shots ever seen from a camera phone. But now that Nokia turned its back on the Symbian OS, it just had to revive its line of camera handsets with the new Windows Phone platform. This is how 808 PureView’s successor appeared.
The back-illuminated sensor works perfectly with the bright 25mm f/2.2 Carl Zeiss optics
The secret behind this great camera is the big 41.3MP BSI CMOS sensor inside. It delivers high-resolution images at 7136×5350 pixels. This back-illuminated sensor works perfectly with the bright 25mm f/2.2 Carl Zeiss optics, comprised of six elements. Camera hardware alone doesn’t make much sense to most people so let’s take some photos.
The basic camera application used for taking pictures here is Nokia ProCam. It is able to take 2 images at a time: one 5MP image to send or upload on FB and one high-resolution one. The ProCam application has a very intelligent auto mode and in challenging light conditions managed to end up with great images. If you are aware of things like aperture, shutter speed and ISO and most importantly how they work, the application allows you to set all of this manually.
There is a second application for taking photos called Nokia Smart Cam. It is where magic happens.. well, not exactly magic but just some interesting effects are added to your photos.
There is a second application for taking photos called Nokia Smart Cam
In order to apply those effects you need to use this application for capturing. Smart Cam records a short video which consists of 10 separate frames. The camera then creates links between the separate frames in order to create interesting effects. First it sorts out the best frame of all. Then you can choose for example Action Shot where the progress of a moving object is traced through the frame. Adding the Motion Blur filter allows you to emphasize on the motion of the subject. The Change faces filter helps you fix things if for example in a group picture someone has blinked. The last handy feature is the option for erasing unwanted objects from the photo. The Cinemagraph icon launches a photo mixer that allows you to arrange your shots in short videos using creative effects.
But enough talk let’s go out and enjoy the beautiful fall season out there. In normal daylight conditions the camera did great, it exposed correctly, the colors were true-life and the details – really sharp. The optical image stabilization did a great job coping with vibrations and camera shake during walking and shooting at 1080p.
The optical image stabilization did a great job coping with vibrations and camera shake
Then we decided to challenge this camera more so we tested it in low light. The back-illuminated sensor played its part and even after the sun had gone down the images were still well exposed and with little noise. However, the lack of enough lighting plays bad tricks on the white balance and the images often come out yellowish. In dark environments the strong Xenon/LED flash comes to help. It impressed us with even lighting at a big distance.
We tested the video at night with almost no light around. As you can see there is a lot of noise but still, the camera managed to autofocus successfully and the giant soap bubbles were still clearly visible.
In dark environments the strong Xenon/LED flash comes to help
Lumia 1020 shape and ergonomics gave me a hard time while capturing the images and videos. However there is a simple solution. If you buy this phone mostly for photographic purposes you can use Nokia’s special camera grip case accessory for Lumia 1020. It comes very handy as the handgrip provides better control over the shooting process.
Let’s not ignore the front camera here. It offers 1.2MP and shoots 720p video. It’s ideal for video calls or unpretentious self shots. You guys stay tuned for the second part of this video review where we will be looking at the display and hardware of the Lumia 1020.