Microsoft details the camera "magic" in the Lumia 950 and 950 XL (with pictures)

Microsoft details the camera
There's only about one month to wait before the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL are released and as is tradition with high-end Lumia devices, the expectation is that the camera will be killer. Today, Microsoft published a pretty in-depth (and poetically worded) blog post talking about what it calls the camera "magic" built into the new Lumia flagships.

We need to point out that the blog post is a first person account of using the camera written by Juha Alakarhu, head of imaging technology on the Lumia Windows Phones. So, we're a bit torn on the comments made, because on one hand, Alakarhu isn't the most unbiased source, but on the other hand, the sample images do seem to support his claims. 

The post starts out with the basic specs of the cameras - a rear-facing PureView camera with a 20-megapixel advanced BSI sensor, F1.9 Zeiss optics, triple-LED natural flash, fifth-generation optical image stabilization (OIS), ISO12800, 4K video, and a 5-megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera - and a blurb about the natural colors and fine detail captured by the sensors. Alakarhu doesn't try to hold back, saying that the dynamic range is so good that "HDR is rarely needed" and ends the segment with the bold claim, "it's SLR quality."

Alakarhu then goes on to talk about the low-light performance and how OIS and the large aperture improve the quality of those images. In an amusing turn, he shows a comparison of a low-light shot taken with a competitor's camera and describes the image taken by that device as looking "pretty smashed", while describing the Lumia's shot as "natural", "beautiful', and "pure." 

The post ends with Alakarhu describing how the Lumia camera is a "mind reader" because of the new Rich Capture mode, which uses two exposure times for the same image: short for the moving object and long for the static part of the image, as well as the RGB LED flash. This sounds pretty amazing really, because (if it works as promised) the Rich Capture mode will allow you to change the amount of light in a photo after the image is taken, even when you're using the flash. The camera will take two photos, one with the flash and one without to do this. Additionally, the three color flash is supposed to match the ambient light of the scene in order to produce more natural colors, even in candlelight. 

Frankly, we're pretty excited for the new Lumia cameras, because the quality does look amazing. The only thing we can't quite judge right now is the speed of the camera. But, we should be able to see for ourselves soon enough.

source: Windows Blog

Related phones

Lumia 950
  • Display 5.2" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(18h 3G talk time)
Lumia 950 XL
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3340 mAh(19h 3G talk time)



1. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 2013

Always loved nokia cameras, this sounds amazing

4. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Just need to wait for actual reviews. These new devices look like actual game changers and hopefully they live up to that expectation.

22. xdza1979

Posts: 296; Member since: Aug 08, 2015

SD 810 :(

29. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

liquid cooling

36. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

*heat pipe cooling Similar to what Sony's been using since the Xperia Z2

38. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

thermal paste... seems like tooth paste

72. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Stated as liquid cooling. Heat pipes may have a liquid inside that is then moved via conduction of heat, moving the liquid to a cooler side of the pipe then back and doing a much faster and better heat exchange. This is still LIQUID COOLING. Heat pipes or fins, imply there is no liquid inside...and there is. So half right.

75. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

All heat pipes (and vapor chambers) have liquid inside. Hence the name. They work by the liquid vaporizing and then condensing again. Heat fins is another name for heat sinks. They don't have any liquid inside. They are totally different from heat pipes/vapor chambers. And heat pipes/vapor chambers are totally different from Liquid/water cooling Liquid/water cooling in desktops (and recently ASUS's new gaming laptop) is when you have pipes of just liquid inside. Heat is moved by pumping the water to a radiator.

76. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

just because it is done one way in a desktop vs a phone...does not negate that it is LIQUID active cooling that is used to transfer heat. Anything else is just method of transferring said heat, either through a cooling tube, a radiator, etc etc.

77. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

But its not "LIQUID active cooling" Its passive, not active, there's no fan or pump And its not really liquid cooling since the liquid vaporizes e.g. a simplification A oxygen tank stores oxygen in liquid form, but you breathe it in as a gas Similarly, there's liquid in the heat pipes, but heat transfer happens with the liquid as a gas

57. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

camera is the main point for me to get this device on my hand.......!!!

2. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

The imaging software tech they came up with is brilliant, and these photos look ridiculously good. Seriously, like ridiculously good. These images are unbelievably clean.

3. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Well, this is Lumia...the camera king of.

39. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

bcoz these images are taken by professionals... please dont get washed away, let the real life photos surface up

59. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I'm no pro, but I know enough about photography to make use of the camera's capabilities. The fact that it is this capable is all that I need to know at this point. Plus, let's not forget that the software tech they've included is all about improving performance in automatic, closing the gap between standard smartphone users and photographers. Based on their blog post and other information I've read, it seems like genuinely intelligent software that should give you the most out of auto. Also, from what I can tell, these are 8MP super-sampled shots from the 20MP sensor. That's why they look so clean, and why normal people should also be able to get nice, clean images regularly as well.

65. jojon

Posts: 435; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

excellent post

71. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

I think it produce 5MP super sample photos.

73. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

I love 5mp and 2mp lossless shots. My daily work require a lot of photo taking and emailing. I can't afford to take 10mb file size photos or degrading the quality. I want pureview shots on an android phone. At the moment, Windows is a useless platform for me without much apps. Is it possible to install android on 950XL without loosing camera software?

61. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 970; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Doesn't take a pro to capture these snapshots. If these were taken in Auto, then any extra manual controls will allow us to squeeze quite a bit more image quality from the sensor. If this is the best the camera can do, then I'm disappointed.

66. jojon

Posts: 435; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

you have missed the whole point have'nt you


Posts: 432; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

The god of Camera is back in a big way. Pay attention world this is how you make a camera. First phone to score a 950 on DXO mark my words. Purview over everything The messiah has spoken.

14. rsiders

Posts: 2009; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Um, dude You don't have to speak like that. It's just a nice camera.

23. xdza1979

Posts: 296; Member since: Aug 08, 2015

10 bucks Note 5 camers is better.

24. rsiders

Posts: 2009; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

$50 says it edges out the Note 5 and.... the Edge Plus.

30. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

7 dragonballs Goku will beat a low light shutter speed test between the two cameras.

28. mixedfish

Posts: 1566; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Going to be easy to beat the camera here, whilst it will have high marks in DxO for noise control, as usual it will lose out in color and stabilization.

46. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I'm sure you gave used it to know? Stop trolling

41. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

you are totally sounding like a fool... no camera is a God of cameras... just relax dude and control your high boiling harmons... pureview cameras are always the slowest cameras. I hope this time microsoft has taken care of camera speed... Pureview cameras were the top breed of mobile phone cameras till 2014. But the time is changed in 2015. LG G4/V10, S6/Edge/Note5/Edge+, NEXUS 6P/5X, iPhone 6s/Plus, Z5 all are top of the line

56. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

i don't believe in DXO test.

6. vijay.alapati

Posts: 181; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

Looks like every one is in the game of camera. Initial it was only iphone that has a gd camera, later samsung, nokia, LG. I only fell bad for HTC for failing with ultrapixel

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